When free agency began on March 9, one of the top priorities for the New York Giants was to upgrade their offensive line. Last season the Giants ranked 29th in rushing and struggled mightily protecting Eli Manning. The Giants were unable to sign many of the top offensive linemen due to limited cap space. They were however, able to add D.J. Fluker who had been released by the Los Angeles Chargers and re-signed guard John Jerry on a three year deal.

With the re-signing of John Jerry, the Giants now have their starting offensive line back from last season plus D.J. Fluker. But will this be good enough to improve their ranks from last year? Here are two moves the Giants should make to help improve the offensive line:

Trade for Cleveland Browns’ tackle Joe Thomas

 Still one of the biggest question marks going forward is Ereck Flowers and the left tackle position. Flowers has been a disappointment in his first two years in the NFL and general manager Jerry Reese has hinted at a possible position change for Flowers in 2017. Step in Joe Thomas. Thomas, 32, is a 10 time Pro Bowler and has been named first team All-Pro seven times in his 10 year career. With the Cleveland Browns continuing to go through a rebuilding process, Thomas could be available for the right price.

Thanks in part to Jason Pierre-Paul agreeing to a four year deal, the Giants have cleared close to $10 million in cap space. With Thomas having a cap hit of $11.5 million for next season, the Giants will have enough space needed to take on his contract. The biggest question is whether the Giants will want to part with draft picks to acquire Thomas. With the team in a ‘win now’ mode and especially that you have three or four productive years left of Eli Manning, the move should be a no brainer.

Sign Nick Mangold

Nick Mangold had spent the last 11 seasons with the New York Jets before ultimately being released. Mangold is a seven time Pro Bowler and has been named first team All-Pro twice in his 11 year career. Mangold, who played center for the Jets, will likely need to switch to the guard position as Weston Richburg has been the starting center since 2015. Signing Mangold would greatly improve the running game as well as improve the offensive line as a unit.

The Giants could be content entering the season with the unit they have now which will be the same as last season plus Fluker. Fluker will most likely compete at both the tackle and guard position in camp and during the pre-season. Personally, I think trading for a guy like Joe Thomas or signing Mangold should be a no brainer for the Giants. Thomas would solidify the left side which the Giants have not had in recent years. In addition, Thomas has not missed a game in his 10 year career. Signing Mangold would make sense for both sides. Mangold would transition smoothly and would join two former Jets, Damon Harrison and Brandon Marshall. Mangold would provide depth and could also compete for the right guard position.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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