Saturday, August 6, 2011
Another rough day for the Giants
By Dan Graziano
If there's a team that's had a worse couple of post-lockout weeks than the New York Giants have had, I can't find one. The latest round of lousy news hit Saturday night with the announcement that first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara had broken a bone in his left foot and would need surgery. The team says he's out indefinitely, but you have to think this is going to cost the rookie (who just signed his contract two days ago) at least two months, after which he'll have to play on a surgically repaired foot with a screw in it.
Amukamara, like all 2011 rookies who missed out on minicamps and OTAs because of the lockout, was already going to have a tough time getting up to speed, and this sets him back further.
Prince Amukamara, who was the 19th pick in April's draft, has a broken bone in his left foot.
Now, sure, the Giants can absorb a hit at cornerback. They still have Terrell Thomas, Corey Webster and Aaron Ross at the position. But with reserve Bruce Johnson having already blown out his Achilles earlier in the week, they're much thinner there than they planned to be. Amukamara was the 19th overall pick in the draft, and surely a big part of the Giants' plans for this season.
The Giants also announced that Ben Patrick, the tight end they signed earlier this week, has decided he no longer wants to play football and would be placed on the reserve/retired list. You'll remember Patrick as the tight end the Giants signed shortly before their own starter, Kevin Boss, left to sign with the Raiders. Patrick apparently was looking forward to playing with Boss and didn't want to be on the team if he wasn't.
So that's two cornerbacks and two tight ends the Giants have lost in a span of about three days, and that'd be rough for any team. But the Giants were already having a pretty rough go of things, as salary-cap concerns have impaired their ability to add outside free agents of significance and hurt them in their efforts to sign their own. They managed to bring back running back Ahmad Bradshaw on their terms when he ran out of options, and they got Mathias Kiwanuka to return on a team-favorable deal in part because of the injury from which he's recovering. But they lost Boss and still haven't re-signed Steve Smith (who's also recovering from injury and likely won't be ready for the start of the season even if he does re-sign). Boss and Smith have been two of Eli Manning's most reliable targets in the passing game over the past two seasons, and to this point it's tough to imagine Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden or Travis Beckum as capable replacements.
Oh, and there's still the Osi Umenyiora contract dispute. The disgruntled defensive end still isn't practicing as he continues to demand either a trade or a new contract and the team continues to insist he play for the contract he currently has.
If you want to be optimistic, you can say that maybe the Giants are getting all of their rotten luck out of the way early and maybe not much else will go wrong the rest of the way. But considering how few names of potential consequence remain on the free-agent market for a team that's missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons, it's hard to see how the Giants recover from all of the losses they've sustained since free agency started.