New York Giants: Lawrence Tynes proposes blockbuster deal for Deshaun Watson

The New York Giants are expected to make moves this offseason. It remains to be seen what those moves will be, but the team is on the brink of winning and some new additions could push them into a playoff campaign next year. And one of the biggest players that might be available on the market this offseason is Texans QB Deshaun Watson.

Obviously, the Giants already have a quarterback in Daniel Jones. The Giants have come out and said a number of times that Jones is their QB and that they plan on keeping him around for years to come. But words can be fleeting, and the staff also reaffirmed that Eli Manning would be the starting quarterback for weeks, before benching him in favor of Jones. Could they do a similar thing and make a surprise change at the position despite supporting Jones publicly?

Lawrence Tynes proposes a trade

Super Bowl winning kicker Lawrence Tynes has an interesting take on the idea. He proposed a trade where the Giants would give up a lot, but could get their quarterback of the future.

The Giants would have to give up Jones, plus starters Kevin Zeitler and Evan Engram. It’s a steep price to pay, but Engram has often left fans wanting for more performance wise and Zeitler was involved in trade rumors already earlier last season. In fact, Engram might be the largest one reason why the Giants aren’t in the playoffs right now after his crucial drop against the Eagles cost the team an extra win. Some would argue the Giants should move on from him now while he isn’t injured and his stock is still somewhat high.

Perhaps more concerning, the Giants would have to give up a first round pick for next year as well as two third round picks. Giving up a first round pick in addition to two players is a high price, but may be worth it in the long run if the Giants can advance to the point where they no longer need a high draft pick each year to further a rebuild.

What would the Giants get in return?

It’s looking increasingly like Deshaun Watson is going to move from the Texans, but what would the Giants get with him if they did make a deal?

From the looks of things, they would have an immediate step up at quarterback. Watson last season threw for 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, a huge increase over the poor ratio of touchdowns to turnovers that Daniel Jones had. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl, and while the Texans were far from a winning team last season, there’s other major reasons for that than just their quarterback play and offense.

After the Texans went 4-12, star defensive end J.J. Watt went as far as to apologize to Watson for how the defense wasted one of his seasons.

From 2014 to 2020, the Texans were under the leadership of Bill O’Brien – he became infamous to Texans fans for bad leadership and the move to trade Watson’s top receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for David Johnson and a pair of draft picks. That’s been called one of the worst trades ever, and it contributed further to Watson not being able to win in Houston.

Even under those circumstances, and other poor management decisions from the Texans, Watson had a successful season individually and would be a step up from what the Giants have now. It’s easy to imagine him leading the Giants to success when not surrounded with a dysfunctional organization and placed on an improving roster that nearly made the playoffs this year.

Should the Giants do the deal?

The Giants will likely have to give up a lot if they want to acquire Watson, but at some point, the team has to turn the corner and start winning. There’s multiple ways to turn the corner. Some teams draft big time players and other teams acquire them in free agency or in trades. But there’s only so many chances to do so, and the Giants might not have another chance for a while to acquire a quarterback of this caliber.

It’s not that the Giants need to immediately move on from Daniel Jones – but Jones sitting around the middle of the league statistically for years isn’t going to help the team reach new heights in the long run. A player like Watson, however, could.

They would have to give up a lot, yes. But any team looking to turn the corner with a big trade does. The Giants are going to start losing players to contracts and free agency anyway as Dave Gettleman’s rebuild drags on for more years. They may as well give up some talent preemptively and pick up the kind of player that there’s rarely a chance to get on the open market.

New York Yankees: Free agent target Kyle Schwarber signs with Washington Nationals

New York Yankees, Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs

The Washington Nationals have agreed to a deal with outfielder Kyle Schwarber, a potential free agency target for the New York Yankees. Schwarber’s deal with the 2019 World Series champions is worth one-year and $10 million.

The Yankees reportedly had “some” interest in the 27-year-old, who’s entering his seventh big league season. The lefty was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs this off-season after a disappointing 2020 campaign.

Schwarber made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 2015, just one year after being drafted fourth overall out of Indiana University. Despite just a .246 average, Schwarber tallied 16 home runs and 43 RBI, good for a .842 OPS and 130 OPS+.

Just two games into the 2016 season, Schwarber collided with fellow outfielder Dexter Fowler, resulting in a torn ACL and a trip to the IL for the remainder of the season.

Schwarber struggled once he returned in 2017, resulting in a trip to AAA to work on his swing. He improved later in the season and finished with .782 OPS and a 99 OPS+.

2018 and 2019 treated Schwarber much better, tallying above average stats. His OPS was over .870 in 2019, driving in 92 runs. However, 2020 was much worse for him, batting just .188 and leading to his non-tender by the Cubs.

Schwarber joins a Nationals team hungry to return to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Washington could never really get things going in the shortened 2020 season and missed the expanded playoffs. Schwarber is the second major acquisition for the Nationals, as they traded for first baseman Josh Bell earlier in the off-season.

For the Yankees, missing out on Schwarber isn’t a huge deal. Signing him would be a bit risky, as his performance has been up and down over the years. Plenty of better-fitting outfielders, like Michael Brantley, remain on the market for the Yankees.

New York Giants: Are October trade rumors indicative of offseason plans?

New York Giants, Kenny Golladay

Way back in October, just ahead of the 2020 NFL trade deadline, the New York Giants were involved in some trade rumors. According to Jordan Raanan, the New York Giants reached out to the Detroit Lions, inquiring about a potential trade for wide receiver Kenny Golladay.

Of course, no trade was made, which was likely a good thing for the Giants, as Golladay went on to miss significant time over the last half of the 2020 regular season. Now, entering the 2021 offseason, general manager Dave Gettleman and co-owner John Mara have promised to add “playmakers” to the meddling Giants’ offense.

The Giants’ offense is, indeed, in dire need of some playmakers. After Saquon Barkley went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 2, the Giants lacked offensive star power. That will, hopefully, change entering 2021.

Luckily for New York, this is a rich free agency class full of talented wide receivers, including Kenny Golladay. The Giants showed interest in Golladay in October, potentially indicating that they will make a push to sign him in free agency.

Should the Giants sign wide receiver Kenny Golladay?

First of all, in order for the Giants to even have a chance of signing Kenny Golladay, he needs to become a free agent. Golladay is indeed a pending free agent, but the Detroit Lions have a few months to negotiate a deal with the stud receiver. Additionally, if the two sides are not able to come to an agreement on a contract extension, the Lions will have the ability to place the franchise tag on Golladay.

There is certainly speculation surrounding the possibility of Golladay and the Lions potentially parting ways. If that happens, Kenny will have a huge market and there will likely be a bidding war between NFL teams for his talents. Many have predicted that the Giants would be involved in that bidding war, including Pro Football Focus.

Kenny Golladay will not come cheap, though. He is likely to receive a contract worth over $20 million on average annually. But if the Giants were to sign Golladay they would be filling a major need with a truly talented player.

Kenny Golladay is a six-foot-four wide receiver with the ability to make big plays downfield. According to PFF, “Golladay’s 628 yards on deep (20-plus yard) passes ranked second in the league in 2019.” Golladay only played in five games this season, though. But last season he led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 11.

In 2018 and 2019 Kenny Golladay topped 1,000 receiving yards. He made his first Pro Bowl appearance last season as he racked up 65 receptions for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. Golladay is the true number one wide receiver that the Giants are missing. Given their interest in him in October, there is a strong chance the Giants make a run at Golladay if he hits the open market.

Buffalo Bills: Three stars from Saturday’s win vs. Indianapolis

The Buffalo Bills made the most of their first playoff opportunity at home in nearly 25 years, ending yet another dubious streak of futility.

The Buffalo Bills have ended countless streaks of futility during this downright magical season. This one, however, might be the sweetest one yet.

Buffalo (14-3) withstood a furious Indianapolis Colts rally in the final minutes, using Josh Allen’s offensive output of 378 total yards to earn a 27-24 victory in the opening Wild Card round of the 2020-21 NFL playoffs. The victory, their first in the postseason since December 1995, comes in the first playoff game they’ve hosted at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park in nearly a quarter-century.

Bills Stadium will now host its first Divisional playoff game since January 1994. They will battle the highest seed remaining between the winners of the remaining wild card matchups. No. 4 Tennessee battles No. 5 Baltimore in Sunday’s early window (1:05 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC) while the battle between No. 3 Pittsburgh and No. 6 Cleveland caps off Wild Card weekend at night (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC).

In the meantime, ESM has three game balls to give out from Saturday’s victory…

3rd Star: WR Gabriel Davis

4 receptions, 85 yards

Brandon Beane’s lasting impact on the Western New York area will likely always be choosing Josh Allen in the early stages of the 2018 draft. But his day three gems also played a major role in his recent extension. Day three choices were on prominent display during the first playoff win of the Beane era. Taron Johnson, a fourth-round in 2018, made a major tackle on a third-and-goal that forced Indianapolis into a bad fourth-down call, keeping the deficit at 10-7. On the drive that gave Buffalo the lead for good, Johnson’s 2020 draft counterpart from the fourth round, Davis, channeled his inner Fred Flintstone with several tiptoe sideline grabs that allowed the Bills to take the lead just before the halftime break.

2nd Star: WR Stefon Diggs

6 receptions, 128 yards, 1 TD

The Bills’ recent success hasn’t made them immune to the fact that their roster, talented as it may be, is relatively low on playoff experience. Diggs, a bonafide postseason hero…nay, miracle worker…brought in a good chunk of it, putting a target on his Buffalo back right from the get-go. He responded by not only topping the league’s receivers in yardage and catches, but setting Bills records every step of the way. Granted his first playoff opportunity in his new settings, Diggs took full advantage in his cleats inspired by the 2003 Buffalo-based comedy Bruce Almighty. Diggs lived up to Jim Carrey’s fictitious surname in the second half, putting up 92 yards and a score that came at the onset of the fourth quarter.

1st Star: QB Josh Allen

26-of-35, 324 yards, 11 carries, 54 yards, 3 total TD

If anything proved that Western New York’s future belongs to Allen…as if anyone needed further convincing…Saturday’s game was perfect concrete evidence. When the Bills needed a score, needed to try and run out the clock…they turned things over to Allen. For some reason, the Bills’ playcalling took the ball out of Allen’s hands during the middle stages of the first half. The rush-heavy diet yielded only three-and-outs and a Colts lead. Once Allen got free reign after the Colts left three points on the field, Allen took over to the tune of a 96-yard drive, capping things off by himself. It was only appropriate that Allen be responsible for the first playoff touchdown scores tallied in Orchard Park since the mid-1990s, as he found Diggs and Dawson Knox through the air, sandwiching the one he took in himself just before the half.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

VIDEO: Josh Allen, Dawson Knox end Buffalo Bills’ playoff TD drought

For the first time since December 1996, someone from the Buffalo Bills visited Orchard Park’s end zones during a playoff game.

It wasn’t pretty by conventional means. But when you’ve gone just over 24 years without experiencing the glory of a playoff touchdown, you’ll take them however you can get.

Josh Allen and Dawson Knox collaborated to end yet another dubious streak of futility in Buffalo Bills history, as the quarterback found his third-year tight end for a three-yard score that gave the Bills a 7-3 lead over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Wild Card matchup at Bills Stadium. It was the first playoff touchdown scored in Orchard Park since Jacksonville’s Jimmy Smith scored on a two-yard pass from Mark Brunell during the Wild Card round in December 1996. As for Bills representation, it’s the first postseason score at home by the home team since Jeff Burris took back a Brunell interception 38 yards and the first offensive tally since Thurman Thomas scored in the same game, a 30-27 Jacksonville victory.

After the Bills went three-and-out on their first drive by keeping Allen in the pocket, the MVP candidate was able to break free on his second attempt with the ball. Situated at his own 15 after the Colts took a 3-0 lead, Allen accounted for all but six yards on the ensuing 85-yard trek to the end zone. He got things started with his legs on a 12-yard tally on the second play before getting into Indianapolis territory with a 36-yard strike to Stefon Diggs. The score itself wasn’t pretty…Allen appeared to attempt to run it in himself before he got it off at the last minute with the pocket collapsing…but Knox was wide for a catch worth six points not matter its attractiveness. Tyler Bass would later boot the extra point to make to create a 7-3 Buffalo lead.

Allen also earned first downs through passes to Devin Singletary and Gabriel Davis. Each of Allen’s first six completion went to a different receiver, with Zack Moss and Cole Beasley also earning catches in the opening frame.

Buffalo continues to lead Indianapolis 7-3 in the early stages of the second quarter.

Geof Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Mets are reportedly planning to use Seth Lugo out of the bullpen in 2021

After shoring up their rotation with the acquisition of Carlos Carrasco, the New York Mets are reportedly planning to use Seth Lugo, who made some starts in 2020 as a last resort option during a depth crisis, in his more familiar role: the bullpen.

In the past, Lugo has repeatedly stated he would like to be in the rotation. However, the numbers suggest that he is a far better reliever than he is a starter. He has been the Mets’ most consistent bullpen weapon since he took the role full-time in 2018.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the “belief and expectation” is that the New York Mets are planning on using Seth Lugo out of the bullpen in 2021.

The Mets were forced to use Lugo in the rotation in 2020, after Marcus Stroman opted out of the season, and Michael Wacha and David Peterson suffered injuries. Noah Syndergaard was already lost for the year in the spring.

The Mets have more depth now

However, Lugo didn’t fare very well. Of course, the sample size is tiny, but in 26.1 innings, he had a 6.15 ERA and batters slashed .296/.350/.556 against him. As a reliever, he put a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 frames, and limited hitters to a .211/.250/.342 line.

Lugo has a 4.35 ERA as a starter, and a 2.53 mark as a reliever. With some uncertainty surrounding Dellin Betances and Brad Brach’s ability to bounce back, the Mets will probably better off sending Lugo to the bullpen.

After acquiring Carrasco, they can afford to do it. They now have Jacob deGrom, Stroman, Carrasco, Peterson, and Steven Matz as the current top five, with Syndergaard joining the group in June or July.

On Thursday, Mets’ president Sandy Alderson explained that “you could say he’s more a bullpen piece because of what we’ve added in the starting rotation. And conversely, you could say that he’s more of a starting pitching piece because of the depth we’ve added in the bullpen.”

However, per Heyman, the plan is to return Lugo where he has flourished in his career.

Should Robert Whittaker be upset with the UFC?

There is not really any doubt as to who is the number one contender in the UFC‘s middleweight division. The top contender in the division is the former champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5).

Whittaker lost the title to Israel Adesanya (20-0) at UFC 243 in 2019. However, outside of that fight against Adesanya, Whittaker has been perfect in the middleweight division. There’s been nobody who’s been able to defeat him.

Recently, it was announced that the UFC is having Adesanya move up to face Jan Blachowicz (27-8) at UFC 259. Adesanya will be attempting to become a two-division champion by capturing the light heavyweight championship.

The fighter that’s left in limbo in this situation is Robert Whittaker. There is nobody in the middleweight division that is more deserving of a shot at Adesanya than Whittaker. However, the promotion doesn’t believe that he’s ready for a shot at the title.

After UFC 254, Dana White said that Whittaker would be next for Adesanya. The promotion wanted to turn the fight around quick, but with a baby on the way, Whittaker wanted to spend the holidays with his family. That’s when the promotion changed their tune.

Should Whittaker be upset with the UFC?

Dana White said recently that Whittaker needs to fight someone else before he gets his next UFC title shot. In my opinion, this should be incredibly frustrating for the former middleweight champion.

Whittaker’s only loss at middleweight was to Adesanya. Outside of that, he’s been unbeaten since 2014. Darren Till (18-3-1) and Jared Cannonier (13-5) were both guaranteed title shots if they beat Whittaker in 2020.

However, Whittaker beat both of those contenders. It’s puzzling that the logic from the promotion is that Whittaker needs another win, however, I know that they’ll say it’s because he turned down their timeline for the middleweight title shot.

Yet, Jan Blachowicz had the same issue as Whittaker. Blachowicz just had a baby with his wife before resuming training for their fight in March. I have a strong feeling that Whittaker could have made that timeline work.

Ultimately, I believe the UFC and Adesanya were only interested in the Whittaker fight if it was able to happen quickly. The plan has been for them to move Adesanya up to light heavyweight to further his star power.

However, it’s not fair to the former champion. People have had title shots for much less and champions who have lost have gotten immediate title shots with less of a championship resume. I absolutely believe that Whittaker should be frustrated.

Yankees News/Rumors: Yanks have inside advantage on Corey Kluber, Taijuan Walker a pitching target

New York Yankees, Taijuan Walker

The New York Yankees are going to enter the free-agent pitching market at some point, it’s just a matter of who they target. I don’t expect them to be as astronomically aggressive as they have been in the past, considering their financial caution. They are trying to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold, so after DJ LeMahieu is hopefully extended, they won’t have much money to work with.

There are a few starting pitchers that could make sense for the Bombers, including former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and Taijuan Walker.

MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch stated that the Yankees have an advantage when it comes to Corey Kluber:

The Yankees may have an inside track with Kluber, based upon his long-standing relationship with performance coach Eric Cressey; in fact, Kluber is scheduled to hold a mound session for interested teams on Jan. 13 at Cressey’s Florida facility. If nothing else, they should have an accurate read on Kluber’s talent level. Considering that he is coming off injuries and would likely agree to an incentive-laden contract, that seems like a good fit for the back end of the rotation.

Kluber has only pitched 36.2 innings over the past two seasons, so they have to be a bit careful when considering him as an option. Injuries have taken their toll, but if he’s able to return to his former self, the Yankees will have a bonafide ace alongside Gerrit Cole, which is exactly what they’re looking for.

Since he is scheduled to pitch for multiple teams on January 13, I fully expect the Yankees to be in attendance, considering he could be a cost-efficient signing with tremendous upside. At the very least, he can compete for a rotation spot, as he posted a 2.89 ERA back in 2018. He’s not too far removed from a stellar season, so giving him an opportunity is not out of this world.

Should the New York Yankees consider Taijuan Walker?

Walker is another solid option for the Yankees after pitching for the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays in 2020. He posted a collective 2.70 ERA over 53.1 innings. He’s actually a fantastic option, as he’s been relatively consistent over the past three seasons.

Probably not all three, especially if the Yankees augment a rotation that also projects to include Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery and Domingo Germán to begin the year. While the door is not closed on a Masahiro Tanaka return, Jhoulys Chacin will compete for a spot as a non-roster invitee, and an addition like Kluber or Taijuan Walker remains possible. It’s easy to imagine one of García, King and Schmidt breaking camp for Opening Day, with the other two remaining on a starting schedule at Triple-A.

He primarily utilizes a fastball, slider and dabbles with a curveball and split-finger fastball, which is a new addition to his arsenal. He hovers in the 93 mph range with his fastball, which is solid enough to get him by. He’s not a high strikeout pitcher but forces a healthy number of ground balls.

Considering the Yankees want to keep the cost down, Kluber seems to be the more efficient option of the two, but Walker does represent quality and could be a good supplement after losing Tanaka, Paxton, and Happ to free agency.

Are the New York Mets now the favorites to win the NL East?

The offseason is far from over. Dozens of free agents, lots of them of the high-profile variety, are still without a team. However, with all the moves the New York Mets have been able to pull off, it is fair to wonder: have they done enough to be considered the favorites to win the National League East division title?

In the shortened 2020 campaign, the New York Mets finished with a 26-34 record in 60 games, tied with the Washington Nationals in the last place of the division. The Atlanta Braves took the honors with a 35-25 balance, the Marlins were four games back, and the Philadelphia Phillies were seven games behind. Both the Mets and the Nats were nine games out of first place.

That is a considerable advantage for the Mets to overcome, but last year was a different story. The Braves had a considerably better roster back then, and New York had to deal with lots of injuries, especially on the pitching side. To be fair, Atlanta also lost Mike Soroka to an Achilles injury and Mike Foltynewicz was never the same after his great 2018.

The Phillies appear to have entered a cost-cutting phase and are apparently willing to trade pitcher Zack Wheeler in order to make funds to re-sign JT Realmuto. Miami has an up-and-coming roster, but still feels one or two years off being true division title contenders.

Mets and Braves appear a step ahead

Washington has a formidable rotation and Juan Soto, one of the best hitting outfielders in the game. Plus, they traded for Josh Bell. They should be players in 2021, and don’t forget they won it all in 2019. However, the crown for “best roster” as of now appears to be between the Mets and the Braves.

The Braves added two excellent rotation pieces in Drew Smyly and Charlie Morton. They have an amazing offensive core, with Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, and others. But they lost Marcell Ozuna, one of the best hitters in MLB last season. There is a chance they re-sign him, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The Mets added their starting catcher in James McCann (the second-best at the position in the free agent class, after Realmuto), reliever Trevor May, and they swung a trade with the Indians to bring shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Now, their rotation has Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard (in June or July), Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, and 2020 rookie sensation David Peterson. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo are waiting in the wings.

And, with the addition of Lindor and McCann and the return of the Mets’ 2020 offensive core – including breakout star Dominic Smith, 2019 Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, JD Davis, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto – New York’s offense is looking loaded.

It wouldn’t be fair to proclaim the Mets as division winnners at this point. Games need to be played. But they have done enough to enter the conversation and pose a serious threat to the Atlanta Braves.

New York Knicks: Reality hit Immanuel Quickley in the face after showing promise

New York Knicks, Immanuel Quickley

The New York Knicks were flying high prior to facing off against the Oklahoma Thunder on Friday night. They had won five of their last six games, showing incredible aggression on defense and a surprising ability to score efficiently. Thanks to star power forward Julius Randle, the Knicks have become a team worth watching and won the opponents have to consider a threat. However, their defense simply collapsed against Oklahoma, giving up 101 points and scoring 89 themselves.

It seemed like a dud for head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s team, and might even say an anomaly. Oklahoma utilized 11 different players, seeing point production from three primary players, Al Hartford, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Hamidou Diallo. The Thunder shot collectively 43.7% from the field and 32.4% from beyond the arc, much better than the Knicks, who shot a measly 35.8% from the field. They received a majority of their points from Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, and RJ Barrett. That has been a consistent trio for New York this year, but their young rookie guard saw reality smack him in the face after starting his career on a high note.

Former Kentucky standout Immanuel Quickley played in 17 minutes, his highest since their victory against the Atlanta Hawks. He shot a measly 1-for-9 and connected on one three-pointer over three attempts. He scored just three points, recording a -13 +/-.

Ultimately, Quickley has been a revelation for the Knicks thus far, showing his ability to weave in and out of traffic and score with efficiency. Despite one bad performance, Quickley is still a promising young player with the potential to be the Knicks’ starting point guard in the future. He’s a fantastic transition player, who I believe will pair well with Obi Toppin when he returns from a calf injury that has held him out over the past week-plus.

On the year, Quickley is averaging 13.8 minutes per game over five appearances, considering he dealt with the hip pointer injury earlier this year. He averages 6.6 points per game and only 1.6 assists. I would like to see him increase his vision on the court and pass the ball a bit more efficiently, but the Knicks are utilizing him as a point guard — more as a shooting threat from the outside. Thibodeau has committed to winning over player development, and while this could hold some youngsters back, it’s in the best interest of the team and fans.