MINNEAPOLIS -- The meaningful part of the New York Giants' 2015 season ended Saturday night, while some of them watched (and some likely didn't) on TV from their hotel rooms here as Washington beat Philadelphia for the NFC East title. For the fourth year in a row and the sixth in the last seven, the Giants will not participate in the NFL playoffs. Their game Sunday night against the Vikings is meaningless for them, as is their Week 17 home finale against the Eagles, who also are out.
So what's left to care about? Here are a few things:
The future of Tom Coughlin. Will the Giants change head coaches? Coughlin doesn't want to leave, is a big part of the franchise's history and really doesn't deserve blame for the current state of the roster. But they fired the offensive coordinator two years ago and the defensive coordinator last year, which means ownership is running out of people to blame. Based on the conversations I've had with people who'd know, I don't think the decision on whether to bring back Coughlin has been made yet, and it still could go either way. If they do move on from their two-time Super Bowl-winning coach, it'll be fascinating to see which direction they choose to go, especially since it could mean a second change of offenses for Eli Manning in three years. If they don't, it'll be interesting to see how they continue to sell the status quo to their fan base. I think it's pretty clear that the Giants are in the midst of a roster rebuild. But with Manning in the latter part of his prime and playing as well as he ever has, it would be easy to understand impatience.
Whither Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara? Do the Giants re-sign either or both of their 2010 and 2011 first-round picks? Pierre-Paul's played hard since his return, but his deficiencies with his damaged hand are obvious, and if he wants to cash in and get as big a deal as possible, it's likely going to have to be elsewhere. Amukamara has struggled in recent weeks and the cornerback market went through the roof last spring. Do they want to sign him for more than they're paying Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie?
What else do they need? The Giants will go into the offseason with a ton of cap space -- likely something in the $50 million neighborhood once they're done cutting and restructuring veterans. They need a free safety, a middle linebacker, at least one pass-rusher, probably a wide receiver, an offensive tackle and maybe a running back and tight end. That's a lengthy offseason shopping list, and while the order I gave you likely approximates the order of priority, it depends on what's available in free agency and the draft. Much more to do to make this roster a contender again, no matter who's coaching it.
Where does the Odell Beckham Jr. story go next? Do you change coaches on this kid right now? Does he come back somehow different in Week 17? Does anyone actually want that? The absence of Beckham from Sunday night's game while he serves a one-game suspension for his actions in the loss to Carolina will be glaring. But as we discussed earlier in the week, Beckham's ability to continue to be the brilliant player he's been so far in his young career could depend on the extent to which he can control himself on the field when confronted and provoked as he was Sunday. It's doubtful the Beckham question can be answered in what remains of this season, but it's a question that will linger into the offseason and be tied into whatever decision they make about the coaching staff.