With the New York Giants 2016 season officially over now, the team has already begun its preparations for the 2017 season and improving the roster for an even stronger year.
One of those possible moves is to take current starting left tackle Ereck Flowers and shift him over to right tackle, according to several reports.
It’s a move that has been talked about for a while going back to the off-season when the Giants were looking at potential free agent options like Russell Okung and Donald Penn, but neither wanted to sign with the Giants because of their unwillingness to play right tackle and stay at left tackle. It’s also why Eugene Monroe wasn’t traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Giants before the season because he’d rather retire than play right tackle.
So the Giants stuck it out with Flowers in 2016 as the left tackle and saw one of the worst seasons from a left tackle; one filled with quarterback pressures and penalties for false starts and holding calls. Ultimately, it was a disastrous season for Flowers and most fans wanted him run out of town.
Let’s not get that crazy, he can still be fixed, but it’s going to take time and ultimately, a new position, maybe right tackle or even moving into guard like Justin Pugh has done, could be the answer. So if the Giants do move Flowers away from being the left tackle, who should the Giants look at?
One option that has been mentioned is Minnesota Vikings tackle Matt Kalil, who is coming off his rookie contract with the team and will be a free agent this spring.
Up until the 2016 season, Kalil hadn’t missed a single game with Minnesota and was a fixture with the Vikings. Then a hip injury forced him onto injured reserve and missed 14 of the team’s 16 games this season.
Despite the injury, Kalil was one of the better left tackles in the league and at only 27 years old, he fits what the Giants are looking for as far as the overall construction of the roster should be: players under 30 entering their prime years.
Sure, trying to sign a guy coming off an injury-filled season is a risk, but the Giants have shown before in the past that they are willing to take fliers on players looking for an opportunity.
During the 2016 season, the New York Giants had a bold opportunity to make a deal with the Cleveland Browns to land Joe Thomas at the trade deadline, but because the Giants were unwilling to meet Cleveland’s demands, which was reportedly a second and third round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Giants passed on improving the team and offensive line with the addition of Thomas.
By not trading for Thomas, many considered that a mistake by the New York Giants because it would have easily solidified the offensive line with perhaps the best left tackle in the sport. It’s still not clear if the Browns will try to move Thomas or not and if they won’t move him, the Giants have to look elsewhere for a left tackle.
Cincinnati Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth’s name has also come up for the New York Giants, however, he’s 35 years old and could be nearing the end of his career. On a skill level set, Whitworth makes a lot of sense for the Giants, but long-term, especially his age, it’s a red flag and might not make sense.
Kalil, though, makes a lot of sense in free agency. If Flowers is moved to the other side of the line for the 2017 season, Kalil should ultimately be considered a strong option to be the Giants starting left tackle for next season, as he would represent the upgrade the team needs to get better and improve for next year.