BREAKING: New York Giants Trade Odell Beckham Jr. In Stunning Deal

The New York Giants have shocked the entire NFL and traded star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns in return for a first-round pick, a third-round pick, and safety Jabrill Peppers.

Beckham, drafted in the 2014 NFL draft, will provide the Giants with two new picks and a safety, a position the team desperately needed to upgrade. Now, the team is due $16 million in dead-cap this season and will walk into the draft two two first-round picks.

The young star has been injury prone throughout his career, missing 2017 with a broken ankle and the end of 2018 with a groin injury.

The Cleveland Browns now have an offense consisting of Baker Mayfield, Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and Kareem Hunt. An astonishing move that will send the Giants’ fan-base into a frenzy.

Moving forward, the Giants are expected to spend the first-rounder on a quarterback and potential pass rusher. My primary question now is: Who will be the No. 1 receiver for the Giants? Sterling Shepard will have a big role to fill in 2019, or Gettleman could elect to address the position in the draft ahead.

Falcons Land New York Giants Guard Jamon Brown In Free Agency

The changes on the offensive line are continuing with the New York Giants, and just like everyone expected, offensive guard Jamon Brown is moving on and will sign a deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Brown joined the Giants after being picked up by waivers in the middle of the season from the Los Angeles Rams, but just because Brown was from the waiver wire didn’t mean that he wasn’t an impact player last season.

Brown helped to stabilize the offensive line play after joining the team at the end of October and becoming a starter in week 10, following the failure of the Patrick Omameh signing which did anything but live up to the expectations of fans and coaches alike. Brown would keep his spot as a starter until the end of the 2018 season, but joined the Giants in the last year of his contract and would not sign a new deal with the team.

Instead, the Giants made a move for Cleveland Browns guard Kevin Zeitler to play on the other side of Will Hernandez, who has become established as a starter after only one year. With the Giants replacing Brown with Zeitler, Brown is expected to sign a deal with the Atlanta Falcons according to WSB’s Zach Klein. The prospective deal would be for three years,

It looks like everyone wins in this situation. Brown was able to play a year for the Giants before getting a new deal elsewhere, and the Giants improved their offensive line in the second half of the 2018 season before trading for a higher rated guard. Will Zeitler outperform Brown? That remains to be seen, but in all likelihood, the answer should be yes.

BREAKING: New York Giants Sign Veteran Defensive Back

The New York Giants have finally made a move in free agency, securing 14-year veteran and now former Arizona Cardinal Antoine Bethea.

The 34-year-old has had an illustrious career as a safety and defensive back, moving around the field to play coverage and box. The deal between the Giants and Bethea is expected to be a two-year deal for minimum money. General manager Dave Gettleman has kept quiet in the first two days of free agency, choosing to pass on the big-name free agents in favor of second-tier options that cost less.

How did Antoine Bethea perform in 2018?

The Cardinals strong safety finished 2018 with a 64.6 grade, according to PFF. His 121 combined tackles and four passes defended were impressive, and he will likely play more of a free safety role at this point in his career. I expect him to take over for Curtis Riley, as it’s possible the Giants keep him as a reserve option in case of injury.

In 2017, Bethea played free safety under DC James Bettcher, finishing as a top 10 safety in the league. It was certainly a resurgence for the veteran, and hopefully, the Giants can extract any remaining value.

 

The New York Giants Should Target An Under The Radar Pass Rusher In Free Agency

The New York Giants defense was one of the worst in the NFL in 2018. One of the reasons for the defense’s failure was the lack of a pass-rush. The Giants finished 31st in the NFL with only 30 total sacks in the 2018 season.

Upgrading the defense is a priority in the 2019 offseason. Especially after the Giants traded away their best pass-rusher. While the Giants do have a potential replacement on the roster, nothing is certain at this point. The Giants are likely to add another edge defender through free agency or the draft.

With a lack of cap space, the Giants probably will not be shopping at the top of the market. Luckily, there are solid free agent options that will go under the radar, such as former Denver Broncos edge defender Shaquil Barrett.

Why The Giants Should Sign Shaquil Barrett

Edge defenders are an important position for any team trying to compete for a Super Bowl. The New York Giants’ Super Bowl runs relied on their impressive passing rushing abilities.

With great emphasis placed on the edge position, players will get paid large salaries in the 2019 free agency period. At the top of the market are Preston Smith and Za’darius Smith. The Giants are reportedly interested in the Smiths, but with less than $30 million in cap space, they are not likely to be the highest bidder.

With Preston and Za’darius expected to receive around $14 million per year, the Giants might want to sign an under-the-radar edge defender to a lesser contract.

Shaquil Barrett, formerly of the Denver Broncos, is a free agent in 2019. Barett was replaced the last offseason by the Broncos’ first-round pick, Bradley Chubb. Shaquil showed flashes in Denver but was never given an opportunity as the starter.

According to Spotrac, Shaquil Barrett has a market value of a $7,126,944 salary. This low-risk, high-reward deal could be perfect for the Giants. This deal would be half the price of a top-tier edge rusher but has the potential to provide even more productivity.

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The Broncos, of course, have one of the best edge defenders in the NFL in Von Miller. It was difficult for Barrett to make his way on the field with Miller running the show. Regardless, Barett was solid when he was on the field. He posted a Pro Football Focus grade in 2018 of 75.9 and he has graded at 75.0 or higher in each of his first four NFL seasons.

Despite his lack of playing time, Shaquil Barrett proved to be a quality player for the Broncos’ defense. He did not start a single game in 2018, but he played in 13 and totaled 3 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, 28 tackles, and 7 quarterback hits. These stats do not tell the full story of Shaquil Barrett.

Barrett has the potential to be a serious force off the edge. If Barrett were to become a starter in Big Blue, he could surpass Olivier Vernon’s production levels.

New York Yankees: Luis Cessa Primed For Breakout 2019 Season

New York Yankees, Luis Cessa

Since the 2016 season, the New York Yankees have called up pitcher Luis Cessa 14 times, half of them coming this past year. With a solid fastball ranging between 96-98 mph, Cessa offers value as a backend starter or relief option.

After putting up four shutout innings last Saturday, it seems as if the Yanks can finally trust him with a bigger role, and he might be forced into one at the beginning of the season with Luis Severino and CC Sabathia missing time. The two starters will likely begin the period on the injury list, which ultimately presents an opportunity for Cessa to claim the 5th starting spot if Sabathia misses any extended time in 2019.

While spring stats aren’t as telling as you’d hope, starting off on a high note and bringing momentum into the regular season could do the trick for the young Mexican pitcher.

It’s too soon for the New York Yankees to trust Cessa completely:

Despite an impressive spring this year, he’s been rather inconsistent throughout the course of his career. He’s 5-11 with a 4.71 ERA over 43 games in the MLB. In 2019, he finished with a 1-4 record. His 5.24 ERA in 16 games didn’t help provide optimism for the future.

But, there’s always room for improvement, and clearly, manager Aaron Boone saw the value in giving him another chance to take his game to the next level.

Cessa stated after his impressive outing on Saturday:

“I’m focusing on fastball command because when you have fastball command, you can use your secondary pitches to finish the hitter,” said Cessa, who has 10 strikeouts in nine innings of play.

Boone commented on Cessa’s performance this spring:

“His fastball for registering high on the gun is a pitch that hitters see pretty well,” Boone said. “So if he doesn’t locate that pitch really well, that’s a pitch that sometimes has gotten him in some trouble when he misses out over the plate. But we’ve also seen him have dominate stretches, too, because his breaking ball can be such a weapon.”

With the 26-year-old, it all comes down to location and accuracy. If he can maintain his command in the campaign ahead, he could be primed for a breakout season with the Bronx Bombers.

 

What the New York Knicks Should Look For In the Final 15 Games

Believe it or not, the Mets and Yankees are heading up north within the next two weeks, which means basketball season is nearing an end. With the New York Knicks already out of playoff contention, what do they have to play for in the final 15 games?

Well, they have a lot to play for with a big offseason coming.

Nobody on the team likes losing. Nobody. The players play hard day in and day out, they don’t care about tanking to get Zion Williamson, they want to win now, so they can have a job next year, whether it is with the Knicks or another team. If the younger players can scrape together a few a wins through the last stretch of the season, I’m sure the players would be happy with their performance, on the other hand, the front office might be voting against wins.

The New York Knicks are in a good and bad spot for the No. 1 pick:

The Knicks are in prime position to land a top pick in the draft. With the new draft lottery rules, even though the Knicks(or the team with the worst record) will finish last, they only have a 14 percent chance at getting a top pick, and could slide all the way down to fifth. If the Knicks young core pulls out a couple wins, the front office could be upset because it could cost them a chance at Zion, R.J. Barrett, or Ja Morant.

The Knicks also want to finish the season strong to showcase the young talent on the team to potential free agents. If the Knicks can finish strong, while it might mean a slightly lower draft pick, can show potential free agents (Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving) that the Knicks have a young core that has potential to help bring a championship back to New York.

Another important thing the Knicks need to do is see which current players could be back with the team next season. Do players like Mario Hezonja or Emmanuel Mudiay have a future with the team? My guess(and hope) for both those players is no. The Knicks have too many point guards, especially if Irving comes to New York. Another question is if Frank Ntilikina can come back this season and showcase himself to either Scott Perry or another front office for a potential trade.

There is a lot at stake for the Knicks through the final 15 games. It could determine the direction of not only the players but the franchise’s direction.

   

New York Giants: The Truth About An Odell Beckham Jr. Trade

New York Giants, Odell Beckham Jr.

No, I’m not going to break down three different trade destinations New York Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could end up going at the end of the 2019 free agency period. In fact, I will be breaking down the exact opposite, why potential trades for the esteemed wide-out are all smoke and mirrors.

Good general managers know how to utilize the media to their advantage – pushing specific narratives to cover up their plans and pull teams away from their intended targets. Beckham Jr. is just one of those players that will always show up on your news feed for one reason or the next.

Trading Beckham simply doesn’t make sense, and if you don’t believe me, maybe Gettleman’s quote “we didn’t sign up to trade him,” will convince you of the truth.

The New York Giants aren’t foolish to entertain a potential deal including Odell Beckham Jr.:

If teams are willing to part with significant draft capital to secure a player, why not listen? At the end of the day, the NFL is a business and every player is for sale.

This idea doesn’t imply the Giants are shopping Beckham but rather letting teams come to them with trade details and listening. It’s a harmless method of negotiation. It doesn’t mean they will agree, and laughing the Browns away after a recent offer attests to that.

Trading OBJ away only hurts the team:

Not only would OBJ leaving be detrimental to the offense, but it also would affect the locker room and the continuity of the team. If the Giants were smart, they would utilize the illustrious receiver until he begins to see a decline. It’s all about timing with trades and grabbing the most value from a team that feels they can use talent in the short-term.

Beckham has racked up more than 1,000 yards in four of five seasons, the odd one out is the year he broke his ankle. His catch-rate has hovered around 60%, which is solid for a receiver dealing with Eli Manning and a terrible offensive line. The Giants have made it their mission to improve Manning’s protection in 2019, which should allow them to feed Beckham the ball more efficiently. The QB-WR duo haven’t enjoyed a good offensive line since before Beckham was even in the league, so the season ahead could be his best one yet.

 

New York Yankees: Should We Be Worried About Gary Sanchez’s Hitting?

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

Generally speaking, spring training stats aren’t the most accurate in terms of translation to the regular season. However, they do indicate flow and confidence leading up to Opening Day. For the New York Yankees, we’ve seen players like Estevan Florial and Aaron Judge dominate at the plate and in the field, but others have struggled to get going.

Starting catcher, Gary Sanchez, has once again looked porous at the plate. During Grapefruit League play, Sanchez is 2-for-13 with one RBI and five strikeouts. The injury narrative is getting old and it’s time for “El Gary” to show why he’s a capable starter at the MLB level.

First baseman Greg Bird has lifted his game in the midst of a position battle after suffering through foot injuries the last two years, why can’t Sanchez? The simple answer – timing.

The catcher has looked fantastic defensively, but his bat seems to be a little bit behind. Spring ball offers the valued experience and opportunity to adapt to real speed at the top level, and it looks as if the 26-year-old isn’t there yet in his program.

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone stated in regard to his hitting:

“His work behind the scenes has been strong. Now, it’s about getting regular at-bats. … He’s trying to find his timing offensively.”

Sanchez’s offense separated himself from the rest while he climbed the farm system ranks. His struggle seems to be more mental than physical. His confidence was clearly at an all-time low in 2018, earning a .186 ERA with 18 homers and 94 strikeouts.

Two groin problems forced the starting catcher out twice last year, which surely affected his efficiency at the plate and ability to run the bases.

Gary Sanchez is bound for improvement:

Last weekend, Sanchez looked comfortable at the plate, hitting a sacrifice fly to center in the first inning and a dart to center in the fourth that was impressively tracked down by Cedric Mullins.

“That was probably the best I’ve felt in the box so far,” Sanchez said of his spring.

There’s no question that the right-handed batter can’t return to form in the season ahead. He will need to focus in and regain his confidence at the plate in the next few weeks, as the regular season will present different challenges.