New York Giants free agency 2018: Top 5 targets

New York Giants, NFL Free Agency

The New York Giants are coming off a miserable season, but a strong offseason paired with a new coaching staff brings new hope to Gotham.

Many pundits picked the Giants to win the NFC East and contend for the Super Bowl, but 2017 didn’t go anything resembling that for New York. In fact, the Giants played so poorly last year that they earned the right to select second overall in the upcoming draft. Ben McAdoo was then replaced by Pat Shurmur as New York’s head coach.

McAdoo didn’t have Odell Beckham last year, which was simply a crippling blow to the Giants offense. But the defense also wasn’t at close to the level to how well they played in 2016. Still, the offense needs the more attention of the two in what isn’t quite a rebuild, but more of a strong reinforcing and attacking of major holes in this roster.

There is also much speculation that New York will draft its quarterback of the future with the second overall selection. The Giants would save $17 million by moving on from Eli Manning after this season.

The Giants are about middle-of-the-road with their salary cap space at $26.1 million under the cap, but will need to get Beckham signed to a long-term deal. That won’t be cheap, but it absolutely has to happen. Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris are sure to be released to free up more space. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie may also become a salary cap victim.

5. Darren Sproles

One of the bright spots for New York last year was Wayne Gallman, who came on strong during his rookie season. Orleans Darkwa is also a capable runner, but his contract is up. Shane Vereen is also unlikely to be back in the Big Apple. Of course New York can improve upon Gallman and could consider bringing back Darkwa at a reasonable price, but the higher priority should be investing in the offensive line.

The Giants pass catching core of Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram are exceptional and young, but they might want to add a receiving threat out of the backfield as a complement to Gallman and easy outlet receiver for Manning or their future quarterback. Sproles is one of the most accomplished receiving threats from the running back position of this generation.

Despite his size, Sproles has been excellent in pass protection throughout his impressive career. He is coming off an ACL injury and is 34-years-old, but Sproles would be an excellent role model for the Giants’ young running backs. He also should be inexpensive.

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