Breakdown: Despite the statistical improvement in the trenches, the Giants enter a pivotal offseason for their front line. The left side faces uncertainty, with tackle Will Beatty and guard Kevin Boothe set to become free agents.
Beatty, 27, is probably the Giants' biggest free agent; solid left tackles are not easy to find. Boothe also has proven his worth with his versatility.
Chris Snee, fresh off his Pro Bowl appearance, will soon undergo surgery on his hip. Snee and center David Baas, who played through a couple of injuries, need to get healthy.
And then the Giants need to figure out what they will do at right tackle. Diehl, 32, is entering the final year of his deal worth $4.1 million in base salary. The Giants, who are projected to be $4.7 million over the cap, have always liked his versatility since he can play both tackle positions and guard. But Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin and the staff were talking about James Brewer, a fourth-round pick in 2011, as a possible starter last summer in camp, so they could decide it might be time to see what he can do.
Locklear was one of Reese's best free-agent signings last year, but he will be a free agent and his future is uncertain after suffering a season-ending knee injury.
This is a chance for the Giants to lock down a solid left tackle in Beatty and maintain stability if they can also re-sign Boothe. The Giants don't often spend big money on free agents, so you have to figure they will try to keep Beatty at a reasonable price.
The Giants will have to figure out what to do at right tackle. They could draft a starting tackle with their 19th overall pick, but Reese typically will go best player available, and that could be a defensive player.
The Giants still should think about drafting another offensive lineman at some point, since the average age of the starting five is 30. Adding a veteran lineman in free agency for depth, like Reese did with Locklear, will also help.
If the Giants are going to contend again, the offensive line has to be a priority, starting with their own free agents.
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