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Giants Will Face Some Tough Off-Season Decisions

Which of the Super Bowl Champion Giants are hitting the open market?

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    If Manningham leaves, he's doing it on a high note.

    Sunday night in Indianapolis showed us how thrilling life can be in the NFL.

    You don't get to celebrate for long, however. Enjoying the ticker-tape parades and keys to the city quickly gives way to making decisions about the future of the franchise.

    That can often mean saying goodbye to some valued members of a championship team, either because they get better offers or because sentimentality doesn't matter more than an honest appraisal of what a player has to offer the team. There's a good chance the Giants will have entries in both categories when they deal with their own free agents.

    For these purposes, we're only dealing with free agents and not players who might otherwise be leaving the team. We'll start with one of Sunday night's heroes.

    Mario Manningham: How much is the biggest play of the Super Bowl worth? We'll soon find out since Manningham is a free agent and teams like the Vikings, Bears and 49ers could all use upgrades in their receiving corps before the start of next season.

    He has never been a No. 1 wideout and isn't likely to turn into one just because he made that play in the fourth quarter, but teams with needs will likely bid on him nonetheless. The Giants will need to think long-term about what's best for the franchise and that probably doesn't include paying their third receiver what other teams will play him to be a starter.

    Terrell Thomas: There's actually an upside to the torn ACL that kept Thomas out for the entire season. It happened early enough to ensure he'll be ready to go next year and should keep his price low enough for the Giants to hold onto him.

    Aaron Ross: Assuming Thomas is back, there's neither a place nor a reason for Ross to return. Prince Amukamara will be the third corner and his upside is far greater than anything Ross can offer.

    Steve Weatherford: His punting made a major difference throughout the season. Unless someone bowls him over, he'll be back.

    Kareem McKenzie: He's been a proud member of the offensive line for a long time and has two rings to show for it. He hurts the team more than he helps it, though, and McKenzie's time in blue should be over.

    Jonathan Goff: Like Thomas, Goff missed the entire season but the Giants linebackers weren't noticeably worse because of his absence. Whether Goff is back or not, the Giants need to have a viable alternative at middle linebacker from day one.

    Chase Blackburn: Is he that viable alternative? Blackburn's speed was a major drawback in pass coverage, Super Bowl interception notwithstanding. And while he was good in other areas, it is hard to imagine the Giants couldn't find a better alternative.

    Deon Grant: There's no need to rush into a contract, but the Giants could do worse than Grant as a third safety. They could do better at starting safety than Antrel Rolle, but money will probably make that difficult.

    Rocky Bernard: The return to health of 2010 second rounder Marvin Austin means the end of the line for Bernard.

    Dave Tollefson: Valuable role players like Tollefson can be the hardest players to keep around once free agency comes calling. There's only so much room under the cap and that likely puts Tollefson in a different jersey next season.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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