Evan Engram named New York Giants biggest free agent for 2022

New York Giants, Evan Engram

It’s well known by now that the New York Giants are dealing with salary cap trouble. The cap wasn’t managed well under Gettleman, with the Giants spending a lot of money without much return. As a result, it’s clear that new general manager Joe Schoen can’t afford to pay everyone and some decisions will have to be made soon.

One of those decisions that’s drawing the most attention is the one around Evan Engram. The tight end has been many things for the Giants, since they acquired him. He’s been a promising prospect, an injury prone player that couldn’t stay on the field, and at other times a disappointment who drops the ball in key moments.

The new management of the Giants will have to examine Engram’s past and decide whether it’s worth keeping him around for the future, at a high price given the current cap situation.

According to Pro Football Focus, Engram is the best Giants player set to enter free agency. When placed on a league-wide list, Engram came in at number 73.

73. TE Evan Engram, New York Giants

The Giants reportedly rebuffed several requests from other teams to trade for 2017 first-round tight end Evan Engram ahead of each of the past two trade deadlines, but it remains to be seen if he is truly in their long-term plans. Engram’s 4.4 speed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds is enough to keep teams monitoring his situation, even as his overall and receiving grades have declined in each of the past four seasons. An anemic Giants offense that ranks 30th in expected points added per pass play since 2020 certainly didn’t help his cause.

Headed into free agency, Engram will certainly be a controversial player in the court of public opinion.

On one side, some will point out the flashes of potential he’s shown and claim the Giants won’t get a better receiving tight end elsewhere. Others will point to the moments when Engram slipped up in big moments and cost his team.

There’s no sign yet which side of the fence Joe Schoen falls on in this argument. But with Engram likely being the highest profile free agent for the Giants right now, it’s quite possible they could be priced out on him regardless of what the new front office wants to do.

Could Giants’ OC Mike Kafka re-unite with Chiefs free agent wide receiver?

byron pringle, giants, chiefs

The New York Giants entered the 2021 season comfortable with the wide receiver position. But just one year later, the position again looks like a need that Joe Schoen has to address. Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton underperformed in 2021 while Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard struggled to stay healthy. With new offensive coordinator Mike Kafka coming over from Kansas City to take over the Giants’ offense in 2022, he could look to bring some Chiefs wide receiver depth with him in Byron Pringle.

Why the New York Giants might be interested in Byron Pringle

The Giants are in need of some depth at wide receiver. Sterling Shepard is a cut-candidate this offseason, which would thin out New York’s wide receiver corps ever further. Additionally, the Giants’ other receivers, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and Kadarius Toney, have all struggled with injuries in the past. It is necessary for the Giants to add pass-catching depth to their roster this offseason.

Byron Pringle could be a perfect fit for the Giants in free agency. Pringle spent the first four years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs but is set to be a free agent this offseason. After going undrafted in 2018, Pringle signed with the Chiefs and developed into a solid contributor. This offseason, the Giants hired former Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Kafka as their next offensive coordinator. This connection between Kafka and Pringle could give the Giants some interest in the speedy wide receiver.

What Byron Pringle brings to the table

As an undrafted rookie, Byron Pringle’s career got off to a slow start. Pringle joined the Chiefs in 2018, suffered an injury, and was placed on injured reserve for his entire rookie season. Byron managed to bounce back and spend time both on Kansas City’s practice squad and 53-man roster in 2019. He showed some potential in Week 5, where he finished with 103 receiving yards and a touchdown as the Chiefs lost 13–19 against the Colts.

2020 saw Byron Pringle deal with some injuries. He missed three total games with an ankle injury but Pringle contributed when he was available. Byron showed his value as a special teams player, scoring a kickoff return touchdown in Week 7. He finished the 2020 season with 13 receptions for 160 yards and 1 touchdown.

Byron Pringle had a breakout in 2021. By far the best season of his career, Pringle established himself as an excellent depth piece recording 42 total receptions for 568 yards and 5 touchdowns this past year. He also scored 3 touchdowns in this year’s postseason.

Pringle was not perfect for the Chiefs, though. He managed to play 49% of the team’s offensive snaps but he also managed to drop 4 passes and was second on the team in percentage of dropped passes (6.7%).

At 28-years-old, Byron Pringle would be a solid veteran signing for the Giants. His experience in the Kansas City Chiefs offense should make him a perfect fit with Mike Kafka and the Giants. Pringle’s contract should be affordable for the cap-tight Giants. Byron Pringle is a depth piece that the New York Giants should focus in on this offseason.

Goran Dragic chooses Nets over Bucks to reunite with Steve Nash

The Brooklyn Nets continued to reshape their roster after the James Harden trade after landing veteran point guard Goran Dragic for the stretch run, according to multiple reports.

Dragic chose the Nets over defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks were the favorites due to a more significant role it could offer after losing Pat Connaughton to injury and Donte DiVincenzo in a four-team trade to acquire Serge Ibaka. Aside from Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, and Los Angeles Clippers also reportedly pursued Dragic. But in the end, Dragic’s relationship with Nets coach Steve Nash weighed heavily.

Nash served as Dragic’s mentor when he entered the NBA in 2008. The Slovenian point guard served as Nash’s backup in Phoenix during his first three seasons. They have an unfinished business together after the Suns lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals 12 years ago. The two met Friday, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

Dragic became the most sought-after free agent after securing his buyout with the San Antonio Spurs. He started the season with the Toronto Raptors as part of the sign-and-trade with Miami Heat for Kyle Lowry. But Dragic only played five games in Toronto before they agreed to part ways while working on a trade. He averaged 8.0 points and 1.8 assists in 18.0 minutes — his lowest output since the 2010-11 season. The Raptors attached a future first-round pick to Dragic in a deal with the Spurs for veteran big man Thaddeus Young and a second-round selection.

The Nets are waiving Jevon Carter to open a roster spot for Dragic, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 6-foot-3 Dragic will bring leadership with 56 playoff games under his belt. He will instantly boost the Nets’ thin point guard rotation with Ben Simmons still out and Kyrie Irving only available for their road games. Dragic and Patty Mills could form a formidable backcourt tandem in the second unit when Irving is hopefully allowed to play unrestricted in the playoffs.

Dragic has career averages of 13.9 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 36.4 percent from behind the arc. The Nets are scheduled to host the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Bellator books Paul Daley’s retirement fight against Andrey Koreshkov

A fixture in the MMA community for over 15 years has his retirement fight booked. Bellator has booked another big fight for their London card as welterweights Paul Daley (43-18-2) will be taking on Andrey Koreshkov (25-4).

As mentioned, this fight will take place at Bellator London on May 13th. MMA reporter Michael Morgan was the first one to report on the fight and was the first to break the news of Paul Daley’s retirement fight.

Daley isn’t having an easy draw as he takes on the tough Andrey Koreshkov. We just saw Koreshkov this past weekend at Bellator 274 when he took on Chance Rencountre. It was a very quick night at the office for the Russian.

Koreshkov blasted Rencountre with a nasty spinning back kick to the body that broke five ribs. Rencountre went crashing to the canvas and Koreshkov made a massive statement. Enough of a statement where Bellator wanted to give him a really high profiled fight.

Bellator London’s Retirement Fight

That high profiled fight for Koreshkov will come in May when he takes on Daley at Bellator London. Paul Daley is coming home to the UK for his final fight and he didn’t want an easy fight which is how Daley has gone about his MMA career.

He’s always taken on the toughest test even if the matchup on paper was a nightmare. Early on in his career, Daley was known for throwing a punch at Josh Koscheck after their fight ended at UFC 113.

Immediately, the UFC released Daley and he never fought for the promotion again. However, Daley has had stops at all the big MMA promotions since then from Strikeforce to Bellator.

Bellator has been his exclusive home since 2015. Since making this promotion his home, Daley has gone 9-5 and one of those bouts was a kickboxing matchup. Those five losses all came against top competition like Michael Page, Douglas Lima, and Rory MacDonald.

Most recently, Daley lost to the tough Jason Jackson. It’s been quite the career for Daley and he will get a nice sendoff at Bellator London. In his career he’s taken on guys like Nick Diaz, Tyron Woodley, and Jake Shields. It’s been a helluva career and I’ll be excited to watch the legend make his exit in May.

After big knockout win at UFC Vegas 48, what’s next for Jamahal Hill

Jamahal Hill

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 48, light heavyweight knockout artists went toe-to-toe. Arguably the top prospect in the division, Jamahal Hill (10-1, 1 NC), was getting a stiff test in taking on Johnny Walker (18-7).

Walker knows all about the situation that Hill was in at UFC Vegas 48. Just a few years ago, it was Walker who was knocking out all challengers and surging up the ranks at light heavyweight. Now, he was looking to turn away that same type of prospect.

However, Hill had other plans. Hill was wanting to continue his dominance by showing Johnny Walker that he wasn’t on his level. Well, at UFC Vegas 48, that’s exactly what Jamahal Hill did.

Early on in the first round, I wasn’t a fan of Hill’s approach. He was going after Walker, but he was really lunging forward and missing with hooks. He wasn’t as tight in his striking as we’ve seen him past fights.

However with Hill, it only takes one shot and he found that shot. Late in the first round, Hill found a massive overhand right that put Walker out cold immediately. It was a huge statement and Hill put the light heavyweight division on notice at UFC Vegas 48.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 48?

Hill announced to the division that he’s a true contender on Saturday, but the road is only going to get tougher. That said, the UFC’s light heavyweight division is relatively shallow which could cause a quick rise to the top for Jamahal Hill.

Once the rankings come out, he should be in the top ten and he should be getting a top ten opponent next. With that, who should the UFC pair him with? Well, one contender has already called him out and that contender is a former title challenger.

After UFC Vegas 48, Volkan Oezdemir (17-6) said that he wasn’t impressed with Hill. Of course in saying that, he was calling him out to see just how good “Sweet Dreams” is. That seems like a logical next step for Hill.

I don’t think the UFC needs to overly rush Hill given the state of the division. I think a matchup with Oezdemir gives him a favorable matchup and it’s a good next step up in competition.

Sound Off: Who do you think should be next for Jamahal Hill? Let us know in the comments!

After brutal knockout loss at UFC Vegas 48, what’s next for Johnny Walker?

This past Saturday night in the main event of UFC Vegas 48, we saw a big time light heavyweight showcase. Surging top prospect Jamahal Hill (10-1, 1 NC) was taking on the tough and entertaining Johnny Walker (18-7).

Just a few years ago, Johnny Walker was in the same position that Jamahal Hill finds himself in now. Walker was once the most feared and hyped prospect in the UFC’s light heavyweight division after he opened up his career 3-0 with three first round knockouts.

However, he injured his shoulder during a celebration and he’s really struggled since. Heading into UFC Vegas 48, Walker was just 1-3 in his last four fights and really needed a win over the top prospect to re-establish himself.

Well, unfortunately for Walker, he wasn’t able to do that on Saturday night. Early on, Walker was doing a good job making Hill miss big as Hill was hunting the knockout. I was actually really impressed with what I saw from Walker in the opening minutes.

However, it wasn’t long before Hill landed a massive overhand right on Walker. Walker was out as soon as the shot hit his head and he had a brutal fall back to the canvas and that officially dropped him to 1-4 in his last five UFC fights.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 48?

Make no mistake about it, this loss at UFC Vegas 48 is a brutal one for Johnny Walker. Yes, he’s only lost to ranked competition, however, you can only lose so many fights before the UFC starts questioning their faith in you.

As mentioned, Walker is now 1-4 in his last five and he’s desperately going to need to win in his next fight. So, who will the UFC pair him up with next? Well, I’m not sure they are going to do him any favors.

I don’t see Walker falling out of the rankings after this loss which likely means another ranked opponent. If that’s the route, the UFC would likely look at a matchup between Walker and Jimmy Crute (12-2).

Like Walker, Jimmy Crute is also coming off of a knockout loss to Jamahal Hill. He’s lost two fights in a row which has really cooled off the momentum he was riding in 2021. Look for a matchup between these two and with both men desperately needing a win, it could be fireworks.

After successful BKFC debut, is a title shot next for Mike Perry?

This past Saturday at BKFC‘s Knucklemania, one of the more hyped fights featured the debut of “Platinum” Mike Perry (1-0). Perry was making his bare knuckle debut against former Ultimate Fighter alum Julian Lane (3-5).

Lane has plenty of bare knuckle experience as this was his eighth matchup in BKFC. Mike Perry finished out his UFC contract last year and received a nice bump in pay to throw his name in at BKFC.

These two men had a lot of viral moments leading up to the fight including a brawl a couple of months ago and Perry pulling out a bat at the press conference. Well, they got to settle the score on Saturday night.

In the first round, Perry was able to drop Lane with a big shot. Lane has his moments in the middle round, but throughout the night, Perry was landing the better shots. It was a close fight that I had 3-2 and that’s how the judges scored it giving Mike Perry a successful debut in BKFC.

BKFC title shot next?

Now, it’s clear that BKFC is still trying to become more popular in the main stream. We’ve seen them throw big money out at fun names that came from the UFC. Names like Mike Perry, Paige VanZant, Chad Mendes, and more.

Another former UFC fighter just happens to be the BKFC middleweight champion. That man would be Thiago Alves (2-0 BKFC). After the fight was over, Alves kept calling out Bare Knuckle for not mentioning him much on the broadcast despite being the promotion’s middleweight champion.

I think this will add a little fuel to the fire whenever they inevitably book the BKFC middleweight title fight between Alves and Perry. Clearly, that’s going to be what the promotion does next.

Again, they are in the business of trying to be more mainstream. When you’re playing that game, you’re constantly looking to get the bigger names you have in the biggest fights possible. Thiago Alves and Mike Perry is a fight that would generate interest and I fully anticipate that being next for both men.

Yankees News: Luke Voit, Aaron Hicks battling injury returns, starting pitching support on the way

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees face an interesting next few weeks as players gear up for the start of the 2022 season without the assurances required from ownership. The CBA is still in the works with core economic issues left to solve — the luxury tax remains their biggest hurdle. The hope is both the Players Union and owners will begin to meet more frequently without risking the regular season being compromised.

Prior to the lockout, the Yankees were quiet, passing on big money acquisitions and waiting for the new luxury tax to drop to see how much flexibility they have. That could end up backfiring since there will be a frenzy when the market opens back up, presenting a ton of competition for the leftover players.

General manager Brian Cashman still has plenty of moves left to make, specifically regarding positions that have been impacted by injury. First base and centerfield could use a bit more support after both Aaron Hicks and Luke Voit went down last season, missing 90 games apiece, at least.

Without the team facilities and trainers, working their way back has been even more tumultuous.

“We’re just getting work in where we can,’’ Luke Voit said last week. “It’s a little bit harder not being able to use the [team] facility, but we don’t want to get too far behind for whenever we do start.”

Voit played 68 games last season, hitting .239 with 11 homers after a lucrative 2020 season where he led the MLB with 22 home runs. There is no guarantee that Voit won’t be replaced at first base, especially if the Yankees are willing to splash big money on Freddie Freeman. Nonetheless, Voit has stated that he will find a different place to play first if the Yankees won’t give him an opportunity.

Hicks, on the other hand, has spent two of his last three seasons injured, playing 32 games last year. He featured a .194 batting average with four homers and 14 RBIs, putting the Yankees in a tough spot after extending him on a seven-year, $70 million deal. The Yankees desperately need more value from Hicks, who has been nothing short of disappointing ever since signing a fresh contract.

Hicks has been getting some action during Winter League play, but he could’ve used this time with the team trainers and regimen to help rehabilitate.

Another important player who has dealt with injuries the past two seasons is starting pitcher Luis Severino.

Severino pitched just 6.0 innings last year at 27 years old, enjoying just a combined 18 innings over the past three years. Severino has battled two Tommy John surgery‘s but still maintained an adequate fastball pace despite lengthy rehabilitation timelines.

Over such a small sample size last year, his fastball touched 95.3 mph on average. Compared to his 2018 season, where he averaged 97. 6 mph, he’s down quite significantly, but giving him more time to build up his strength should get that number a bit closer is ideal. With Corey Kluber hitting free agency and signing with the Tampa Bay Rays, Severino’s return is imperative.

Giants have big decision to make on Saquon Barkley: Save the money or let him play

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants have some big decisions to make regarding leftover pieces from the Dave Gettleman regimen, specifically running back Saquon Barkley. As one of the more polarizing players on the team, Barkley is still fighting his way back from a completely restructured knee, struggling to regain footing during the 2021 season.

A poor offensive line and scheme didn’t help Barkley return to his former self, but the hiring of Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen should promote a better unit entirely. A rebuilt offensive line, strength-based scheme, and modernized play-calling all aid in the potential of Barkley, but how much value does he really hold on his 5th-year option?

Before his rookie deal expires, Barkley has one final season, preparing to earn $7.2 million. The Giants could look for a trade partner to unload his salary and invest elsewhere, but it would leave a newly opened void at running back. The Giants have Devontae Booker and Gary Brightwell on the roster, but they don’t fit Daboll’s mold of versatile back who also serve as competent pass-catchers. Booker showed flashes of quality last season, so keeping him around isn’t the worst idea at a $3.1 million. The Giants can cut him and save $2.1 million, a healthy amount.

Joe Schoen has already had conversations with Barkley, remaining steadfast in his quality, but did mention the team would have to make tough decisions to add cap space.

“He was in the locker room yesterday, so I got to have a good conversation with him,” Schoen said, via SNY.tv. “I’m excited about Saquon. When he came out, he was a rare talent. I know he’s had some injuries, and that comes with that position. We talked a little bit about where we may need to upgrade. I think if you upgrade the offensive line, that’s gonna help Daniel [Jones]and it’s gonna help Saquon.”

Saving $7.2 million is significant when the team currently lies $12 million ‘under’ the cap. Schoen is looking to clear $40 million — saving from Barkley could pay for the entire rookie class this off-season.

“First off, we have to get underneath [the cap], we have to make some tough decisions here in the near future just to get in a place where we can sign draft picks and be below the cap,’’ Schoen said. “There’s a fine line, because you can’t purge.’’

Based on positional value, there’s a tiny, minuscule chance the Giants extend Barkley beyond this season, given his injury history. With that being the case, an argument could be made that trading Barkley now would add draft capital and funds toward the rebuild, but losing him may hurt the team’s chance at winning games next season.

From a pure business perspective, trading Barkley is the most efficient move and will offer the most return (under the assumption he’s likely gone after this season). In terms of winning games and being competitive, the offensive staff is likely excited to build a scheme that focuses on his strengths.

From my perspective, the Giants are better off keeping Barkley around for one simple reason: the draft capital they get back will be minimal at best. His contract will expire after the 2022 season anyway.

Maybe, the Giants can extract his best self and look to move him at the deadline for 2023 Draft capital.

Former Yankees outfielder gets game analyst gig with YES Network

New York Yankees, Cameron Maybin

Outfielder Cameron Maybin had a very good season with the New York Yankees back in 2019, one of the best in his career. That year, he was a part-timer, but played a bunch of games (82 when all was said and done) and hit .285 with 11 home runs.

He then departed via free agency, but that 2019 campaign won’t be the end of the story between Maybin and the Yankees: the former top prospect, who recently announced his retirement from baseball, will be a game analyst for the YES Network.

Maybin was known for being a clubhouse darling, with his outgoing personality and friendly behavior. He is also a thorough baseball man, and he will have the chance to show his vast knowledge on a national audience.

A familiar voice in the booth for the Yankees

The soon-to-be Yankees television broadcaster, according to YES studio analyst Jack Curry, will be analyzing around 40 games in the 2022 campaign.

“Cameron Maybin was a delightful personality when he played for the Yankees in 2019,” Curry said via Twitter. Before being hired, Maybin had to pass an audition with play-by-play caller Michael Kay.

“I did a ‘tryout’ game with Cameron Maybin about a month ago and he was incredible,” Kay tweeted. “First time he had a headset on and he was a natural. Get ready Yankees fans because he is going to be a TV star. Yes, he’s that good.”

Shortly after the turn of the year, on January 3, Maybin announced his retirement from baseball after a long, fruitful career that included stints with the Detroit Tigers (2007, 2016, 2020), Miami Marlins (2008-10, 2018), San Diego Padres (2011-14), Atlanta Braves (2015), Los Angeles Angels (2017), Houston Astros (2017), Seattle Mariners (2018), the Yankees (2018), Chicago Cubs (2020) and New York Mets (2021).

The former outfielder will be replacing the retiring Ken Singleton. Completing the YES roster are Kay, David Cone, Paul O’Neill and John Flaherty, with clubhouse reporter Meredith Marakovits and backup play-by-play man Ryan Ruocco.