New York Giants Interested In Kyle Van Noy

The NFL’s 2020 free agency period will begin this month. The New York Giants are set to have over $80 million to spend if they choose to. There is plenty of elite talent weeks away from hitting the open market that would fill positions of need for New York’s team.

The Giants are reportedly interested in a few big-name pass-rushers. The interest was reportedly mutual between the Giants and Yannick Ngakoue, prior to Yannick receiving the franchise tag (according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN). The Giants also have a mutual interest with Markus Golden in terms of a contract extension (Sports Illustrated). New York even has a mutual interest with big-name edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

There is another name to add to the Giants’ list of potential edge rusher targets in 2020: Kyle Van Noy.

The Giants’ Interest

According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Giants have an interest in signing New England’s free-agent pass-rusher Kyle Van Noy. This would likely only hold true if New York was unable to strike a deal with Jadeveon Clowney. But Van Noy would be an excellent value signing for the Giants.

Vacchiano estimates that Van Noy’s contract could “land in the $12 million per year range,” which is about half of what it would cost to sign Jadeveon Clowney.

In New England’s 2019 defense, Kyle Van Noy was moved to edge rusher. In this role, Van Noy totaled 60 pressures, 6.5 sacks, and a pressure rate of 13.8%, which ranked 26th best at his position (Pro Football Focus).

Though he is a great pass-rusher, Kyle Van Noy is an elite run defender. He earned an 85.4 run-defense grade on Pro Football Focus, an elite grade that ranked top-five at his position. He also totaled 56 combined tackles and 7 tackles for loss in 2019 as an edge rusher. As an off-ball linebacker in 2018, Kyle Van Noy racked up 92 combined tackles.

For only $12 million per year, Kyle Van Noy would be an excellent signing compared to the rest of the players on the market and their respective price tags.

Van Noy’s Possible Interest

Kyle Van Noy has spent his last three and a half seasons playing for the New England Patriots. The seven-year NFL veteran had a good relationship with Joe Judge, the Giants’ new head coach. Judge was with New England since 2012. 

When Van Noy learned of Judge’s promotion as New York’s new head coach, he was excited for his former special teams coordinator. While appearing on “The Pat McAfee Show” this offseason, Kyle described Joe Judge as a “ball of energy” and a “really, really good coach” that loves football. At the end of his discussion about Joe Judge, Kyle Van Noy exclaimed: “Go, Giants!”

Of course, Van Noy is probably just showing support for his former coach. But, being that he is an impending free agent, Kyle Van Noy could have been hinting at a desire to reunite with Joe Judge in New York. If that is what Van Noy wants, the Giants should be on board and should pursue him in free agency.

Will Kenny Atkinson be the Brooklyn Nets coach next year?

Brooklyn Nets, Kenny Atkinson

After one of the more exciting wins in recent memory, the Brooklyn Nets followed up their impressive victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday with a significant letdown the following night at home against the Grizzlies.  The final score was 118 – 79, a result indicative of how most of the game went.

The Nets have now lost 5 of their last six games. Kenny Atkinson has struggled to find consistent production from his players on a nightly basis. While many Nets fans have been significant supporters of the Coach’s overall job throughout his tenure with Brooklyn, some have begun to wonder if Atkinson is the right man to lead this soon to be star-studded team on a championship run.

Kenny Atkinson on the Hot Seat: Fair or Foul?

Regardless of how you look at it, Coach Atkinson has underwhelmed mightily this season. Last year was a pleasant surprise for the Nets, as they finished 42 – 40 and claimed the 6th seed in what was a highly competitive Eastern Conference. More importantly, there seemed to be a certain camaraderie and positive vibe around the team, often displayed by dances on the bench, in-game celebrations, or entertaining post-game interviews. Through 61 games this year, the Nets are 27-34. Despite being the 7th seed in the East, there hasn’t been much to dance about this season. In fact, the Grizzlies bench was caught on video mocking the Nets by doing some dancing of their own during their dominating win against Brooklyn on Wednesday night. As someone who covers the Nets, I have to bring up the question. Is it wrong to think Kenny Atkinson’s job is in jeopardy for next year? Let’s Debate:

The Good

Coach Atkinson has done a great job of filling the absence of Kyrie Irving by finding production through other avenues. He has given Spencer Dinwiddie the keys to this team, and Dinwiddie has responded by boasting a modest 20.5 points and 6.7 assists per game. Atkinson should also be commended for slowly bringing Caris Levert back into the fold, who has proven to be an elite shot-maker when healthy and an excellent complement to Dinwiddie.

For the most part, Brooklyn’s Coach has managed the media around his two sidelined superstars very well. A recent example would be Atkinson’s unwillingness to comment on whether or not he thought Irving and Durant will play in the Olympics this summer. He also has shown praise to Durant throughout his rehab process. Part of the reason KD initially agreed to sign with Brooklyn over the summer was because of Kenny Atkinson. According to an SNY article, Durant “really liked his [Atkinson’s] approach to his craft as a coach.” (click here to see full article)

The Bad

Atkinson has failed to create a consistent in-game rotation throughout the year. Part of this can be attributed to the loss of glue guys like Jared Dudley, Demarre Carroll, Ed Davis, and Treveon Graham. All players signed elsewhere in the off-season. Atkinson has struggled in finding essential roles for newcomers Taurean Prince, Wilson Chandler, and Garrett Temple, with Temple probably making the biggest impact out of the three.

He has also had to balance time between veteran big man Deandre Jordan and second-year talent Jarrett Allen, which has halted the progress of the young center as his minutes are down from last year. Even in the 20 games in which Atkinson was able to have Kyrie on the court, the Nets rotation has often looked disjointed and sloppy. It has almost seemed like Atkinson forced Kyrie into last year’s offense, and it just hasn’t worked.

It is also evident this Nets team has not played with the same toughness and flawless execution from last year. When teams lack that competitive edge, it is often because their coach is failing to motivate them to do so, although I don’t think Atkinson is 100% to blame. I do believe it has been harder for him to get players to buy in when many guys on the team are unsure of their roster spots for next year with the big guns (Durant & Kyrie) coming back. The effort just hasn’t been there for the majority of the year, and it has affected their execution significantly, as they rank just 23rd in the league in total offense.

The Verdict

Kenny Atkinson does not deserve to be on the hot seat quite yet, and for now, his job is safe. Assuming the Nets hold on to either the 7th or 8th playoff spot, Sean Marks should give Atkinson a shot to coach this Nets dream team when fully healthy. With the clear support of Marks, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (I think), Atkinson has been a major part of the successful culture change in Brooklyn should be able to keep his job for at least another year.

The Brooklyn Nets play at home against the Spurs at 7:30 pm EST tonight on YES.

New York Jets reportedly enter Trent Williams sweepstakes

New York Jets, Trent Williams

Adding the seven-time Pro Bowler from Washington would do wonders for the New York Jets’ future offensive prospects.

According to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, the New York Jets are looking into a trade for Washington Redskins offensive lineman Trent Williams.

Williams, 31, has been granted a request for a trade, and the Jets are one of several teams vying for his services. The Oklahoma alum has reached seven Pro Bowls during his time in Washington and made an All-Pro team in 2015.

Things have since soured between he and the Redskins after Williams was highly displeased with a medical procedure reported in April 2019. Williams had a growth removed from his head that was later revealed to be a type of cancer. Team doctors previously told Williams that the situation was not serious back in 2013.

Williams did not play in any games last season. He was activated in October but failed a medical exam when he experienced helmet discomfort due to post-surgical soreness. The Redskins drafted Williams fourth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.

New York would be a very compatible match for Williams. The Jets are in desperate need of blocking help, especially with talents like Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell manning their backfield. They allowed 52 sacks last season (third-worst in the NFL) while Bell posted the worst full-season tallies of his career. Eleven different blockers started at least one game on the line after injuries (including ailments to offseason additions Ryan Kalil and Kelchi Osemele) claimed several victims.

Adding Williams would also help make up for lost time in the Jets’ draft room. Prior to the selection of USC tackle Chuma Edoga in the most recent third round, the team had taken a lineman during the draft’s first two days since Vlad Ducasse in 2010 (second round). Getting a veteran like Williams (who is in the final year of a five-year, $68 million deal inked in 2015) could also potentially allow the Jets to use their upcoming first-round pick (11th overall) on a skill player.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Mets announce first round of spring training cuts

The New York Mets announced some names that would be cut from spring training camp on Friday. Tim Tebow was perhaps the highest-profile player among those who won’t stick with the group for now.

Besides Tebow, who will soon represent the Philippines in the preliminary stage of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) players such as left-handers Thomas Szapucki (the Mets’ No. 7 prospect according to MLB Pipeline) and Stephen Gonsalves, right-handers Franklyn Kilome (No. 12 prospect), Jordan Humphreys (No. 14 prospect), Matt Blackham, Stephen Nogosek, Nick Rumbelow and Francisco Ríos, and catchers Austin Bossart and David Rodríguez were cut.

Tebow didn’t have a particularly good spring training with the Mets this time around, but he will have a good memory of it, as he hit a home run. Overall, he went 2-for-13 in 10 games, for a batting average of .154. He had four walks and six strikeouts.

That’s actually right in line with his career spring training production. In four big-league camps, the outfielder has gone 11-for-73 (.151) with one extra-base hit.

A big-league dream for the Mets’ outfielder

Tebow has said in interviews that he dreams of making the big leagues with the New York Mets someday. He has a lot of work to do, though: last season with Triple-A Syracuse, he hit .163/.240/.255 with 10 doubles, four homers and a putrid .495 OPS in 77 games.

Humphreys appeared on two spring training games in 2020. He conceded a run and two hits in a couple of frames, with a pair of strikeouts to his name.

Meanwhile Kilome, one of the Mets’ top 30 prospects also appeared in a couple of games with the Mets this spring. He gave up two runs on three hits with two punchouts in two innings of work.

For guys like Humphreys and Kilome, the experience of training and working with big leaguers can prove to be very beneficial for their respective careers.

New York Yankees: Aaron Judge diagnosed with rib fracture, more info

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Injuries continue to plague the New York Yankees this off-season, as outfielder Aaron Judge has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in a rib, dating back to a dive in September of last year. Judge has been feeling soreness and crankiness in his shoulder and pec area for several weeks now, but the latest update suggests it was a fracture that has been the culprit.

With Luis Severino, James Paxton, and Giancarlo Stanton all dealing with individual injuries, Judge is just another to add to the list. He will likely miss the next few weeks and the start of the regular season, as he will have to regain his form with live at-bats and fielding drills.

I expect the Yankees to sit him until he is fully recovered, but it is unlikely that he will make an appearance for the Bombers’ March 26 opening game against the Baltimore orioles.

New York Yankees might have a darkhorse utilityman climbing the roster

New York Yankees, Rosell Herrera

While injuries have continued to mount for the New York Yankees, there have been positives to extract from Grapefruit League play this spring training. One of the biggest surprises has been non-roster utilityman Rosell Herrera, who is scheduled to start the 2020 season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

However, Herrera has proven that he is capable of playing with the big boys, hitting .563 this spring training which leads the MLB for anyone with 15 or more at-bats. Despite the Yankees losing to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, Herrera went 2-for-2, hitting two line-drive doubles and recording a walk in the loss. Herrera has 10 hits and 17 at-bats in seven games, including an impressive 5-for-5 with three doubles in a walk and his last two performances.

“He’s been great,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He hits it off the barrel every time. A lot of really good at-bats every day.”

The New York Yankees are watching an unknown player blossom before their eyes:

The young utility man is certainly present providing an opportunity for himself to earn a spot on the 26-man-roster in just a few weeks. With opening day right around the corner on March 26 against the Baltimore Orioles, Herrera has a small shot at earning a space on the team, but he will have to beat out players like Clint Frazier, who already have major league experience. I don’t anticipate Rosell earning a spot on the 26-man-roster, but it is possible that he earns an opportunity at some point this season, given the number of injuries the Yankees have continued to face the past two years.

The Yankees signed Herrea on Feb. 3 to a minor-league deal at just 27-years-old. While he was just a .225 hitter at the time over 149 big-league games with the Kansas Cty Royals, Cincinnati Reds, and Miami Marlins, the Yankees have found potential and the young stud.

“He has a great attitude,” Boone said. “He plays the game with a joy. And he’s been really good moving around for us in different spots. He continues to impress us.”

Herrera could be one of the first call-ups if the Yankees are looking to make a change or supplement injury — he has undoubtedly proved his worth over the past few weeks.

New York Guardians Head Coach Kevin Gilbride reveals favorite New York-Dallas memory

New York Guardians, Kevin Gilbride

After countless matchups with the Cowboys, Gilbride now leads the New York Guardians against the Renegades this Saturday.

New York and Dallas will throw the football around this weekend. Playoff positioning is on the line. The New Yorkers bear initials of “NYG,” while the North Texans are blue with the branding inspired by the Old West.

Did we mention, however, that it’s March and not December?

The New York-Dallas football rivalry opens a new chapter this Saturday. It’s the first XFL-authored entry, as the New York Guardians battle the Dallas Renegades at Globe Life Park in Arlington (5:00 p.m. ET, Fox).

An athletic battle between the Empire and Lone Star states is nothing new. The rare long-distance rivalry is kept alive by the NFL’s Giants and Cowboys meeting twice a year for NFC East divisional proceedings. Dallas leads that ancient set with a mark of 68-47-2.

Kevin Gilbride was on hand for 21 of those matchups. The Guardians’ original head coach served in several offensive positions during Tom Coughlin’s tenure as head coach of the Giants, most notably in the offensive coordinator slot from 2007 through 2013. Contesting the Cowboys was certainly nothing new for Gilbride. A prior coaching stop with the in-state Houston Oilers had him running into the Cowboys at the end of every preseason. His five years in Houston also featured two regular-season matchups against America’s Team.

Gilbride hasn’t been one for nostalgics during his XFL adventure. Still, he made an exception when speaking to ESM on Thursday afternoon after the Guardians’ final practice before departing for Arlington. He had a quick, simple answer for his favorite Texas memory, anecdotally traveling back to the early stages of the 2009 NFL season.

“There are many, but I have to say my favorite one was going down to Dallas when we opened up their stadium, and we beat them,” Gilbride said. “They wouldn’t let us on the star (during the pregame). They had security around it, going through warmups. Then we beat them in a high-scoring game. That was a great one.”

The Giants were the Cowboys’ opponent for their first regular-season game in the palatial Cowboys Stadium (now known as AT&T Stadium) in Arlington, the successor to Texas Stadium in Irving. A back-and-forth Week 2 game went down to the literal final seconds, as Lawrence Tynes converted a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give the Giants a 33-31 victory. Tynes’ memorable make was the final stanza of an 11-play, 56-yard drive to cap things off. Eli Manning shook off an early penalty to account for 62 yards on the trek, part of a 330-yard, two-touchdown output. The Giants’ quarterback commemorated the win by leaving his signature and the final score on the wall of the visitors’ locker room.

Big Blue would go 12-9 under Gilbride’s offensive watch, including an 8-7 tally with him in the coordinator role. That grouping includes the Giants’ 21-17 win the 2008 NFC Divisional Playoff in Arlington, the lone postseason get-together between the rivals.

Gilbride isn’t the only Guardians representative to have a memorable business trip to the metroplex. Quarterback Matt McGloin was previously the starter for the Oakland Raiders when they were the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving opponent in November 2013.

Then an undrafted rookie, McGloin, helped the Raiders build a shocking 21-7 lead before Dallas came back to the tune of 31-24 win. McGloin’s efforts in a moral victory for Oakland (18-of-30, 255 yards, and an interception) were enough to impress ex-Giants quarterback Phil Simms, who called the game for CBS. The Penn State alum was named a finalist for Simms’ All-Iron Award, which he presented annually to the MVP of CBS’ Thanksgiving game. Ironically, current Renegades running back Lance Dunbar shared that season’s edition of the award with Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray.

“Talk about being a rookie, an exciting time, awesome atmosphere, fantastic stage to play on, something you dream about,” McGloin recalled. “We came up short, but it was a great game. We had a chance to win it there in the end, just couldn’t pull it through. But what an experience. Moments like that don’t come around that often in football. What a great time that was.”

The Guardians (2-2) certainly hope they’ll be able to make new football memories to bring back home. A win over the Los Angeles Wildcats last Saturday at MetLife Stadium allowed them to return to the XFL playoff picture, but they’ll have to end their woes on the road to truly build momentum. Visits to Washington DC and St. Louis ended with the Guardians on the wrong end of a combined 56-9 scoring margin.

Conversely, Dallas (2-2) is searching for their first win at Globe Life Park, the converted former home of MLB’s Texas Rangers. The Renegades fell 15-9 to the St. Louis BattleHawks on opening weekend and dropped a narrow 27-20 decision to the undefeated Houston Roughnecks last Sunday. Dallas will be without starting quarterback Landry Jones, who departed last week’s in-state showdown with a knee injury. Former AAF starter Philip Nelson will get the nod in Jones’ place, with ex-Syracuse star Eric Dungey working as the backup.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: One alternative pass rusher to Jadeveon Clowney

New York Giants, Dante Fowler Jr.

The New York Giants are in the market for a new pass rusher this off-season, as Jadeveon Clowney and others remain available.

In 2019, the Giants’ best pass rusher was Markus Golden, who logged 10.0 sacks coming off two years of injury. General manager Dave Gettleman is looking to bring Markus back for a second season and beyond, but there is no guarantee in free agency. The Giants will be looking at all options to fill the void, as they realistically need two quality pass rushers to improve pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

The New York Giants could take a different route than Clowney:

One intriguing option is Los Angeles Rams defender, Dante Fowler Jr.

Fowler is one of the more affordable options in 2020, considering his production has limited his price tag and his overall ceiling is not as high as Jadeveon Clowney’s.

However, Fowler posted solid numbers last season, logging 11.5 sacks, 35 pressures, and 58 combine tackles. This was his best season by far and he took a major step forward from his four-sack performance in 2018. Inconsistency has been his biggest downfall and con since his inception into the NFL in 2016. Last year’s campaign was the first he posted double-digit sacks in his career, also breaking personal records in quarterback hits (16), tackles for loss (16), and passes defended (6).

The best part about Dante’s performance was that he featured in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker, similar to the role he would play with the Giants if they elected to take a chance on him.

While his performance last season will undoubtedly earn him a pretty penny in free agency, I anticipate his price tag landing in the $15 million range, significantly less than Clowney’s projected per-year average at $22 million. With the majority of the star pass rushers on the market being franchise-tagged, the Giants will have to settle for a lesser option and hope for the best, and while Jadeveon represents the best of the crop, Fowler might fit their scheme better at a cheaper price.

New York Yankees: Luis Cessa 2020 Preview

Okay, I know I can’t be the only person who would always roll my eyes when I heard New York Yankees announcers say, “Luis Cessa is warming up”. Cessa has just been one of those guys who has stuck around and nobody really knew why. Occasionally he would be solid when he pitched, but other times he looked like a guy who was way out of his element. However, maybe the Yankees have learned a valuable lesson when it comes to Luis Cessa. For the last few years, Cessa has bounced between being a long-reliever and a spot starter for the Yankees. Doing neither with a high level of success. Again, he would show flashes, but most of the time the results were not ideal. Last year, there was a moment where I think I saw the real potential of Luis Cessa. The two games he pitched in relief against the Astros in the ALCS really showed me a lot. Cessa was able to pitch four shutout innings against one of the best lineups in baseball and he did it on the biggest stage. Cessa looked very comfortable, and pitching in a two-inning outing seemed perfect for Cessa. Do you notice how Cessa’s name hasn’t really been mentioned when it comes to the fifth spot in the Yankees injury-plagued rotation? I think the Yankees know where Luis Cessa’s best spot is for the 2020 season.

2020 Preview

In 2020, the ability to get guys out on both sides of the plate will be extremely important especially with this new three batter rule for relievers. Cessa mainly throws three pitches that can get guys out on both sides of the plate. When on, he shows a plus slider along with a very good changeup. Cessa has also shown good command with his fastball. This three-pitch mix will help Cessa be a weapon for the Yankees out of the bullpen this year. Cessa will be a guy that can stretch it out if needed for the Yankees as well. If they need a guy to come in during the fourth inning to keep the game close, Cessa can be that guy. A good thing for Cessa is he will not have as much pressure on him as the other guys in the pen. Nobody is expecting Luis Cessa to be the best bullpen arm the New York Yankees have. That’s an advantage for Cessa. The Yankees can throw him in early in a game or he can come in late when one of the top tier guys needs the night off. If the latter scenario occurs, Cessa has the stuff to be successful in a late-inning role. 2020 is the year for Luis Cessa. He no longer has any minor league options so he’s either going to be a key piece for the Yankees for the 2020 campaign, or he’s going to find his way out the door. I tend to think we are going to see some good things from Mr. Cessa in 2020.

New York Mets: Michael Conforto gives his opinion about a potential contract extension

New York Yankees, New York Mets

Michael Conforto is a strong candidate for a contract extension. The New York Mets want to lock him up for the future, and the interest may be mutual. However, as the outfielder said to SNY, any deal would have to make sense for him.

Conforto is slated to hit free agency after the 2021 season, which means he has two years of arbitration left. In a conversation with John Harper of SNY, he said that “at this point I’m just looking at being excited about this season.”

“It would be nice to have the future set but it’s gotta make sense for me to do that. Maybe the conversation gets a little different next year but right now I’m just locked in on 2020.

“Those are big decisions and it can become a distraction. If I go out there and play the way I’m capable of, everything will take care of itself. Scott (Boras, his agent) has my best interests in mind but at the end of the day it’s my decision.”

It is a common occurrence that Boras’ clients want to test free agency. That has been a pattern historically, but it doesn’t mean that Conforto, in this case, necessarily has to follow that path.

And, there are a few examples of Boras clients that have agreed to sign contract extensions. Among them are Jose Altuve, Stephen Strasburg, Carlos Gonzalez, and Chris Davis.

The Mets could have the resources to swing a deal

The Mets don’t have a small payroll, but to be fair, there is a lot of money coming off the books after the 2020 season. They may have the resources to explore a deal that would cover Conforto’s last arbitration season and multiple years of his free agency.

Conforto, at 27 years old, is in the prime of his career, all of which has come with the New York Mets up to this point. Last season, he slashed .257/.363/.494 with 33 homers and 29 doubles in 151 games.

For his career, he has hit .253/.353/.481 with 109 homers. He is slated to make $8 million in 2020 and there is another arbitration raise coming for him in 2021. Unless, of course, the Mets can strike a long-term deal with him.