The decision to pass on a potential franchise quarterback in favor of Saquon Barkley was supposed to be a step towards the playoffs, but another losing season has the New York Giants facing some critical decisions entering the offseason.
The Giants finished 2018 in last place in the NFC East, improving on their 3-13 mark from 2017 by a whopping two wins to finish 5-11. Things were a bit better for Big Blue in the second half as the Giants went 4-4 after their Week 9 bye, offering some hope that there could be a quick turnaround with a few smooth moves.
The Giants enter the offseason with about $28.3 million in cap space, and they don’t have too many players they need to retain outside of Landon Collins and Jamon Brown, so that should be doable. The issue is that the Giants don’t have a ton of money to play with to bring in new players, although they can create cap space by restructuring Eli Manning’s contract or releasing him outright.
With that in mind, here are five things the Giants have to deal with in order to become a playoff team in 2019, starting with . . .
5. Retain Landon Collins
The Giants absolutely cannot afford to lose Landon Collins in free agency. Collins had a down year by his standards in 2018, recording 96 tackles and one forced fumble in 12 games, but he is still only 25 years old and two years removed from being a First-Team All-Pro.
The Giants do not have much secondary depth, and Collins has demonstrated that he is the leader of that unit when healthy. Losing Collins would be a huge mistake for the Giants, and general manager Dave Gettleman has shown that he wants to retain elite talent at all costs.
The ideal scenario for the Giants would be to ink Collins to an extension to avoid the franchise tag, which carries a $12 million tender, in order to preserve cap space for more moves. The tag will likely be used if the two sides can’t reach a deal, but this is one of the easiest things they can accomplish on the list.