New York Giants: Jason Garrett named 2020’s biggest disappointment

It’s unclear whether Jason Garrett will stay with the New York Giants for next season, but there’s some fans that would rather see him gone than staying. That’s because under Garrett, the offense seemed to consistently under-utilize its talent, and the Giants were one of the worst offensive teams in the league statistically. According to Bleacher Report’s list of every team’s biggest disappointment, Garrett was the largest one for the Giants last year.

New York finished ranked 31st in both yards and points scored. Perhaps more importantly, second-year quarterback Daniel Jones failed to build on what was mostly a promising rookie campaign.

While the loss of star running back Saquon Barkley didn’t help, Garrett was the one responsible for putting together a functional offense. Considering New York failed to top 21 points 11 times in 2020, it’s fair to say Garrett failed in that task.

Obviously, some of this was because of bad luck. The Giants lost Saquon Barkley a couple games into the season. Daniel Jones was injured in the later part of the year, forcing the Giants to play without their full passing offense. Even when Jones returned, his decreased mobility greatly hurt the offense.

However, a lot of the blame has to go on Garrett too for his calls, especially in the passing game. While the team ownership doesn’t seem to be eager to move on from Garrett after the underperformance in year one, that is what a lot of fans are hoping for.

Garrett is interviewing for the Chargers head coaching position, but with no news having come out about this for a couple of days, it’s unclear whether or not they’ll offer the job and take Garrett off the hands of the Giants.

Knicks need quick fix after second straight loss

They say home is where the heart is.

But the New York Knicks never found their heart in another dispiriting loss at home.

On Sunday night, the Denver Nuggets’ superior talent not only overwhelmed but also outworked the Knicks in a 114-89 drubbing at The Garden.

The magic of the Knicks’ strong start to the season is starting to fade as they looked lethargic for the second straight game.

Despite losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder last Friday, the Knicks entered Sunday night’s game third in opponent field goal percentage (43.4%) and second in opponent 3-point field goal percentage (30.1%).

That vaunted defense, which propelled them to a 5-3 start, was missing at home.

They looked tired and disengaged.

There was nothing they could do with the Nuggets firing on all cylinders. Denver shot 53.6 percent overall and 42.9 percent from deep.

Nikola Jokic led six Nuggets in double figures. The Serbian big man had 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in 30 minutes.

In contrast, the Knicks’ offense continued to sputter. It was the second straight game they put up only 89 points. It would have been acceptable if this was in the grind-it-out 90s.

Nuggets’ coach Mike Malone, who came from the same Jeff Van Gundy/Don Chaney coaching tree as Tom Thibodeau, threw the Knicks off rhythm with a combination of zone and sticky man-to-man defenses.

After a Julius Randle three-pointer put the Knicks ahead briefly, 16-14, the Nuggets countered with a 7-0 run. And they were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

Randle and Mitchell Robinson were the only Knicks players who shot above 50 percent.

Randle pumped in 29 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists before sitting out for good in the final 6:56. His fourth assist of the night enabled him to join Oscar Robertson as the only two players in NBA history to record at least 200 points, 115 rebounds, and 70 assists in their team’s first 10 games of the season.

Another silver lining for the Knicks was Robinson, who had zero foul in 38 minutes. The young Knicks’ center had 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field.

It was just hard to watch the rest of the team, except perhaps an Elfrid Payton scoring outburst in one brief stretch in the third quarter.

Payton finished with 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting and five assists. RJ Barrett continued to plummet. He bled for nine points on 13 shots. It marked the second time this season that he’s been held to single-digit scoring.

The Knicks drew little production from their bench. The Nuggets bench badly outscored them, 54-21.

Immanuel Quickley has officially hit the rookie wall with another dud (4 points, 0-4 field goals). Austin Rivers and Kevin Knox could only muster identical six points on 2-of-6 shooting.

The Knicks, as a whole, could only connect on 42.3 percent of their shots. They were a disheartening 6-for-21 from three.

“The challenge right now is we’re not playing well. We’ve got to fix it. We’re in it together. We have to get out of it together,” Thibodeau said postgame.

They barely have 24 hours to figure out everything as they next face the streaking Charlotte Hornets Monday on the road.

The Hornets have won their last three games with Gordon Hayward rediscovering his old All-Star form while third overall pick LaMelo Ball is finally settling down. Ball just became the youngest player in the league history to log in a triple-double in their Saturday win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Should the New York Giants prioritize acquiring a slot or outside receiver?

New York Giants, Chris Godwin

The New York Giants confirmed that they will be looking for offensive playmakers this offseason. Daniel Jones needs help. But where will the help come from? Will the Giants sign a wide receiver in free agency or draft someone early on in the 2021 NFL Draft?

More specifically, what kind of receiver will the Giants target? It is a rich free agency class and an arguably richer draft class. But many of the top prospects in each class are slot receivers. Most fans assume New York will go after an outside wide receiver because the roster already includes Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate.

However, Tate is a potential cut candidate, and the inclusion of Sterling Shepard should not prevent the Giants from signing an outside wide receiver. Shepard has been primarily an outside receiver the past two seasons.

In 2020, Shep played 190 snaps in the slot compared to 356 snaps out wide. In the slot, Sterling recorded 20 receptions for 148 yards and one touchdown (only 7.4 yards per reception). Out wide, Shepard totaled 46 receptions for 508 yards and three touchdowns (11.04 yards per reception). Given Sterling Shepard’s efficiency lined up outside, should the Giants consider acquiring an elite slot receiver this offseason? Or should they move Shepard inside and get an elite outside receiver?

Slot or outside wide receiver?

Sterling Shepard was far more efficient while playing outside in 2020. Darius Slayton was inconsistent this season but typically plays on the outside. New York had a rotation in the slot that included Golden Tate, Austin Mack, CJ Board, and Sterling Shepard. Going forward, the Giants will have to reconfigure their wide receiver corps as they look to acquire more talent at the position.

Some of the top free-agent wide receivers this offseason are Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, and Curtis Samuel. Golladay and Robinson are outside wide receivers but Godwin and Samuel are primarily slot receivers. The first pair of receivers will likely cost more money than the second pair, which could make the Giants more attracted to one of those top slot receivers.

Furthermore, in the draft, there is a debate between two of the top receiver prospects. Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith, both Alabama products, will be first-round wide receivers in 2021. The Giants are likely to target a wide receiver, but if they go wide receiver in the first round, which one of the two Alabama boys will they prefer?

Whichever player they believe to be better, regardless of whether or not they play inside or outside, is who they should prefer. Smith played primarily outside in college. Waddle operating primarily from the slot. This has fans assuming that the Giants will target Smith and cross Waddle off their list. That is not and should not be the case.

If the Giants believe Waddle is the better player then they should absolutely target him. The Giants need an elite, number one wide receiver. Why must that receiver play outside? It is entirely possible to have your primary receiver play in the slot. Sterling Shepard is efficient at playing outside. When we interviewed his trainer David Robinson on Fireside Giants, Robinson indicated that Shepard is better and more comfortable playing outside.

If the Giants have the opportunity to acquire the likes of Jaylen Waddle or Chris Godwin, they should not shy away from these elite talents just because they are slot receivers. Having your primary receiver play on the outside is not a necessity. The Giants have the personnel to acquire a guy inside or outside. Sterling Shepard could move inside if he has to, but he just might be better off outside.

New York Islanders: Reaction to Mat Barzal’s new contract

New York Islanders, Mat Barzal

The day all New York Islander fans have been waiting for is here. Franchise center Mat Barzal has finally re-signed. It’s been months of questions, and none of these questions have been answered until today.

Barzal signs a 3-year deal worth $7 million dollars per. It’s a bridge deal, which everyone expected, and it ends in 2023 when the Isles are out of cap trouble. Barzal’s contract breakdown reads as such: $3 million dollars in 2021 plus an extra $1 million dollars for signing. $7 million dollars in 2022, and $10 million dollars in 2023. Barzal has missed 4 days of training camp so far. Will, the lack of preparation hurt Mat Barzal’s performance?

Barzal’s Preparation

Mat Barzal is a professional Hockey player. Do you really think he wouldn’t be prepared to play? Barzal has been skating with former Islanders, Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk. Along with current Islander, Tom Kuhnhackl. Barzal was also skating around with different NHL players before training camp began.

When people prepared for something the way Barzal has, they care about that something. Mat Barzal stated in an interview today that he loves Long Island and never thought about going anywhere else. He also stated that the negotiations were very fair for both sides, and he knows he has to work on his consistency.

Barzal’s Performance

My coach, Matt Johnson, also said, “big players make big plays in big-time games.” Well, today wasn’t a big-time game, but Barzal made some big plays. In just two shifts, Barzal managed to score two goals and make Noah Dobson look lost. There’s no denying the talent that Barzal possesses, but there definitely was some concern about performance after missing four training camp days. It’s time to put those rumors to rest; Barzal looks perfectly fine. All he has to do is back check better, and the long term deal with the Isles he wants will be on the table in 2023.

Buffalo Bills RB Zack Moss possibly out for rest of the postseaon

The Buffalo Bills’ Wild Card victory was marred by the loss of the rookie running back, who was injured in the second half.

The Buffalo Bills may be missing one of their youngest contributors as their postseason run continues.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, there’s fear within the organization that rookie running back Zack Moss may miss significant time with an ankle injury sustained during Saturday’s victory in the AFC Wild Card playoffs. Moss put up 47 yards (21 rushing, 26 receiving) before leaving due to an ankle injury. Dr. Matthew Provencher, the injury analyst for Fox Sports’ NFL coverage, had a slightly more optimistic outlook, forecasting that Moss could return in time for a possible appearance in the conference title game should take victory in their Divisional round contest next weekend.

Moss, 23, was chosen in the third round (86th overall) in April’s draft out of Utah. He would split the top rushing duties with Devin Singletary, tallying 481 yards and four scores on the ground. Moss also established himself as a short-yardage receiving threat of the backfield with 95 yards on 14 receptions, one of which went for a touchdown. Overall, 35 of Moss’ 126 touches went for first downs.

With Moss out, the Bills will likely rely on Singletary in the run game, and could potentially use one of their reserve rushers in an expanded role, including T.J. Yeldon or Taiwan Jones. Antonio Williams, who has been on and off the Bills’ practice squad all season, could likewise be an option after he scored two touchdowns in his NFL debut in the Week 17 regular season finale against Miami.

With their 27-24 win over Indianapolis on Saturday, Buffalo (14-3) will now await the results of Sunday’s action to see who they’ll host in the Divisional round. They will take on the highest-remaining seed from the Wild Card aftermath, which puts any team except seventh-seed Cleveland on the table.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: 2 free agent pass rushers that could make sense for Big Blue

New York Giants, Leonard Floyd

The New York Giants need an influx of talent at pass rusher, as the outside linebacker corps, this past season was shredded with injuries and inconsistency.

During the 2020 season, the Giants managed 40 total sacks, good for 12th in the NFL. It is quite impressive that coordinator Patrick Graham was able to scheme pressure without elite pass rushers, aside from a strong interior defense.

Thankfully, Leonard Williams produced 11.5 to cover up the deficiencies of other units. Utilizing safeties, corners, and linebackers to blitz and stunt also worked effectively, but adding a solid player to the trenches would be beneficial for Graham and his quest to develop one of the best defenses in football.

Let’s take a look at two free agents the New York Giants could consider this off-season:

1.) Leonard Floyd

Remember when the New York Giants were interested in edge rusher Leonard Floyd back in 2016? Well, the Chicago Bears leapfrogged them and secured his talents. At 6-foot-4 and 251 pounds, Floyd has fantastic size and speed off the edge but simply hasn’t been able to develop into the star player most believed he would.

Since then, Floyd has slowly developed his game, having a solid season this past year with the Los Angeles Rams. He had his best game of the year against the Arizona Cardinals in week 17, earning a 90.4 overall pass-rush grade, per PFF. He finished the year with 11 total sacks, which represents a quality pass rusher with room left to grow. He fits the outside linebacker role perfectly for the Giants, and he’s also remained healthy, which is a great factor to incorporate.

He might be a bit more pricey than some of the other players on the market, but Floyd undoubtedly represents a player with upside and one that can be a difference-maker for Big Blue moving forward. If they’re willing to spend a bit more money on his services, he really is a perfect fit for Graham’s scheme.

2.) Jadeveon Clowney

This might be a bit more optimistic, but Clowney could represent a solid alternative for the Giants. He played in just eight games this year before suffering a knee injury to his meniscus. That could indicate an opportunity for the Giants to secure his talents on a one year deal, which would likely be cheaper. Clowney is a fantastic talent when healthy, locking down the edge in the run game and also providing effective pass rush moves. He doesn’t collect the stats that normally you would expect from a player of his talents, but you could say the same for Leonard Williams over the past few years.

Graham simply knows how to extract the most from underperforming players, and Clowney could be one of them. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, he has elite size and strength and played primarily at outside linebacker this year with the Tennessee Titans. It would be an easy transition for the Giants, and after signing a one-year, $12.7 million deal this past season with the Titans, that price tag will probably drop even further. If they could lock him in on a one year, $8-10 million deal, they could be in great shape moving forward on the D-line.

Of course, taking a risk on an injury-prone player is always something to be aware of, but if it works out in the Giants’ favor, it could lead them to a playoff appearance and more. That’s the trade-off you have to consider, so the Giants will have to run the risk, but one that could pay off in dividends.

Yankees News/Rumors: Has Brett Gardner’s time in pinstripes come to an end?

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

Money, money, money that is the talking point this off-season for the New York Yankees and the majority of the MLB. After a devastating COVID-19 influenced 2020 season, teams are lying low and selling off on their star players — only the New York Mets seem to be aggressive in the market, along with the San Diego Padres.

The Yankees, however, have focused primarily on DJ LeMahieu, picking up a few minor league contracts here and there, but nothing that screams starting talent. General manager Brian Cashman acquired a few options, including Greg Allen, a speedy outfielder from the Padres, SP Jhoulys Chacin, and Socrates Brito.

As I’ve been saying the past few weeks, don’t expect the Yankees to get aggressive in this barren market, especially with the lack of starting pitching talent to consider. Expect Cashman to settle for cost-efficient contracts, like the one that could present itself for Corey Kluber, who has missed a majority of the past two seasons due to injury.

However, one familiar face the Yankees still have to decide on is Brett Gardner, who’s contract extension they rejected this offseason. Gardner had a club option for $10 million in 2021, but they chose the $2.5 million buyouts, which suggests that they could retain him on a cheaper deal.

MLB Insider Bryan Hoch believes the Yankees and Gardner will come to a compromise:

Gardner said late in the season that he did not want his final games as a Yankee to be played in an empty ballpark, and there is no sense that he is interested in concluding his career wearing a different uniform. Money shouldn’t be an overwhelming factor for Gardner and both sides seem interested, so I expect him to eventually sign a one-year deal.

That said, it is unclear how much playing time Gardner could be assured. The outfield projects to feature Clint Frazier in left field, Aaron Hicks in center and Aaron Judge in right, with Giancarlo Stanton serving as the regular designated hitter. Allen was added to the 40-man roster following the trade with San Diego, joining Estevan Florial and Mike Tauchman as outfield depth. The Yanks also recently signed outfielder Socrates Brito to a Minor League contract.

Based on the fact that Gardy stated he didn’t want his final season in the MLB to come in front of zero fans, it indicates his interest to return to the MLB. His agent several weeks ago stated that he wasn’t too worried about the near future, as the Yankees always seem to find a way to retain him and include him in their plans. This past season, Gardner had one of his more disappointing campaigns, averaging .223 with five homers and 15 RBIs. This followed a season littered with career-highs in 2019 when he hit 28 homers and 74 RBIs.

I fully expect the Yankees to sign him to a one-year deal, just out of merit and loyalty. Somewhere in the $4 million range makes sense, which would end up saving them about $3.5 million after the rejection of his club option.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Carrasco should have been a Yankee and more

The New York Yankees lost out on a unique opportunity when pitcher Carlos Carrasco was traded to the crosstown New York Mets that now seems intent on becoming the number one New York team. Besides needing to re-sign DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees really need to upgrade their pitching both starting and the bullpen. When the Mets acquired Carrasco in the Francisco Lindor blockbuster trade, the Yankees lost out big time.

Carrasco represents what would have been a major upgrade for the team’s most glaring need: its starting rotation, currently loaded with young, untested arms outside of Gerrit Cole. In last year’s shortened season, Carrasco pitched 68 innings and put up a 1.5 WAR, higher than any Yankee starter, including Cole (1.4). FanGraphs has him pegged at a 3.5 WAR for 2021 in 174 innings, that better than any free agent pitcher out there other than Trevor Bauer, who the Yankees can’t afford. The Mets will pay Carrasco just over $10 million this year, something the Yankees surely could have afforded.  If the Yankees finally make a move on Masahiro Tanaka, it will likely cost them more than that for a pitcher that will provide far less.

San Diego Padres continues to be the team to watch

The San Diego Padres seem to be the stream train that just can’t be stopped in their campaign to be the most improved team in baseball during 2021. First, the Padres made a blockbuster deal that included the Tampa Bay Rays ace pitcher Blake Snell. They followed that up by trading for Cubs ace Yu Darvish. They were making it known that they will no longer be the NL West’s laughing stock and instead would be a team to be contended with.

The best team in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers, have to be looking over their shoulder with these recent Padre moves. But the Padres weren’t done being one of the most active teams this offseason. They went ahead and signed star SS Ha-seong Kim. Now the news arises that the Padres are close to a $320 million 11 year extension for Frenando Tatis Jr. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees are sitting on their hands trying to keep the team the same as it was last year when they again exited the postseason, too early.

The New York Yankee fans’ offseason of discontent is far from over

New York Yankee fans continue to be disappointed with an offseason over two months old, and the Yankees have done nothing significant to improve the team other than a few minor league deals. The Yankees need DJ LeMahieu to re-sign. As of yet, they have not been able to do that while trying to get him for as cheap as possible and for a shorter time than DJ is demanding.

Meanwhile, the team’s most important needs are going unaddressed. The team needs a proven number two start behind Gerrit Cole. As it stands now, the team is depending on Domingo German to be the pitcher he was in 2019 after not pitching for a year and getting beat up in Winter ball. They also are looking to Luis Severino to be the pitcher once was after not pitching for two years. And after all that speculation is a host of untested arms.

Looking at the bullpen, the Yankees have needs as well. Although they have signed some arms (Nestor Cortes Jr. and Adam Warren) to minor league contracts, they haven’t replaced Tommy Kahnle, who went with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the next two years. Kahnle was a dependable quality arm that needs to be replaced. Also, with the subpar play of reliever Adam Ottavino in the last two seasons, that need is even more intensified.

The offseason is not over, and the New York Yankees still may make moves whether they can resign DJ LeMahieu or not. But the longer they wait to do that, the fewer the players’ availability that could help the team; they have already seen almost a dozen possible targets either be traded or signed by other teams. It’s time for the Yankees to make a final offer to LeMahieu; if he doesn’t accept, move on and get on with the business of putting together a team that can win in 2021. Whether owner Hal Steinbrenner likes it or not to accomplish a championship team they may have to spend more than they want.

 

New York Yankees Analysis: Is there an heir apparent for Gleyber Torres?

There are four big stories in an offseason for the New York Yankees that has been filled with inaction. One is hardly a secret; the Yankees have put all moves to improve the team for the 2021 season while they wait out negotiations with second baseman and batting champ DJ LeMahieu. The team wants a contract for three years, and DJ wants the security of a five-year contract. Meanwhile, the Yankee’s need for pitching both starting and in the bullpen sits awaiting action. The Yankees have pretty well decided that Gary Sanchez will again be their starting catcher when they awarded him a contract for the season. But today, we talk about that fourth need, an upgrade at shortstop.

Like Sanchez, the Yankees seem to be going with Gleyber Torres again at shortstop. They feel he can bounce back from a subpar hitting season and return to form. However, on the defensive end, they are most hopeful he can improve. The reality is that the Yankees do not see Torres as their long term answer that Derek Jeter was. Torres just doesn’t get to the ball fast enough, and his throwing arm from short has not been as accurate as it needs to be.

The Yankees were very interested in obtaining Francisco Lindor, baseball’s best shortstop. However, with their desire to stay below the luxury tax threshold, they didn’t feel comfortable parting with too many assets in a trade; meanwhile, the crosstown New York Mets, flush with money from new owner Steve Cohen swooped up both Lindor and pitching veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco. The Yankees still have an interest in Andrelton Simmon, also a highly rated shortstop. But here again, that acquisition likely won’t happen if the Yankees sign LeMahieu.

Although fans will probably not see a change at short this season, there is hope for the future. Sitting in the minors is one of the best up and coming shortstops out there. His name is Oswald Peraza. He could be the Yankee’s long-term solution for the shortstop of the future. MLB.com list Peraza as the New York Yankees number four prospect. But they also list him as their choice for the Yankees break out prospect in 2021.

The Yankees signed the then 17-year-old Venezualan after the 2016 season for $175K as an international free agent. He has worked his way up through the New York Yankee’s minor league system ending up in Charleston with the River Dogs in 2019. His pluses are that he is Tyler Wade fast on the basepaths, has good bat speed, and is an excellent defender at short with an accurate arm. He ended the 2019 season with two teams hitting .263 while stealing 23 bases in just 65 games.  Now at age 20, he is still developing and getting stronger. He will likely spend the 2021 season with the Somerset Patriots, just a two-hour drive from Scranton Wilkes/Barre, where he will probably end up.  The Yankees protected him from the Rule 5 draft this year, adding him to the 40 man roster.

There were no Minor League games due to COVID-19 in. However, Peraza played winter ball in Venezuela for the Cardenales de Lara. He played in six games, hitting .250 with a .713 OPS.

Peraza probably won’t see any action at Yankee Stadium during the 2021 season, but if he continues to advance like he has, he could have an impact during the 2022 season when he will still only be 22 years old. Scouts see Peraza’s hitting ability improve as he is seeing the ball better and not striking out as frequently. Make no mistake; he is still developing but could very well be an impact player for the Yankees for many years to come.

 

New York Giants: A 5-step plan to solve the offense

New York Giants, Joe Judge

New York Giants co-owner John Mara stated that resources would be allocated toward the offense this off-season during his postseason press conference.

The Giants didn’t expect their offense to be so lackluster in 2020, as Saquon Barkley suffered a torn ACL in week two against the Chicago Bears, and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was left trying to piece things together ever since. The Giants finished with the 31st ranked offense in points per game, averaging just 17.5. Over the final four games of the season, they scored single digits in two of them.

The offense desperately needs assistance, and if the Giants are committed to Daniel Jones as their quarterback, leaving him with patchwork weapons simply won’t get it done. They need to take advantage of his rookie contract, and as he heads into his third year, this is a make or break season for the former Duke star.

Let’s take a look at how the Giants can allocate resources this off-season to help bolster their weakest link.

Five-step plan to solve the New York Giants’ offense:

1.) Replace Jason Garrett

It is hard to fathom that the Giants actually got worse on offense when compared to 2019. Former head coach Pat Shurmur was also calling plays, and as we know, it was very predictable and lacked spark.

Garrett managed to underwhelm even further, as the passing game was one of the worst in the NFL and Jones threw just 11 touchdowns after recording 24 in his rookie season. Some could make the argument that Jones actually took a step backward in his development, aside from his pocket awareness and ability to protect the football.

Garrett’s offense lacked creativity regarding route concepts and beating man coverage. The second half of the season saw opposing defenses play plenty of cover 1 and cover 0, manning up across the board against the Giants’ receivers. They simply didn’t respect them enough to be them deep or create enough separation to make a difference.

I would like the Giants to find an OC that focuses on verticals and pushing receivers downfield. In addition, I would like to see Saquon Barkley utilized more as a receiver, like Alvin Kamara or Austin Ekeler. One option that comes to mind is former Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn. Lynn is a former running back himself and used Ekeler to perfection. Ultimately, if the Giants can maximize Barkley’s footprint on the field, their offense will be significantly better. Also, with the expectation they will inject more help at wide receiver this off-season, they could take a major step forward with a downfield play-caller that stretches the field.

Some have made the argument that for Jones to learn his third offense in three seasons is negative. However, when you look at how inefficient the unit was this past season, it can’t get much worse. Again, the Giants barely manage more points than the New York Jets, a historically bad team.

2.) Draft Devonta Smith/Jaylen Waddle

If the Giants want to take a more conservative approach to fill the receiver spot with more talent, they could look to the draft as a potential supplement. Keeping the cap hit down on a star pass-catcher is ideal, especially since they need to find room for Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson. Draft prospects Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle both represent stellar players who can help the Giants in 2021. Smith is a nimble yet elusive receiver who can win in man-coverage and push the ball downfield. Waddle is a more refined slot receiver with elite speed and elusive route running.

Depending on step three of the plan, the Giants should have a better idea of what they are looking for on offense. However, it is possible that Smith doesn’t fall to the 11th pick, but this upcoming draft is flush with receivers, and as we saw last year, teams might wait a little bit longer so they can land a high upside player later in the first round.

3.) Sign a big-body WR like Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin

Even if the Giants do select a wide receiver in the draft, I believe signing a free agent is also necessary. Given the rate of injuries in the NFL and Daniel Jones quickly approaching the second half of his rookie deal, the Giants need to do everything they can to give him ample weapons on Sundays. Receivers like Kenny Golladay or Chris Godwin represents stellar options, as they both have big bodies they can make catches in traffic.

Golladay had a tumultuous 2020 season, playing in just five games, hauling in 20 catches for 338 and two scores. In 2019, however, he earned a Pro Bowl appearance, recording 1,190 yards, and 11 touchdowns. He is a tall, 6-foot-4 receiver who is nicknamed “Babytron,” after future Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson.

Given his down year, Kenny might be willing to sign a one-year, prove-it deal with the Giants, which could lead to a massive payday after the cap increases in 2022.

Godwin is another fantastic receiver who primarily works out of the slot. If the Giants are looking for a boundary option, Golladay is likely the better choice, but Godwin offers above-average route running and consistent hands.

This past year, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Godwin hauled in 65 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s only 24 years old, so Godwin is still in the middle of his prime and still has room for growth. At 6-foot-1, he’s not as tall as Golladay and might even be a bit more expensive based on his healthy this past season.

4.) Utilizing Saquon Barkley differently

As we know, Saquon Barkley is capable of breaking a play open at any given moment. It will take him a few weeks to get acclimated to the NFL and the physicality coming off of a torn ACL. Trusting his repaired ligaments will take time and reps, but if he manages to return to full strength, we know what he’s capable of.

During his rookie season, the Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, but Barkley still managed 2028 yards from scrimmage. He’s extremely reliable with a ball in his hands, rarely ever fumbling, and is a touchdown machine when given decent running lines. Ideally, the Giants can find a coordinator, if not Garrett, who will utilize him as a receiver more frequently and bounce him outside of the tackles to get him into space.

Barkley is a vastly different runner than Wayne Gallman, who prefers a north-south style. Garret’s outside-zone running scheme actually fits well for Barkley, and as long as he incorporates him as a receiver on unique routes and pushes the ball downfield to create space underneath, he should have a nice rebound season in 2021.

5.) Keep the offensive line similar

The Giants are going to have to create cap space to re-sign some of their better talents, but disrupting the continuity in the trenches must be maintained.

Some have suggested that cutting Kevin Zeitler and saving about $12 million would be beneficial, but he is their best lineman and the only player the Giants can truly trust. It is expected they will cut Nate Solder post-June 1, which will save them $10 million, but everything else should stay relatively the same.

Utilizing Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux at left guard is fine as the former Oregon product continues to develop. Having Cam Fleming and Matt Peart at right tackle isn’t necessarily bad, as Peart is hopefully the future. Fleming is a cheap stop-gap who can get the job done for now.

Ultimately, the line saw massive improvement this season, thanks to gradual developments from left tackle Andrew Thomas. Also, center Nick Gates was phenomenal, taking to his new position with ease. I believe keeping things the same and cutting Solder would be the ideal game plan.