Could the Giants give the Saints an opportunity to draft a quarterback?

new york giants, joe schoen

The New York Giants have an amazing trade-down opportunity presented to them. The New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles struck a deal today on a draft trade. The Eagles are sending picks No. 16, No. 19, and No. 194 in the sixth round to the Saints in exchange for picks No. 18, No. 101 in the third round, No. 237 in the 7th round, AND a 2023 first-round pick, and 2024 second-round pick (Adam Schefter). The Saints now hold the 16th and 19th picks in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The New Orleans Saints now possess two first-round picks in this year’s draft, like the New York Giants. However, the Saints’ draft picks are sitting in the late teens while the Giants own two top-ten selections. Many analysts are hypothesizing that the Saints this trade today in order to position themselves to draft a quarterback this year. The 16th and 19th picks could be used to trade up and acquire a top-ten draft pick to target a quarterback like Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett. This Giants could be the team that gives the Saints the opportunity they are looking for to draft their quarterback.

Could the Giants trade down with the Saints?

The New York Giants own the fifth and seventh overall picks in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. These two draft picks give the Giants a lot of flexibility with who they could select. At the very least, the Giants can stick and pick, taking two top-ten talents in this year’s draft class. The Giants have expressed interest in all of the class’s top offensive tackle prospects as well as some stud defenders like Kayvon Thibodeaux and Sauce Gardner.

However, the Giants could elect to trade down in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Buzz is generating around certain quarterback prospects that could potentially be drafted in the top ten. In fact, the Giants have even expressed interest in a quarterback prospect, having recently had a meeting with Liberty prospect Malik Willis. Willis seems like he could be a top-ten pick this month, and many of the NFL’s quarterback-needy teams are picking outside of the top-ten, like the New Orleans Saints.

The Giants could turn one of their two top-ten picks into two top-twenty picks in a trade-down with the New Orleans Saints. The Saints would likely be willing to give up picks 16 and 19 in exchange for either pick five or pick seven if the deal will land them their quarterback. In a deal like this, the Giants would wind up with three first-round picks and the opportunities to drastically improve their roster. The New York Giants should keep an eye on the Saints as the draft creeps closer.

Knicks: Tom Thibodeau wants Immanuel Quickley to continue doing this

There is an ongoing debate whether Immanuel Quickley is better off as a scorer off the bench or a point guard. The sophomore New York Knicks guard continued to trend towards becoming both after notching his first career triple-double.

Quickley scored 20 points with 10 assists and 10 rebounds, both career-highs, as the Knicks routed the Magic, 118-88, Sunday at Amway Center in downtown Orlando in front of a loud Knicks crowd.

“I’m a basketball player,’’ Quickley said via NY Post. “I’ve been trying to tell everybody that. I can handle the ball, pass the ball, shoot the ball, help my teammates get shots, and help myself get shots. So that’s what I view myself as, a basketball player.’’

Quickley struggled early in the season as he recalibrated his game from a scorer to more of a playmaker starting in the NBA Summer League. But he’s found his rhythm lately.

Since the All-Star break, Quickley has averaged 15.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 20 games. He’s had at least four assists in 12 of those games, which shows his growth as a playmaker.

It’s quite a jump from his pre-All-Star break numbers: 9.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. He’s only had at least four assists in 18 of his first 55 games, while his shooting numbers dipped to 36.8 percent overall and 32.8 percent from the three-point zone. Since then, he’s been shooting 44 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from deep on 5.1 attempts, almost half of his shot diet (10.4 field goal attempts).

“I thought [Quickley] gave us a great lift,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It was more how he got the ball moving for us. I think we had 29 assists, and he made a lot of good plays. His shot sets things up. But I thought he made a conscious effort to get the ball moving side to side. And anytime you get the guard rebounding like that, that allows you to get out into the open floor and run. I want him to continue to do that.’’

So it wasn’t surprising that half of his 10 assists against the Magic went to Obi Toppin (3) and RJ Barrett (2), the two other Knicks’ young players who thrive in transition. Quickley pointed out his close relationship with Toppin off the court, which has translated well on the court.

“He’s just got a different type of passion. He’s very passionate about his game, and he wants everybody succeeds. He wants to pass the ball and allow other people to get off. That’s one of the biggest things. He pushes everybody every single day,” Toppin said of his draft classmate.

For Quickley, the transition from playing off the ball to becoming a lead playmaker hinges on developing his leadership skills.

“[I’ve learned] The pace of play, slowing down a little bit and then obviously always trying to get better in playmaking, create for my teammates and leadership. I probably say it’s another big thing, making sure I’m really vocal when I’m on the floor talking to guys, keeping guys positive, and [play with] high energy,” Quickley said after their loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers last Saturday where he flirted with a triple-double (17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists).

The next day, Quickley became the second-youngest Knick to record a triple-double, behind Kenny Sears, who did it in 1956. He also joined Mark Jackson and Ray Williams as the third Knicks player in history to record a triple-double off the bench.

Quickley may not be starting, but he’s playing starter minutes over the last two games. He’s averaging 32 minutes over Knicks’ official starting point guard Alec Burks’ 30.5.

Quickley’s playmaking skills are no longer debatable. The debate quickly turns to whether he should start as the Knicks’ point guard. He’s trending up in that direction.

Perhaps next season.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Yankees re-assign 4 players, including one interesting veteran relief arm

yankees, shelby miller

The Yankees are quickly approaching Opening Day on April 7, meaning management is trimming the roster. The Bombers currently have 36 players on the roster, not including two pitchers on the injured list.

Having added multiple players to minor league contracts and invited them to spring training, it was only a matter of time before they began to cut the numbers down. Three of the latest four re-assignments were heavily involved in competition for the backup catcher role before general manager Brian Cashman acquired Jose Trevino from the Texas Rangers over the weekend.

Yankees re-assign four players to the minors:

1.) Shelby Miller

One of the more interesting assignments was veteran relief pitcher Shelby Miller, who spent last season with Chicago and Pittsburgh. Miller posted a 9.24 ERA last season and an 8.59 ERA with Texas back in 2019. It has been quite some time since Shelby has had a productive season, but he looked strong this spring, recording a 0.00 ERA and allowing just one hit over one inning pitched.

Clearly, the sample size wasn’t enough to justify Miller’s retention at the top level, given Cashman landed Miguel Castro from the New York Mets on Sunday via trade.

2.) Rob Brantley

One of the players competing for Kyle Higashioka’s backup spot was Rob Brantley, who made six appearances last season, recording three hits. This spring, he hit .250 over 7 games, showcasing some efficiency on the offensive side.

Trevino offers phenomenal framing capabilities and a decent bat with more MLB experience, which is why he immediately took over while Ben Rortvedt rehabilitates from an oblique injury.

3.) David Freitas

David Freitas was also competing for the backup catcher role, spending last season with Tampa Bay’s AAA affiliate. Freitas never really had a chance at landing on the active roster, but he will spend time in the minors if not outright released.

4.) Max McDowell

Another name that bubbled to the surface during spring training was Max McDowell, a 28-year-old catcher. McDowell spent last year with Somerset and Scranton Wilkes-Barre, hitting a collective .217 with 31 hits and one homer. McDowell has never made an appearance at the MLB level, and given his offensive shortcomings, he may have to wait another year or supplement injury in a worst-case scenario.

Will Neil Magny finally get a shot to derail a UFC hype train?

Just a little over a week ago at UFC Columbus, Neil Magny (26-8) was back in action. The Haitian Sensation was taking on Max Griffin and Magny was looking to pick up his second straight win inside the octagon.

Before last weekend, Magny had defeated Geoff Neal back in May of 2021. Magny was able to edge by Max Griffin winning a split decision which made him 5-1 over his last six fights.

After the fight was over, Magny took to the microphone and called out Khamzat Chimaev. Chimaev is of course fighting former title challenger Gilbert Burns on this upcoming weekend’s UFC 273 main card.

Chimaev has been this boogeyman type figure who nobody wanted to fight. However, Magny is someone who has called him out from the very beginning. It’s a fight Magny begged the UFC for, but alas, he didn’t get that fight.

While he did make the callout, the only way he gets the fight is if Chimaev loses to Gilbert Burns. If Chiamev beats Burns, it’s likely going to be a title shot or title eliminator next for Chimaev which would rule out The Haitian Sensation.

UFC’s Next Top Prospect vs Magny?

While a fight with Chimaev might not be in the cards, there’s another top prospect that could be in line to face Magny. That prospect would be Kazakhstan’s Shavkat Rakhmonov (15-0).

In October of 2020, Rakhmonov made his UFC debut against Alex Oliveira. He scored a first round submission win and he was off and running. Thus far, he’s fought three times in the UFC and he’s 3-0 with three finishes.

Rakhmonov recently said that he wanted to fight Magny, and Magny has already responded on Twitter saying he’s in. While a fight with Chimaev was never truly in the cards, this fight is perfect for the UFC.

While Rakhmonov is unbeaten and definitely a top prospect, he doesn’t have the same buzz that Chiamev did. Thus, the promotion isn’t going to fast-track him the way that they did with Chimaev.

A fight with Magny would be the perfect test to see just how good Rakhmonov is. I think the UFC will go in this direction and don’t be shocked to see this fight get put together for the summer.

Giants make salary cap move, restructuring contract of Adoree Jackson

adoree jackson, giants

The New York Giants started Monday morning with less than $2 million in available cap space. With the 2022 NFL Draft coming up quickly, the Giants need at least $16 million in salary space to sign their rookies, considering they have two first-round picks, which will account for $4.5 million apiece.

On Monday, the Giants restructured the contract of cornerback Adoree Jackson, who signed a 3-year, $39M deal last offseason to serve as the team’s No. 2 corner alongside James Bradberry.

New general manager Joe Schoen created nearly $6 million in salary space by converting $9 million of Jackson’s contract into a signing bonus. By doing this, they added a void year to his deal, pushing some guaranteed money down the road, which will count as dead cap.

Schoen stated this off-season previously, he would try to avoid kicking the can down the road on big contracts, but it was necessary given how strapped the Giants are for cash after Dave Gettleman spent aimlessly over the past four seasons.

Restructuring Jackson’s contract makes the most sense since he would theoretically be the team’s No. 1 corner if they trade Bradberry away, saving $11.7 million in salary space. They did have the option of restructuring the contracts of Kenny Golladay and Leonard Williams, but the team can save a tremendous amount of money if they keep their deals the same and look to release them in 2023/24.

Schoen could save the team $18 million in salary space if they release Williams next off-season and $6.7 million if they cut Golladay. However, Golladay would still count $14.7 million against the cap, making him less productive to cut before 2024, when he would save $14.6 million.

Nonetheless, the expectation is that the Giants will trade Bradberry, having connected with the Kansas City Chiefs in a potential trade. Jackson transitioning to the team’s top corner would force management to look to the draft as a potential supplement. The team has been heavily intrigued by Cincinnati CB Sauce Gardner recently, taking him out to dinner after they attended his Pro Day.

The Yankees are getting a master framer in Trevino

jose trevino, yankees, rangers

The New York Yankees made several trades over the weekend, and one of them resulted in catcher Jose Trevino coming over to the Bronx in exchange of Albert Abreu and pitching prospect Robert Ahlstrom.

Trevino didn’t hide his excitement about becoming a member of the Yankees roster. “I feel like everybody says this but as a kid growing up, you look at the Yankees. You admire the guys that played in the pinstripes and played for the city…As a kid you always want to be a Yankee and for me that was my dream,” he said to Erik Boland.

Abreu has always been a promising reliever, but he was out of options and he wasn’t a lock to make the roster, so the Yankees wanted to get something out of him. They are getting Trevino, a 29-year-old catcher with a lousy offensive profile, but very, very good defense, especially in one extremely important aspect of the modern game: framing.

The Yankees love Trevino’s defense

Trevino hit .239/.267/.340 with five home runs and a poor 64 wRC+ last year with the Texas Rangers, so there is not a lot to like about his offense other than the fact that he would have hit around eight homers in Yankee Stadium.

His defense, however, is ideal for what the Yankees are trying to build. The art of stealing strikes is often a very underrated exercise that can influence the outcome of a game and is very helpful for pitchers: a couple of strikes are usually the difference between a quality start or a stinker.

Trevino finished in the 96th percentile (!) last season in Statcast’s catcher framing, with eight catcher framing runs. By playing only 89 games, he posted a +15 defensive rating in FanGraphs, fueled by 8.8 Framing Runs and +8 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). He may not hit like a starting catcher, but he can sure steal strikes from umpires. That’s something the Yankees will surely appreciate, as they got below average defense the last few years with Gary Sanchez.

Giants showing major interest in star Cincinnati cornerback as 2022 NFL Draft looms

sauce gardner, giants

One way or another, the New York Giants are looking to add a stud defensive piece in the 2022 NFL Draft. Having invested plenty of attention in Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner, it seems as if management believes one of the two will fall into their laps.

Several weeks ago, Giants general manager Joe Shane met with Gardner after his Pro Day, taking him out to dinner and gauging his value on the draft board. One thing is for sure, Gardner doesn’t lack confidence, posting on Twitter that he is the best player in the 2022 NFL draft on Sunday.

Some teams may believe that is the case, which is why the Giants and Jets are both heavily intrigued by his talent.

According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Giants and Jets are both high on Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner:

Both New York teams have a strong interest in Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, and both teams will be bringing him in for one of their Top 30 pre-draft visits, according to an NFL source. And while an official visit doesn’t always mean a team is considering picking a player, Gardner is widely considered the best cornerback in the draft and is clearly in play for the Giants at picks 5 and 7 and the Jets at 4 and 10.

With Big Blue making a defensive transition to Wink Martindale’s scheme, the importance of aggressive man coverage style CBs is essential.

Martindale’s blitz-heavy scheme only works if the coverage holds up, and with the Giants preparing to trade James Bradberry, adding a quality, cost-controlled corner in the draft makes sense.

If the Giants do go that route, they would be paring Gardner with Adoree Jackson, who Dave Gettleman signed to a massive contract last off-season. That would give them two physical and quick corners with solid instincts. Normally, it takes young defensive backs time to adjust to the NFL, so having a great mentor in Jackson would be perfect for Gardner making a jump to the next level.

Looking at Gardner’s metrics, he stands at 6’3″ and 190 pounds. Posting a 4.41 official 40-yard dash, not only does he provide speed, but he also has long limbs and great ball skills.

Last season with Cincinnati, Sauce allowed just 6.6 yards per reception, according to PFF. While he might struggle to tackle early on in his career due to a lack of functional strength, he has the upside the Giants need in a corner long-term.

SEE: Yankees’ prospect discovers he was traded over Instagram

robert ahlstrom, yankees

The New York Yankees have been involved in multiple trade talks this week, but they failed to add anyone of importance. With Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea going to the Padres, the Yankees once again find themselves losing out on a deal to strengthen the squad, but they did manage to acquire experienced depth catcher Jose Trevino from the Texas Rangers.

With Ben Rortvedt struggling to recover from an oblique injury that will keep him out beyond opening day, the Yankees needed a bit more experience behind home plate. Trevino is a solid defensive catcher who is earning just $720K this year. In 2021, Trevino hit .239 with five homers and 30 RBIs, posting phenomenal defensive metrics, which was a priority for the Yankees.

In the trade, the Bombers sent relief pitcher Albert Abreu and Robbie Ahlstrom to Texas, but the latter of the two didn’t even know he has been traded until he discovered it via Instagram.

Robby Ahlstrom, yankees

 

Ahlstrom was completely surprised by the news, suggesting the Yankees hadn’t even gotten around to letting him know he’d be moving just yet. The 22-year-old lefty pitcher played for Oregon last year in the Pac-12 conference. He posted a 2.50 ERA with nine wins over 90 innings pitched.

The bigger piece the Yankees moved was Albert Abreu, who was preparing to make an impact this upcoming season at 26 years old. Abreu has 30 games of experience at the MLB level, including 38 innings and a 5.68 collective ERA.

Cashman may regret parting ways with Abreu, but he did acquire Miguel Castro from the New York Mets on Sunday, adding a bit of velocity to the bullpen in exchange for Joely Rodriguez.