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: The Giants lost cornerbacks Terrell Thomas, Bruce Johnson and Brian Witherspoon to injuries before the season started. Michael Coe also was placed on IR and later waived during the season. Webster, the team’s top corner on the depth chart, got off to a slow start in the season opener against Dallas, and his struggles continued throughout the season all the way through an incredibly difficult game at Baltimore, where he was targeted often. Webster battled through a broken hand early in the season, but he never was able to shake off his struggles in coverage. Amukamara was solid in his first season as a starter and performed like the team’s best corner. Hosley, the team’s third-round pick, was pushed into action quicker than expected and had his ups and downs. Rolle had 96 combined tackles and two interceptions. Rolle covered slot receivers again at times this season due to injuries. Phillips only played in seven games, as he was slowed by a knee injury. That allowed Brown to emerge as one of the biggest surprises of the season. Originally kept on the team as a backup and special teams contributor, Brown led the team with eight interceptions for 307 yards and became a starter. Hill showed flashes of his athleticism in stints as the team’s third safety.
Free agents: Phillips, Brown (restricted free agent), Tryon.
2013 personnel preview: Much of the 2013 outlook will be impacted by Webster’s future. The Giants hope Amukamara will continue to ascend and play like their top corner this coming season. Hosley got valuable experience as a rookie but might not be ready to start full-time on the outside. He might be best suited for now as a slot corner or an extra cornerback while he continues to progress. The Giants need more speed, athleticism, experience and depth at cornerback. The Giants could sign some free agent corners and possibly draft one as well. It remains to be seen what will happen with Phillips but Brown, who is expected to return, could be the starter opposite Rolle at safety. The Giants could bring Phillips back and have three starting safeties, but it would likely have to be at the right price since they need to re-sign free agents like Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe and Martellus Bennett. The Giants came to a new one-year deal with Thomas, who will be attempting a third comeback from a right ACL injury. If Thomas can make his way back onto the field, that would be a bonus regardless of whether he plays cornerback or safety. The Giants should and likely will take it slow with Thomas. Hill and Sash could fill the third safety spot.
Salary cap situation: Webster is entering the final year of his contract worth $7 million in base salary. Considering how the Giants have been slashing payroll to create cap space, Webster has been a name mentioned often as a potential cap casualty or as a candidate to restructure a new deal. The Giants, though, don’t have enough depth at corner at the moment and releasing Webster would leave an even bigger hole. The Giants, though, will need money to sign or draft more corners. Rolle isn’t expected to go anywhere, but he could be a potential candidate to restructure with $7 million in base salary coming this season. Phillips is a free agent and Brown will be a restricted free agent. The Giants are expected to tender Brown if a new deal is not agreed upon.
Tell us what you think of the Giants’ secondary going into 2013 and what you want to see happen in the offseason.