Dec 30, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) and outside linebacker Michael Boley (59) get to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Justin Tuck 2014 NFL Free Agency Destination: Denver Broncos

Osi Umenyiora saw his time with the New York Giants come to a close after some stellar years and Super Bowl championships.  Unless some changes happen soon, his former teammate Justin Tuck is in line for the same.  Can he rescue his roster spot or will the former All-Pro be looking for a new home in 2014 NFL free agency?

Damontre Moore addition puts the pressure on Tuck

Stockpiling pass rushers is a business the New York Giants have perfected over the past decade.  They had Justin Tuck ready for when Michael Strahan retired.  When Osi Umenyiora started getting vocal about his contract, the team brought in Jason Pierre-Paul.  It seems they’re preparing yet again, this time for Tuck himself.  The two-time Pro Bowler is at a career crossroads.  After posting 11.5 sacks in 2010, he has since had 9 combined over the past two seasons while also missing five games with injuries.  Despite his leadership value he hasn’t played like a man deserving of a new contract.  So when New York drafted promising defensive end Damontre Moore out of Texas A&M, people couldn’t help but feel it was a clear message to Tuck.  Either he plays better or he leaves.  At 30-years old he doesn’t have the luxury of time.  Tuck needs a good 2013 to stay in Giants blue.  Otherwise he must finish his career somewhere else.

Broncos applying Von Miller and Shaun Phillips out of position

Luckily he may have an avenue of escape should that happen.  The Denver Broncos had a rough off-season after losing Elvis Dumervil to the infamous “Faxgate.”  They quickly signed veteran pass rusher Shaun Phillips to join Von Miller on the defensive front.  What is peculiar about the Broncos is they run a base 4-3 defense featuring two defensive ends and two defensive tackles.  Miller has played strong side linebacker in that system since 2011 while Phillips is slated to simply back him up there.  Their body types weren’t meant to fit a traditional defensive end, nor did Dumervil though he made the transition well.  In fact none of the defensive ends brought in by John Elway since then have worked out very well.  Only rookie Derek Wolfe managed more than five sacks last season.  Either way Denver has fallen behind on bringing in more players that fit their scheme.  This is why Justin Tuck makes sense.  His best seasons came in a base 4-3 and he will want to stay in it if he does end up leaving New York.  Bringing him in would take pressure off the linebackers to blitz so much like they’ve done.  Head coach John Fox loves defense, which means it is as good a fit as Tuck will find next year.  The key of course will be price.

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Tags: Damontre Moore Denver Broncos Justin Tuck Shaun Phillips Von Miller

  • SayreBedinger

    Just a couple of things:

    1. Von Miller has never been part of a 3-4 defense in his NFL career. The Broncos switched to a 4-3 the year he was drafted and he has always been the SLB in that scheme.

    2. Because of #1, Miller has not had to adapt himself to being a DE, because he doesn’t play DE. On the strong side of the field, the base end is rookie Derek Wolfe, who started all 16 games at that position last year.

    3.Phillips will not need to overly adapt to playing DE, because he is listed as Von Miller’s backup at SLB.

    4. The Broncos haven’t fallen behind in bringing people in, in my opinion. Robert Ayers–a former first round pick–is the one slated to take over for Dumervil at RDE. The Broncos have also drafted players like Jeremy Beal and Quanterus Smith in recent years to rush the passer. They are really pleased with their depth at DE, as well as in the pass rush department.

    • Erik Lambert

      I thought Miller played in one his rookie season then switched. I guess that is because Dumervil had to make the switch that year since he was a 3-4 linebacker before.

  • Barry Soetoro

    Tuck is done.