The Giants lost one of their defensive mainstays today when captain Justin Tuck signed with the Oakland Raiders for 2 years and $11 million. Tuck ranks 6th on the Giants’ all-time list with 60 1/2 sacks and played big roles on two Super Bowl teams during his time in blue.
There’s no doubt that this one hurts. Even Tuck himself said that he “absolutely did not see it coming” that he would leave the only team he’s known in his 9-year pro career. But despite a very productive 2013, Tuck’s performance had dropped off in recent years and it’s obvious that the Giants did not make it a priority to keep him in New York.
Tuck’s absence means the Giants have now lost two starting defensive lineman from a year ago, adding to the loss of Linval Joseph, who signed with the Vikings. Luckily, defensive line has been a position of strength for years. As of now, the Giants’ starting defensive line projects to be Jason Pierre-Paul, Cullen Jenkins, Johnathan Hankins, and either Mathias Kiwanuka or Damontre Moore. Moore and Hankins both showed flashes of solid play in limited playing time in 2013, and the Giants’ front office likely figured that losing the pricier veterans could be a blessing in disguise if it meant opening up some playing time for those two.
That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team looks to bring in some competition on the D-line either through free agency or the draft, because it certainly has a lot of question marks right now.