Islanders showing they’re no one-trick pony anymore

In the midst of the Islanders’ excellent stretch of play over the last 17 games, something has changed from the norm when you watch them play. It’s how they are winning. They’re gaining victories in a variety of ways.

Last night’s 2-1 win over the Bruins, their fourth against them this year and their sixth victory in a row, came in a shootout. Before that, it was three consecutive triumphs over the hapless Sabres, all coming by a 5-2 score but all in different ways.

“We like being in those games, those playoff type games and we’re comfortable there and that’s how it’s going to be down the stretch there,” d-man Ryan Pulock said last night in the postgame.

With all due respect to Pulock, the trend of his team’s string of success is showing that the Isles aren’t only the kind of team that needs to play tight, low scoring games anymore, though that’s usually how head coach Barry Trotz would prefer it and how it’s been the club’s MO for close to three years now. No, now they have a formidable attack that can strike at any minute and can outscore their opponent and dangerous special teams. That was evident in their three-game sweep of Buffalo. But that dynamic has also been elevated with the emergence of the third line as well, with J.G. Pageau and rookie Oliver Wahlstrom becoming a dangerous duo.

“My guy. He’s just awesome,” Wahlstrom said over a week ago in his praise of Pageau. “He’s a guy I really look up to and I love being around him.”

Defense and goaltending are still priority No. 1 for the Isles, but there’s a chance they could go very far this year by having a complete game in their arsenal. That’s what’s developed recently in their play and it’s got them riding high and feeling confident.

What once felt like a team that could only sustain winning by depending on one facet, now feels dangerous in all areas.

The Islanders are no longer a one-trick pony and that should have the rest of their opponents on notice the rest of the way.

The Isles were finally successful in the skills competition last night. The game-winner from Anthony Beauvillier looked quite familiar to those who experience the club’s success in the shootouts for years.

Beauvillier did his best Frans Nielsen imitation as he went backhand roof job against ex-teammate Jaroslav Halak.

Barry Trotz continues to break records while leading the Islanders to success. Yesterday marked his 1,700th game behind the bench. He joined Hall of Famer Scotty Browman and Panthers bench boss Joel Quenneville in the top-three all-time for games coached in the NHL.

Lastly, someone needs to check on Sebastian Aho after Mathew Barzal’s hilarious treatment of him in warmups last night.

 

After setback against Dominick Cruz at UFC 259, what’s next for Casey Kenney?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, the featured prelim was a pivotal matchup in the bantamweight division. Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (23-3) was making his return against rising contender, Casey Kenney (16-3-1).

Entering UFC 259, Casey Kenney had a lot of momentum. He had won three fights in a row and was on the verge of a ranking. This fight against the former champion was his golden opportunity to bust into the top fifteen.

The first round went a lot like a lot of Dominick Cruz fights. Casey Kenney seemed a little thrown off by the movement and the defense of Cruz. The entire first round, it appeared that Kenney was a step behind.

In the second round, Kenney really started to find his groove. He was blasting the former UFC champion with low kicks and he kept pushing forward to cut off the movement of Cruz. The second round was a clear win for Kenney.

Going into the third, the fight was on the table. Both men did well in the first couple of minutes, but Cruz landed a big takedown in the second half of the round. In the end, two of the three judges gave the split decision win at UFC 259 to Dominick Cruz.

What’s next for Casey Kenney after UFC 259?

While he didn’t get the win on Saturday night, Casey Kenney showed me a lot. He showed that he belongs in there with some of the best in the division. So while it was a split decision loss, I don’t think he lost any ground in the division.

When thinking about what comes next for Kenney, there is one opponent that sticks out to me. That would be the Team Alpha Male product, Song Yadong (16-5-1, 1 NC). Song was also on the UFC 259 prelims and lost to Kyler Phillips.

This loss kicked Song out of the top fifteen at bantamweight. I believe that both of these guys are in a very similar position and I think a fight between the two would make a lot of sense. Whoever would win would have a great argument to get back in the UFC rankings.

After dominant win at UFC 259, what’s next for Islam Makhachev?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Islam Makhachev (19-1) took on Drew Dober (23-10) on the main card. Makhachev has a ton of hype surrounding him and many are considering him to be the next Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The UFC‘s lightweight champion grew up with and is one of the lead training partners of Makhachev. Like Nurmagomedov, Makhachev is a world sambo champion and he possesses a lot of the same skills as the lightweight champion.

This matchup against Drew Dober was going to be a big test for Makhachev. Due to the pandemic, we didn’t see Makhachev inside the octagon in 2020. For that reason, many forgot about how talented he really is.

Drew Dober had been soaring coming into UFC 259. A three-fight win streak where he had won all three fights by knockout. The odds were stacked against him on Saturday, but the thought was that he would provide a tough fight for Makhachev.

Well, on Saturday night, Makhachev mauled Drew Dober. The fight wasn’t competitive at all. Like we’ve seen so many times with Khabib, Makhachev controlled Dober for the entire fight before submitting him in the third round. A dominant return to the UFC for Makhachev.

What’s next after UFC 259?

After that dominant win, Makhachev jumped up in the rankings to eleventh. After this fight, he needs to fight someone that’s in the UFC’s top ten. There are a few options that I like and one I think is a very real possibility.

One option for Makhachev would be Kevin Lee (18-6). Lee is gearing up for his return to the octagon after an injury layoff and he’s currently ranked 13th. He’s been vocal about his desire to fight and test Islam Makhachev.

Another option could be Beneil Dariush (20-4-1). Dariush is now inside the top ten and he’s won six fights in a row. However, Dariush has been very vocal about his desire to move up the rankings and not take on someone lower than him.

Then there’s the matchup that Makhachev and the world wants to see. That would be the matchup with the former UFC interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson (25-5). Ferguson has history with Makhachev’s camp due to the amount of times he was supposed to fight Khabib.

Khabib and Ferguson were scheduled to fight five times and all five times the fight fell through. Makhachev is looked at as Khabib 2.0 and he wants to be the one to retire Ferguson. Ferguson has lost two in a row so from a rankings perspective, this matchup does make sense for the UFC.

Report: Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau was keen on flipping RJ Barrett/Mitchell Robinson for established veterans

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks have taken a different shape this season under head coach Tom Thibodeau, playing incredible defense and showing a bit more offensive efficiency than in previous seasons. Players like Julius Randle are having career years under this new system, as the veteran power forward is averaging 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists, all career highs.

Acquiring a star player to pair with Randle might be in the Knicks’ best interest, and with the March 25 trade deadline coming up, we could see a move in the near future. However, Thibodeau was keen on moving some of the younger pieces for established veterans, per a report from the New York Post.

From Yaron Weitzman at the New York Post:

[Thibodeau] pleaded for [GM Leon] Rose to offer long-term deals to free agents such as Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris and Bogdan Bogdanovic. He wanted to trade for Derrick Rose, a longtime favorite of his. He thought RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson could potentially be flipped for seasoned veterans. Initially, he was hardly sold on Julius Randle, according to a colleague.

So far this season, RJ Barrett is averaging 16.5 points, six rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. His field-goal percentage has jumped a significant amount from .402 in his rookie season to .443 this campaign.

The New York Knicks have something in RJ, and it’s not a trade piece:

At just 20 years old, he’s showing that he can be a force on offense but needs to improve his defense and become a bit more aggressive. I view Barrett as a long-term solution for this team and not a trade piece, given his youth and the step he took this season under Thibodeau. With solid teammates around him, they should continue giving him action.

Eventually, the Knicks will add a premium player to their starting five, and Barrett will likely benefit from his presence. Randle has assisted in Barrett’s growth exponentially, and with New York becoming a more desirable destination for star players, I believe it will only benefit the youngster.

As for Mitchell Robinson, he has just one more season left on his contract before he will require an extension. Robinson is currently out with a fractured hand, and while he’s not an offensive force, he’s one of the best shot-blockers in the NBA.

Considering how much the Knicks have gotten out of Nerlens Noel, I believe Robinson is the more expendable of the two, but I believe both have long-term futures on the Knicks and have shown enough to be retained.

New York Mets reassign 19 players from major league camp

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The competition in the New York Mets’ camp is fierce, as young guns and veterans alike are giving everything they have for a roster spot in the major league team. Everybody wants to be there on Opening Day, but it’s just not possible, as the roster size is only 26.

That’s why the Mets made its first round of cuts from big league camp, reassigning a total of 19 players, including top prospects Ronny Mauricio (shortstop), Brett Baty (third baseman), and Matt Allan (starting pitcher.)

Each of them made an impression with the Mets’ coaching staff, and in the specific case of Allan, he is taking valuable advice and direct contact with perhaps the majors’ best pitcher in Jacob deGrom, who the team assigned to take the rookie under his wing.

The New York Mets now have 53 players in their major league camp.

The list of Mets’ reassigned players

According to SNY, top catching prospect Francisco Alvarez and 2020 first-round pick, speedy center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, are also among the reassigned players.

Additionally, the team made the announcement that pitchers Franklyn Kilome, Sean Reid-Foley and Thomas Szapucki have been optioned to the Triple-A roster.

Here’s the full list of reassigned players:

RHP Matt Allan

RHP Oscar de la Cruz

RHP Ryley Gilliam

RHP JT Ginn

RHP Harol Gonzalez

RHP Trevor Hildenberger

RHP Tylor Megill

RHP Stephen Nogosek

RHP Marcel Renteria

RHP Jared Robinson

LHP Tom Windle

C Francisco Alvarez

OF Pete Crow-Armstrong

INF Brett Baty

OF Drew Ferguson

INF Ronny Mauricio

C Nick Meyer

C Hayden Senger

INF Mark Vientos

In many cases, such as Alvarez, Baty, Crow-Armstrong, Vientos, Mauricio, Ginn, and Allan, they are top prospects that should be important contributors for the Mets within the next couple of years or used as trade bait to bring more players in the future.

UFC denies closing featherweight despite claims from Megan Anderson

Maybe the UFC isn’t getting rid of the women’s featherweight division after all. Yesterday, Megan Anderson (11-5) announced on her Twitch that the promotion was not going to be retaining her after her contract had expired.

Anderson also said that the UFC had informed her that they were getting rid of the featherweight division. Multiple outlets have received word back from the UFC and the promotion is denying that they are getting rid of the division.

The UFC has confirmed that Megan Anderson is no longer a fighter for the promotion. With Anderson gone, the featherweight division is down to just a few fighters overall. As mentioned in the article yesterday, the only featherweight contest booked is in May.

That was said to be the final fight for the featherweights, but it might not be. Danyelle Wolf and Felicia Spencer will fight in May with the future of the featherweights up in the air at the moment.

What is happening in the UFC’s women’s featherweight division?

Amanda Nunes (21-4) is the UFC’s two-division champion and is one of the biggest stars for the promotion. She has been very vocal about keeping the featherweight division open. Dana White has acknowledged that they would do what the champ wants in this case.

However, with letting Megan Anderson walk and having so little featherweights, what should we make of the situation? I believe that moving forward, the UFC’s featherweight division will exist only in name.

Nunes will still be the champion, but until they can add more talent, the division will be on pause. If there’s a fighter outside the UFC who rises up through the rankings at 145, you might see a matchup with Nunes materialize.

However, I think the UFC is closing the division in terms of it being an active vision. They will keep it listed to allow Nunes to have her champ-champ status, however, the division itself will essentially be put on ice.

New York Yankees Analytics: Kyle Barraclough could be a diamond in the rough

New York Yankees, Kyle Barraclough

New York Yankees — With Spring Training off and running, one player I’m excited to watch as it progresses is Kyle Barraclough. While the Yankees signed Barraclough to a minor league deal, they did give him an invite to Spring Training. Barraclough is an interesting player to look at, as his career line is rather friendly; 3.53 ERA / 3.84 FIP / 11.38 K/9, but when you take a look at his last two years’ worth, there’s not a whole lot to like. Not long ago, he was thought to be one of the more dominant arms in the National League, as, during his stay with the Marlins, he was electric.

Barraclough, back in his prime stretch of 2015-2017, saw his fastball sit at around 95 MPH, and he was able to power that past hitters and mix it with his buckling slider. Aaron Boone specifically thinks there’s a lot to like about Barraclough, as he referred to him as being “not far removed from one of the best relievers in baseball,” of course, with some tweaks, back during his first appearance in Pinstripes in the Spring debut game. Thus far, in two Spring appearances, Barraclough has struck out four and given up a hit that would later come across to score and has walked two. The stuff is still disgusting, as he is continuing to register swing and misses frequently. The main down with Barraclough is that he wasn’t on a team last year, as he went unsigned following a chaotic 2019 season.

When acquired by the Nationals back in the 2018 offseason, there was wide belief that the Nats snagged one of the more dominant arms out of relief, despite the fact that he had a down year. Barraclough’s 2018 splits were the worst he had put together in a Marlins uniform, as his ERA & FIP alone both jumped over a point from his 2017 season (3.00 ERA & 3.66 FIP in ’17, 4.20 ERA & 4.98 FIP in ’18). Nonetheless, Washington got him at a bargain, as they only had to send Miami some international signing money, and I was amongst those that believed they had got a diamond in the rough. Unfortunately, it was anything but that for them, as Barraclough ended up having a disastrous campaign which resulted in them DFA’ing him in August of 2019. Below is a comparison of how his 2019 season with Washington looked, compared to the previous 4 in South Beach (info via Fangraphs):

YEAR(S) IP ERA & FIP K/9 BB/9 CONTACT % HR/FB %
2015-2018 218.2 3.21 / 3.45 11.5 5.5 70.1% 10%
2019 *MIA 25.2 6.66 / 6.56 10.5 4.2 74% 23.5%
2019 *SFG 8.0 2.25 / 5.71 11.3 10.1 62.1% 16.7%

I also decided to include his brief stint with the Giants at the end of the 2019 season to show that he did turn it around somewhat. As one can see, his time in Washington was a train wreck. Nearly every single one of his basic stats and his advanced peripherals took a step backward in 2018, but a far more costly and exaggerated one the following season. The biggest thing to look for with Barraclough is seeing how he can locate his fastball, which has been dipping in velocity over the past few years. In 2016, his average 4seam MPH was 96.2, and at the end of 2019, it sat at 93.4, after declining every year in between. If he is able to work on location and deception and throw his slider more than he may have in the past, he can be a great piece for this team this season.

Additionally, he’s been giving up an exuberant amount of hard-hit contact since his 2018 stumble of a year. In 2018, his HH% jumped from 26.5% the year before to 34.2%. Ultimately, his 2019 HH% given up sat at 42.6%. For a pitcher of his quality to be giving up nearly half of his pitches off the bat at HH levels is essentially allowing every hitter to be Bryce Harper when the ball comes off the bat. His HR% & Contact % over his final two seasons also indicate that he wasn’t nearly as successful as he was during his prime days prior. Nonetheless, if he is able to tweak a few things and work on location with his now less powerful fastball, I anticipate a quality year from him.

I’m not anticipating Barraclough making the opening day roster unless there is to be an injury in the bullpen. As of right now, he’s on the outside looking in, but if he is to stay on the roster as a minor leaguer, that could be a fantastic fallback piece for a potentially young front end bullpen (Loaisiga, King, Cessa, Nelson, Schmidt — prior to his injury — all looking for a spot). To have Barraclough, who has compiled 250+ innings in five seasons worth of MLB action as a backup plan, is a luxury most teams do not or cannot have. There’s no denying his stuff and abilities, as there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank. It’ll be interesting to see if he decides to stick with the Pinstripes if he isn’t named to the OD roster, but I believe he’s a dark horse candidate for a spot as is. Assuming he can break the roster, with his electric movement and raw stuff, he could be a great piece in a very dependable bullpen.

Unfortunately, in today’s era of baseball, there is both a far greater emphasis on the flashy signings and focus on the guys that throw 100+ or hit home runs, so naturally, a bounce-back candidate won’t be labeled a “big” signing by many. However, assuming Barraclough is to bounce back and contribute to this team in one way or another, there can be no gripes over this deal. Perhaps the second time around, a fresh start and a team with championship aspirations could be just what Barraclough needs to rekindle that once-dominant arm. Maybe this is the time he’s a diamond in the rough, and let’s hope he can contribute tenfold as the first go to this team.

Deciding the fate of Knicks players on the bubble ahead of the trade deadline

New York Knicks, Austin Rivers

The All-Star weekend is officially in the books as teams are now fully focused on the second half of the NBA season. The New York Knicks are in a really good spot for a change, as they sit at the 5th seed in the East with a record of 19-18.

The fact that they are in the playoff race, let alone a game above .500 this late into the season, is nothing short of remarkable considering the expectations heading into this year. This is a huge testament to the work of head coach Tom Thibodeau and the rest of the coaching staff, as they have this Knicks team playing hard every night and outworking their opponents, especially on the defensive end as they currently rank second in defensive rating at 108.8.

Usually once the trade deadline rolls around Knicks fans are already scrolling through mock drafts and familiarizing themselves with prospects in the upcoming draft. The Knicks themselves are usually trying to sell guys for draft compensation or searching the bargain bin for anyone they can take a chance on.

This year is totally different, as the Knicks will probably look to be buyers over the next few weeks, and as usual, they have been connected to almost every name out there. This also means a number of guys on the team already have been connected to trade rumors as well, so we could possibly see a roster that looks significantly different once the March 25th deadline passes. With that, let’s dive into a few current Knicks who are on the bubble and see if they are likely to remain in orange and blue, or if their time as a Knick could be over rather quick (how did I do, Clyde?):

Four players the New York Knicks could decide on at the March 25 deadline: 

Austin Rivers

I really feel bad for Austin Rivers. I do. He went from being a guy who immediately cemented himself as a vocal leader on the team and had Knicks fans excited, to a guy who fell out of the rotation and hasn’t seen the court in weeks unless it’s garbage time.

That being said, Rivers has been playing very inconsistently for much of the season. He is a hot-and-cold type of player and is a very streaky shooter. It seemed that Rivers was trying to do too much when he was on the court, and he was failing to find the guys around him when they had open looks far too often.

After the Derrick Rose trade, it seemed like the writing was on the wall for Rivers. The second unit has largely performed much better with Rose, and even when Rose was out the last couple of games due to health and safety protocols Rivers still didn’t see any playing time.

Rivers can still be a valuable trade piece because of his experience, veteran presence, and team-friendly contract. There should definitely a few teams who are interested in bringing in a guy like Rivers to bolster their scoring off the bench, including the team coached by his father, who had also shown interest in him during the offseason along with the Knicks. The Knicks might be able to get themselves a second-round pick or two for Rivers if they move him, and it is all but guaranteed at this point that they will do so.

Prediction: Gone

Kevin Knox

Kevin Knox has suffered a similar fate to that of Rivers, as the 2018 ninth overall pick has also fallen out of the rotation and has only seen the court sparingly recently. In just over 15 minutes played he’s averaging only 5 points, 2 rebounds and under 1 assist per game.

Early on in the season Knox showed an improved shooting touch, particularly from behind the three-point line, although Coach Thibodeau must not have liked what he saw from him in other areas of his game and phased him out of the rotation pretty early on.

The Knicks have reportedly been shopping Knox, although they were unwilling to part ways with him in the Rose trade last month. Nevertheless, it’s likely that team president Leon Rose and the rest of the front office were looking to save Knox for a future trade down the line, and I doubt he is untouchable now by any means.

Knox still could provide some value to a team looking to take a chance on a young guy and see if they can try and unlock something that the Knicks were not able to. He could also be an attractive throw-in piece as part of a bigger trade, but no matter what the trade looks like the likelihood is that Knox’s time as a Knick is coming to an end.

Prediction: Gone

Frank Ntilikina

Ah, the beloved French Prince. A man who will forever unite and capture the hearts of Knicks fans across the globe. After his early-season injury and COVID scare, we thought Frank Ntilikina was pretty much done as a Knick as he was forced to the bench alongside Knox and Rivers once he returned. But alas, an opportunity presented itself once injuries struck, and Ntilikina was the one Thibodeau called on to step up to the plate, which shows that he trusts him.

Ntilikina has done a solid job this season overall, especially since he returned to the rotation the last few games before the All-Star break. He hasn’t lit up the scoreboard, but that’s never been his game. He’s shot the ball selectively but more efficiently this season, and he’s continued to affect the game greatly with his suffocating defense. The offense as a whole has also seemed to flow better when he’s on the court, as he’s been able to help move the ball around while doing a good job of getting his teammates involved.

Could this mean that maybe the Knicks won’t trade Frank after all? He is a free agent after this season, and it was thought that the Knicks were looking to move on from him. They could possibly look to trade him and then re-sign him in the offseason. However, the Knicks would lose his Bird Rights, and they might want to see if he continues to improve the rest of the season. He would probably be affordable to re-sign as well, which would be appealing.

This is really a toss-up, it can go either way, but I’m going to lean towards the Knicks holding onto him and the Frank Ntilikina experiment continuing… for now.

Prediction: Stay

Elfrid Payton

We now go from the most beloved Knick to the most criticized Knick. Elfrid Payton seems like a great guy and is a solid player, he just can’t catch a break with Knicks fans. He isn’t a starting point guard, and even though he hasn’t been terrible he hasn’t been great either. He’s been good getting to the basket and even in the mid-range with a strong floater game, but his inability to shoot the ball has limited what the Knicks have been able to do offensively. He’s held his own defensively as well, but he’s been underwhelming getting his teammates involved as he’s averaged a career-low 3.7 assists this season.

Fans have been calling for Derrick Rose to replace Payton as the starting point guard ever since he came on board, but Thibodeau keeps standing by Payton and it doesn’t seem like he’s planning on taking him out of the starting role. That being said, you never know with Thibodeau, and Rose has played well as the starter in the games Payton missed with a hamstring injury.

When you combine that with guards like Ntilikina and rookie phenom Immanuel Quickley coming off the bench, it makes Payton more expendable. Plus, there have been rumblings of Payton drawing some interest from other teams. But, at the end of the day, while it is possible that Payton could moved at the deadline, there has been nothing that gives off the impression that it’s likely to happen.

Prediction: Stay

Yankees’ 2020 first-round pick is impressing with his hitting ability and knowledge

New York Yankees, Austin Wells

The 2020 season was a lost one for many players and prospects, even in the New York Yankees. There was a shortened MLB season, but the Minor League Baseball campaign was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.

However, the fact that there wasn’t live baseball for catcher Austin Wells, the Yankees’ 2020 first-round draft pick, didn’t prevent him from making an effort to improve his skills.

“So far he’s been really impressive,” Kevin Reese, the Yankees’ senior director of player development, said to MLB.com. “I think what’s been impressive, too, is just throughout this downtime — I can’t imagine being a player during this time, especially a first-round pick who has to wait a year to get into a game — he’s been a total pro; communicating really well with our hitting, catching, nutrition, strength and conditioning staff.”

The drive to be better is what separates the great ones from the pack, and Wells understands that very well. He played his first professional game a few days ago in spring training, but he managed to impress players and coaches with his hitting prowess.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” Wells said. “I’m not looking too far into the future and not thinking too much about the past and what’s happened, or what should have been. I’m just taking the opportunities that come to me and really taking advantage of those, for sure.”

The Yankees love his demeanor and approach

Wells’ hitting is what stands out from his game. He has a compact swing from the left side of home plate, capable of generating plenty of power but geared for line drives.

“He can hit; we really like his swing,” said manager Aaron Boone. “One of the things that stands out to me is that I didn’t necessarily know how strong he is. He’s as strong as anyone in camp, especially when you test them and everything. Some of the conversations that he’s having are pretty advanced from a hitting standpoint. This is a guy that loves hitting and understands it a little bit.”

The receiver the New York Giants want and the one they will likely end up with

New York Giants, Kenny Golladay

One way or another, the New York Giants need to address the wide receiver position this off-season. Whether it be through free agency or the 2021 NFL draft, quarterback Daniel Jones desperately needs weapons to utilize in the passing game. The Giants ranked near the bottom of the NFL in passing efficiency last season, despite Jones being one of the most accurate deep-ball passers in that league. However, when you don’t have adequate downfield threats to work with, that statistic doesn’t hold much weight.

Management has already guaranteed that the Giants will allocate resources toward the WR position, but it comes down to a matter of who. On Tuesday afternoon, reports indicated that WR Kenny Golladay of the Detroit Lions was not franchised tagged, so he will hit free agency, making him the first WR1 to hit the open market in quite some time.

It is very rare that a WR1 is available for the taking, but the Lions feel as though they want to go in a different direction with new management and a new quarterback. However, Chicago Bears stand-out receiver Allen Robinson was hit with a tag, making Kenny the most expensive and prized receiver on the market. Whatever team aggressively tries to sign him will end up overpaying, and he could earn upwards of $17 million per season.

Can the New York Giants open up that much cap space?

If that is the case, the Giants can find ways to manipulate their cap space, but they will have to offload contracts to 2022 when they have a bit more flexibility, and the cap is expected to rise after COVID-19. Nonetheless, they don’t have much money to work with this off-season, and creating enough to fit Golladay under the maximum number could be problematic.

With that being said, the Giants could easily settle for a lesser option like Corey Davis of the Tennessee Titans. While Golladay spent most of his 2020 season injured, playing in just five games, Davis had his best season to date. Over 14 games, he posted 984 yards and five touchdowns with a 70.7% catch rate, which is extremely impressive. Davis isn’t a bonafide number one receiver, but he’s capable of upgrading the Giants’ unit significantly.

Golladay, on the other hand, is one year moved from a 1,190 yard and 11 touchdown season, establishing himself as one of the best WRs in the NFL. In addition, he is the perfect scheme fit for Jason Garrett and his offense. Targeting man coverage assignments, Garrett loves to call plays focused on matchups against press-man downfield.

The Giants scarcely threw the ball 20+ yards downfield in 2020, but when they did, it was often against man-coverage. I believe JG will take a more aggressive route in 2021, especially if they acquire a big body receiver to target. Now, based on the demand Golladay will likely inflict on the market when free agency starts on March 17, I believe Davis might be the option of falls into the Giants’ lap.