The New York Giants have had a spate of bad luck in their young, talented secondary. First, DeAndre Baker, a potential starter at cornerback this season, got himself jammed up down in Florida in an assault/robbery incident that resulted in him getting indicted and then placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List.
Then, third-year cornerback Sam Beal decided to opt out of playing this year due to coronavirus concerns. Now, this week comes the new that stud rookie safety Xavier McKinney broke a bone in his left foot that required surgery and will miss at least three months.
The solutions could come from within, but common sense says it probably shouldn’t.
“Any injury to our roster is a hit to us because we care about every player on our roster,” said head coach Joe Judge. “But itâ€™s our responsibility to have everyone developed and make sure the next man is ready to go.”
At safety, that next man is Julian Love, a fourth round pick out of Notre Dame in last year’s NFL Draft who started at safety the last four games of the 2019 season. The Giants could simply hand the job back to Love and be done with it, but again, common sense says they could do better.
That is why the Giants should probably pursue former Rutgers and New England Patriots defensive back Logan Ryan, who is still available in free agency. Ryan is well known to head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes the Giants can certainly fit Ryan into their plans.
“A career 85-game starter, Ryan played 395 special teams snaps over his first three years with Judge as a special teams coach for the Patriots. Judge favors cross-training positions, and Ryan, 29, can play in the box, roam deep or lock into a one-on-one slot matchup.
The Giantsâ€™ reasoning for staying pat makes sense: With the NFL salary cap potentially dropping by 11.6 percent to $175 million per team in 2021, there is value in rolling over unused 2020 space (currently $25.6 million) to soften the blow when the team is more competitive. Ryan was willing to take a one-year, $10 million contract to return to the Tennessee Titans and initially wanted at least that annual salary to change teams.”
The Giants are apparently weighing their options. The salary cap will be going down in 2021 and they have a lot of mouths to feed. Evan Engram, Dalvin Tomlinson, Leonard Williams headline the list of players who will be free agents next year. With less cap room to play around with, they have to be smart with how they deploy their resources.
The rollover will go a long way in helping pay those young stars. McKinney will be back next year. So will Beal most likely and who knows about Baker. Using $10 million of that on Ryan, who could be seen as a band-aid for one year, may not be the direction the Giants feel like going.
In the interim, they appear to be content will sticking with Love next to Jabrill Peppers and free agent James Bradberry at one corner. They still have to fill the opening at the other corner and at slot corner. Rookie Darnay Holmes will likely win one of those spots with the other going to any number of the candidates in camp: Montre Hartage, Corey Ballentine, Chris Williamson, Grant Haley, Jarren Williams, Dravon Askew-Henry, KeiVarae Russell, Brandon WilliamsÂ and Prince Smith.
None of those players would bring the stability that Ryan brings. Not that anyone can see, anyway. They are in a corner, no pun intended, and the only way out may be to spend.