New York Giants owner John Mara is down in Orlando at the NFL owners meetings and stopped to chat with some of the reporters who were there covering the meetings Sunday. One of the topics he discussed was the Giants' activity in free agency. Specifically, after Mara himself described the Giants' offense as "broken" on the day after their 7-9 season ended, why has so much of the free-agency focus been on the defensive side of the ball? Per Tom Rock of Newsday:
"I think that's more a case of that's where the opportunities have presented themselves,'' Mara said of the free-agency splurge, particularly in the secondary. "There were defensive players who were available that we thought could really help us. We did add some offensive players, but we have the draft coming up, so that will be another opportunity.''
"There were good players that were available, and obviously, if you have a real strong secondary, it allows you to do a lot of other things,'' he said. "I think that was an area where we felt we had to improve a little bit. It wasn't our number one priority, but those were the players who were available. I think they should help us.''
The Giants have added a new running back and three new offensive linemen, and at least two of those offensive linemen appear in line for starting jobs. But the most significant deals they've handed out have gone to cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and linebacker Jon Beason. They also added cornerback Walter Thurmond and re-signed safety Stevie Brown. The result is a secondary that appears to be the strength of the team right now, but questions remain about the offensive weaponry around quarterback Eli Manning and new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
Mara's answer to all of this indicates what we've been writing all along -- the Giants entered this offseason as a team with a huge number of holes all throughout the roster and need to rebuild quality depth pretty much everywhere. Sure, the offense may have been the most desperate area of need. But if the quality players and the best deals for the Giants were in the secondary, it's not as though they were in a position to turn down help there either.
Big, big rebuild going on with the Giants. This year's draft was always going to be an important part of that, and it appears as though the Giants are counting on it as a means of fixing their offense -- for the long term as much as for the short, by the way. And I'm sure there's still a bargain-bin free agent or two out there that could end up helping them before it's all said and done. A project this size can't be completed in three weeks or with one blizzard of free-agent signings. The people who run the Giants understand this and are working accordingly.