In one of my recent posts musing about Brandon Marshall and discussing how the New York Giants put flash over substance — adding a wide receiver and a pass-catching tight end — rather than addressing the offensive line — the question of what Jerry Reese could have done differently was asked.
So, here are some free-agent options. It’s hindsight, and it’s “what might have been,” but here is an alternate way things could have played out.
First, let’s understand that when it comes to NFL contracts total number of years and dollars is irrelevant. The guaranteed money and the structure of the contract — how long it will take to pay off that guaranteed dollar amount — is all that really matters.
Here are the guaranteed amounts the Giants paid out in free agency, not including the Jason Pierre-Paul contract. Bringing JPP back is a move I agreed with, though I wish the Giants had been able to do it for less than $40 million in guaranteed money.
- Rhett Ellison ($8M)
- Brandon Marshall ($5M)
- John Jerry ($4.25M)
- Keenan Robinson ($1M)
- D.J. Fluker ($1.5M)
That is $19.75 million in guarantees paid out if my shaky math skills are to be trusted. How could the Giants have spent that money? Let’s just look at the guaranteed money some of the top free agents signed for. Admittedly, many of the top offensive lineman got guaranteed money beyond that $19.75M figure. Not all, though.
- Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, the guy many figured the Giants would chase, got $15 million in guarantees. The money designated to Marshall and some combination of the other players on the list above could have gone to Whitworth.
- Left tackle Kelvin Beachum got a $12 million guarantee from the New York Jets.
- Right tackle Ricky Wagner, a player I seriously thought the Giants would push for if they didn’t want to go after Whitworth, got $20.5 million in guarantees from the Detroit Lions. That is slightly more than the five players above combined.
- Guard Larry Warford got $17 million in guarantees from the New Orleans Saints.
- Guard T.J. Lang got $19 million in guarantees to leave the Green Bay Packers and sign with the Lions.
It’s up to you to decide whether you think allocating the money to a single offensive lineman rather than spreading it piece meal to several players would have been the right thing to do. I am simply trying to illustrate here that, while expensive, the Giants did have offensive line options.