The 2011 NFL Lockout will end eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later. Whenerver it does end, teams around the NFL will have an incredibly compressed window of time in which to sign their own free agents, pursue players from other teams they might want, sign undrafted free agents, make trades and otherwise shape their 2011 rosters.
The New York Giants, like many teams, will have a lengthy to-do list once the NFL finally opens for business. Let's take a look at five things that should be on the Giants' post-lockout agenda.
- Osi Umenyiora -- The Giants have to figure out what to do with the talented defensive end whose perpetual complaints about his contract are getting old. Umenyiora, of course, filed a sworn affidavit as part of the players' anti-trust lawsuit, stating that Giants GM Jerry Reese hads lied to him about his contract. Then he said he still expected Reese to fulfill his promise. What to do about Osi? Trade him? Give him the contract extension he seeks? Tell him to be quiet and play for the contract he already signed? Umenyiora might not be the player he thinks he is, but he is important to the Giants. What they do with Umenyiora will have a lot to do with how the rest of the roster shapes up on the defensive side.
- Ahmad Bradshaw -- This one is simple, but probably expensive -- more expensive than the Giants would like. They have to get the running back's name on a contract. Period. He is their best back, he is still young and he is an explosive, unique player. The Giants cannot let him get away.
- Offensive line help -- Tom Coughlin expressed concern prior to the draft about the center position with Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert and Adam Koets all coming back from serious injuries. You would have to think the Giants will be scouring the free-agent market for a veteran who can step in at center, guard or both.
Other free agents -- The Giants will likely be saying goodbye to defensive tackle Barry Cofield. They have key decisions to make on wide receiver Steve Smith and defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, both free agents coming back from serious injuries. They would like to keep both guys, but how much is too much to guarantee both of these tremendously talented players who now both coming with warning labels due to health concerns? They also need to re-sign tight end Kevin Boss, or replace him. Safety Deon Grant is another free agent who could leave.
- Other decisions -- Will they need a running back? Yes, if they lose Bradshaw. Should they pursue a fullback or a blocking tight end, or both? Do they want to bring in a veteran punter to compete with, or outright replace, Matt Dodge? How will they sort out the glut of wide receivers they have?
It certainly will be interesting. I'm sure Giants' fans can't wait for the lockout to end so they can find out how it all turns out.