As we approach the 2018 NFL Draft, speculation is at an all-time high, and the most important thing to consider is how realistic some of these scenarios are for the New York Giants.
General manager Dave Gettleman’s top priority will be solving the puzzle that’s the offensive line for the Giants, and providing Eli Manning with the protection and time to run his offense properly.
So, when considering a realistic point of view, here’s what the offensive line could look like in 2018:
Left Tackle: Nate Solder
The New England Patriots inked Solder to a two-year, $20 million deal in 2015. They guaranteed him all $20 million at signing and he accounted for $10 million (2016) and $11 million (2017) of their cap space respectively.
If the Giants want to sign Solder, they’re going to have to splash the cash, but for a player of his quality paying $11 million per-season might be a good deal. If Gettleman decided to sign Solder on a four-year, $45 million deal with $30 million guaranteed, it would certainly pay off in the long-run. As long as he’s guaranteed his money, especially at 29-years old, Solder might decide to take security over risk.
Money allocated to the line per-season: $11 million
Left Guard: Andrew Norwell
Rumors have bubbled to the service in regard to Gettleman wanting to make Andrew Norwell the highest paid guard in the history of the game. The stud lineman recorded First-Team All-Pro accolades in 2017, in addition to First-Team All-Pro honors from Pro Football Focus.
Norwell was the only guard (guards who played 500 snaps or more) to not commit a penalty throughout the entire season. He also didn’t allow a sack, which elevates his stock exponentially.
There’s no doubt that Norwell would improve the Giants’ offensive line, but the question is: How much will he cost?
We should expect to see Norwell make anywhere from $13-15 million per-season if Gettleman decides to pay top-dollar for that type of quality. With Eli Manning preparing to move on from New York in the next few seasons, his massive contract could fit, but it would be tight.
Money allocated to the line per-season: $25 million
Center: Brett Jones
With the Giants already investing $25 million in the offensive line in this scenario, it’s time to locate value. Brett Jones took over for Weston Richburg in 2017 at center, showcasing his abilities and proving to be more than capable at holding down the fort.
Jones would likely only cost the Giants a measly $2-3 million per-season, which is a great price for a player that will be receiving help from Norwell and another big-time guard.
Money allocated to the line per-season: $27 million
Right Guard: Quenton Nelson
To add even more stellar talent to the offensive line, the Giants should heavily consider drafting Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson (Learn More About Him Here!).
Nelson is a bull, standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 329-pounds. His immense power and agility is premier-level, offering potential that could even surpass that of Norwell’s.
If drafted, it would make the Giants’ line one of the best in the league on paper, and would certainly provide Manning with all of the time he could ever need to sling the football.
Money allocated to the line per-season: $30 million
Right Tackle: Ereck Flowers
Surrounding Ereck Flowers with talent might be the only way to drag his potential out from the depths of first-round busts. Finding a way to utilize the top-10 pick from the 2015 draft will be a tough task for Gettleman, but giving him the reigns to the right tackle position might be his best bet at salvaging anything.
Flowers has the build to be a tackle in the NFL, but forcing him to protect Manning’s blind-side is a whole different story. Placing him at right tackle would offer him a second-chance at life in the NFL, and would ultimately give him the opportunity to show what he’s really capable of. At the very least, the Giants can continue to develop Chad Wheeler and place him at right tackle.
Money allocated to the line per-season: $34.5 million
When considering the price for the offensive line, it’s less than two Eli Manning’s, which is a solid deal if you ask me. Paying less than $35 million for one of the best offensive lines in the league should be an enticing option for any fan.