The New York Giants need help along their offensive line, and plan to find some during free agency this offseason, according to Jordan Raanan of the Newark Star-Ledger.
New York had all kinds of problems on offense last season, perhaps the largest of which was their inability to consistently block. With Kevin Boothe, James Brewer and David Diehl taking the bulk of the snaps at guard, the Giants had plenty of issues running the ball. Big Blue ranked 29th in rushing yardage, gaining a paltry 83.3 yards per game. They also allowed 40 sacks, which certainly contributed to their 7-9 record.
With that in mind, general manager Jerry Reese is looking to upgrade the talent between the tackles in a free-agent class loaded with good guards. Among the best are Kansas City Chiefs' Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah, as well as Zane Beadles of the Denver Broncos. Also in the mix are Shaun Lauvao of the Cleveland Browns and Wade Smith of the Houston Texans.
The Giants are expected to have somewhere between $16 and $20 million in cap space, depending on where the salary cap ends up. With that cash, New York could easily sign one, if not two starting-caliber guards with plenty of money remaining for other needs and draft picks.
The need for a revamp on the interior of the line is obvious. Boothe is a free agent who likely will be playing elsewhere next season. Diehl has retired -- and rightfully so -- while veteran Chris Snee is attempting to come back after suffering a season-ending hip injury.
Of New York's guards last season who played often, only Brewer is coming back and he struggled to say the least. Brewer ranked 54th of 81 guards according to Pro Football Focus, coming in with a -8.3 grade. His biggest struggles were blocking for the run, although he also had issues protecting Eli Manning.
Schwartz would be a nice fit, coming off a season in which he replaced Asamoah, 25, as the starter at right guard in Kansas City around midseason. Schwartz, 27, played on a one-year deal last season and has expressed his desire for a multi-year contract. The Chiefs will almost certainly retain either Schwartz or Asamoah, but not both.
Beadles, 27, is all but gone from Denver considering the cap situation for general manager John Elway. With approximately seven starters hitting the market for the Broncos and only $20 million in cap space, Beadles will be moving on. He would be a nice addition for Tom Coughlin's group as well.
Free agency begins on March 11, signaling the beginning of a new league year.