If the New York Giants are serious about making one more run with Eli Manning under center, this is their shot. With various media outlets reporting that the Detroit Lions will not place a $27 million franchise tag on Ndamukong Suh by today’s deadline, the Giants should move heaven and earth to land the star defensive tackle.
Few players possess the ability to improve multiple teammates in the way that Suh would. He would immediately aid Jason Pierre-Paul and simultaneously take pressure off of a talented, but aging, secondary. Paired with Suh on the Giants’ defensive line, it would surprise no one to see Pierre-Paul return to his days of Justin-Tuck-aided production.
Sep 8, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) rushes the offensive line during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The benefits to Johnathan Hankins and Jay Bromley could be immeasurable, as well. Hankins, already a terrific young all-around player, should take his game to an elite level. He will be facing single coverage from inferior talent. Jay Bromley would be freed to do what he did best at Syracuse– pursuing the Quarterback.
You will hear that the Giants’ hands are tied with limited cap flexibility. You will hear that recent free agent splashes have failed to demonstrate positive returns on their investment. And you will hear that there are “better fits” with other teams out there.
At 28-years-of-age Suh is still a dominant force in his prime, head and shoulders above the caliber of any recent Giants free-agent signing. There is no comparison to past free agent splashes that included such additions as Dallas Reynolds, Geoff Schwartz, Robert Ayers, or even Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Suh is healthy, low-risk, and has indicated that he wants to play in New York.
The Giants have begun to actively free cap space. After releasing Mathias Kiwanuka, the organization moved $25 million under the cap and has had internal discussions about restructuring one or two big contracts, including that of Eli Manning. While this mortgage-the-future strategy is itself debatable, it is unquestionably one that focuses on urgency and should not be pursued halfheartedly.
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Restructuring Eli’s contract alone, will not free enough space to add the requisite talent for a Super Bowl run. All options must be explored on the prohibitive contracts of such players as Jon Beason, Will Beatty, Antrel Rolle, Geoff Schwartz, and, perhaps, even Victor Cruz.
The Giants Professor says: As Eli Manning moves away from his prime, the window for another championship run is closing quickly. The Giants are aware of this and have opted for a win-now approach rather than beginning to rebuild. That is a fine strategy, but only if Jerry Reese and ownership are willing to aggressively commit to the strategy. If they are, no move would show more commitment to the famed Tom Coughlin “all-in” mantra, than bagging a hall of fame caliber game-changer like Ndamukong Suh.