New York Giants: Jon Halapio Signing Secures Center Position For 2019

The New York Giants have been making moves on the offensive line lately, and the latest of those is bringing back center Jon Halapio for another season. Halapio was the one that won the starting job at the position last season and resulted in the trade of Brett Jones to the Minnesota Vikings, which fans would late regret once the season was underway.

Not because of poor performances from Halapio, but because Halapio suffered a season-ending leg injury very early in the season and the Giants were forced to make a change on the offensive line early on, hurting the blocking play.

Halapio was an exclusive rights free agent and is signing a new deal at the same time that the Giants are acquiring a new talent to play next to him, former Browns offensive guard Kevin Zeitler. Zeitler, who is 6’4″ and definitely looks the part as a physically imposing addition to an offensive line that desperately needs to improve if the team is going to have a turnaround season, was acquired in exchange for pass rusher Olivier Vernon, and will save the Giants a bit of money with the salary cap.

It’s easy to see Halapio taking back the starting job over Spencer Pulley, who started nine games last season after being claimed from waivers, and in that case he would likely be playing next to second year guard Will Hernandez and new addition Kevin Zeitler. With the Giants making a trade for a guard, it seems that last season’s trade acquisition at the position, Jamon Brown, is the odd one out and will walk in free agency rather than getting a new deal.

Time will tell if the offensive line improves. But things are shaping up well, and the Giants are getting back someone who should be at least a minor upgrade from last season’s starters at the position.

BREAKING: New York Giants Trade Olivier Vernon To Cleveland Browns

With rumors swirling that the Cleveland Browns were in talks with the New York Giants in regards to a potential Odell Beckham Jr. deal, the team managed to send a different, more expendable player as an alternative.

Outside linebacker Olivier Vernon has been reportedly traded to the Browns for an offensive lineman, Kevin Zeitler.

Vernon has been with the Giants for three seasons and is set to count $19.5 million against the cap. Trading him ultimately opens up about $11.5 million in cap space and allows general manager Dave Gettleman to allocate resources toward the offensive line or linebacking corps.

The roster has several weak spots that need addressing, and free agents like right tackle Daryl Williams or safety Tryann Mathieu could fit the bill nicely with Big Blue.

What does trading Vernon mean for the New York Giants?

Vernon’s departure leaves a massive void on the defensive line that could be addressed with the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft. The defensive line talent this year is immense, so filling the new hole with a quality pass rusher could be a viable option, as the alternative would be to draft a quarterback like Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.

With the Giants acquiring Kevin Zeitler from the Browns, they add the No. 6 rated guard in the NFL in 2018, according to PFF.

The Giants will eat $8 million in dead money from Vernon’s contract while saving $11.5 million. Those savings essentially will go to Zeitler, who is due $10 million this year. Zeitler is signed through 2021 with salaries of $10 million in 2020 & $12 million in 2021. No dead money after this season for the 29-year-old.

 

New York Knicks Moving Ntilikina During Draft?

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

The New York Post reported yesterday that the New York Knicks could be moving Frank Ntilikina.  The article stated that the team “will explore” trades for the French guard during this upcoming draft.

Marc Berman also reported that Ntilikina could be move if the Knicks could get a first-round pick in return.  Personally, that is highly unlikely for the second year man.  His production has not been seen to require a first-round pick, so we can stop that now.

Trading Ntilikina does not come as a surprise to fans.  Ntilikina’s name has been on the block since before this past trading deadline when he was linked to Orlando.

Let’s be honest.  Ntilikina has been underperforming since he was drafted by then general manager, Phil Jackson.  Does Ntilikina have a lot of upside still?  Yes, and he’s still very young.  But, it seems that he just does not fit with this new regime under Coach David Fizdale.

Ntilikina has been injured, but even when he is in the lineup, he doesn’t really bring much to the table.  He has his moments and I still believe Ntilikina can be a lockdown defender in this league.  It just might not be with the Knicks.

Fans want the Frank Ntilikina era to work, as do I.  It just seems that Ntilikina might be better off in a different organization that can and will devote more time to his overall development.  Ntilikina would be the perfect San Antonio Spur.

New York Giants: How Case Keenum To Washington Impacts Giants

The New York Giants’ Quarterback position has been highly discussed and debated recently. In reality, the Giants are not the only team with question marks at the quarterback position. Another team in the Giants’ division has had quarterback questions, but on Thursday, they answered their questions.

The Washington Redskins Traded For Case Keenum

On Thursday, the Washington Redskins made a trade for former Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum. The Broncos signed Keenum last offseason and he started all 16 games for them. Case had a mediocre season, throwing only 18 touchdown passes while counteracting that with 15 interceptions.

The Broncos were willing to make this trade because they traded for former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco last month. Flacco will be the Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2019, but he could have a rookie competing with him for his job.

The Redskins made this trade because they did not have a solid starting quarterback on their roster. Last season, Alex Smith severely broke his leg and is likely to miss the entire 2019 season. With that in mind, the Redskins decided to acquire a quarterback for the 2019 season, Case Keenum.

This trade for Case Keenum could be of vital importance to the New York Giants. In regards to the division’s competition and the Giants’ own quarterback options, this trade greatly affects New York.

How This Trade Affects The Josh Rosen Rumors

Since the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, there have been plenty of rumors regarding the Giants’ quarterback position, as well as another surprising team: the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals selected UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen with the 10th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Rosen was a player that many Giants fans liked. The Giants’ brass liked him, too. Some fans argued he should have been chosen instead of Saquon Barkley. Josh had a poor rookie season, but he still has a lot of potential.

Josh Rosen’s poor rookie season could be attributed to many different issues in Arizona. The Cardinals had the league’s worst offensive line. They fired their offensive coordinator mid-season. Larry Fitzgerald, at 35 years old, was his only real receiving threat. Josh Rosen had little to no help in his rookie season, but if the right pieces are around him, he could reach his potential.

Despite the Cardinals paying a high price for Rosen last year, he is now involved in trade rumors. With the hiring of head coach Kliff Kingsbury, rumors have started swirling that the Cardinals will be selecting Kyler Murray with the first overall pick in 2019.

If this happens, Josh Rosen will be made available for trade. A few teams were rumored to be interested in trading for Rosen, including the New York Giants. The other team most linked with the Rosen trade rumors was the Washington Redskins.

With the Redskins no longer in the quarterback market, the Giants have minimal competition to acquire Josh Rosen via trade.

New York Giants: How GM Dave Gettleman Can Achieve A Quick Turnaround

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

Remember when names like Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold plagued the media leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft? You probably also remember the New York Giant being linked to both heavily. Obviously, GM Dave Gettleman elected to take generational running back Saquon Barkley instead – a controversial move but one that helped the Giants become the highest scoring team in the NFC East.

Nonetheless, the team moved forward with the intention of retaining Eli Manning as the starting quarterback. One year later, he remains in the same position – 38-years-old, playing for a rebuilding team that simply can’t let go of two Super Bowls that occurred over eight years ago.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Manning for all he’s done throughout his career, but when considering the current state of the team, it’s worth finding a successor.

Where the New York Giants will look to find a QB:

The 2019 draft could be the perfect opportunity for the Giants to find their next franchise quarterback. However, they could also look back to 2018 as an alternative. The Cardinals have been rumored to have interest in a potential trade including Josh Rosen, who could be replaced by Kyler Murray with the 1st overall pick.

Theoretically, this rumor presents an opportunity for the Giants to grab not only the best running back from 2018 but arguably the best pocket passer. Despite having lost a year off his rookie deal, Rosen has the raw talent and accuracy to be a perfect fit with the Giants.

Why Rosen could be successful with the NYG:

A rebuilt offensive line and plenty of weapons would allow him to utilize his skillset properly. Arizona offered him the worst line in the league and barely any recognizable players.

If Gettleman was able to secure Rosen for draft capital not including a first-rounder, it would allow the team to cut ties with Eli Manning and his $17 million cap hit. Additionally, they could cut Olivier Vernon and save $8 million. With $25 million to add to the team’s existing $27 million in cap, they could sign right tackle Daryll Williams and a top edge rusher/safety. It seems as if Gettleman is trying to open up the cap and get rid of several bad contracts left over from the Jerry Reese era.

Filling the holes with quality draft picks seems to be the ideology he’s following, and while it takes a bit longer to achieve, it can be a dynasty building decision.

New York Yankees: Domingo German Needs to Elevate His Game in 2019

New York Yankees, Domingo German

With the New York Yankees already searching for answers at the cost of the injury bug, they will likely have to resort to their youth for aid. Starting pitchers Luis Severino and CC Sabathia have both went down with injuries – inflamed shoulder and knee scope/cleaning artery leading to CC’s heart.

Severino was expected to be the opening day starter, but in his absence, J.A. Happ or Masahiro Tanaka will need to fill the role.

The more pressing question is: who fills in for Severino in the Yankees’ rotation?

The answer could be several players, but the one I’m most intrigued by is Domingo German. Despite a 5.57 ERA with 2 wins and six losses in 2018, there’s optimism surrounding the 26-year-old. He earned 102 strikeouts over 85.2 innings, averaging well over one strikeout per inning.

On the downside, he did allow 15 homers and somehow managed to nearly give up a run on every hit against him. Opposing batters scored 55 runs on 81 hits. That statistic alone is concerning, but the experience at the top level and time during the offseason to eliminate some of his mistakes could take his game to the next level.

The New York Yankees should utilize German more this season:

Some interesting statistics related to German – his strikeout rate was 9th best in the league last season. Both his changeup and curveball were deadly, generating 20.08% and 18.71% whiff rates against batters.

With a 40.4% fly ball rate, German has struggled with home runs throughout his entire career. That has been the one primary knock against him, but I believe he deserves another chance to showcase his abilities. This year’s spring training has shown us why it’s too early to give up on him – he tossed 4.2 innings with 7 strikeouts and no walks.

Essentially, if he can keep his fly ball rate down, he will be a dominant pitcher with massive upside. A strikeout rate like his is elite, but he must be consistent with batters and not shy away from putting them away.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: First Base Competition Is Decided – Luke Voit Emerges Victorious

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The first base competition for the New York Yankees was one of the more exciting battles this spring, as both Luke Voit and Greg Bird showed their offensive abilities. In 15 at-bats, Bird has 6 hits, including one homer and four strikeouts. Voit is four-for-13 with two homers and three strikeouts.

The New York Yankees seemingly have two good options at first:

Their production this offseason has been parallel, and despite Bird being the better defensive option, Voit showed more potential during the regular season which has earned him the starting position come late March.

Bird will likely start the season in Triple-A as he continued to fight the negative narrative that has plagued him for the past two years. Two seasons with sub-.200 batting averages and high strikeout rates have nearly dropped him from the team entirely, but having general manager Brian Cashman on your side doesn’t hurt.

The homegrown talent has been plagued with injuries since his inception at the top level. A significant foot injury has impacted his stance in the batter’s box and fundamentals.

Cashman stated in regard to the first base position:

“My gut is we’re not carrying both Bird and Voit on the club.”

“He [Voit] did an amazing job and earned the right to hit in the postseason in the middle of our lineup. It was an incredible story and good for him and I loved the passion and the personality and all that stuff,” Cashman said. “And so there’s no reason to think, including what we’ve seen this spring, that he’s not an everyday guy.”

Voit’s production has been impressive this spring, but his defense continues to be is Achilles heal despite an improvement. The power hitter ultimately fits perfectly in the Yankees batting order as they have adopted a home run-centric attitude towards their offense.

The only primary issue that comes to mind is the overwhelming amount of right-handed hitters in the order. Bird offers a lefty bat and diversity which is an underrated factor. The Yanks don’t seem to be bothered by this fact and plan to start Voit anyway.

The bottom line, the Yankees will not give up on Bird:

“We feel like we haven’t had a chance to see the real Bird yet because of injuries. Last year he came in a lot leaner, but he put weight back on. He’s a good 25 pounds stronger. And he looks like the potential Bird that we’ve always believed,” Cashman said. “People probably forget turning the clock back that he was the most accomplished hitter in our system (a few years ago). If you asked me who was our best hitter, it was going to come down to between Gary Sanchez or Bird. And then people kind of forget right now because Bird hasn’t been Bird because we think injuries.”