A 3-step plan for the New York Giants to fix their offensive line

New York Giants, Daniel Jones
Dec 27, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) directs the offense in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re a New York Giants fan, you’ve likely experienced pain, depression, and even a bit of resentment this season. Whether it be the inexcusable timeout usage from Joe Judge or Nate Solder doing his best turnstile impression, the team is soon to be renamed “The Big Apple Circus.” I want to say that’s a dramatic response, but the fact Dave Gettleman remains the Giants’ general manager after four consecutive losing seasons speaks to the inept of ownership and their desire for nepotism than building a functioning team.

However, they do have talented players, even if they spend more time riding injured reserve than their qualities to victory. Judge continues to justify the retention of his job by claiming he’s building a culture, which by all accounts, seems to be a losing one. Maybe the players haven’t given up, but the fans see through the BS and know his words amount to four wins and multiple blow-out losses.

“I’m very happy with the support the ownership gives,” Judge said regarding his job security.

Judge clearly has a concept of what “do this the right way” looks like, but other teams have expedited a rebuild in far less time, focusing in on essential player groups. Maybe Gettleman convinced Judge that the offensive line he built for the offense would hold up, but at this point, Joe is the one taking the brunt of the blame for his ineptitude.

“I’ve said this from the beginning, I’m not interested in coming and having some kind of quick flash, I’m not interested in shortcuts, I’m not interested in quick fixes. I want to do this the right way and when I took this job, I made it very, very clear that I was only going to do this if we were all committed to doing this the right way and that’s been something that’s been very clear from ownership on down,” Judge said.

Yes, injuries have had an impact, but the team’s foundation is flawed. Overspending on interior defenders and a lack of resource allocation toward the offensive line stand out like a sore thumb. To be fair, the team did unload a massive deal for Nate Solder, spend the 4th overall pick in 2020 on a left tackle, and a bevy of mid-round selections on interior linemen. It wasn’t enough, not even close for a general manager that spent the first two years making empty promises to a fan base that was craving success. Most bought into the coach-speak, but it wasn’t until this season where everything hit the fan.

Nonetheless, the first step in correcting Gettleman’s mess is fixing the OL, which is entirely possible this upcoming offseason.

Three-step plan for the New York Giants to solve OL problems:

Step 1: Draft an offensive tackle top-10

For the 2nd time in three years, the Giants will have to spend a top-10 pick on an offensive tackle. Otherwise, any quarterback worth a damn will be under duress. Andrew Thomas seems to be blossoming into an elite left tackle, but they need a complement on the right side, whether that by Evan Neal out of Alabama or Ikem Ekwonu from NC State.

That’s the first necessary step in putting the OL in the right direction. The Giants will be paying $4 million in a void year to rid themselves of Nate Solder, and to be quite honest, I’d be willing to spend more to catapult him via trebuchet into the stratosphere. Finding a young replacement with elite potential is the perfect start to this 3-step plan.

Step 2: Trade back with 2nd top-10 pick and take best interior guard available

The Giants need to asset-up for a run at Bryce Young in the 2023 NFL Draft, so trading back is a step in the right direction. Similar to their plan this past year, a team will see a QB like Kenny Pickett dropping and decide to take a chance. The Giants are in a perfect position to potentially trade back twice in the 1st round and cash in big time.

If they can settle in the 13-17 range, there are plenty of solid interior linemen to take a chance on. If a top edge rusher isn’t on the board at that point, stick to solving the trenches in the 1st round and take a high-upside defender in the 2nd round. Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum may be available in the 10-15 range given the fact he’s a traditional center, and most players at that position don’t go top-10. Another player to keep an eye on is Kenyon Green out of Texas A&M, who’s being mocked in the 15-20 range.

Step 3: Clear cap space to sign Andrew Norwell at guard

The Giants initially missed out on Andrew Norwell back in 2018, who signed a five-year, $66.5 million deal with Jacksonville. He never lived up to the monster contract, but he’s a solid option on the market who will likely come at a discount given his age (30). He’s been a consistently great pass-blocker throughout his career, and the No. 1 priority for the Giants is protecting their quarterback.

There will be other targets on the market, and the Giants can clear upward of $40 million by cutting several players. The dead money will hurt, but at the end of the day, they will need to sacrifice to put their offense in a position to grow.

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