Giants Must Embrace Their Herschel Walker Moment

There must be changes made to the New York Giants, an inevitable fact following a disappointing 2017. The overhaul is going to sting as already evidenced by several fan-favorites being shown the door over the past month, with more players potentially sent packing in the coming weeks.

Coming off a 3-13 campaign, there is little doubt that the Giants have to do some drastic things to reshape their roster. There have already have been positive additions, including left tackle Nate Solder and linebacker Alec Ogletree. Additions, however, aren’t enough as there must also be a roster purge to make room for a talent infusion that this squad needs.

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Even if that comes at the expense of fan-favorites and superstars.

Giants owner John Mara was right this past weekend when he said that no one is “untouchable” when it comes to this current roster. His comments were made in light of recent reports that Odell Beckham Jr., the team’s most talented player, is on the trading block. Whether Mara did, in fact, take back those comments in recent days to downplay the team’s interest in moving Beckham or any player isn’t a concern. What stands out is that the Giants are serious about rebuilding.

So much so that they seem willing to trade their biggest name, their biggest star, if it helps the whole team get better.

I’m not talking about just a flash in the pan but more of a real, true rebuild from the bottom-up. Even if it hurts. It is something that GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur know well.

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This could be the Herschel Walker moment for the Giants, a time when an unpopular trade of a star player nets the team a cache of draft picks. The Walker trade kickstarted the rebuilding of the Dallas Cowboys in the early ’90s into one of the NFL’s most recent dynasties. The Giants need a similar reboot.

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Beckham is the prime example here, the Giants answer to the aforementioned Walker. Arguably the most talented wide receiver in the NFL, he carries a host of well-documented red flags on and off the field. Recent issues this offseason are equally well-known, raising concerns for Giants ownership. But the real issue here is the long-term viability of keeping Beckham on the Giants roster.

In the final year of his rookie contract, Beckham might very well walk next year as some team is likely to overpay for a long-term deal. The Giants are tight against the salary cap this year and also need to keep safety Landon Collins, who like Beckham, is in the final year of his rookie contract.

To let Beckham head into training camp as not only a holdout risk, but also potentially able to walk after the 2018 season as a free agent, is a clear danger. A danger, frankly, the Giants can’t take right now in these early days of the rebuild.

If the Giants are not able to re-sign Beckham, then they risk losing their star to free agency next offseason. Yes, a holdout would be detrimental during training camp and an unnecessary distraction. Losing Beckham while getting nothing in return, however, would be far worse than a holdout.

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There are no sure things in the NFL, no guarantees that whatever the Giants get in return would come close to equaling the production that Beckham will have over the next decade of his career. But even magic beans are better than nothing, something that the Giants must consider.

This rebuild undertaken by Gettleman and Shurmur is bigger than just one or two players. Beckham has proven at times to be a headache, a liability who isn’t a concrete foundation for this team. He also may not be here in 2019. Draft picks obtained in a trade, however, could still be on this roster.

Better to engage in the rebuild fully, for the Giants to have their painful moments now in order to accelerate a rebuild. The risk of losing a star player for nothing is just too great. They have to embrace the risk if they are going to get better.

Any indecision here could stall the rebuild or perhaps even negate it entirely. No one is truly untouchable coming off a 3-13 season.

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