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Twitter mailbag: Head coach shopping?

If it's Saturday, that means it's time for the New York Giants Twitter mailbag. Many thanks to you and your #nygmail-hashtagged questions.



We start with a question so good that it has since moved on from the mortal realm of Twitter: Are we shopping new head coaches for '15-'16 season?


@DanGrazianoESPN: This would seem to be the question on everyone's mind as it pertains to the Giants right now. Will this be the end of Tom Coughlin's time as the team's head coach? I still think a lot depends on how these next six games go. To this point, there's no evidence that the team has quit on Coughlin, and if they win, say, three or four of their final six games and bring their record back toward respectability, the Giants could easily convince themselves that this was the first year of a rebuild (which it was) and that it's not fair or prudent to make such a major change at this still-early time in that rebuild. If they finish 4-12 or something like that, then maybe it's easier for ownership to decide it's time for major change. The direct answer to your question is that Giants ownership says it's always got a list of candidates that it's evaluating for a potential time in the future when it might have to make a change. So if they decide to move on from Coughlin at the end of this year, they'll do so with a plan in mind for who succeeds him. And don't overlook the importance of that piece. People sometimes want change just for change's sake, but you have to be careful what you wish for. Coughlin is one of the very best coaches in the league, someone who's built a Hall of Fame resume during his time with the Giants. If they decide to replace him, they'll have to make sure they're bringing in someone with a clear vision for how to run things -- and a leader who can get the most out of his rosters the way Coughlin has been able to. It could be they see that potential in first-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo (whom they do view as a future NFL head coach), but it would be tough to hand the reins to him after only one year as a coordinator -- especially if it ends up being the kind of year that gets the head coach fired. If they decide McAdoo's not ready yet for the big job, that could buy Coughlin more time as well. Lots of moving pieces still here. Nothing is decided at this point.


@DanGrazianoESPN: I'm thinking auto-correct got you there, and that your contention is that the Giants should have kept defensive tackle Linval Joseph. I thought so at the time, given his age and how much he meant to their run defense. Second-year man Johnathan Hankins has indeed played well, but they lack depth at that spot, especially with Cullen Jenkins injured, and their issues at linebacker (middle linebacker Jon Beason out for the year) have compounded the problem. The Giants had tough financial decisions to make last offseason as they scrambled to find enough pieces to fill out their roster, and Joseph did get $6.25 million a year, which is a lot of money for a defensive tackle. But this is a guy who just turned 26 last month and was a good player and solid citizen for them. I'd have found room in the budget for him, yes, and I said so at the time.


@DanGrazianoESPN: If Jameis Winston is still on the board when the Giants' turn comes to pick in the draft, and there's a quarterback-needy team willing to trade three first-round picks and a second-round pick for him, the Giants would be nuts not to take that. I doubt it happens, because (a) Winston's talent alone makes him worthy of going even earlier, if not No. 1 overall, (b) the extent to which Robert Griffin III has flopped in Washington is going to make teams more leery of doing such deals, especially for a guy who comes with Winston's off-field baggage and (c) the Giants don't generally maneuver that creatively in the draft. So my thinking is that the Giants end up taking their best available player, which if they're smart would be an offensive or defensive lineman on which they can build some kind of foundation. But yeah, to your point, if they're in a spot where they could conceivably take Winston, they'd be wise to shop the pick. It just doesn't seem like their way.


@DanGrazianoESPN: I don't believe Eli Manning is at all interested in taking a pay cut, nor should he. You get the money you can get in this league, and few deals are ever advantageous to the player. He's earned the right to cash all of his checks as scheduled. The Giants could threaten to cut him, since his salary next year isn't guaranteed, and get him to take a pay cut that way. But he'd be wise to call their bluff if they did that, because they don't have a sufficient fallback option. They could get cap relief if they extended him and restructured the remaining year as part of the extension, but the question then becomes how much the extension will/should be worth, and I imagine that's still a source of contention between the player and the team. For all of his flaws, Manning remains a far better option at quarterback than most, and the Giants realize that. He's also got franchise-icon status, which plays into the extent to which they can play hardball. Regardless, with the cap set to rise another $10 million or so next year and with other big salaries like Mathias Kiwanuka's likely to get wiped out by roster cuts, I don't think they're going to be desperate for the room a Manning pay cut would provide.


Thanks for your questions. Catch you Sunday night from MetLife.