When the 2011 NFL Draft came and went, fans of the New York Giants were stunned that their favorite team waited until the 4th round to add an offensive linemen.
In 2010, the woes of the offensive line for New York were well documented. Between the positions of center and left tackle, seven different players started games. Rich Seubert, Shaun O’Hara, and Shawn Andrews suffered serious injuries that will make their status for 2011 something of a mystery.
With the free agency period approaching us at any moment now, Jerry Reese has a lot to consider.
First and foremost, the Giants would be $11 million over the projected $120 million salary cap. That being said, a number of players with big contracts may find themselves elsewhere or in need of restructuring in order to make room for young draft picks and prospective free agents.
Though Jerry Reese has been spending heavily in free agency the last two seasons, he should get back to looking for bargains in 2011.
The offensive line market seems to have quite a few of the aforementioned bargains.
One player worth looking at is Jermon Bushrod of the New Orleans Saints. In 2009 Bushrod had a lights out season protecting Drew Brees en route to a world title. He struggled in his second season starting, and was flagged for 6 false starts.
There will not be a huge market for a player like Bushrod, and he can provide depth and possibly even starting ability to the left tackle spot. The Saints will have their sights set on bringing back Carl Nicks above all else this offseason, considering he is one of the top offensive linemen in all of the NFL.
Though Bushrod is not a shut- down left tackle, he would be an upgrade in pass protection over David Diehll at this point in his career. One thing the Giants may want to consider is filling left tackle so that Deihl has the ability to go to left guard or right tackle in the event that someone is injured.
Another possible option for the Giants is Indianapolis Colts tackle Charlie Johnson. Johnson has played both left guard and left tackle in his career, and started every game but one this past season. The Colts have had incredible coaches along their offensive line including Howard Mudd over the course of the last 6 seasons, and Johnson is a flexible, well coached, durable asset that would be a great fit for Pat Flaherty and the offensive scheme in New York.
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