This is starting to get stupid. I know it's easy to say you can always replace a TE. And we can also say further that while Boss was productive, he is not a star player making him even more eminently replaceable. And we can say similar things to downgrade the importance of Steve Smith - a very good, but not a great player; coming off an injury and probably won't be ready for the start of the season. But still - those are just rationalizations for why the Giants should not spend top coin to retain them. I understand that and it may make sense, but from the grand perspective, the bottom line is that the Giants offense has fewer weapons lining up to start the 2011 season than it did lining up to start the 2010 season. We are down the starting TE and one starting WR in Smith.
OK. I finished ranting now and have sufficiently calmed down. The truth of the matter is that Boss IS in fact a complimentary and not a star player. He was pretty good after the catch and did run some nice seam routes, but he was really a slightly above average TE. He was not one of those players that demanded the attention of the defense or special game planning thereby allowing the Giants to spread the field and make the offense much better. He did not have blazing speed, and was not an overwhelming, punishing blocker. He ran nice routes, dropped too many balls, had a good football IQ so he could find the soft spots in the zone and was a productive player at the position. But he was more a product of the systems and the offense than a player that made the offense go. We all remember the huge play he made in the Superbowl to set up the TD that put the Giants ahead at the beginning of the 4th qtr. We also remember some nice plays he made last year to help win some games. But let's not get crazy - he is a good but not game-changing player. I actually like Pascoe and I think he can be productive in that spot also. The Giants signed an undrafted rookie FA FB in Hynoski who they like very much. If he can win the job as the starting FB, the Giants can make Pascoe a full time TE, his natural position, and will have Pascoe and Beckum as the TE group. They need one more for depth, but they should be able to pick someone up after the training camp cuts for some decent depth. Alternatively, I would not mind seeing Michael Clayton shifted to that TE slot. He is big and physical for a WR and while slightly undersized for a TE, could probably be a decent backup.
Steve Smith has been in NJ, meeting with the Giants and that makes it seem like he will eventually sign with the Giants. He has no other offers and no teams pursuing him. (I said that with Boss also, so who knows how that could change.) The difference with Smith is that he is coming off microfracture knee surgery fairly late in the 2010 season and teams will be reluctant to take a risk on him.
Let's go back to that big picture again and I'll try to be a glass-half full kind of guy this time specifically with the offensive questions. The Giants retooled their OL, making it faster, more athletic and younger. They may have found their starting LT, always a significant move. They got under the salary cap with some stability for the future. They have added draftee Jernigan who could be a real weapon, and have welcomed back some speed in WR Dixon. Victor Cruz is another possible offensive weapon and if Barden and Smith make it back onto the field, there should be plenty of talent for Eli to find.
While I like Bradsdhaw, it's not clear to me that having about $9M tied up in the RB position with two players that are not stars is a good investment.
My opinion is that the Osi situation will get worked out to the Giants satisfaction. Giants seem to have all the leverage: 1. Agent could not work out a trade; 2. Osi further limited his value, his marketability and his leverage by announcing his knee problem; 3. Let's not forget the biggest point of Giants leverage - Osi is actually under contract! Giants should throw Osi a little incentive money in his contract to soothe his ego and pride and expect him to come into camp.