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5 questions facing the Giants entering the NFL offseason

Head coach Joe Judge and Daniel Jones #8

Head coach Joe Judge and Daniel Jones #8 of the Giants celebrate after defeating the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

How will they fix their offense?

Joe Judge has made it clear Daniel Jones is his quarterback. Now they have to continue to build around him and give him the kind of weaponry to compete in an NFL that set a record for most scoring, though the Giants finished next-to-last with just 17.5 points per game. Will they draft or sign a No. 1 receiver? Will they overhaul the system (with or without offensive coordinator Jason Garrett in charge)? Judge thinks he has his tentpole, but he needs more canvas.

What will Saquon Barkley look like in 2021?

One way to help Jones and the offense will almost certainly be having Saquon Barkley back on the field. He was with them for just 1 1/2 games in 2020 before he tore his ACL in Week 2. But even Barkley, who has been as close to a definitive element for the Giants throughout his career, is now surrounded by question marks. Can he be the player he was before his knee surgery? Will he set foot on the field without a long-term extension? There is even some legitimate chin-scratching as to whether or not he is the complete player the Giants want and need from the position. The coming months will go a long way in determining the wisdom of the Giants’ selection of him with the second overall pick just three years ago.

Can they keep both Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams?

Part two of that question: If they cannot, which is the likelihood, which one do they prioritize? Both have said they want to stay, both have played valuable roles on the defensive line, and both have been heavily invested in by the team. It’s a conundrum for the current NFL landscape that a team can bring a bunch of players together and feel like they have made them fit so neatly as Tomlinson, Williams and Dexter Lawrence seem to have done, yet be forced to disband that group because of salary-cap implications just as they may be bearing fruit.

How will this offseason play out in terms of COVID-19?

That’s the biggest question for not only the Giants but the entire league. When the teams get back together in April for their offseason meetings and workouts, will they still be doing so on a virtual basis? Will there be on-field OTAs and minicamps? Will players be able to visit teams in free agency and before the draft? It’s certainly more important to the world as a whole than to the NFL that the pandemic be under control by the spring, but it is also certainly something the Giants will be watching closely and trying to adapt to in their offseason activities.

Who will be answering the above questions?

Plus the hundreds of others that are certain to pop up. Right now, general manager Dave Gettleman is running the organization, but it’s also clear that Judge has a tremendous amount of leverage and power in the building in regard to shaping the team’s direction. And it’s no certainty that Gettleman will be back with the Giants for the 2021 season, or if he is back, having the same title and job description. Does John Mara let Gettleman continue what feels like a second attempt at a rebuild or does he thank him for his decades of service to the Giants and find someone else to call the shots? Someone who, perhaps, comes from the same lineage as Judge? Before the Giants make a call on any of the above, this organizationally defining question must be answered as swiftly and as definitively as possible.

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