New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has made not secret of his intention to try and upgrade the team’s offensive line, long a weakness Jerry Reese either ignored or was unable to properly address.
Remember this line from his introductory press conference?
“We gotta fix the oline let’s be honest, let’s not kid each other,” Gettleman said. “Big men allow you to compete, and that’s what we’ve gotta fix.”
How will he do it? Gettleman said during an appearance on WFAN this week that it might not get done with flashy names and big-money deals.
“You’ve gotta get into the fim and you’ve gotta dig it out. There’s always guys there that can play that have been underlooked.
”You watch the film and you get convictions. It isn’t necessarily you have to sign the stars and whatever. You’ve gotta work at the evaluation process. You’ve gotta grind through tape because there are guys there. There always are.”
Internally, he has to start with decisions about free agents Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg. Pugh seems more likely than Richburg to stay, simply because fill-in center Brett Jones could well be one of those under-valued players Gettleman is looking for.
Gettleman said all avenues — free agency, trades and the draft could be used. Let’s look at a handful of options.
Who knows what will happen between now and when the free-agent signing period begins on March 14? Looking at the current crop of free agents, though, there is one name that jumps out — Carolina Panthers guard Andrew Norwell.
Why Norwell? Well, because Gettleman unearthed him as an undrafted free agent in 2014, and he has been a four-year starter for the Panthers. He is heading to the free-agent market now, and it seems logical that Gettleman would pursue him.
One teammate called Norwell “the heart of the offensive line” in Carolina.
The trade market
Ereck Flowers might be a Giant next season. He is a former first-round pick who is still on his rookie contract and the Giants would be on the hook for $4.579 million against the salary cap if they released him. If they can trade him it would still cost them $2.181 million against the cap.
What Flowers almost certainly will not be is the Giants’ left tackle. His play for three seasons hasn’t been good enough. If there is truth to the reports that there was more to Flowers’ Week 17 inactivation than a groin injury then Flowers has also abdicated that kind of trust.
Anyway, if it’s not going to be Flowers at left tackle who is it going to be. Nate Solder of the New England Patriots is the big-name free agent. Let’s go the trade route, though, for a possible answer.
How about Cordy Glenn of the Buffalo Bills? Glenn, 28, has been Buffalo’s starting left tackle since being selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Injuries kept him sidelined for all but six games in 2017, and the Bills were impressed with the work rookie Dion Dawkins did in his place.
The only Bills player more highly-paid than Glenn is quarterback Tyrod Taylor. With Dawkins able to man that left tackle spot the Bills might be happy to get out from under the three years remaining on Glenn’s five-year, $60 million contract.
Glenn hardly qualifies as under-valued considering his contract. He might, though, be unwanted by his current team. That could make him attractive to the Giants.
The 2018 NFL Draft
As much as Gettleman loves his “hog mollies” I can’t see him using the No. 2 overall pick on Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. Maybe trading down and taking Nelson, but not selecting him at No. 2. I can see him stocking up on offensive linemen in the middle to late rounds of the draft, or hoping to strike gold with an undrafted free agent, like he did with Norwell in Carolina.