Big Blue’s new coaching staff is taking shape with Pat Shurmur leading the way.
The New York Giants new head coach has already named James Bettcher the team’s new defensive coordinator, and Thomas McGaughey is expected to take over the special teams coordinator position.
The Giants have plenty of issues to fix on their roster after a 3-13 season. Offense, defense, and special teams all struggled, leaving newly appointed general manager Dave Gettleman plenty of questions to answer.
New York’s top priority this offseason is rebuilding the offensive line, but the G-Men will still need to address both their defense and special teams.
The Giants posted the NFL’s 31st ranked defense in terms of yards allowed in 2017, but it’s not as though New York is lacking talent on the defensive side of the ball.
Big Blue ranked in the top 10 in terms of yards and points allowed in 2016, and the team had 10-of-11 starters return this past season. Injuries and a lack of effort at times clearly played a factor in the team’s defensive woes, but poor linebacker play was also a big part of their defensive struggles.
New York has six impending free agents at the linebacker position, according to Spotrac. Gettleman may look to retain Devon Kennard or Jonathan Casillas, but also might rely on Bettcher to help make decisions at the linebacker position.
The Giants new defensive coordinator got his first job in the NFL coaching outside linebackers in Indianapolis. He has earned the respect of All-Pros and Pro Bowlers both with the Colts and Cardinals.
More from GMEN HQ
Should Big Blue Target Kevin Minter?
Bettcher has a track record of getting the most out of his players. Minter is one of many examples.
The Cardinals 2013 second-round pick earned the starting inside linebacker role in Bettcher’s first season as Arizona’s defensive coordinator. Minter started all 16 games in back-to-back seasons and recorded 175 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, four sacks, and one forced fumble during that span.
Pro Football Focus listed him as the fifth best free agent linebacker last offseason.
The Cincinnati Bengals signed the 6-foot, 246 pound linebacker to a one-year deal, but Minter would only start seven games. He missed four games due to an elbow injury and was placed on injured reserve in December with a hamstring injury.
The Giants have little cap space to work with in free agency this offseason, and Gettleman seems highly unlikely to spend big money on the linebacker position.
But that doesn’t mean New York shouldn’t entertain the idea of bringing Minter in on a one-year deal.
There are plenty of talented free agent linebackers on the market this offseason. The Giants will first have to take care of their offensive line before spending money on the linebacker position.
NaVorro Bowman, Demario Davis, and Zach Brown are some other notable free agent inside linebackers. Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby is also set to test free agency this offseason. But at 36-years-old, New York seems unlikely to go after the 14-year veteran.
Minter could potentially provide a cheap option with upside potential, but New York will have to let the market determine his value. For Minter, joining Bettcher in New York on a one-year deal could also be in his best interest.
The 27-year-old linebacker is unlikely to get top linebacker money after a disappointing injury-riddled season.
A one-year, prove-it deal with Big Blue could allow him the opportunity to showcase his skills in Bettcher’s defense while also raising his value for free agency in 2019.