With the offseason about to get into full swing, the Giants.com crew looks at the major storylines for the team heading into 2023:
John Schmeelk: How do the Giants take the next step? Let's have GM Joe Schoen explain where the Giants are in the NFL hierarchy, and whether there is still a gap between them and the Eagles.
Said Schoen: "Yeah, I know Philly more intimately. And, yeah, I would say yes - there's a talent gap there that we need to close, and to me, it's the NFC East. I mean, we were 1-5-1 against the NFC East. If you win the division, the rest takes care of itself. So, that's always going to be a goal of ours: to close that gap and be NFC East champs. That's the goal, and that's what we're going to work towards."
In the NFL this season, there were 16 teams that finished with between seven and nine wins. That's half the league! From season to season, usually half the teams that make the playoffs can change from year to year. Every one of those teams will be trying to improve this off-season, and the Giants will be no different. First, they have to bring back their best players, but someone else will cover that in the contributions below. So, how will the Giants add to the roster?
There are three ways: trade, free agency, and the draft. Trades for upper echelon players are usually pricey when it comes to draft capital, so take that off the table. Free agency can cost a big chunk of salary cap space, but the Giants should have some room to do business in that area. The team must also be prudent and plan for the future with young cornerstones like Dexter Lawrence, Xavier McKinney, and Andrew Thomas coming off their rookie contracts within the next two seasons. A team can't fill every hole in free agency, which leaves the draft.
The Giants have nine draft picks right now, including extra picks in Rounds 3 and 7. They could score a couple of extra compensatory picks late on Day 3, too. With a young team, and the organization still in the early years of a new regime, the draft is the way to build the team. The Giants don't pick until No. 25 overall, so it will be a bit tougher than in past years to find true impact players. Despite that disadvantage, it will still be the main avenue for the team to build out the roster.
It does not appear to be as strong of a wide receiver class as in past years, but good players at that position can often be found well into say Day 2, and potentially into Day 3. It is a strong draft at cornerback, which could make that an interesting target at the end of the first round. Or how about an inside linebacker? They could get the first one off the board. It will be fun to see what positions they target in free agency versus the draft as the off-season moves forward, but it is way too early to know that now.
Dan Salomone: Before they "close that gap" with outside additions, the Giants have decisions to make in-house. Several prominent Giants players are unrestricted free agents, notably Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. Like he said in both his introductory press conference and season-ending media session a year later, general manager Joe Schoen knew the "cupboard wasn't bare" and 2022 bore that out. The Giants expressed hey want both players back, but all parties involved know there is a business side to it.
"Everybody is going to step back, take the emotion out of it, evaluate the roster and then, again, we've got to operate under the salary cap," Schoen said. "How are you going to divvy up? How are we going to create the roster? What are the priority positions, and how are we going to move forward?"
This storyline is the first domino that sets the next six months into place.
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