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New York Giants Keep or Dump: David Diehl

January 24th, 2013 at 3:31 PM
By Paul Tierney

'David Diehl' photo (c) 2006, Alexa - license: The New York Giants fell incredibly short of their lofty expectations for their 2012 campaign. Although many pundits believed Big Blue had enough to repeat as Super Bowl champions, this team has been sitting at home for nearly a month watching the playoffs unfold. For many fans, the offensive line was a major reason behind the Giants failures. Namely, David Diehl took a lot of the blame upon his shoulders. However, the statistics say the Giants had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL in 2012.

The Giants gave up an average of 1.2 sacks per game last season, which was the best mark in the league. Eli Manning was sacked on just 3.58 percent of his drop backs, also good for best in the NFL. The rushing attack improved from last in the NFL in 2011 to 14th in 2012. Although this unit fails the proverbial eye test, the statistics say that Big Blue's offensive line improved drastically this season. However, that doesn't mean we won't see changes in 2013.

David Diehl is going to turn 33 years old next season. He's a former All-Pro and a two-time Super Bowl champion that has been a cornerstone on the Giants offensive line for the better part of the last decade. However, it became clear over the last several games of last season that Diehl is no longer a starting offensive tackle in the NFL. Given his drastic decline, it stands to reason that the Giants should cut him loose this offseason and fine a cheaper replacement. However, it does not appear that Diehl is going anywhere this offseason. 

Diehl is on the books for $7.45 million in 2013. At this point in his career, he would be able to sign for the veteran minimum on the open market, at best. If the Giants were to move on from him, most other teams would see that as a red flag. For the sake of the younger offensive linemen on the roster, it makes perfect sense to move on from Diehl. However, even if the Giants cut him, he would still count $3 million against the salary cap for next season. That's a lot of money to allocate to a person not on the roster.

Furthermore, there is no viable replacement that the team could start in lieu of Diehl next season. James Brewer has immense size, but still hasn't taken a meaningful snap in his entire career. It would be hard to ask him to go from zero playing time in 2012, to starting in 2013. If the Giants find a viable right tackle at the top of the NFL Draft, then it would still make sense to keep Diehl for depth. 

Diehl's versatility is what may ultimately keep him on the roster. Obviously, if he's not willing to take a sizable play cut off his $7.45 million salary this season, the team should cut him regardless. However, Diehl knows how to play four positions along the Giants offensive line. He's never played center in his career; but even if David Baas went down, the Giants could shift Kevin Boothe to center and Diehl to left guard. So,if anyone on the offensive line were to get injured, the Giants would be able to plug the whole with a knowledgeable veteran with vast experience in the system. That's a valuable asset to any team in the NFL.

David Diehl is a step or two slower than he was during his All-Pro days. He's older, more injury prone, and would be a disaster as a starting right tackle in 2013. However, given his salary cap hit and his ability to play four positions along the offensive line, it does not make a lot of sense to cut him loose. Diehl's experience and knowledge of the Giants offense is not something that can just be replaced, and it's likely going to allow him to play one more season in the NFL.


Tags: David Baas, David Diehl, Football, James Brewer, Kevin Boothe, New York, New York Giants, NFL

54 Responses to “New York Giants Keep or Dump: David Diehl”

  1.  Samardzija says:

    I have a feeling he will at least get dumped on in this thread by everyone, except maybe 55. Honestly barring a major, major reconstruction I wouldnt want him back.

    •  Paul Tierney says:

      So you are willing to have the team eat $3 million of dead money and cut a guy who can play four positions on the offensive line? I know he has his limitations, but he is a serviceable backup. I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

      •  Emperor Norton says:

        There’s no way around “eating” that $3 million. The money is gone. Out the door. Sunk cost. The question now is, are we willing to pay an ADDITIONAL $4.5 million to keep the guy around when he’s a turnstile at tackle and a liability at guard, or would we rather spend that $4.5 million on a mid-tier free-agent OT with a much higher ceiling.

        In case it’s not obvious, I’m in favor of the latter.

        •  Paul Tierney says:

          Obviously, we are not going to pay him the full $7.45 million. If we approach Diehl and say we are paying him $4 million next season, he will take it. He’s not going to get anyone else to pay him over a million dollars on the open market. If he somehow manages that, then good for him we can move on. But for a million extra dollars, he is worth keeping around for depth.

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    I think the question is more is he worth 1.5-2 mil as a quality backup? But I don’t think it’s that simple. I think if Diehl returns he will be given a chance to start. A guy that’s started for a decade is going to be given no chance to start over a 3rd year guy with no experience, a rookie or another JAG vet with no ties to team? I don’t think so. That just doesn’t sound TC like. I think either we cut him or he’s battling for a starting spot.

    I wonder if he would at all be considered a stop gap Boothe replacement a LG? I know many want him gone but considering he likely can be re-signed for fairly cheap I wouldn’t be so certain he’s gone yet.

  3.  GOAT56 says:

    I heard we have 9 2013 draft picks. How are those broken down by round? Does that include comp picks as well?

    •  G-MenFan says:

      We didn’t make any trades, so I can’t imagine having 9 picks unless they include compensatory picks. I would imagine one for Jacobs. I don’t think the league announced the results of their “secret comp pick formula” yet, so we can’t know what round they’re in. Aside from Jacobs, who else did we lose in free agency last year? Does Goff count?

  4.  Paul Tierney says:

    I also think Diehl will be more than willing to restructure. He’s not going to get anything more than vet minimum from any other team. So if we offer him $4 million and say take it or leave it, it’s in his best financial interests to accept that offer. At that point, it would cost a million dollars extra for a backup that can do a serviceable job playing four positions on the offensive line.

    •  Paul Tierney says:

      This is obviously granted we find someone else to replace him at RT. If we don’t, then that’s bad news for next season.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I don’t think that’s true. Lockear a backup the previous year still got a little over the vet minimum from us last year. I think Diehl is worth more like 2 mil on the open market because of his versatility.

      •  Paul Tierney says:

        I don’t think Diehl could move to another offensive scheme and still be able to play four positions. He had enough trouble moving from LT to RT for us this season, so I don’t see how he could switch teams and still be able to play four positions. He would probably only be able to play RT for another team.

        •  jb322 says:

          My prediction is that we extend him at the veteran minimum for a year to spread his cap hit over 2 years, or we cut him after June 1st. Either way his cap hit for next year will be less than $3 mil. I think overall he would be a very valuable backup for the Giants. But I don’t think he can play every week anymore.

          All in all, David Diehl has been one of my favorite Giants. He has always done what has been asked of him even if it was not to his advantage. I think he bleeds Giant blue and will do anything they ask, to include being a backup if need be.

  5.  TroyThorne says:

    Well, people are probably sick and tired of hearing my opinion on Diehl but the dude has been pretty damn awful since switching to LT imo. He’s always near the top for sacks allowed and hasn’t provided much in the run game since 08-09. People keep acting like he suddenly got worse when this has been pretty much par for the course for him over the past several years. “He only struggles vs elite pass rushers”, “he’s playing out of position”, “we won two SBs with him”, no, he’s just not that good. Appreciate what he’s done over the years but I’m just being honest.

    Though the idea of him getting anywhere near the starting lineup absolutely horrifies me, if his cap hit is anything substantial we might be better off just stowing him away on the bench. I don’t know the specifics of it all though, I’m oblivious when it comes to the cap.

  6.  G-MenFan says:

    This is one of those guys that you hate to say “good bye” to because of all the great years and the two Lombardis.

    But the bottom line is, this team has to change for the better. If we keep bringing back the same people “on the cheap”, we’re going to get the same results.

    It’s time for DD to retire.

    •  Paul Tierney says:

      He’s not going to retire and forfeit millions of dollars in salary. If he does, he is outside of his mind.

      •  G-MenFan says:

        He’s not going to get millions in salary if he’s cut. Nobody will pay him that. The guy is finished. I can see him playing on the cheap at the right guard, but that’s it. He cannot match up against the athletic beasts that rush the passer anymore.

        •  Paul Tierney says:

          He would not receive any guaranteed money. He restructured before the start of last season and had $3 million of his 2012 salary converted into a signing bonus which was spread out over the life of his contract. So that means the Giants owe him at least $1.5 million guaranteed next season. I don’t think he’s walking away from that.

          •  G-MenFan says:

            No, he won’t walk away from it. The Giants will cut him and pay him the $1.5.

            Look, Paul, I love the guy. But we’re not talking about a baby shower here. I don’t think he’s “getting invited” to be on the team next year. There’s an excellent chance that I’m wrong because I’m a boneheaded fan with a college degree that screams at an inert television set on Sundays, so technically, I’m insane anyway.

            •  Paul Tierney says:

              He offers too much as a backup to just pay him that kind of money to sit at home. If they are going to pay him anyway, might as well keep him around in case he’s needed.

              •  G-MenFan says:

                Thinking about Eli Manning’s health, I’ll consider it “cheap insurance” to pay him “that kind of money to sit at home.” The only thing Diehl has to offer is to keep Mosley on the PS and delay the inevitable.

  7.  GOAT56 says:

    Here’s another good comp for Beatty, our former LT Mr Diehl:

    5/6/2008: Signed a six-year, $31 million contract. The deal includes annual escalators of between $750,000 and $1.1 million depending on Diehl playing offensive tackle as opposed to guard.

    •  Emperor Norton says:

      If we get him for 6 years, $31 million, I will personally perform the Truffle Shuffle in solidarity with our enormous LOT. I think he’ll go for significantly more than that if we let him hit free-agency, and I think his agent knows that too. He’s a good-showing-flashes-of-great left tackle–probably top-12 in the league. That’s going to command something in 8-9 million/year range.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        I only meant that he will get much more than Diehl’s deal. It’s almost 5 years later so the equivalent deal of the same level player would likely be at least 5 mil more. And Beatty is better than Diehl was at that time with some upside to get better.

  8.  GOAT56 says:

    John Mara thinks Giants championship window is pretty wide

    Windows came up a lot with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones last offseason and now another NFC East owner is talking about them.

    Giants owner John Mara said that he hasn’t “quite gotten over” the team’s failure to make the playoffs a year after winning the Super Bowl, but he doesn’t believe that this year’s disappointing result means there need to be drastic changes to the roster. Mara thinks that the team has a chance to win the title every year that they have Eli Manning at quarterback.

    “He’s (32) years old; he’s got a lot of years left,” Mara said, via the Newark Star-Ledger. “I think our window is still pretty wide. I think as long as he’s under center, we have a chance to win.”

    It’s the most important spot to fill on an NFL roster and the Giants have it filled with a guy who has won two championships already. And on an “any given Sunday” basis, the Giants have proven themselves capable of beating just about anyone. The goal for 2013 should be to replace the roller coaster rides to 9-7 with consistent efforts that enable them to sew up their playoff future well before the final weekend of the season.

  9.  Barbarossa says:

    The biggest problem with Diehl is that as long as he is on the 53-man roster TC will try and find a way to insert him into the starting lineup. We saw it last year and it will continue. Every coach has strengths and weaknesses and one of TC’s is his over-reliance on over the hill veterans and his aversion to giving young players a fair shot at a starting position. This is exactly why you have a head coach AND a general manager. If I’m Reese I get rid of Diehl because I know if I leave him on the roster I risk watching him do his best matador impression all season and potentially injure my quarterback. I know there is dead money if we cut Diehl but as several people have already mentioned, it is a sunk cost. At this point keeping him is too dangerous.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I agree with the premise that if Diehl is on the roster he has a decent chance of starting. However, I think it’s hard for a young kid to beat out a vet because of their experience. Sometimes young kids just need to be gievn the shot to start much like Beatty 2 years ago. He never beat out Diehl, the coaches just gave him the job.

      •  Barbarossa says:

        Exactly, young players are going to make mistakes but because of the salary cap you need to get production from young players or you are going to end up having money issues. I know it is hard for conservative coaches to take risks like that but the league is changing and at a certain point you have to let go of aging security blankets like Diehl and hope that you were correct about the players you drafted and that one of them is going to step up to fill the void. It’s hard but if you don’t take those risks you end up with a roster full of old mediocre over-paid players.

  10.  kujo says:

    I, along with TroyThorne, have been one of Diehl’s biggest detractors for the last 3-5 years. I never thought he was all that good, never bought into the whole “he’s a guard playing tackle” schtick, and never felt he’d be much better if we switched him over to the right side. Statistics, and my eyes, prove that I was correct. He’s a bottom of the barrel player now, and he was only slightly better than that in his prime.

    Now, that being said, we need to keep him around as insurance against Beatty leaving, and our “projects”–Brewer and Mosley–turning up as duds. I don’t care if we draft an OT in the 1st round–you can’t put a price on the knowledge that Diehl would be at least somewhat passable in a disaster type situation. I’d love it if we could cut him and not take a cap hit, but knowing that we’re on the hook for $3 million no matter what means that we ought to at least benefit from spending that cash. If he is willing to restructure–and he should be, knowing that he can either have $3 million and be unemployed or $4-5 million and work for another year–then you keep him.

    •  kujo says:

      I’ll add what I said a few weeks ago when this topic came up: if Diehl is retained, Reese ought to make it clear to Coughlin that he is NOT the starter, but rather a veteran who will fill in if Brewer (4th round 2011) and Mosley (4th round 2012) are flat out unable to handle the right side of the line. And if it’s close, the job goes to the youths, NOT the too-slow, too-weak, not-good-enough David Diehl.

      •  Barbarossa says:

        It’s easy to say that but the problem is that evaluating players is totally subjective (isn’t 50% of the intercourse on this blog devoted to arguments about various players skill level). Even if Reese makes Coughlin promise what you suggest Coughlin could honestly believe that Diehl is outplaying the competition even if others disagree. That is why I think it’s necessary to take away even the OPTION to start Diehl. It’s certainly a risk but a justified one in my opinion.

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