Daniel Jones: Kenny Golladay interested in New York Giants culture

New York Giants rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones.

The reactions are still coming in after the New York Giants added wide receiver Kenny Golladay to their arsenal of weapons. Those reactions include that of Golladay himself as well as current members of the Giants organization.

One of the most important people in all of this is Daniel Jones. He’s the one that was without weapons in 2020 and the addition of Golladay improves his chances during his make or break 2021 season. And in a statement, he was positive about the addition and getting to work with the new wide receiver on the field.

“He’s been a big time playmaker in this league. When we spoke, he was interested in the culture we have in the building and the mindset of the team. I think he had heard it from coaches but wanted to hear how we saw it as players and how much we believed in it,” Jones said. “I think finding the right fit in that sense was important to him. I can’t wait to get out on the field and get to work with him.”

Culture has become a buzzword in many places that is used by every team regardless of their actual success. Every coach, both good and bad, brings up their team culture. However, the Giants have seen a culture change more tangibly since the addition of Joe Judge saw their coaching staff overhauled and the team immediately becoming more competitive in Judge’s first season.

One could say that’s already played a role in the Giants landing free agents this year. Golladay this year is their signature free agent, but it also appears the Giants are frontrunners to bring in cornerback Adoree Jackson, and they already added to the depth of their pass rush with defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo.

In other words, the Giants are one of the more improved teams so far out of this offseason’s contenders for that title. And from the looks of it, we can attribute a lot of that to how things went last year with the change in the coaching staff.

The Giants might not have picked up as many wins as desired, but the change in culture was noticeable, and it’s starting to pay off as the roster itself finally improves.

“Just hearing the vision that coach Joe Judge had and Jason Garrett had as far as the offense, that had me right there,” Golladay said on Saturday about his visit with the team.

It seems like that culture and the current coaching staff of the Giants had more than a little influence on him choosing to come to New York over other teams.

How should the New York Giants go about the tight end position?

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants recently signed former Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph to a two-year deal. This move leaves the tight end room crowded. Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, and Rysen John make up this position. I think it’s possible that the Giants draft a tight end in the later rounds as well. The Giants obviously can’t carry 6 or 7 tight ends when positions like Cornerback and Wide Receiver need all the depth they can get.

While Big Blue could go in several different directions, here are two realistic options heading into the 2021 season:

Kaden Smith is dropped

Jason Garrett loves running three-tight end sets in the running game, utilizing a jumbo-blocker to open up holes. We predominantly saw this due to the inadequacy of the passing game in 2020, but I expect them to continue with it based on Saquon’s return. Normally, the third tight end in that set is a really good blocker. Kaden Smith was average at best in run blocking last year, and only had 18 total catches to go with it. For some reason, Jason Garrett has an affinity for Levine Toilolo, who’s only good trait is that he’s insanely tall. The Giants already have one tight end who can’t block for his life. Why have two? I would hate to see Smith get dropped, but business is business.

Evan Engram Gets Traded

It feels as if this option is less and less likely to happen as the days go on. Before the signing of Kyle Rudolph, it seemed as if the Giants could draft Kyle Pitts and trade away Evan Engram. Now, the likelihood of the Giants drafting Kyle Pitts at 11 is low. But, let’s say this is an alternate reality where Kyle Rudolph and another tight end take over the starting spots. Evan Engram doesn’t have the best value, due to drops and other issues, but he has some value. I believe the Giants could scrape a 4th round pick at his lowest value. The Giants would clear up $6m in cap space and could sweeten the deal for another free agent like Adoree Jackson.

NASCAR: Ryan Blaney steals win from Kyle Larson at Atlanta

Kyle Larson’s dominance was of no concern to Ryan Blaney, who became the sixth different NASCAR Cup Series winner this season.

Kyle Larson led 269 of 325 laps on Sunday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s NASCAR Cup Series event. Alas for Larson and his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, the final circuit was not one of them.

Ryan Blaney passed Larson with nine to go, earning a victory in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford, becomes the sixth different winner in six events this season. Larson finished second ahead of Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch.

“I’m glad I’m one of them!” a smiling Blaney said about joining the other five winners in relative playoff safety. As for the parity, Blaney added “It just goes in the off-season of prep work, how you’re going to unload, show up to race We’ve probably never seen this. I don’t know when there were six different winners in the first six races. It just shows that a lot of great teams are out there and you have to be on top of your game. It just shows how many people can win.”

Blaney and the rest of the field found themselves staring at Larson’s back bumper for a good portion of the day. Larson first took the lead after a competition caution at lap 25 from the pole sitter Hamlin and expanded his to as high as ten-plus seconds as the afternoon played out. Save for brief reprieves during green flag pit stops, Larson led for the next 189 laps, allowing him to earn victories in the first stages, consisting of 105 circuits apiece.

The No. 12 team first flexed their muscles on lap 220, when Larson teammate Chase Elliott’s car began smoking. On the ensuing pit stops, Blaney emerged first after a strong stop. He was forced to relinquish the lead to remove some debris from his grill by using the draft behind Larson. The No. 5 kept the lead after the pit cycle but Blaney was able to chase him down through a strong stop and taking care of his tires on Atlanta’s seasoned surface. Blaney made the pass with nine laps to go and stretched it out to a second to earn a victory.

“He had a huge lead there in that second stage, then he didn’t really get that far out in front of me in the start of the third stage,” Blaney recalled. “Then we were running him down pretty good until we pitted there. He got a little bit ways away from me on pit road after we came out. He stretched his lead out a tiny bit. I was like, All right, it’s going to be a 50-plus-lap run, I’m going to try to save my stuff a little bit.”

“The guys did a great job getting me out there ahead of him. They were holding off for a little bit, but he was just so good on the short run there.”

Blaney’s besting of Larson continued some unusual trends on the NASCAR spectrum. Each of Blaney’s five Cup Series victories has come through a victorious pass of the leader with less than ten laps to go while Larson has never won a race in which he has won each of the first two stages.

The win also held personal significance to Blaney, whose father Dave ran at the Cup level for parts of 17 seasons. While the elder Blaney never had the best equipment to work with, he came close to a victory two decades prior at AMS while driving the No. 93 Dodge for Bill Davis Racing. Dave led 70 laps but lost a tire and was relegated to 34th.

With fans welcomed into Atlanta at the highest rate allowed by the state of Georgia, Dave was in attendance to see his son earn the victory.

“I don’t know how solar cycles line up, every 20 years, I don’t know. (But I’m) happy we were able to avenge that loss on him,” Ryan Blaney said. “Whether it’s a stern talking to or it’s careful advice, I’ve always enjoyed talking to him, hearing what he’s got to say. Just him being around means a lot. I grew up watching dad race. Now I’m racing full-time in NASCAR. He’s watching me. That’s pretty cool.”

The NASCAR Cup Series will return to Atlanta for the Quaker State 400 presented by Wal-Mart on July 11.

As a former sprint car racer and World of Outlaws champion, Dave will likely have some helpful advice for his son with next weekend’s event looming. For the first time in over five decades, the Cup Series will race on dirt, heading to a modified version of Bristol Motor Speedway next Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox). Qualifying races will be held the Saturday beforehand (6 p.m. ET, FS1).

Race Notes

  • Kurt Busch was relegated to a last-place finish in 39th after Denny Hamlin got into the back of him on the restart after the second stage.

 

  • Elliott’s DNF was his first since the latter half of the Dover doubleheader last August.

 

  • Daniel Suarez helped Trackhouse Racing earn its first stage point with a 10th-place finish in the second segment, but a late speeding penalty on pit road pushed him back to 17th.

 

  • Defending Xfinity Series champion and current points leader Austin Cindric finished 22nd in his second career Cup Series event and his first since the season-opening Daytona 500. Cindric, who drives Team Penske’s No. 22 in the lower level, will take over the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford next season.

For full results, click here

For full standings, click here

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: Offensive linemen to target in the 2021 NFL Draft

new york giants, wyatt davis

The New York Giants have had a phenomenal free agency period. They re-signed star defensive lineman Leonard Williams and landed free agency’s top wide receiver Kenny Golladay. The Giants also seem to be on the verge of filling another need with the potential signing of Adoree’ Jackson.

New York’s biggest need entering free agency has been addressed. They added playmakers on offense in Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph. If they also land Adoree’ Jackson, they will fill another significant need on defense. The Giants’ next biggest weakness to address is now their offensive line.

The Giants’ offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL in 2020. The Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win-rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. The Giants prioritized upgrading Daniel Jones’s weapons, however, maybe more than anything, they still need to fix the offensive line in front of him.

Offensive linemen to target in the 2021 NFL Draft

Rashawn Slater

The Giants could potentially go offensive line in the first round now that they have added their alpha-dog playmaker, Kenny Golladay. There are a couple of intriguing names for the Giants at eleven. Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern stands out as a realistic top option.

Penei Sewell is the top offensive tackle in this year’s class. But the odds of Sewell falling outside the top-ten are slim. Rashawn Slater has a better chance of falling to the Giants at eleven for one main reason: many teams view him as a guard. Slater was a dominant offensive tackle in college that handled Chase Young better than anyone in his dominant 2019 season. But, at six-foot-three with only 33″ arms, many project Slater to be a guard at the next level.

The Giants’ biggest weakness on their offensive line is the guard position. The Giants have their left tackle of the future in Andrew Thomas. Right tackle is a question mark, but Dave Gettleman is confident in Matt Peart as a future starter. Rashawn Slater could be drafted by the Giants to compete outside with Matt Peart, but he could also move immediately inside to start at offensive guard. He has the talent and athleticism to be a day-one starter, his position is just undefined.

If the Giants draft Rashawn Slater at eleven overall, they are getting one of two things: a talented, undersized player with the potential to be a top offensive tackle OR a day-one starter and upgrade at offensive guard. Rashawn Slater would be a perfect pick for the Giants with the eleventh pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Mid-round options

There are a few interior offensive linemen that stand out in the second, third, or fourth rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. In round two, a standout name is Wyatt Davis out of Ohio State. Davis is a right guard out of OSU that draws comparisons to Kevin Zeitler.

Wyatt Davis totaled 865 pass-block snaps in his career at Ohio State. On those snaps, Davis allowed only 4 sacks and 1 quarterback hit (PFF). He is a phenomenal pass protector and a mauler in the run game. Davis could start instantly on the Giants’ offensive line.

An intriguing option in the later rounds is Quinn Meinerz, a D-3 prospect out of Wisconsin Whitewater. Meinerz dominated at the 2021 Senior Bowl, putting him on everyone’s radar leading up to the NFL Draft. Meinerz, being from a small school, is much of an unknown, but he handled everything thrown his way at the Senior Bowl and could now go as early as the second round.

Meinerz is a big-nasty mauler on the interior that the Giants could select and give a chance to develop into a starting offensive lineman.

New York Yankees Recap: Gerrit Cole dominant, Yankee hitters awaken in win

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees were at Dunedin, Florida, to face the Toronto Blue Jays. Today is a preview of what Yankee fans might expect because the starting pitcher for the Yankees is Gerrit Cole, and the team is the team he will face on Opening Day, on April 1st, at Yankee Stadium. Today he will face the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Tanner Roark. For Florida, it was a cool day for baseball. The game-time temperature was 57 degrees, and the game was played under cloudy skies. The Yankees won the game 8-3.

Brett Gardner faced Roark to open the game. Gardner worked the count for eight pitches but struck out. Aaron Judge singled to left, Aaron Hicks walked, and Luke Voit he a long line drive to the left-field fence. Aaron Judge scored for the early Yankees lead. Clint Frazier did the job flying a ball out over the centerfielder’s head, driving in Hicks and Voit for the 3-0 Yankee lead. Derek Dietrich at the plate Roark threw a wild pitch moving Frazier to third. Dietrich singled, driving in Frazier and driving pitcher Roark out of the game with just one out to his name. This had to be deflating for Tanner Roark because previous to this game, he had not allowed a run in his three starts, and in this one, he gave up 4 runs without allowing a home run.

The Jays replaced Roark with Anthony Castro. Higashioka, with one on, faced Castro and struck out swinging for the second out. Thairo Estrada finally finished off the top of the first by lining out. At the bottom with Gerrit Cole on the mound with Higashioka catching, George Springer flew out to Brett Gardner. Biggio singled. Bichette struck out. Vlad Guerrero Jr., who has successfully hit in his last seven at-bats, walked. Hernandez struck out to end the 34-minute inning. Yankees 4 Jays 0. Cole looked better in this first inning than in any game so far in the spring.

In an unusual move, the Jays brought Tanner Roark back out in the second inning. Tyler Wade hit a standup double to center. Gardner flew out, and Aaron Judge singled, but Wade got caught trying to make it to third for the second out. Hicks struck out stranding Judge at first. At the bottom, Semien struck out, Grichuk singled, Panik hit into a double play ending the inning for Cole.

Luke Voit led off the third inning against Roark. Voit had an infield single down the left-field line. Frazier was caught looking. Dietrich struck out, and Higashioka singled with a pop fly to noman’s land in center. Voit to third. Estrada had a three-run home run for the New York Yankee’s seven-run lead. Tyler Wade struck out swinging. Yankees 7 Jays 0. At the bottom, Cole struck out Jensen, Springer, and Biggio for a quick 1-2-3 inning. Yankees 7 Jays 0.

A.J. Cole pitched the fourth for the Jays. Gardner singled with a blooper to left. Judge struck out, and Gardner was caught stealing in a strike em out throw em out double play, two outs. Hicks walked for his second time in the game. Voit flew one out to the center field that Springer caught on the warning track. Gerrit Cole out for his fourth inning of work and continued where he left off in the third by striking out Bichette for his fourth strikeout in a row.  Guerrero Jr. ground out to third, followed by a strikeout of Hernandez.

Anthony Kay pitched for the Jays in the fifth. Frazier ground out. Dietrich struck out swinging. Higgy flew out to center of the fastest half for the Jays.  Cole, with only 62 pitches, was back out for the bottom. Semien immediately homered off Cole. Crichuk singled to left. Panik ground into a double play. Jansen tapped back to the mound. Yankees 7 Jays 1.

Kay back out for the sixth walked Estrada. With Wade hitting, Estrada stole second. Wade singled, scoring Estrada and Wade went to second on the throw to home. Gardner lined out to first, Wade advanced to third. Judge looking for his first home run of spring walked. Hicks popped out. Voit struck out, leaving two on base, but the Yankees picked up another run. Yankees 8 Jays 1. At the bottom, Asher Wojciechowski took over for Cole in the sixth. Springer flew out. Biggio struck out, and Bichette also struck out.

Frazier had a long single to left. Velasquez singled Frazier out at second in a failed double play. Brantly, who took over catching for Higgy, lined out into a double play. White for the Jays stuck out. Facing Hernandez, Wojo immediately felt something and was out of the game. He was replaced by Lucas Luetge, one of the Yankees’ best relievers; unfortunately, the move didn’t work out well as Hernandez homered off him. Espinal lined out. Grichuk bounced out to Wade. Yankees 8 Jays 2.

Estrada, at the top of the eighth, flew out to center. Wade struck out, and Greg Allen ground for a quick half for Kay. Kay held down the New York Yankees for four innings. Kevin Smith got the second home run off Luetge to start the bottom. Adams ground out. Davis struck out. Urena had a two-out double, knocking Luetge out of the game. Addison Russ took over for Luetge. Russ retired Valera, who flew out. Yankees 8 Jays 3.

The top of the ninth saw Kirby Snead, the new Jays pitcher; he hit Seigler, who took first. Florial popped out. LaMarre flew out, and Gittens singled. Velasquez, with men on the corners, struck out, leaving the two on. The New York Yankees sent Nick Goody out to close it out for them in the bottom. White led off with a double. Palacios struck out, although he claimed he was hit on the elbow. Espinal flew out. With the Jays down to their last out, they brought out Miguel Hiraldo to pinch-hit. He struck out, and that was the game.

The final score was Yankees 8 and the Blue Jays 3. The winning pitcher was Gerrit Cole and the loser was Tanner Roark.  All three Jays’ runs were solo home runs—one off Cole and two off Luetge, who hadn’t allowed a run before this game.  The Yankees hitting that has been sparse in the last few games came alive with 12 hits, one of them a homer by Thairo Estrada.

 

 

New York Jets to sign Sheldon Rankins

The New York Jets are set to sign defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. The deal is reportedly for two-years, $17 million.

The former first-round pick has spent the last five seasons with the Saints, starting 33 games. Rankins totaled 17.5 sacks, 116 tackles and 44 quarterback hits with New Orleans. He had 1.5 sacks this past season.

The soon-to-be sixth-year player out of Louisville was drawing a decent amount of interest around the league. Rankins is now joining a Jets defense that already has Quinnen Williams and Folorunso Fatkasi at the defensive tackle spots.

If nothing else, he will add depth to the defensive line. Rankins now becomes the fifth addition to Robert Saleh’s defense in free agency.

Four NCAA Women’s Basketball prospects for New York Liberty fans

As the 2021 NCAA Tournament gets underway in Texas, ESM has a player from each region for New York Liberty fans to watch.

The 2021 WNBA Draft will be a little more difficult for the New York Liberty this time around.

When the last selection meetings were held last spring, the Liberty had the luxury of taking consensus top pick and college basketball record book author Sabrina Ionescu out of Oregon. This year, however, with the draft far more wide open and no agreeable top overall choice, the Liberty must do their due diligence, especially with the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament underway in Texas settings. The Final Four will be held on April 2 at The Alamodome in San Antonio with the national title game coming two days later. For the first time, every game of the women’s tournament will be nationally televised, with the games airing on the ESPN family of networks starting on Sunday.

ESM has a player from each region for New Yorkers to keep an eye on as the tournament gets underway…

(For the full NCAAW bracket, click here)

Alamo: G Dana Evans, Louisville

In the midst of this successful Cardinals run, having won at least one tournament game in each of the last nine editions (including a runner-up finish in 2013), the Liberty have more or less viewed them as a de facto farm team. They drafted Asia Durr second overall in 2019 and added Jazmine Jones and Kylee Shook with consecutive picks in last year’s selections. Jones rose to the occasion at the one when Ionescu went down, earning All-Rookie Team honors at the end of the year.

Ideally, the Liberty will welcome back 2020 opt-outs Asia Durr and Marine Johannes, but Evans can provide some insurance at the spot. The ACC’s leading scorer would immediately help a Liberty team that finished dead-last in points per game (71.9, nearly nine full points behind 11th-place Washington) and her propensity for three-point shooting would undoubtedly fit in Walt Hopkins’ vision. Evans’ speed, particularly in transition, has also earned positive reviews, and immediately working with familiar faces like Jones and Shook could help her make an immediate impact.

See her in action: Monday vs. No. 15 Marist (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Hemisfair: F Jasmine Walker, Alabama

Walker has made her WNBA intentions abundantly clear. In a heartfelt piece on FanWord, Walker mentioned that despite a self-described late entry into the game, making the WNBA has become the ultimate dream.

“I started late in the sport, but everything just came so natural,” Walker wrote. “I continued to improve every year, and by the time I was in high school, I had already made up in my mind that I wanted to play in the WNBA. So I always set a goal in whatever I did to be productive in accomplishing that dream.”

Accomplished on and off the court as an SEC Academic Honor Roll member, Walker fulfills not only the Liberty’s scoring requirements but their issues in the interior as well after the departure of Amanda Zahui B. Bringing in veteran free agent Natasha Howard certainly helps, but Walker can provide interior depth. The Liberty are apparently pleased with Kiah Stokes’ attempts to become an outside threat…having attempted 85 tiples after only three in her first four years…but they must make up for the paint deficiencies that may come with Stokes’ new role.

See her in action: Monday vs. No. 10 North Carolina (12 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Mercado: G Arella Guirantes, Rutgers

In this unusual season, perhaps no fifth-year senior has upped their stock more than Guirantes. Formerly of Texas Tech, Guirantes led the Big Ten in scoring and finished ninth in the nation in the same category. Of note, Guirantes put up 22.1 points against opponents ranked in the RPI’s top 50. In a happening one can almost view as fateful, Guirantes know what it’s like to work with Liberty royalty, at least indirectly. This season, she broke Sue Wicks’ record for most successful free throws in the program’s illustrious history. The Liberty managed to get to the line 18.4 times a game last season, good for seventh in the league.

Legendary Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer called out Guirantes’ leadership skills and locker room prescience upon her decision to return for the fifth year.

“Arella is the perfect leader to bring Rutgers women’s basketball to the next level as we continue our resurgence as a national power,” Stringer said, per ESPN’s Graham Hays. “We appreciate her dedication to our program and her commitment to excellence. Her work ethic and competitive drive is second to none, and we are excited to welcome her back for her senior season.”

See her in action: Monday vs. No. 11 BYU (12 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

River Walk: F Rennia Davis, Tennessee

A two-way player, Davis’ drop in three-point production (27 percent this season) might scare some teams off, but the new-look Liberty have been shown to appreciate players unafraid to capitalize on open looks. Davis also fulfills the Liberty’s requirements of searching for rebounding help in the post-Zahui B era, as she has earned 37 double-doubles in her Knoxville career.

She has also appeared to have fulfilled her preseason goals of controlling the ball better and her conditioning. Davis had 11 games in which she had two or fewer turnovers and played at least 35 minutes in 11 more, the best tally being 41 minutes in an overtime tilt against fellow tournament participant West Virginia. Her ultimate resiliency was on display during the SEC Tournament festivities in Greenville. Davis twisted her ankle in the first half but returned to earn a career-best 33 points in the 77-72 quarterfinal victory over Ole Miss. In another notable performance, Davis tallied 24 second-half points when the Lady Vols ended South Carolina’s SEC winning streak on February 18.

See her in action: Sunday vs. No. 14 Middle Tennessee (2 p.m. ET, ABC)

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Yankees decide on Opening Day catcher for Gerrit Cole

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

There is no question that New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole will earn the first start of the regular season in 2021. The major question leading up to Opening Day was who would be catching. Last season, Cole seemed to prefer Kyle Higashioka as his personal catcher, with better blocking abilities and defense behind the plate. However, the Yankees, specifically skipper Aaron Boone has all but confirmed Gary Sanchez will be the starter on day one.

“I would expect Gary to be behind there on Opening Day,” Boone said via Zoom.

Sanchez signed a one-year, $6.35 million extension for the 2021 season, and this could be his final opportunity to showcase he can be a long-term solution at catcher for the Yankees. After struggling considerably last season, his teammates have since rallied behind him and provided examples as to why he can be a totally different player moving forward. This spring, Sanchez has come crashing back down to earth after starting strong, hitting .194 with three homers and four RBIs over 31 at-bats.

Sanchez’s 2020 season was abysmal, as he recorded a .147 average with 10 homers and 24 RBIs. He recorded a career-high 36% strikeout rate and a negative WAR for the first time. Overall, the Yankees are giving him one final opportunity to salvage his career in pinstripes, otherwise, they will have to make a difficult decision and move forward without him. He struggled so much last year, they had no choice but to utilize the Hogashioka in the playoffs, with a very little sample size to justify this decision on.

However, Sanchez has been working diligently to refine his fundamentals and take a step forward. Hitting a few homers the spring has given him a bit of confidence, and over a larger sample size, he should take a step in the right direction.

The Yankees don’t need minimal progress, they need to see a productive player who is worth paying large dollar amounts to. If he can replicate even his 2019 season where he hit 34 HRs and recorded a .232 average, it might be enough to justify a long-term contract. At this point, though, he’s on thin ice and must prove his worth.

New York Jets LB Jordan Jenkins moves on to Houston

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins

Jordan Jenkins, the longest-tenured member of the New York Jets, is moving on to the Houston Texans on a two-year deal.

A New York Jets staple is moving on to the Lone Star State.

Per the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, linebacker Jordan Jenkins is moving on from the Jets to the Houston Texans through a two-year, $8 million deal. Jenkins, 26, had been the longest-tenured member of the Jets at five seasons.

The defender bid farewell to New York in a heartfelt Twitter post, which included a photo of Jenkins walking through the halls of MetLife Stadium clad in his No. 48 uniform.

“Put it all out there on the field during my time with the Jets, battle through torn labrums, bruised ribs, etc,” Jenkins wrote. “Will always be thankful for the (Jets) for drafting me. Excited to start this new chapter in life.”

Jenkins began his career as a third-round pick (83rd overall) out of Georgia. He would go on to earn 189 tackles in five seasons, including 22.5 sacks. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2019 with a career-best eight sacks, which earned him a new one-year deal at $3.75 million. Alas for New York, Jenkins failed to build on that prior season and would up landing on injured reserve with a shoulder injury in December.

He had four multi-sack games in green, including two big takedowns of Daniel Jones in a November 2019 win over the New York Giants.

With Jenkins’ departure, the title of longest-tenured Jet now belongs to Marcus Maye, who accepted his franchise tag at just over $10 million. Maye is thus set to enter his fifth season with the team. Jenkins also closes the book on the Jets’ underwhelming 2016 draft class, which also included Darron Lee, Christian Hackenberg, Juston Burris, Brandon Shell, Lachlan Edwards, and Charone Peake.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Knicks News: LaMarcus Aldridge connected to New York, but consider it squashed

The New York Knicks have been at the pinnacle of trade talks the past few weeks, being connected to players like Lonzo Ball, Bradley Beal, and even Andre Drummond. With the trade deadline occurring on March 27, the Knicks have a few more days to finalize any last-second moves, especially if they are looking to gain a sharpshooter or more offensively proficient point, guard. Injuries have taken their toll to a degree, but the Knicks don’t want to make any premature moves that hurt their asset treasury.

One player that has been connected recently to New York is San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge is having his worst season in years, averaging just 13.7 points over 25.9 minutes per game. His total rebounds are down to a career-low 4.5, and blocks are at 0.9, with the last time going sub 1.0 being in 2011.

Considering his fall off, some believed that he would be a solid add for the Knicks for cheap, but with Mitchell Robinson on his way back and Julius Randle their primary power forward, Alldredge doesn’t really make sense.

Per Marc Berman of the NY Post, the Knicks’ connection with LaMarcus Aldridge as a potential trade target came back negative.

The Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge is on the trading block, but a source said there’s mutual disinterest as he essentially plays Julius Randle’s power-forward position.

Acquiring a player via trade would be in line with playoff contention, but head coach Tom Thibodeau has other ideas in mind. Not everything is about making the playoffs, but rather setting the future stage and building something special.

The Knicks may be thinking playoffs, but Tom Thibodeau is thinking foundation:

“It’s important for us to go step-by-step and not skip over things,’’ Thibodeau said. “The whole goal this year is to build a foundation and the right type of habits. Wherever that leads us, it leads us. Our players have responded. In this league, you’re always looking for player development first, then look at the draft and free agency, then trades. You never stop working in all four areas. Every day it’s how can we make the team better. That’s where our focus lies with coaches, front office and players. We’re all tied together. We’re going to do what’s best for the Knicks.’’

Thibodeau’s approach is exactly what the Knicks should be abiding by. Focusing on how they can grow together and take progressive steps forward is ideal instead of trying to rush a playoff appearance for a team that isn’t ready to compete for a championship. They must be smart with how they allocate their resources, especially with plenty of first-round draft choices and young players to move in a potential trade.