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Valentine's Views: "Five things I think I think" about the Giants

Let's assess the Giants as they take a day off from training camp.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are off today. So, let's take the chance to sit back and assess where things stand in East Rutherford with a little "Five things I think I think" brain dump.

I think it's time to get the Eli Manning contract extension done

Ben Roethlisberger has his deal. Philip Rivers has his deal. The parameters are all there. So, why doesn't Eli Manning have his deal from the Giants yet? Maybe he is asking to be the league's highest-paid quarterback. Can't blame a guy -- and his agent -- for trying. Even if the notion of Manning making more than Aaron Rodgers seems ridiculous. Roethlisberger's deal nets him $21.85 million annually, Rivers is getting $20.812 million per year. Meet in the middle, which is exactly where Manning's deal should be and get this done.

The Giants say they want Manning signed before the season starts. They say again and again that they want him to be their quarterback long term and to retire as a Giant. So, get a deal done. At this point there really isn't much reason not to. Everyone has to see roughly what the numbers need to look like. There's no reason for the Manning camp to try to ask for stupid money, or for the Giants to try and low ball the guy their franchise is still built around and who won them two Super Bowl titles.

Let's just get an offer of around $21 million annually on the table, get it signed, get it over with and get on with the season.

I think right tackle is still a mystery

What went on Monday night on the right side of the Giants offensive line was nothing short of amazing, even laughable if you want to use that term. It certainly, however, wasn't funny. As we reported, five different players -- Marshall Newhouse, Geoff Schwartz, John Jerry, Brandon Mosley and Bobby Hart -- rotated through the right tackle spot with the first two units. Out of that group, only Newhouse did not also see some time at right guard. Scary thought, by the way, is that the 20-year-old Hart, the seventh-round pick, was the one who stood out Monday. On one play he drove defensive end Brad Bars backwards three or four yards.

It is apparent that the Giants, less than a month before the start of the regular season, are uncertain what the best combination will be on the right side. And no, moving Justin Pugh doesn't appear to be the answer. Weston Richburg at center, Pugh at left guard and Ereck Flowers at left tackle appear to be the strength of the line, so why mess with it? Schwartz, because it was his left ankle that he broke last year, expressed concerns on Monday about possibly playing on the left side.

If I had to guess, and I will give it a shot, I think the Giants might open the season with Schwartz at right tackle and Jerry at right guard. Not ideal, but until Will Beatty comes back it might be the best option they have with what is on the current roster.

Of course, perhaps the starting right tackle is not yet on the roster. Gosder Cherilus is off the market, having signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jake Long is still available, and the possibility remains that the Giants might wait until roster cuts are made and see if any capable right tackles become available.

I think you shouldn't write off the season yet

So much gnashing of teeth, bridge-jumping, vitriol and resignation to another lost season from Giants fans already. After one preseason game. C'mon, people! Getting ready for the season is a process. Yes, the Giants have flaws. Yes, many of them were exposed by the Cincinnati Bengals. Yes, they have work to do. But, they still have time to do it.

Just because things went badly in the preseason opener doesn't mean they will go badly all season. It doesn't mean things will be sunshine and roses, either, because the Giants do have serious flaws to address and many difficult decisions to make.

What matters is not what happened on Friday night. What matters is where the Giants go from there.

I think Markus Kuhn must have the pictures

You know, THOSE pictures. What other explanation can there be for Kuhn, a 29-year-old four-year veteran to continue to get first-team defensive tackle reps? Kuhn didn't really show anything in his first three seasons, and got pushed around the field Friday night by the Bengals.

I don't get it. Plain and simple. My belief is that Kenrick Ellis, Jay Bromley and even an elderly (by NFL standards) Cullen Jenkins are all better players. This is one of those "hope you're proven wrong" deals, but I have never understood what the Giants see in Kuhn. Still don't.

I think Brandon Meriweather isn't the problem

The reasons for the Brandon Meriweather signing were addressed in my Monday morning Meriweather post. As I said then, I understand the consternation of many fans who don't like the player because of his past and don't like the move. Dan Graziano of ESPN certainly agrees with you. Pat Traina calls it a high-risk, high-reward move and writes that Meriweather "isn't the typical Tom Coughlin player."

In the end, I don't know if signing Meriweather will turn out to be a stroke of brilliance by GM Jerry Reese, or if will end up being one of the more disastrous things he has ever done. He isn't yor typical Coughlin player. Nor is he the typical type of player the Giants usually like to be associated with.

The problem, though, isn't Meriweather. The problem is that the Giants put themselves in a desperate situation where they needed to go out and sign Meriweather, or a player like him. The problem is that less than a month before the season begins the Giants didn't have a safety on the roster who has ever been a real NFL starter. Jeromy Miles and his three starts in five years doesn't exactly make him an answer.

The problem isn't even letting Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown go, though you can bet Rolle is in Chicago laughing at the Giants right about now. Maybe three years and $11.25 million for the 32-year-old Rolle would have been a bad investment. The problem is not really replacing Rolle and Brown, and just hoping your collection of kids can get the job done. Would the three-year, $12 million deal the Houston Texans gave Rahim Moore have been such a bad investment?

Meriweather isn't the problem. The fact that the Giants put themselves in the position of being desperate enough to need him is.