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New York Giants Keep or Dump: Justin Tuck

January 17th, 2013 at 6:34 PM
By Paul Tierney

New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck was practically invisible in 2012. In fact, he was invisible for the vast majority of 2011 as well. In the final six games of 2011, Tuck had 5.5 sacks and 18 tackles. He was an instrumental aspect of the Giants 2011 Super Bowl victory, which is perhaps the only reason he's still going to be on the roster again next season.

'Justin Tuck: Calm Before the Storm.' photo (c) 2009, Heath Brandon - license:

In the the other 30 games the team has played during that time period, the eight year veteran out of Notre Dame has just seven sacks. Without a productive Justin Tuck, the Giants vaunted pass rush was non-existent and the team ranked in the bottom third of the league in nearly every major defensive statistical category in 2012. 

Obviously, Justin Tuck brings a lot more to the Giants defense than just rushing the passer. Tuck is the captain of the defense and provides veteran leadership to a team that has won two Lombardi Trophies in the last six seasons. Clearly, his level of play has dropped significantly. However, in an offseason that could see the team part ways with Ahmad Bradshaw, Kenny Phillips, Osi Umenyiora, and/or David Diehl, it gets to a point where it would no longer be prudent to further diminish the leadership of this roster.

General manager Jerry Reese already said he expects Tuck back next season. There's a chance that changes between now and the start of free agency, but it's unlikely the team changes their stance on that issue. Tuck still has one year and $4.5 million dollars remaining on his contract, which is a salary that he did not play up to last season. If he wasn't the captain of the defense and the proud owner of two Super Bowl rings, this probably wouldn't be a debate. The team would not pay a salary that large to a player who has shown serious signs of decline.

By cutting Tuck, the Giants could clear their entire $4.17 million dollar salary cap deficit and then some, while giving younger guys like Adrian Tracy and Adewale Ojomo opportunities to play. It's not likely that either of those players would transform the Giants pass rush back into the most feared units in the NFL. Then again, Justin Tuck has been unable to do that for the better part of the last two seasons.

With the likely departure of Osi Umenyiora, it makes sense to keep Tuck on the roster at least for depth. If the Giants can work the salary cap around his contract, then it would be prudent to allow Tuck to claim his entire salary in 2013. Tuck has had issues in the past few years with injuries and maintaining a sharp mental state. The last thing that would propel Tuck back into playing productive football would be making him take a pay cut.

That said, next season is a contract year for Tuck. His stature and reputation will more than likely earn him an extra year with the team, a year that many others who produced at his level last season would not receive. However, if he does not return to form in 2013, then next season could very well be Tuck's last hurrah as a member of the New York Giants.


Tags: Adewale Ojomo, Adrian Tracy, Ahmad Bradshaw, David Diehl, Football, Jerry Reese, Justin Tuck, Kenny Phillips, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Super Bowl

25 Responses to “New York Giants Keep or Dump: Justin Tuck”

  1.  kujo says:


    I’m not interested in being on this person or that person’s preseason list of “playoff locks.” The fact is that we are less than 365 days removed from being crowned the Best Team in the NFL. And rather than Burger King paper crowns, which are handed out by the media before and during the season, this crown actually matters because its real. Do we need a new infusion of talent? Yes. Are there areas on this team that are very much in need of retooling? Absolutely. But I’m not buying this idea that we are in some sort of rebuild. Poor execution in crunch time kept us out of the playoffs this year, not some magic disappearance of the high quality players that led us to our second Lombardi in 5 years.

    Draft some interior linemen on either side of the ball, add a young veteran CB, and have a heathy Nicks and we are more than capable of owning this division.

    I’m also not buying this “youth movement” nonsense. The best way to win a championship is to have an elite QB, a bevy of offensive weapons, a pass rush and a good secondary. The age of the players in the game doesn’t really matter, provided they are good enough and execute excellent game plans excellently. We have talent and a good combination of experience and youth within all of those areas. I think we need a longterm answer at RT, an interior run stuffer at DT, and a new starting MLB. I don’t see any reason why we should throw tried and true coaching methods to the wind so that players can learn on the fly and satiate our fan-based need to play with our new toys.

    If the young players can’t hack it in practice, there’s no reason they should be out on the field on Sunday. And you can’t show me an example where a player was giving A+ performances Monday-Saturday, only to sit on Sundays. Doesn’t happen, not with the sort of excellent coaching we have. They set the standards, and the players have to live up to them. You want to question those standards? I’ll direct you to our trophy stand and we can talk about them there.

  2.  kujo says:

    Tuck isn’t going anywhere, not this year anyway. But if I’m Coughlin, I take his captainship away and give it to someone who has earned it. And then I’d draft a pass rusher in the second round, someone with REAL impact potential, and pair him with a moderate free agent signing (Bennett’s brother?). Make Tuck fight from behind, and see if he responds. If he does, great. If not, he’s gone and his replacements are already on the team.

    •  Dirt says:

      Unfortunately, for all of the reasons you listed above, this would never happen (although I agree).

      Tom “They can kiss my ****, we won 10 games (and I don’t care if we missed the playoffs)” Coughlin believes in his system and the players who have earned his trust under that system. Can’t complain with the results, but hopefully he doesn’t ride his system over the cliff.

      •  kujo says:

        You’re probably right. I was just offering my opinion on what they SHOULD do. What they’ll do is draft a pass rusher and tell us that Tuck, Kiwi and JPP will “mold” them.

    •  rlhjr says:

      If you strip Tuck of being the captain, you may as well send him packing.
      You think he’s sulking now?

      The Giants are at a point now where their past draft sins and the players that they do not value early int the draft has got them by the ball sack.

      Hopefully the team can rebuild on the fly. But a rebuild is in order. Book it.
      Last years Superbowl and a dollar will not get you a cup of crap coffee.

      In other words, last year don’t mean $h|+. This ball club scares nobody if it cant rush the passer, stop the run and run the football. Last time I looked against the teams that count, the Giants stink at those things.

      The reason it will take two years is due to lack of impact players (Guys who can play and contribute from game 1 to 16) are not typically found in the second or third rounds. Not saying you cant ;Puck up and find one.
      But overall, with exception of running back and sometimes receivers, you will not find a blue chipper in round 2 or 3 at the Giants positions of need.

      For the overall good of the ball club, Tuck and I need to go. They may not, but they really need to wave bye bye. Same with Diehl maybe Webster and Canty. The Giants need to save cap money, get younger, stronger, faster and much healthier in order to contend for all the marbles.
      Needs to get done before Eli gets long in the tooth.

      •  rlhjr says:

        Tuck and Osi need to go. I would do better at LB than DE…….not.

        •  kujo says:

          Oh so we’re gonna get rid of 2 Pro Bowlers and replace them with Kiwi (0 Pro Bowls) and Ojomo (who?) and Tracy (huh?).

          You’re crazy, bro. You don’t get rid of 2/3 of the unit that led you to a Super Bowl less than a year ago. They need to get better, and we need to find real replacements, not practice squad players who looked good because they exceeded non-existent expectations.

      •  kujo says:

        Areas of need:

        Defensive end
        Offensive tackle (right side)
        Defensive tackle
        Offensive guard/center

        Did I miss any? I’d add corner, but not really since I think we have 2 excellent young corners and we should supplement them with quality veteran depth.

        Assuming I didn’t miss any, are you suggesting that we couldn’t find any “blue chippers” in the top 3 rounds? Snee, Linval, Canty, Tuck, Osi, Beatty, Baas…all 2nd and 3rd rounders currently on our team. I could find more on other teams, but I don’t need to–if you live a die by your 1st round pick, how is it that the Patriots–who trade out of the first round every single year–are able to maintain their team?

        Our needs aren’t dire, and they could be addressed with 1 great draft (possible) and 1 smart free agency period (more difficult given our cap situation, but doable). You are over exaggerating, brother.

      •  Dirt says:

        Past draft sins is a bit too harsh for a team whose draftees have helped win 2 championships. I’d actually be willing to bet there’s more rings on Giants players than any other team.

        •  kujo says:

          Oh Dirt. Don’t you know that Nicks, Beatty, JPP, Linval, Prince, Wilson and Randle are all “draft sins,” in the sense that they’re not “impact middle linebackers” and “16 game blue chip offensive linemen?”

          Really, the only busts I can think of are Sintim, Beckum and…that’s it really. Barden didn’t do much, but I don’t think he was a “bust.” Jernigan hasn’t done squat, but you can’t bust until you’ve played out your rookie contract. Ditto for Austin, who could turn out to be the biggest bust of them all.

  3.  Dirt says:

    In other news, here’s Giants G Chris Snee pondering his football future: “It started after the Super Bowl last …

    … year,” he told “That was when I physically felt shot. I said, ‘If I went through that again, I would be done.’ This year, it was just the hip. I got rolled up on. It was actually someone falling onto the back of my leg that did the damage. Other than that, I kept myself in great shape and, physically, I felt better than I have in two or three years.

    “That being said, I’m getting older and you can’t do the same things you could four or five years ago. If you’re looking for the same player I was when I was 26, you’re not going to find anyone who, I’m 31 tomorrow, can do what they could do when they were 26. Do I still think of myself as one of the top guards? Yes, I do.

    “Right now my mindset is year-to-year. That’s all you can focus on. I sat down with my wife after this year and decided if I wanted to do it again. It’s a grind. There’s a lot that goes into it mentally and physically, but I couldn’t see myself walking away just yet.”

    •  Dirt says:

      This concerns me: “physically, I felt better than I have in two or three years.”

      •  kujo says:

        But for the hip, which is the lynchpin for one of the more mobile offensive linemen, who is asked to pull and operate in a zone blocking scheme. He doesn’t have bad knees, or a bad back, or shoulder problems, all of which can be nagging multi-year injuries. He’s got a hip issue which should be cleaned up easily enough, allowing him to return to the pretty damn good 31 year old offensive guard he is. I’m not saying it’s not concerning, but I think all the gnashing of teeth about Snee around here is WAAAAYYY overblown.

    •  Krow says:

      To save bandwidth we should just mention the players who are not whining. $6,450,000 … Please, just say how much you love football and can’t wait till next year etc etc. Tough up !

  4.  fanfor55years says:


    They are not dumping Tuck. They are not taking his C away. They are hoping he will rev it up in a contract year when he wants another 3-4 years of earnings from football. Contract years have an amazingly restorative effect on health and desire.

    How ’bout an “Eli Manning: Keep or Dump?”? I hear we can get Michael Vick for $30MM guaranteed and then we can go to a pistol offense and tear it up all the way to the Super Bowl.

    •  kujo says:


      Silly season has come early. Understandable–I still don’t really wanna talk about this team. That’s how disappointed I am with their p-ssypants performance down the stretch.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Yeah, their performance this year was pretty damned sickening.

        I was ready to quit the site because I was so sick of discussing them. Hard to maintain the passion when they didn’t.

        •  kujo says:

          I hear ya man. I’m just glad the Rangers will be gracing my television screen this weekend. Now I can stop pretending to love basketball.

  5.  fanfor55years says:

    kujo, we most certainly DO need a corner. Hosley may be able to make up with his vertical jump a good part of his height but he’s the perfect slot corner thanks to his unbelievable recovery ability and closing speed. We need a bigger guy on the outside to pair with Prince.

    I do not think we need a pass-rusher in the early rounds for reasons I explained the other day: enough talent already on the roster and the change in offenses that make the pass rush less devastating than in past years. If the pocket passers are disappearing in the division then we’re far better off drafting project defensive ends late and trying to develop them.

    THE CRITICAL ISSUES are strengthening the defense up the middle, improving the offensive line, and getting a quality press cover corner. I don’t care how Reese does that but he MUST.

    I hope to change my mind but as I’ve said a number of times lately, I do not see this team getting deep into the playoffs until the 2014 season unless they just catch fire and play over the heads come the playoffs (assuming they make it there, which I am hopeful about but need to see the roster before I’ll become a believer).

    •  kujo says:

      I’m not saying we don’t need a corner, I just think we would be better served signing an established guy and drafting someone in the 4th round or so instead of adding another high-round rookie. This is assuming they restructure Webster and plan on his departure after this season.

      I agree with the rest of your post, with the caveat being that I’m all in on finding the second coming of Refrigerator Perry. It’s been a long time since we’ve been truly stout up the middle of our defense, and it’s time to correct that glaring weakness. We need a monster to free up our outside guys and give our smallish linebackers time and space to make plays. I’d also like a pass rusher, but I see the need for that interior presence as being greater and more immediate.

  6.  kujo says:

    Let me go on-record as saying that this pistol offense crap will go the way of the wild cat and the running-QB. It will last only as long as it takes the smart defensive coordinators to figure out how to stop it’s glaring weakness–you can’t subject your quarterback to the hits he will absolutely take. We’ve seen it time and time again–gimmicky offenses come and go, but the surest way to win consistently is to run he ball and stretch the field. I’m more concerned with stopping the likes of Murray and McCoy and Morris than I am about Vick or RG3.

    •  jb322 says:

      The option offense depends on, above all else, deception. Take that away and all you have is a great way to get your franchise quarterback hurt. Once defenses figure out that every time you even sniff an option you plaster the quarterback, it will be over. Look at the Deadskins, 3 number ones and a second for one thrilling season and a cloudy future. You think that was worth it? Ask Michael Vick how he feels about being a human pinball machine. Kapernick’s time will come as will Wilson’s. You can’t wear little or no protective gear( and yes quarterbacks wear less then others) and expect body parts to stay intact when hit by 300 pound behemoths. Quarterbacks are not built to take those beatings. All it takes in these option offenses is one good hit on the QB. Once that happens your whole game plan goes out the window. Yeah, its great to make the DE look like a fool for slanting down to go after the run but what if he doesn’t and he face plants your quarterback? How well do you think he’ll be able to throw after a few of those hits?

      •  shmitty013 says:

        Definitely agree Kapernick’s time will come, but not so much about Russell Wilson. He’s a much more traditional pocket passer. He just has the ability to run. But for the most part, Seattle runs a normal offense and only occasionally sprinkle in the zone-read.

        And overall, I too agree that the zone-read/pistol is nothing more than the new craze in the NFL that will die out as soon as it’s figured out. QBs can’t last in this league taking those shots they will inevitably receive running that offense.

  7.  vin2485 says:

    WE NEED TO DUMP IS SELF PETTY ****.. he should due us a favor and retire, he is no longer the play he once was.. 2011 he wasnt getting the sack or the hurry ups but he was a beast against the run. however in 2012 he sucked against the run, and rushing.. i seen this guy miss or completely give up on a tackle one to many time this year.. dam 4.5 mil he doesnt even deserve half that.. cut his **** and keep boley.. M.B problem was that he wasnt getting enough playing time. he is our best lb hands down the P.F wanted to try out newer guys..

    Kiwi will be just as productive if not more because he is still hungry and cost half.. JPP cant beat double team. so what can we due..

    1. if we keep tuck move him to DT where played his best football at
    2. draft a pure LB who can cover.. Olgtree and move Kiwi to DE.. that should sure up the rushing defense and we need to blitz alot more

  8.  LAFgoesON says:

    I see a reoccurring suggestion, that the Giants draft a new pass rusher. Typically the suggestion is followed by the mention of Kiwi and other projected free agents. However, is it me, or does everyone agree that Ojomo has tons of potential at being one of our next really good DE’s. He certainly looks like he needs some work, especially against the run. And I know the sample size is small, and usually against practice squad talent, but Ojomo really shined with the opportunities he had. I won’t buy that he’s not the real deal because he was inactive all season. If anything, I see him getting a shot in Osi’s absense and making some noise. I’m not saying he’s better than Kiwi, just that I like his potential. Now, if we drafted Sam Montgomery…Ojomo can continue to chill, lol.

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