Terrell Thomas returns an interception vs Arizona. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.
Since the Giants were unceremoniously eliminated from playoff contention, the offseason has officially begun. That raises several key questions. Among them are salary cap room, free agency, draft prospects and much more. When focusing on the Giants 2013 offseason, a few names come to mind. GM Jerry Reese recently raised a possibility of one of those names changing positions: Terrell Thomas, also known as T2.
Thomas is coming off of a third ACL injury and the Giants feel that he would serve them better and stay healthier if they moved him from his familiar cornerback position to a safety spot. They plan on cutting him to save themselves the $6 Million option on his contract and then re-signing him to a much smaller, incentive-laden type deal. It will most likely be predicated on his agreeing to move to safety.
While the logic in that is understandable, it is a move they certainly can not afford to make this offseason. Assuming he does re-sign with the Giants in that scenario and not with another team that entices him away with the promise of a starting role at corner, there are three reasons why it is not a good option this year: depth, confidence and shutdown ability.
First, the Giants are not deep in their secondary. While they have several options for the safety position, with names like Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips (most likely returning), Will Hill, Stevie Brown (most likely returning) and Tyler Sash, they are quite thin at corner. As of right now, Prince Amukamara, Jayron Hosley and Corey Webster are the only proven players along with Thomas that are under contract for that position next season.
The team will most likely draft some help for that spot, but, as we've seen with Amukumara, it takes time to develop that talent at the NFL level. The only other option would be free agency and the Giants are working with a small window of salary cap room. It is doubtful they would take that route for the premiere talent the NFL has available at corner. With that said, Thomas staying at corner makes more sense for 2013.
Next, a move could impact his confidence level and, therefore, his play on the field. If he is moved to safety where they have several viable options competing for two or three starting positions, Thomas may consider that a demotion. That could shake his psyche and a player with a shaken psyche in the NFL is never a good thing. Especially when the Giants have invested so much time and money into said player.
His morale could be hurt and that of the veterans on the team as well. Seeing him back but in an unfamiliar role would be a tough adjustment for him and those that share the battle scars earned by his side.
Finally, the NFL has only a few number of corners that possess the ability of shutting down the other team's number one receiver. Thomas can do that when he is healthy and playing with solid fundamentals. A shutdown corner changes the way the opposition calls plays.
It changes the way they attack a defense and makes them a little more predictable. We see examples of this throughout the league. The Giants have a chance to adhere to that example and utilize Thomas in that capacity.
All of this depends on how he recovers from his injuries, however. In that respect, only time will tell.