We’ve been taking a look toward 2013 with a position-by-position breakdown of the Giants leading into the scouting combine and free agency.
Overview: After finishing last in the NFL in rushing in 2011, the Giants finished 14th in rushing with 1,862 yards in 2012, up from 1,427 yards the year before. The offensive line allowed Eli Manning 19 sacks, down from 28 in 2011. And the line did this despite shuffling Diehl and Locklear in at right tackle during the season due to injuries. Locklear was one of the Giants’ best offseason signings until he suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the year. Beatty overcame back issues during the offseason and was solid. Baas and Snee battled through injuries. Profootballfocus.com recently ranked the Giants' offensive line 11th overall based on three categories: pass protection, run and screen blocking, and penalties.
Free agents: Beatty, Boothe, Locklear, Cordle (exclusive rights free agent).
2013 personnel preview: The outlook for this coming season is uncertain, with the entire left side entering free agency. Beatty might be the Giants’ highest priority among their own free agents. Boothe’s versatility is a plus. There’s also uncertainty surrounding the right tackle position. The Giants may be ready to throw Brewer into the mix, after talking about wanting to see what he could do as a starter last offseason. Snee will be coming off hip surgery, and the Giants will need him and Baas to get healthy. Depth could be a concern. Brandon Mosley and Matt McCants, two draft picks from last year, will have to show what they can do in camp. Tackle Selvish Capers is another player the Giants have been keeping around, hoping he develops.
Salary cap situation: The Giants have been clearing cap space to keep some of their own free agents. Bringing back Beatty and Boothe would ensure continuity and likely would make financial sense, rather than spending big bucks on big-name free agents. Remember, the Giants need money to spend on other areas of their roster, such as keeping both Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz long-term, and finding another defensive lineman and possibly another cornerback. They also need money for their upcoming draft picks. Diehl is entering the final year of his deal, worth $4.475 in base salary, and the Giants have been releasing longtime veterans to clear cap space. But the Giants may be better off waiting to see what happens with Beatty and Boothe before doing anything with Diehl –- if they opt to do anything with the veteran’s contract. Diehl can play both tackle and guard, and that’s valuable considering the injuries the Giants have experienced on the offensive line in recent years. The Giants don’t have much depth at the moment. It’s possible the Giants could draft an offensive lineman as well.
Tell us what you think of the Giants’ offensive line going into 2013 and what you want to see happen in the offseason.