If it were up to New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen, he could keep all of his 20 soon-to-be-restricted free agents for 2023.
That won’t be the case, however, as the Giants desperately need to close the gap between themselves and the rest of the NFC East if they are ever to give themselves a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl.
The Giants had the worst win-loss record against division opponents that year, finishing 1-4-1. Washington, who didn’t make the playoffs, finished a game better 2-3-1, while Dallas and the Eagles, both of whom had higher playoff collections than the Giants, both finished 4-2.
Schoen acknowledged the obvious, considering the Giants have been blown out twice by the Eagles in their three encounters (including the division’s playoff game) this year.
“I know Philly better and I would say yes, there is a talent gap that we need to fill,” he said.
“It’s the NFC East. If you win the division, the rest will take care of itself. So bridging that gap and becoming NFC East Champs will always be a goal for us.”
While Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll, both of whom have reached out to the media to bow to the 2022 season, don’t admit it, the playoff loss to the Eagles exposed the Giants’ greatest weaknesses at linebacker, offensive line, receiver and cornerback .
Schoen has said he would prefer to design, develop and retain long-term responses at each position. This is not always practical, however, and this is where agency comes into play.
“If you get the right people and they’re long-lived — usually when you sign in front of your building, you pay those people a little bit of money,” Schoen said. “If they stay healthy and produce at the level, then yes (it helps).
“It’s a tool that we use before design and we develop players in your system already in your building. You can’t do much research on some players who are on different teams, or you don’t know their work ethic or injury history. So I think when you’re making these financial decisions, you have accurate knowledge of the players. I think there is less room for error.
With Schoen sounding like he wants to use his free hand sparingly, the next obvious question is whether there are any players out there that he thinks could fit into what the Giants are building.
“You can look at it today and it will change when we get there because the good players that are UFAs often stay with their team,” he said.
“We’ll start our free agent meetings next week and work out a plan for the players we want to target, but there are some players out there that would help us.”