The New York Giants, like any team in the NFL, value certain positions more than others. Every general manager will tell you that quarterback is the most essential aspect of any roster capable of contending for a Super Bowl. Defensive linemen, young draft picks and even wide receivers are all high on the list as well. However, one position that the team has never spent money on during the Jerry Reese are has been tight end.
With Martellus Bennett hitting the free-agent market in 2013, the Giants are either going to change their philosophy, or watch the most talented, promising tight end prospect the team has seen in years walk away. If the team does let Bennett walk, former Miami Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano could be a good fit as a replacement.
Currently, the Giants have two tight ends on the roster in Bear Pascoe and Adrien Robinson. Pascoe is a veteran that has below average route running and catching ability, while being a reliable blocker as a second tight end. He's nothing more than a backup and does not act as a threat in the passing game. Robinson is a wildcard prospect who took the proverbial "redshirt" year in 2012 to learn the offense and develop his skills. He could break out and emerge as a starting caliber tight end in 2013, but he's not a guy the team can hang their hopes on from the inception of training camp.
If Bennett walks, the Giants will need to add another tight end capable of catching the ball down the field. If the team uses their first or second round draft pick to satisfy that need, then it may not make sense to spend anything above the veteran minimum for a free-agent acquisition. However, assuming past history holds true, the Giants are not selecting Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz with their first selection in the 2013 draft.
Fasano could be a cheap, veteran option that the team could bring in as a stop-gap player to act as a receiving tight end for a year before the Giants either hand the reigns over to Robinson, or search the free-agent market again in 2014 for a viable long term option.
Fasano will be 29 next season and has caught at least 30 passes in every season since 2008. Last season, he was targeted by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill 59 times. Fasano is slightly undersized at 6'4" and 255 pounds, but he's a reliable blocker and has sure hands over the middle of the field. He has limitations in terms of speed and athleticism, but at the right price, there is no reason Fasano would not compare favorably to either Kevin Boss or Jake Ballard, both of whom saw a large measure of success catching passes from Eli Manning.
The Giants do not have a lot of salary cap room to work with this offseason. If David Diehl and Corey Webster take significant pay cuts, the team may have the ability to pay Bennett a salary commensurate with his market value. However, with Victor Cruz, Kenny Phillips and Kevin Boothe still unsigned, Bennett may not make sense for the Giants in 2013. Anthony Fasano would be a reliable replacement with the ability to produce significantly in the passing game. He won't block at the same level we saw from Bennett, but for the modest salary he will bring in on the free-agent market, Fasano presents good value for the Giants.
Also…Adrien Robinson, Bear Pascoe, Football, Jerry Reese, Miami Dolphins, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Super Bowl, wide receiver