The New York Giants secondary could be in for a long year in 2020 – they came into the league as one of the youngest, following an offseason where the Giants drafted DeAndre Baker, Corey Ballentine, and Julian Love in addition to getting Sam Beal back from various injuries which had kept him from making his NFL debut during his rookie season. Eli Apple and Landon Collins are gone and Janoris Jenkins was supposed to be the veteran leader to help show these players the ropes.
Jenkins is now off the team after his outspokenness caught up to him, although his most recent controversy isn’t the only reason why he was waived. Jenkins had been on the trading block the whole season up until the trade deadline – many believed that Jenkins getting traded might as well be a done deal, even though nothing came of it in the end with the Leonard Williams deal being the only one made by the Giants around the time of deadline day.
The player had been the subject of speculation since even last year. He didn’t help himself by highlighting his own statistics despite the terrible record of the team and the fact that the Giants haven’t been able to get wins during his best individual performances. Now that the differences between the two sides grew to be too great and Jenkins was released, however, the Giants are left without something they desperately need – a leader for the young secondary.
“Rabbit was more like a coach than just a teammate. He didn’t have to stand there and coach me up as a rookie at practice. He didn’t have to tell me to sit by him at meetings, but he did,” Sam Beal told the New York Daily News. “He made me come over in the meeting room and sit by him just because he’d coach me up.”
He said that Jenkins being released was tough for him.
“Even this offseason I’m gonna try to get with him and figure out where he’s working so he can keep coaching me up.”
Beal isn’t the only member of the secondary that might suddenly find themselves without a leader – DeAndre Baker has been criticized a lot for his play this season but will be under even more pressure now that Jenkins won’t be playing opposite of him. It used to be clear that Jenkins was the number one cornerback and Baker was the number two. The arrangement, however, may as well have been scrapped completely.
The breakup between Jenkins and the Giants had to happen, but don’t think that the secondary will start improving just yet – the departure of Jenkins without getting anything in return, which could have happened if the Giants traded Jenkins at the deadline rather than waiting for things to break down further, has simply made the secondary a bigger need than it was before.
There’s a lot of raw younger players in that position group and only one question left at this point: who will be brought in to lead them?