The New York Giants are just a day away from engaging in the free-agent frenzy that will undoubtedly unfold tomorrow afternoon and into the next few weeks. However, as the team prepares to address players that are not currently under contract, there are still players on the roster with untenable contract situations that must be solved before Big Blue can have a grasp on just how much salary cap room they will have to operate with next season. One of those players is David Diehl, who at his current salary, will cost the Giants $7.45 million against the salary cap.
As we've said before at Giants 101, Diehl is a two time All-Pro that has been a major contributor to two Super Bowl championship squads. His play over the last two seasons has been in consistent decline, and there is no reason to think he will get any better next season. However, Diehl is and always will be a prominent member of the Giants organization. Whether he's on the team or not this season, Diehl deserves the unwavering respect of every Giants fan.
On the other hand, the NFL, first and foremost, is a business. Giants owner John Mara knows this as well as anyone, which is why he refrained from giving any definitive indications regarding Diehl's status for 2013. Mara generically stated he is "hopeful" that Diehl is on the roster next season, which should be the viewpoint as every other Giants fan out there as well.
Diehl is not a starting caliber offensive linemen in the NFL anymore. He used to be one of the best out there, but those days are long behind him. Last season, it was clear that Diehl had trouble keeping up with speed rushers for the majority of the season. That said, Diehl still presents value for the Giants that no other player in the NFL can offer.
Diehl can play four positions along the offensive line (all except center). There are very few players in the NFL with the versatility to play four positions at all, let alone with any quantifiable level of effectiveness. Diehl has proven that ability over the years and there is no reason the Giants should not be able to cut his salary in half and keep him as depth.
If Diehl can accept a backup role, and head coach Tom Coughlin can keep him in that role, Diehl is a reliable backup option should the team suffer an injury along the offensive line during the season. As under-whelming as he performed in a starters role in 2012, David Diehl can still help the Giants win football games next season. It will not be in the way he is used to contributing throughout his career, but he still fills a valuable need on the roster. Assuming he takes a pay cut, David Diehl still deserves to wear Blue in 2013.
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