Looking To The Little Giants
Youth is something that is highly valued at the NFL level, and teams that can get younger while also getting better are the teams that have the most success. Fans hate hearing the two most dreaded words that often accompany a team's decision to get younger: rebuilding season. Fortunately, it's possible to get younger without sacrificing your team's shot at being competitive.
The New York Giants have been slowly adding youth to their roster at key positions for the last few seasons now, throwing guys like David Wilson, Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks into the mix. However, the Giants still have the highest number of players over the age of 30 in the NFL, and they are going to need to continue on this path toward getting younger.
There's a delicate balance that must be struck when trying to add youth to an NFL roster. Since youth is valued almost as much as experience is, you tend to have a sort of catch-22 that occurs where teams try to find that middle ground between youth and experience, but end up with neither. The Giants have to be careful to avoid those pitfalls when they add youth to their roster, or else they could be in danger of repeating the same cycle every four to five years like many NFL teams do when they attempt to rebuild their rosters.
For the time being, the Giants seem to be in a comfortable position with a solid mix of both youth and experience on their roster. They still have a good number of players who were part of at least one of the team's Super Bowl titles, and that kind of experience is invaluable in this league. At the same time, they are mixing in younger players, and don't have too many guys creeping towards the Ed Reed and Ray Lewis 35-and-over club. In fact, the oldest player currently on the roster is DT Shaun Rogers at 34 years old, who didn't play a single down last season. The next oldest is the Giants' new kicker, Josh Brown, who is 33.
However, in only a few short seasons, all of the 31- and 32-year-olds on the roster will be 34 and 35, and by that time it might already be too late. That's why the Giants need to keep adding youth to their roster, and they need to do it now before they find themselves in the precarious position of being the aging, veteran team that is nearing its expiration date.
Of course, one way to add youth to the roster is through the draft, which the Giants' front office is typically most adept at. Beyond that, free agency is another option for adding younger players with a few years of experience under their belt, which the team has done by adding guys like Brandon Myers, Ryan Mundy and Keith Rivers. Whichever route they choose to take to get there, it seems like the Giants recognize the need to get younger, and hopefully will spend the next few offseasons addressing it.