Here are the five biggest issues facing the Giants as they head into the offseason:
1. Who will be the head coach?
The process of answering that one begins on Monday when the Giants start asking other teams for permission to interview candidates.
Expect at least two coaches from playoff teams with a bye in the first round to meet with the Giants this week: Jim Schwartz of the Eagles and Josh McDaniels of the Patriots. Co-owner John Mara said he wants to hire someone who has experience as a head coach, and both of those candidates qualify. If the Texans fire Bill O’Brien, expect him to skyrocket to the top of the list.
Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo will get an interview, and other candidates could include Pat Shumer (Vikings), Steve Wilks (Panthers) and maybe even Matt Rhule (Baylor).
2. Who will be the quarterback?
New general manager Dave Gettleman said Friday that “as of now,” it’ll be Eli Manning. But we all know “as of now” is a long way from the start of the 2018 season.
“I think he can still play. I think he can still play at a high level,” Mara said of Manning, “but at the end of the day, that’s going to be a discussion among Dave, the new head coach and myself.”
While there is growing sentiment that Manning will be back, he might not want to be. Manning wants to play, and if the Giants use their first-round pick on a quarterback, he might not be willing to stick around and play the role of mentor.
3. What will the offensive line look like?
Gettleman loves his “hog mollies,” and he promised to rebuild the front line of protection. He’s already started that process with the dismissal of Bobby Hart and a warning shot at Ereck Flowers (Flowers insisted he was inactive because of a groin injury). Will free agents Justin Pugh and Wes ton Richburg be back?
The fastest way to build a line these days is through free agency, so expect the Giants to delve into that expensive market and bring in proven veterans rather than green rookies.
4. What happens with Odell Beckham Jr.?
The star receiver is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but after an ankle injury cost him most of this season, many believe he won’t report back without a long-term deal.
Gettleman said it “makes a lot of sense” to peg Beckham as part of the solution, but it also will cost a lot of dollars.
Beckham’s worth during negotiations theoretically should be lowered based on the uncertainty that he’ll return from the injury at 100 percent strength, but all he needs to do is point to what the Giants’ offense looked like without him.
5. What will the Giants do in the draft?
They are slated to select second in April, which is the highest they have been since 1981, when they took Lawrence Taylor.
Is there a franchise-altering pick who will be there for them this time? Will they feel compelled to select a quarterback in the hopes of replacing Manning, or will they trade back a bit to add more picks and address the myriad issues that face the team?
Gettleman said he’s not opposed to drafting a quarterback even if Manning remains on the team.
“I don’t care what position it is,” he said, “you cannot have too many great players at one position.”