Analysis: Replacing Martellus

March, 12, 2013
3/12/13
7:35
PM ET


Free agency barely had begun and Martellus Bennett was off to Chicago for a four-year, $20 million deal, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reports.

It's possible that the three top free agents the Giants wanted back were LT Will Beatty, LG Kevin Boothe and Bennett.

They locked up Beatty before free agency began and are still trying to bring back Boothe. But Bennett is now gone.

So what now that the Black Unicorn is gone after just one season?

Well, it's not like the Giants don't have experience trying to find a new tight end. Eli Manning must feel like there's a revolving door at the position. Manning has lost Kevin Boss, Jake Ballard and now Bennett all in successive years.

Martellus Bennett
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesMartellus Bennett ran to Chicago. So what's next for the Giants at the tight end position?
The Giants don't value the tight end position enough to invest big money -- and certainly not $20 million -- in that position. They've seen they have had success with three different players there in recent years and probably figure that they will be able to do the same again. They wanted Bennett back but within a reasonable price.

So what's next for the Giants? They have the solid Bear Pascoe, who can do a little bit of everything but is most valued as a blocker.

There's Adrien Robinson, the 6-4 tight end the Giants drafted in the fourth round out of Cincinnati. Remember, Jerry Reese likened him to the "JPP of tight ends" due to his raw athleticism. Robinson, though, didn't get a catch last season and might still be a project to develop. We have to wait and see how he progresses in the offseason.

The Giants also have Larry Donnell, a 6-6 tight end who was a reserve/futures player.

Reese very well could look to sign a cheap veteran free agent to fill the starting job. Tight ends were going fast and furious in free agency on Tuesday but the market could slow down and perhaps the Giants will find one for cheap later.

Reese could also draft a tight end in April. Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert and Stanford's Zach Ertz are the two top tight ends and could both be available when the Giants pick at 19. I could be wrong but my guess is the Giants will use their first pick on a pass rusher, defensive lineman, offensive lineman, cornerback or even linebacker before they go tight end that early. That just goes back to which positions they value.

That doesn't mean they might not draft a tight end later in the draft. One guy to keep an eye on is Michigan State's 6-5 Dion Sims, a big tight end who has good receiving ball skills and is a former basketball player. A source said the Giants were interested in Sims at the scouting combine last month.

Losing Bennett is tough because he was a young player with potential and should have only gotten better with more time with Manning. But, if anybody knows how to start over at tight end, it's the Giants.

The blueprint should be to find a young tight end with good size, soft hands, decent route running skills and can be a capable enough blocker to stay on the field on multiple downs.

Ross and Torain return: The Giants also brought back cornerback Aaron Ross and re-signed running back Ryan Torain for one-year deals. Ross is a good pickup considering the Giants need as much depth and experience as they can get at the cornerback position. He should be able to compete with Jayron Hosley for the third corner role. Torain provides good depth and experience at running back for cheap.

Tell us what you want to see the Giants do at tight end.
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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