New York Giants: Landon Collins To Sign Huge Deal With Redskins

New York Giants, Landon Collins

It didn’t take long for Landon Collins to find another team after the New York Giants made the decision to not franchise tag him by the deadline, allowing him to become a free agent. The team also couldn’t reach a long-term deal and now, because of that, they’ll have to deal with Collins playing within their own division, the NFC East.

According to Ian Rapoport, it’s the Washington Redskins that have managed to sign the former Giants defensive captain. Collins has managed to get a massive deal for himself, with a total of six years and $84M. It’s strange to see considering Collins’ position, and if those are the kinds of numbers that Collins was looking for, it’s easy to understand why the Giants couldn’t reach an agreement for a long-term deal.

It was reported earlier in the week that the Giants couldn’t get more than a fourth round pick for Collins at the trade deadline, which is the reason why they attempted to come to a deal and instead ended up letting Collins walk away without getting anything in return.

Factors likely include the fact that Collins has struggled with injuries and only played in 12 games last season, as well as being injured at the back-end of last year, which would carry over into the 2018 season.

Still, the Giants will have to replace a player who did his job well against the run, and the Redskins defense gets a big addition. Even if the silver lining here for Giants fans is that the Redskins are overpaying Collins, which should hurt them when it comes to adding other additions.

And, regardless of whether or not you think the Giants should have kept Collins, there’s not many fans that will be happy to see him in a rival uniform.

New York Giants Targeting Several High-Profile Free Agents

As former New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins signed with the Washington Redskins, an NFC East rival, the front-office has yet to make any free agent moves.

With record-breaking contracts being set left and right in a deep FA class, the Giants have sat idly by while the big names drop off the board. With only about $27 million in cap space, general manager Dave Gettleman has to be careful with where he invests his money.

Now, there are always ways to maneuver around the salary cap – backloading contract, signing bonuses, etc. I expect the Giants to make some moves int he coming days, but they likely won’t participate in the record-breaking deals they enjoyed just one year ago with left tackle, Nate Solder.

Here are three players the New York Giants are targetting:

1.) Adrian Amos

Most feel as though Amos would be a great fit with the Giants. He’s a similar player to Collins but has a bit more skill in coverage. According to sources, there’s a robust market developing around the Chicago safety, which should see him command big money.

The Giants don’t have much in terms of capital, so it wouldn’t be out of this world for the team to pass on him and look towards the secondary market. The most I can see Gettleman offering is three-years, $24 million with a majority of the money coming on the back-end.

2.) Preston Smith

While Collins went to Washington, it’s possible Smith comes to New York. The linebacker would be a great fit for the Giants int he 3-4 scheme. His abilities match up with exactly Better’s mindset towards aggressive linebackers that rush the passer.

Smith recorded 53 combined tackles and four sacks in 2018, standing out as an edge rusher throughout the season. He will also command solid money, so grabbing him might be difficult as well.

3.) Daryl Williams

Williams wasn’t one of the big free agent names that made headlines on Monday. His name slipped through the cracks while the big defenders were plucked off the board.

The Giants have been heavily linked to the Carolina right tackle, especially after the trading of right guard Kevin Zeitler. Solidifying the right side will be a priority as the NFC East has begun bolstering their defenses significantly during the legal tampering window.

The six-year veteran will likely earn a solid payday – somewhere in the $12-14 million-per-season range. A hefty price to pay, which could cause Gettleman to drop out of the race.

 

New York Giants: Olivier Vernon’s Replacement Could Already Be On The Roster

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

On Friday, the New York Giants made a big-time trade. The Giants traded edge defender Olivier Vernon to the Browns in exchange for guard Kevin Zeitler. The trade was a win-win for both teams.

The Giants made a major upgrade on their offensive line in this trade. However, the trade also left another giant hole in Big Blue’s defense. Many fans and analysts have been predicting who they think the Giants will sign or draft in order to replace Olivier Vernon.

The Giants will likely sign someone, but there is a talented, young player already on the Giants that most people seem to be forgetting about. In the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Giants selected Lorenzo Carter.

Why Lorenzo Carter Might Breakout In 2019

Lorenzo Carter was a mid-round steal for the Giants in last year’s draft. He was tremendously talented, but he was also a raw prospect that needed time to develop. With his rookie season under his belt, Carter is primed to breakout in his sophomore season.

In his rookie season, Lorenzo showed a lot of potential. His play was limited because the Giants had Vernon, but in 2019, Carter should see more playing time. Carter only started in 2 games in 2018, but he played in 15.

Through those 15 games, Carter totaled 43 tackles and 7 tackles for loss. Carter was also good rushing the passer with 4 sacks and 10 quarterback hits. Considering his minimal playing time, Lorenzo Carter was highly efficient.

According to Pro Football Focus, Lorenzo Carter finished with an overall grade of 65.8. This grade ranked Carter as the 58th edge defender in the NFL, which is not bad for a rookie. On top of that, Carter’s grade was top 5 at his position amongst all rookies in 2018. Carter has the potential to surpass first and second round players with an expanded role in 2019.

Check out some Lorenzo Carter highlights below:

Athletic is an understatement when discussing Lorenzo Carter. He is a super-freak. At last year’s NFL Combine, Carter ran a speedy 4.50 forty-yard dash. That was the second fastest time out of all edge defenders in last year’s draft class.

Fans should not forget about Lorenzo Carter when discussing the Giants’ options on defense. Carter was one of the most hyped mid-round rookies heading into the 2018 season. He deserves even more hype in 2019.

After showing promise in 2018, Carter will have more opportunities in 2019. If he is able to capitalize on these opportunities, Carter will secure the starting edge job for the Giants. Carter, with a bit more consistency, could progress into an elite speed rusher.

New York Yankees Prepared To Unleash New Pitching Acquisition

Some say his pitching is “disgusting,” others simply watch in awe as his backdoor slider whistles past the standing batter. Everyone in that sequence of events is enjoying New York Yankees new acquisition Adam Ottavino’s pitching, even the batter who just struck out swinging. A nod of the head is all it takes to appreciate the dominance of his game.

Fellow pitcher, Dellin Betances, commented on Ottavino and the quality he brings to the Yankees:

“He’s been unbelievable. His stuff is disgusting,” Betances said after the Yankees’ 6-5 Grapefruit League victory over the Pirates on Sunday. “Everything he has, a lot of movement. It’s going to be fun to watch him.”

Ottavino featured in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game, making his fourth appearance of the spring. He struck all three batters out and showed why the Yanks invested $27 million over three years for the righty.

“That was pretty lights-out,” manager Aaron Boone said. “You know when guys on defense are running off talking about it, like, ‘That’s not fair.’ That was one of those when you see the highlights of Otto, you can add that one to it. The ability to run the fastball back, obviously the slider, the command to both sides. That was a pretty showy performance.”

What should the New York Yankees expect from Ottavino?

The 33-year-old reliever finished 2018 with an impressive 2.43 ERA. His 112 strikeouts over 75 games were the most in his entire career, beating his second best by 31. He allowed 21 runs in 77.2 innings – averaging one run per 3.67 innings.

Adding a reliever like the former Rocky to the bullpen immediately makes the Yankees’ back end pitching rotation one of the best in baseball. Having players like Betances, Ottavino, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman will be extremely significant in a potential World Series caliber 2019 season.

One Yankees pitcher needs more time to prepare:

With only about three weeks left before Opening Day, the Bombers will be looking to work their active pitchers to ensure they’re prepared for an MLB workload. Betances has struggled with his command and velocity, but Boone doesn’t seem too worried about it.

“We keep getting asked about the velocity, which we’re not overly concerned about,” Boone said. “I think that’s just building arm strength as well. I thought maybe today he tried to manufacture it a little bit, so he lost a little bit of his command and labored out there. We want him to just continue to stay in his mechanics because that’s a thing he has done so well over the last year. The velo and arm strength will get there.”

Betances has shown his velocity and command in the past, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about his slow start. He did begin his spring program a bit late, which is why he’s lagging behind the others. There’s no question he will be ready when the lights come on and 50,000 fans are hollering his name.

 

New York Giants: Is Eli Manning Overpaid? Bleacher Report Says Yes.

It’s the offseason and that means there’s plenty of New York Giants themed hot takes to go around, and many of those will naturally revolve around the quarterback situation of the team and particularly Eli Manning, who has become something of a divisive figure in the fanbase over the last year or so, mainly because of the debate on whether Manning should stay or go. In such a debate, one factor that’s very important is finances.

Obviously, Manning’s salary is one of the largest ones on the team payroll, and that cap hit could be a factor in whether or not the Giants make big improvements this year. At $23.2M, no player on the team has a higher cap hit than Manning for 2019, not even star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. or expensive left tackle Nate Solder.

Manning had the 17th most touchdowns for quarterbacks last season but will have the 10th highest overall cap hit in 2019, which shows a bit of a disparity in pay and performance. But is Manning truly overpaid? That’s what Bleacher Report believes, according to their article on the most overpaid player on each team.

Manning has made just one Pro Bowl since putting together a strong 2012 season. He hasn’t led the Giants to a single playoff win during that stretch, and he’s thrown at least 10 more interceptions than any other quarterback in the league over the same span.

While the numbers listed here are true, it is worth nothing that the writer of the article may have not followed the Giants too closely. The article also calls Manning “one of the worst signal-callers in pro football for more than half a decade running”, which is an extreme exaggeration even when considering Manning’s struggles during the past couple of years.

But even if Manning isn’t one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, does he deserve to be the most paid Giant? Should the team have moved on from Manning to save up cap space for a full rebuild, since it seems that Manning’s deal won’t be restructured? Or should the Giants hope that a pay cut happens after all? Or is nothing wrong and the team is handling things fine right now?

It’s a complex issue, and it deals with whether or not a player being a franchise legend warrants them being paid above their current talents. And for that issue, there might not be an objectively right answer.

New York Yankees Top Prospect Turning Heads In Spring Training

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

When New York Yankees top prospect Estevan Florial was chosen to feature in the Grapefruit League this spring, not many knew what he would bring to the table. His immense athleticism and speed were as apparent as ever, but a string of injuries affected his hitting significantly in 2018.

Thus far, Florial is 7-for-20 at the plate, hitting .350 with five runs scored, two doubles, one homer, four RBIs, two walks, five strikeouts, and four stolen bases. In other words, he’s proven why he belongs on the shortlist to be called up to the majors.

The YEstevan Florial brings a different dynamic to the New York Yankees:

The Yankees don’t have a true base runner than can steal bases and put runners in scoring position. You could make the argument that Brett Gardner is ‘that’ guy, but his role is diminishing with every passing season. Florial brings that aspect to the game, and it could be a huge positive moving forward.

Players are noticing how talented Florial is:

When All-Star’s are noticing talent, you know there’s something to write home about. Slugger Aaron Judge commented on one specific at-bat of Estevan’s:

“The swing he had in Clearwater, an opposite field, middle-in, line drive three-run homer, you don’t see that too often,’’ Judge said.

“We were playing catch the other day,’’ Judge further commented, according to the New York Post, “and he was playing catch with somebody and I was playing catch with [Giancarlo] Stanton, right before we did an infield-outfield.’’

Florial said to Judge, “Let’s throw it over the fence.’’

“From here? All the way out past center field?’ Florial said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, all right, and I crow-hopped and threw it and my ball barely just scraped over the wall. He threw that thing dang near on Dale Mabry out there. It was about 50 feet past mine. It was impressive.’’

If Judge’s gushing optimism for Florial didn’t cut it, maybe legend Willie Randolph can convince you:

“Florial reminds me of a young Bernie Williams,’’ Randolph said. “He glides when he runs, just like Bernie. His game flows. I’m excited for him.’’

Earning more reps and working his way up through the minor leagues will be the goal for Florial in 2019. He’s an extremely talented young player that has as much potential as anybody, but remaining healthy and gaining confidence will be his biggest challenge in the season ahead. Having a good spring at the plate and in the field certainly helps elevate those two factors.

New York Giants Need To Prioritize These Two Players In Free Agency

The New York Giants have seemingly taken a more serious approach toward building the offensive line ever since general manager Dave Gettleman was hired. Adding players like Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jamon Brown, and now Kevin Zeitler has changed the entire course of the offense and Eli Manning’s career.

With Brown likely on his way out as Zeitler will take over at right guard, the Giants are in need of a starting right tackle. It’s possible they could utilize their first/second round pick on a tackle, but I expected them to target one of Gettleman’s draft picks in Carolina – Daryl Williams.

What would Williams bring to the New York Giants?

The 6’6″, 330-pound tackle could arguably be the perfect fit for Big Blue. With only $27 million in cap space, there will be heavy competition for the offensive lineman, and the Giants have to limit how much they spend.

Williams is coming off an injury-riddled 2018 season as he tore his MCL and dislocated his knee during training camp. But, at 26-years-old, the Panther could give the Giants safety at a position that has been manned by Chad Wheeler and Bobby Hart the last three years.

The second-team All-Pro in 2017 ranked as one of the best right tackles in the NFL – 5th. He finished 33rd in pass-blocking efficiency in his last full year, which averages in the middle of the pack.

The Giants should look towards a well-known safety for secondary support:

I don’t anticipate Gettleman bringing in any players that mimic Landon Collins exactly. The fact of the matter is that his inability to cover tight ends was troublesome and a liability. Letting him walk is essentially letting an elite run-stopping option go, but his lack of specific skills will likely influence the Giants in finding a dual-threat safety.

Tyrann Mathieu, Houston Texans free safety, is a fantastic option in free agency. He would be a massive upgrade over Curtis Riley in the backfield, especially in regards to tackles and picking the right angles. Riley was devastatingly bad at angling his tackles to stop runners in the secondary.

Mathieu, recorded 89 combined tackles acting as safety and occasional cornerback. He earned two interceptions and eight passes defended. Having a player like the Honey Badger in the secondary theoretically takes pages out of the opposing offense’s playbook.

Most offensive coordinators will target weaknesses on the defense, and taking away the deep ball allows the Giants to keep the ball in front of them and swarm, similar to what the Dallas Cowboys do.

Bringing on a player like Mathieu won’t be cheap, but he could be secured on a two-year deal worth $16 million.

 

 

 

How The New York Yankees Should Utilize Pitcher Chad Green

New York Yankees, Chad Green

Chad Green’s name has been thrown out by writers and fans as a pitcher who could “open” a game for the New York Yankees during the time that Luis Severino (shoulder inflammation) and CC Sabathia (recovery from angioplasty) are on the Injured List.

In 2018, it was announced that Chad Green was going to be stretched out as a starter; however, that role never materialized as he had no games as a starter as it turned out.  In 2016, Green had 8 starts with a 2-4 record, 4.73 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.  He had one start in 2017, his breakout season out of the bullpen.  He went two innings against the Baltimore Orioles, with a 2.41 ERA, gave up 2 ER and had a a 0.70 WHIP.

Green certainly has high win totals coming out of the bullpen.  In 2017, he had a 5-0 record (with 5 holds) in 41 games out of the bullpen and sported a 1.83 ERA.  In 2018, he posted an 8-3 record (with 13 holds) with a 2.50 ERA.  With the lack of starting pitching depth both in ’18 and in ’19, it is no wonder that Yankee fans first think of Green when it comes to stretching out a reliever to take a starting role and be a winner.

In this case, however, according to Tom Gatto of sporting news.com, Aaron Boone may employ an opener; he told reporters on Wednesday:

“In a long stretch of games and you wanted to give a guy an extra day. [Or] you felt like it’s a little softer landing for some guys to let them start from the back end of the lineup and give them a time and a half through,” Boone said, per ESPN.com.

The Yankees may look to employ an opener, that is, a reliever who specializes in getting hitters out in high leverage situations – and what more high leverage situation is there than the first inning of a ballgame when the starting pitcher is facing the toughest hitters in the opposing club’s lineup?

According to Zach Kram of theringer.com, “batters have hit 10 percent better than league average in the first this season, which is the best mark in any inning.”

Could the Yankees utilize Green as an “opener?”

What better spot for Green than the first inning of a game where his 97 mph fastball will serve as a harsh wake-up call to opposing hitters?  According to Brock Hammond of pinstripealley.com, Green “was top 20 in fWAR for relievers, which was the second-best figure for a reliever without a save.  Green’s 1.78 BB/9 was best on the entire Yankee staff, too.”  

Green isn’t likely to walk hitters and is likely to generate swings and misses in the first inning to set the table for, perhaps Luis Cessa or Domingo German to come in and face the middle and lower parts of the order and to face the top of the order fewer times.  

For now, the Yankees have said they don’t plan to look outside the organization, though that may change given the right circumstances, so expect to see Green play a key role not only out of the bullpen in high leverage situations but also at the opening of the game to set the table for what the Yankees are hoping will be success.