Former New York Giants Coaches Praised By Nate Solder

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

The New York Giants didn’t have good coaching last year but they did have popular coaches, it seems.

The 2019 season was a story of the team dropping out of contention for the playoffs early in the year and putting up abysmal performances through the important middle weeks of the season, and much of the blame for that went on the coaching staff including head coach Pat Shurmur – however, despite how things went down, there’s still players on the Giants team that will support Shurmur right down to this current day.

Nate Solder is one of those players, and he had some good words for 9News.com about Shurmur, following Shurmur’s addition to the Broncos staff as the offensive coordinator.

“That’s excellent. You’ve got a great staff. Growing up, I was a Broncos fan and I just wish the best for all those guys,” said Solder, who is from Denver himself and played for the University of Colorado in college.

“I think he did a great job keeping things dynamic. I think he did a great job of highlighting our best players. We had a lot of success. That wasn’t noticed in our wins and losses but I felt like we did some good things,” Solder continued, speaking about former head coach Pat Shurmur and what he brings to the Broncos as a coordinator.

It’s no secret of course that the Giants didn’t have a ton of success with Shurmur, but he appears to have been a more popular figure in the locker room than his predecessor Ben McAdoo – Shurmur did, after all, have more defenders during the season, and McAdoo didn’t get the same treatment with players even praising him in the offseason following his firing.

Shurmur might not have had success but there is one way that Joe Judge could imitate him as he eases into the head coaching role this year, and that’s forming good bonds with the players and becoming a popular figure in the locker room.

New York Yankees 2020 Season Preview: Gio Urshela

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

New York Yankees‘ third baseman Gio Urshela had probably the most surprising season of all players on the team in 2020.

Urshela started the year in AAA and was called up after just two games to replace the injured Miguel Andujar. He went right to work and pieced together an incredible season.

The 28-year-old third-baseman native to Colombia hit .314 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs. Additionally, his slugging was .534, and his OPS was .889.

Urshela was never known as an offensive threat before 2019, but he showcased his newfound success all season long. He previously was a defense-first player, but that may have changed even though his defense hasn’t.

He had a .954 fielding percentage with 13 errors. A lot of the plays he missed were routine or just bad throws, and that can’t happen. But, there were a ton of tough he played that not many players can make.

2020 Expectations:

Gio Urshela is expected to have a year similar to 2019.

It seems that he will continue to be the starting third baseman, with Miguel Andujar learning new positions and preparing to DH a lot more. To maintain the third base role, Urshela needs to continue to hit around .300 and drive in runs. He needs to be a bit more consistent in the field, and make the routine plays along with the tough ones.

If Urshela doesn’t perform well in 2020, Andujar could easily shift back to third, so he needs to play well. One cold streak for Urshela and one hot streak for Andujar could be it for Urshela. It’s expected that the Yankees will have a relatively short leash on Gio. His offense in 2019 could’ve possibly been a fluke, but there’s only one way to find out.

 

New York Giants: Leonard Williams Looking For 15 Million Annually

The NFL offseason is underway and free agency is about a month away. Soon, teams will start negotiating with pending free agents and deciding whether to re-sign them or let them walk. The New York Giants have a big decision to make with one of their free agents, Leonard Williams.

The Giants traded for Leonard Williams ahead of the 2019 NFL trade deadline. Williams was acquired from the Jets in exchange for the Giants’ 2020 third-round pick and a conditional 2021 draft pick. If the Giants extend Williams, the 2021 draft pick given to the Jets will be a fourth-round selection. If Williams walks away from New York, then the draft selection will be a fifth-round pick.

Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman has been criticized endlessly for making this trade. The Giants are a rebuilding team, so it does not make a ton of sense to give up valuable draft assets for an interior defensive lineman to play eight games before he leaves in free agency. This could put added pressure on Gettleman and force him to re-sign Williams.

But re-signing Leonard Williams will not be cheap. According to recent reports from Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, Leonard Williams is seeking a contract worth around $15 million annually. The 25-year-old wants a “big contract” because he believes he is a “top-tier interior defensive lineman.” But, at such a large price tag, should the Giants really re-sign Leonard Williams?

Is Leonard Williams Worth That Salary?

The Giants will need to make their decision on Leonard Williams soon. They gave up two draft picks to acquire Williams, and it would look ridiculous if after trading those picks Williams is only on this team for eight games. But, the young man wants to get paid big-time, and the Giants might not find him to be worthy of such a lucrative contract.

In his eight games with the Giants, Leonard Williams recorded only 0.5 sack, 26 combined tackles, and 2 tackles for loss. These are pretty underwhelming stats and the Giants should expect more out of a player that they will be paying $15 million annually.

However, the advanced stats are a little bit more encouraging. In his eight games with the Giants, Leonard Williams racked up 17 pressures and 10 quarterback knockdowns. He did not finish many of the plays with sacks, but he was still disruptive and consistently in the face of the opposing quarterbacks.

Could the New York Giants draft Jeff Okudah with the 4th overall pick?

New York Giants, Jeff Okudah

The departure of Janoris Jenkins in the latter portion of the 2020 season poses a challenge for the New York Giants this offseason. Do they stick with DeAndre Baker and a slew of younger options in the secondary, or do they allocate some of their available caps-pace towards a player like Logan Ryan or Byron Jones to feature as the team’s No. 1 corner?

There is an alternative, and while some might stray away from this train of thought, Ohio State standout corner, Jeff Okudah, could be a fantastic option for the Giants with the 4th overall selection.

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Okudah is a 6-1, 200-pound corner that has exception man-coverage abilities and contains some of the quickest feet in college. With a severe void in the secondary, Okudah represents a long-term solution at cornerback alongside Baker, who isn’t ready to hold down the top spot yet.

The New York Giants can land a top-tier defender in Okudah:

The Ohio State CB is a tenacious player, crowding early routes and forcing opposing pass-catchers to adapt to his style of play and not the other way around. He makes route-running problematic and can stick on to the hip of receivers like white on rice. One of his most significant developments has been his ball-skills, as he racked up three interceptions last season, along with nine passes defended.

While Baker was primarily an on-ball cover-corner in college, he struggled massively in 2019 with off-ball coverage. Okudah is versed in both and can quickly develop into an NFL cornerback, which is often the negative side to selecting corners early in the draft. The adaptation period is usually the longest when it comes to CBs.

One of the most exciting aspects of Okudah is that he can play on an island. His fantastic vertical speed and transition abilities allow him to match up one V one in coverage, essentially taking the opposing team’s top receiver out of the game. He has an NFL comparison of Jalen Ramsey.

Why The New York Giants Shouldn’t Cut Nate Solder

New York Giants, Nate Solder

When the New York Giants signed left tackle Nate Solder in 2018 to a four-year, $62 million deal, expectations were high. The deal made him the then highest-paid LT in the NFL, something fans were a bit hesitant about. And through the first two years of the deal, fans have every right to be disappointed in the play of the former first-round pick out of Colorado. After following up a mediocre first year in New York, in which he allowed 8.0 sacks, Solder saw an even greater dip in his play this past season. He gave up the most sacks on the team, with 12.5 in 16 games. But there are three reasons why the Giants shouldn’t cut their ties with Solder, and here’s why:

Why The New York Giants Shouldn’t Cut Nate Solder

The lack of replacement options

Fans have suggested cutting Solder since his struggles started in 2018, but very few of them have thought about how difficult it would be to replace him. The easiest thing to do would be to pursue a tackle in free agency, but the choices would be limited. The best LT available this offseason is the Colts’ Anthony Castonzo, who is supposed to command top-level money. The next best option is DJ Humphries, who has been speaking with the Cardinals about a contract extension for multiple months. In other words, free agency wouldn’t provide anyone better.

The next place the Giants could look is in the draft, but there’s one issue with this plan. The majority of starting left tackles in today’s NFL are drafted in the first round. Big Blue has way too many holes elsewhere to be spending the fourth overall pick on a left tackle. Plus, they already have a gaping hole at right tackle that needs to be dealt with. Attempting to find Solder’s replacement would be significantly more complicated than just keeping him.

The contract situation

When Solder signed his four-year, $62 million deal two years ago, many thought the team overpaid a bit. During his first seven years in the NFL, all of which were spent with New England, not once was he an all-pro or even a pro bowler. Yet the Giants paid him as if he was the game’s best LT. It was a mistake then, and it would not be smart trying to get out of it now.

His cap hit of $19.5 million is among the highest of all offensive linemen in 2020. Cutting him would leave the Giants with $13 million in dead money, and would only create $6.5 million in cap space. Financially speaking, cutting Solder would set the Giants back more than it would help them.

His relationship with Joe Judge

Prior to playing in New York, Solder spent all of his career in New England. He was never a premier tackle, but he was more than solid. In his seven seasons, only once did he allow more than 6.0 sacks. Four times, he allowed 4.0 sacks or fewer and in 2017, the year before he became a Giant, he gave up only 3.0 sacks, resulting in just 19 yards lost. In other words, it’s not like he never had any talent to begin with.

It’s possible new head coach Joe Judge will be able to rediscover some of that talent. While Judge did coach special teams in New England and didn’t spend too much time around the offensive line, Judge still saw Solder succeed for years. He might not be able to make him a top-five tackle, but he definitely will be able to get Solder back on track.

The concept of cutting Nate Solder wouldn’t help Big Blue in any way. All it would do is create another hole on the offensive line, lead to more dead money, and prevent the possibility of Judge fixing him. The Giants need to keep Solder in 2020, and quite possibly in 2021 as well.

New York Mets Still Want to Sell Team… But Who Will Buy?

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

I reported earlier in the week, when talks of salvaging the sale of the New York Mets to Steve Cohen were at its highest, that the deal was dead. It was confirmed in the past 24 hours that, yes, the sale to minority owner, Steve Cohen, was no more. The Wilpon’s are still set on trying to sell the team. But based on what’s coming out about the deal, who will honestly bite?

Ceremonial Roles Aren’t So Ceremonial

The two Wilpon’s, after surrendering majority control to Cohen in 2025, would still keep the roles they currently have with the team (Fred as managing general partner, and Jeff the COO). Everyone, including Cohen, thought that the Wilpon’s would serve as the Royal Family to the Mets. You know how Queen Elizabeth is queen, but the monarchy hasn’t had legitimate legislative power in real long time? Every New York Mets fan assumed that would be the case here, and were fine with that. But the language the Wilpon’s worked in, late in finalizing the deal, stated clearly that Cohen would still be ceding the authority to make decisions as to the managing general partner, and as the COO to both Wilpon’s till at least 2030.

So why would anyone want to buy a team, to only have the owners stick around making key baseball decisions till 2030, and not surrendering control of the team till 2025?

Could you imagine if CBS still were making decisions with George Steinbrenner as the owner of the Yankees for 10 years after George became the owner? That’s basically what the Wilpon’s are trying to do. If you’re going to sell the team, SELL THE TEAM! Cut ties, rip the band-aid off, end all communications with the people who took over your job.

The desire for the Wilpon’s to establish this precedent will surely dampen any prospective buyers from taking ownership of the Mets. And at an asking price of $2.5 billion (half the value of the Yankees, but more than double the cost Derek Jeter bought the Marlins for), it seems unrealistic that the Wilpon’s will find a buyer, willing to settle for their terms much before the end of the 2020 season.

New York Jets: Should the Jets Look into Adding David Johnson?

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

There is speculation around the league that former all pro running back David Johnson might be released from the Arizona Cardinals at some point this offseason. David Johnson is a very accomplished running back and would be the perfect replacement for Le’veon Bell who is expected to be moved this offseason. The Jets offense was arguably the worst in the league this year so they need to add all the talent they can get, but should they be interested in David Johnson.

Production

David Johnson has been very productive over the course if his career with his best year coming in 2016 where he racked up over 2000 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns. Recently it seems that Johnson has lost a step after posting only 345 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns in 9 games for the Cardinals this past season. Johnson has also dealt with injuries two of the past three years so it’s fair to question if that has anything to do with his decline in production.

Contract

If the Arizona Cardinals cut David Johnson, they would have to pay him 10.2 million dollars minus whatever his new team will pay that season. Essentially the Jets could get David Johnson on a short-term deal and they wouldn’t have to worry about it affecting their cap heavily. If David Johnson were to be cut the Jets could offer him a two-year contract worth ten million dollars with the majority of the money backloaded into the second year of his deal.

Prediction

Although it wouldn’t be smart financially for the Cardinals to get rid of Johnson it could happen because of the emergence of Kenyan Drake this past season. I think the New York Jets would certainly entertain the idea of adding Johnson on a cheap deal but would rather go towards the draft to find younger talent.

New York Jets: Should the Jets Pursue Vic Beasley in Free Agency?

New York Jets, Vic Beasley

Pass rusher is one of the biggest needs the Jets need to conquer this offseason and it just so happens that a promising young pass rusher will hit the market in free agency. Vic Beasley is not expected to re-sign with the Atlanta Falcons and is set to hit free agency. The New York Jets should try to get Beasley but the question is how much do they value him?

Production

Vic Beasley came was once thought of as an up and coming superstar after a terrific 15.5 sack sophomore season. Unfortunately, Beasley never came anywhere close to that production ever again and has been average the past 3 years. Beasley has the ability to play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme and he is supremely athletic. The 2019 season was Beasley’s best since his sophomore year, he racked up 8 sacks and notched 42 total tackles and 12 QB hits. Beasley is only 27 and is in his prime if the Jets think that he can make a comeback then this move is worth the risk.

Contract

Beasley is going to enter a crowded pass-rusher market which will initially drive his price down unless teams get desperate after all the top pass rushers are gone. A contract for Vic Beasley is very tough to gauge because his value is dependent on what players like him will earn in free agency. The perfect contract comparison for Beasley is Dante Fowler Jr who got a 1 year 12-million-dollar deal with the Rams last offseason. The Jets might find that too pricey for a player who has been inconsistent his entire career and may opt to go with a safer yet more expensive option like Yannick Ngakoue.

Prediction

I believe the New York Jets will do their due diligence with Vic Beasley and offer him a 1 year prove-it deal for around 10-12 million dollars with 3 million guaranteed at signing. The Jets will consider Beasley’s inconsistency and injury history and potential when offering him a contract, but he will most likely be a fall back option in case Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue are gone.

New York Rangers Three Goalie Rotation: Henrik Lundqvist is the Odd Man Out

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

When the New York Rangers did not make a deal with Toronto to trade Alexandar Georgiev, it sent out a signal that they are likely to hold on to him and keep three goalies on their active roster. Unless the Rangers make a trade before the February 24 deadline, they will be rotating these goalies, and it looks like the odd man out in this situation will be their longtime netminder, Henrik Lundqvist.

Shesterkin to start for the New York Rangers on Sunday

On Saturday, head coach David Quinn announced that Igor Shesterkin would get the start for Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. This signals a pattern that seems to have Georgiev and Shesterkin sharing starts, with Lundqvist likely to serve as the backup. Shesterkin has a 4-1 record since joining the Rangers with a .922 save percentage and a 2.61 goals-against average. He has been everything the Rangers had hoped for when they called him up from Hartford a little over a month ago. Georgiev has played well in the time that he has started, going 12-10-1 this season with a .909 save percentage and 3.12 GAA.

What will happen to Henrik Lundqvist?

It does not appear that the Rangers really want to trade Georgiev, and there does not appear to be many teams that are willing to pay the price the Rangers want. With Toronto off the trade list, the only other team that has a glaring need for his services is the San Jose Sharks, and they will probably not offer an NHL top 6 forward. If the two youngsters rotate starts, this will leave Lundqvist as the backup, getting only an occasional start. Lundqvist is signed through next season at a cap hit of $8.5 million and owns a full no-move clause in his contract, which he does not appear willing to waive. A likely scenario has the Rangers making a clean break with the 37-year-old by buying out his contract in June, clearing $3 million in space for next season, while adding a $1.5 million cap hit for the following year.  The tough thing is that Lundqvist has not played badly this year, posting a 10-11-3 record this season with a .907 save percentage and a 3.13 goals-against average.

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone predicts big year for Stanton

Coming off a devastating year filled with injury after injury, Giancarlo Stanton is expected to have a big year with the New York Yankees. He seems to have fully recovered from everything he endured last year and is ready to go for 2020. Manager Aaron Boone has full confidence in his left fielder as well.

“G’s going to have a great year,” Boone said on YES Network’s Hot Stove. “Obviously the key for him is staying healthy, which was a challenge last year. He had a couple of freak things happen, especially the time he was coming back and he hurt the knee on a funky slide.”

Stanton has been working out all offseason and has been working on keeping his body healthy. Everyone has seen the video on Twitter that went viral of him:

Besides his physical condition, Boone talked about Stanton’s mindset heading into the new year. “I feel like Giancarlo is in such a good frame of mind. I felt that way all year last year. I felt like we were seeing that in the limited time he did play in the quality of his at-bats, his focus.”

Stanton played in only 18 games last season where he hit three home runs and knocked in 13 RBIs. The year prior which was his first season with the New York Yankees, Stanton slashed .266/.343/.509 with 34 home runs and 100 runs batted in.

“I feel like he’s in position to go out and have a great year and I’m confident he will,” Boone said. “The biggest thing is making sure we can keep him between the lines.”