It was too short to be sure, but it was a helluva ride while it lasted. Looking forward, there were several good signs that emerged from this season, but the bitter defeat at the hands of the 49ers also pointed out there are still areas in need of improvement. What we will do here is look at each position and give you an overview of the current condition of that position as we see it as well as a list of the Giants potential UFAs and RFAs.
We will supply an A-List and a B-List of potential UFAs from other teams. The A-List players are those who are the high-priced, big-name free agents and the B-List will be the moderately priced free agents. B-List players are those who cost less, but are hungry and looking to take the next step up. We will list some players at each position who look like they could be first-day draft picks; in other words, we expect them to be taken in rounds one through three.
The Possible Departures category is just that. These are the players who may not be back with the Giants next season. Finally we will give our off-season plan for each position.
Before we begin, here are a few points regarding free agency to keep in mind. The Patriots built a Super Bowl winning team two years ago by signing mostly B-List free agents.
The most important thing the Giants, or any team for that matter, can do in free agency is to avoid paying A or A+ salaries to Grade B players. Nothing will get a team in cap trouble faster than that.
Current Condition: Kerry Collins finished the season in brilliant fashion. When given time to set and plant his feet, he is among the best there is. He sees the field well and is generally on target. What is needed and expected from him is a continuation of this season. Two years ago he was very good, but last year he was erratic and turnover prone. He can’t continue to follow a good year with a down year. Frankly, we don’t expect that to happen, but he needs to be consistent. Because Collins has been so durable, we haven’t seen much of Jesse Palmer. When he has played in pre-season he has looked like he can be good enough to continue as Collins’ backup. Although he hasn’t gotten much playing time, he has at least become familiar with the system and he should not embarrass them if he were called upon to play for a stretch of games. Jason Garrett will be 37 soon, but he remains an asset because he has a coach’s mentality.
NYG UFAs: Jason Garrett
NYG RFAs: None
A-List Free Agents: Jake Plummer, Arizona; Trent Green, Kansas City (prohibitive roster bonus $8 million due end of Feb, may become UFA)
B-List Free Agents: Koy Detmer, Philadelphia; Jake Delhomme, New Orleans
First Day Draft: Carson Palmer, USC; Byron Leftwich, Marshall; Rex Grossman, Florida; Dave Ragone, Louisville; Chris Simms, Texas; Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
Possible Departures: Jason Garrett
The Plan: They are in good hands with Collins and Palmer. Since Sean Payton will not return as offensive coordinator, this could possibly open a spot on the staff for Jason Garrett as QB coach should he decide to retire. Adding a young QB through the Draft (second day) to groom and challenge Palmer would be a good idea.