New York Giants could pursue premium linebacker in free agency if they miss out on Isaiah Simmons

New York Giants, Isaiah Simmons, Clemson, Cory Littleton

The eye test was enough to detail how poor Alec Ogletree’s performance for the New York Giants over the past two seasons, but it isn’t until you see his 15.8% missed tackle rate that you genuinely understand how inefficient he was against the run and in coverage.

Factor in his 83% completion percentage allowed in coverage, and you can make the argument that he might have been the worst defender on the team. Finding his replacement will be easy this offseason, as the Giants acquire the No. 4 overall pick in the draft and could look to Isaiah Simmons to fill the void.

The New York Giants can target one top tier linebacker in FA:

However, another talented option comes by free agency, and his name is Cory Littleton. The former Los Angeles Ram has never missed a game in four years and posted fantastic numbers in 2019. His 134 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, nine passes defended, two forced fumbles, and astonishing 3.6% missed tackle rate should justify his worth.

While Littleton will be pricey in free agency, he’s a fantastic alternative to Simmons. While his coverage numbers weren’t stellar, allowing a 71.8% completion percentage, he graded out in the top 10 of all linebacker in solo tackles, assists, interceptions, and forced fumbles, according to PFF.

The Giants having about $80 million in free agency allows them to invest in premium players like Littleton to help overhaul a youthful defense. Alternatively, they can bring in a strong player like Simmons, who can play multiple positions on defense and act as a jack of all trades.

Simmons was a menace for Clemson in 2019, logging 104 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 8.0 sacks, and eight passes defended. The Giants can easily continue with their youth agenda on defense and sign veteran players to increase the average age. Still, they seem to be in a good place at the linebacker position with plenty of cap space and draft capital to allocate. They also have Ryan Connelly recovering from a torn ACL injury. After climbing the roster in his rookie season, effectively overtaking Ogletree as the MIC linebacker, the hope is that he can build upon his minimal success.

New York Giants: 3 sure-fire cut candidates to add cap-space

With the New York Giants in need of an influx in defensive and offensive line talent, we can expect GM Dave Gettleman to be active in the free-agent market this offseason.

The demise of left tackle Nate Solder and overall poor performance from the defense in 2019 will justify allocations of both cap-space and draft capital. Whether or not the Giants can lure any big-name free agents to New York is a different story, but new head coach Joe Judge has received plenty of glowing reviews to advocate for Giants’ future.

Big Blue will need to clear more cap-space before diving into the FA pool, as they currently sit at $61.88 million.

Here are three sure-fire cut candidates for the New York Giants:

1.) LB Alec Ogletree

Ogletree has been one of the more disappointing players for the Giants in recent years, and his $11.75 million cap-hit in 2020 should be catapulted off the books. If cut, the Giants would add $8.25 million, but they would eat a $3.5 million in dead cap. This should be an easy decision for a team that can use the capital elsewhere to inject more talent into specific positions.

Gettleman must cut ties with Ogletree this offseason after trading for him from the Rams in 2018. The return of Ryan Connelly and Isaiah Simmons likely being available with the 4th pick should present the Giants with a way to boost the linebacker corps.

2.) TE Rhett Ellison

Ellison’s injury in 2019 forced rookie Kaden Smith into an expanded role, which ultimately wrote the veteran tight end off the script for the future. Ellison’s $7.188 million cap-hit isn’t worth the value he brings to the team anymore, and the $5 million the team would save if cut presents more opportunity.

3.) S Antoine Bethea

This is an easy decision for the Giants after seeing Bethea fail to make a difference in the defensive backfield. He played well against the run but was putrid as a free safety in the secondary. His $2.875 million would be written off almost entirely if the Giants elect to cut him this offseason ($2.75 million saved).

Bethea remains a great veteran presence in the locker room, but he’s not a great football player anymore at his current age.

New York Giants: Possible Cap Casualties This Offseason

New York Giants

The New York Giants are in for another wild offseason with the very unpredictable Dave Gettleman as their GM. The currently have in the excess of $69 million in usable salary cap space heading into free agency and that number could grow if they decide to release some veterans.

Here are a few ‘cap causalities’ that we could see over the next two months as we get ready for the league new year on March 18. The NFL waiver system for 2020 begins on February 3. Here’s a quick list of candidates for release from my colleague Chris Bisignano of The Giant Insider.

Ogletree is way overpaid at this point and incoming head coach and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will have other ideas about the schemes hey want to run and about the inside linebacker position, which would make Ogletree expendable.

Ellison is coming off a season marred by injury and missed the last six games of the regular season with a concussion. The emergence of rookie Kaden Smith and the steadiness of Scott Simonson as a blocker give the Giants a reason to part ways with Ellison.

Martin has been a non-factor since he was brought in before the 2018 season. His main purpose was to help with the transition to James Bettcher’s system. How did that go?

Bethea will turn 36 right before camp. He played fairly well at times but with all the young bucks in the secondary with a year of service under their belt, he may not be needed going forward. They can always re-sign Michael Thomas if they need an veteran voice in the mix.

Outside of that, there’s no other big ticket names for the Giants to futz with. They are pretty much locked into Nate Solder for one more season (he has a 2020 dead cap hit of $13 million) and Kevin Zeitler and Golden Tate are two players they plan on keeping in the fold for now.

What must the New York Giants do during the 2020 offseason?

New York Giants, Markus Golden

As we journey forward into the depths of the NFL Postseason, we can sit back and evaluate the coming months for the New York Giants. From free agents to draft prospects, there are plenty of players to sift through and rank according to our needs and wants.

However, there needs to be a clear plan as to rebuilding/re-shaping the team with new head coach, Joe Judge, taking over at the helm. The 2020 season will spell several things — the departure of Eli Manning, the addition of numerous impact players, and the return of injured ones.

SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano detailed the list of essentials the Giants need to consider moving forward:

  1. Load up on Hog Mollies … for real this time
  2. Spend money on a pass-rushing stud
  3. Try and re-sign Markus Golden and Leonard Williams to reasonable deals
  4. Don’t cut LT Nate Solder
  5. Sign a center in free agency
  6. Offer LB Alec Ogletree a pay cut to stay
  7. Switch back to a 4-3 defense

Ralph is spot on with a majority of these ideas. However, I have a few differing thoughts.

As for the offensive line, the Giants ‘must’ allocate more resources, considering the demise of Nate Solder and center Jon Halapio’s disappointing performance.

At pass-rusher, the Giants desperately need to upgrade the position, especially with Yannick Ngakoue available in free agency. One of my concerns is the Giants’ defensive scheme, which remains a 3-4 until otherwise specified. Ralph hints they could resort back to a 4-3, which I prefer, but it would affect Markus Golden’s impact, as he played well in the 3-4 this past season, and it would change the entire defensive look. Are the rookie players ready for that type of transition already?

As for Alec Ogletree, he should be cut and forgotten about, unless he’s taking a pay-cut so steep that he’s basically doing charity work. He would count $3.5 million in dead cap if cut, thus lowering his cap-hit to $6 million would be reasonable, as the differential in savings if cut would be about $8.25 million. The Giants could allocate all of that towards a player like Corey Littleton of the Rams, but they may have plans for Ogletree until his contract expires in 2022.

New York Giants news, 12/26 – Did Giants strike gold on reserve linebacker?

New York Giants, David Mayo

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

When New York Giants’ Ryan Connelly went down in a week three matchup against the Washington Redskins in the waning moments, the linebacker position took a significant hit, despite the rookie having minimal experience in a starting role. His development undoubtedly took a substantial hit with the torn ACL he picked up, but his replacement rose to the occasion.

David Mayo, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, brought his talents to the Giants, and what a player he has been this season, specifically in the run game.

PFF stated:

David Mayo has struggled in coverage, but he’s been elite at defending the run. His 90.7 run defense grade this season is 2nd among 59 qualifying line backers.

Mayo’s cleanup abilities at the second-level have helped the Giants’ run-stopping grades elevate considerably in recent weeks. He has been blessed with 48 tackles, six tackles for a loss, two passes defended, and 1.5 sacks. These statistics are all career highs, providing optimism that he will return in 2020.

If the New York Giants draft another quality linebacker or address the position in free agency, Mayo can serve as a run-stopping specialist/reserve option. Having essential depth is vital at positions like linebacker attributes to the success of the team.

Mayo is currently on a one-year deal with Big Blue and will likely be in search of a starting role, which might hurt the Giants’ chances of bringing him back. However, with Alec Ogletree likely on his way out, Mayo’s retention makes complete sense.

Nonetheless–

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New York Giants: 3 cut candidates for the 2020 offseason

New York Giants, Alec Ogletree

With the New York Giants hosting the Philadephia Eagles in the final game of the regular season, the conclusion of the year is near and will accompany changes to the coaching staff and roster. Week 17 should give the Giants a good idea of who’s expendable and who should be retained if the rest of the regular season hasn’t been indicative of specific players’ performances already.

Several former free agent signings from 2019 have had solid campaigns, likely earning secondary contracts or the ever-glowing idea of retention. Outside linebacker Markus Golden is one of those lucky players who has racked up 10 sacks and proved their worth to upper management. I anticipate that Golden will receive a second offer from the Giants, as pairing him with another premium edge rusher would give the defense the fire-power they need to climb the ranks in 2020.

However, others have not lived up to expectations since GM Dave Gettleman’s inception in New York.

Here are three cut candidate for the New York Giants:

1.) Alec Ogletree

Cutting Ogletree should be a priority immediately after the conclusion of the season. His lack of production over the past two seasons and missed tackles has been apparent, and with Ryan Connelly taking his spot in just one offseason as a rookie should provide enough evidence to justify his release.

Ogletree hoped that changing his number from 52 to 47 would give him the hopeful boost he needed to save himself from the inevitable, but his last-ditch attempt fell short. He will likely hit the market and end up as a reserve elsewhere. Cutting him will count $3.5 million in dead cap, but retaining him would force the Giants to pay out $11.75 million in salary. This is an easy decision for Gettleman.

2.) Nate Solder

Since the Giants have fallen out of Chase Young territory, they may elect to solidify the offensive line with Georgia tackle, Andrew Thomas.

Solder has had a disastrous year in blue, and his child having cancer hasn’t helped his psyche. It’s fair to give Solder the benefit of the doubt based on the critical nature of his situation, but the Giants have to consider their franchise quarterback’s protection scheme.

If Gettleman cuts Solder, he will count $13 million against the cap but would allow the injection of talent into the left tackle position. By keeping him, they would pay out $19.5 million in cap. They would only save $6.5 million by cutting him, which might be a deterrent. Theoretically, the Giants could move Solder over to the right tackle spot and draft Thomas to fill the void.

3.) Leonard Williams

Williams is headed into free agency in 2020, but the Giants will have the first opportunity to re-sign him. This wouldn’t be considered a “cut,” but rather a departure. The former Jet has been essential to the Giants’ run-stopping game, but his lack of a pass rush has been apparent.

Gettleman will have to overpay for Williams’ services moving forward. If they re-sign him, the Giants will forfeit a third-round pick rather than a fourth-rounder, as constituted in the trade. Consider this as you will.

New York Giants Still Struggling With Injuries At Season’s End

The New York Giants have one game left and they have a chance to knock the Philadelphia Eagles out of the playoffs – however, it won’t be easy for them. Not just because they’re facing the top ranked team in the NFC East but because they’re coming into the game with some injuries on their own end, which will be familiar at this point for Giants fans after the team has spent most of the season banged up.

Some players might be back but the general trend of having multiple starters out with injuries will likely continue based on who was at practice on Wednesday – or rather, who was listed as participating and who wasn’t. The Giants didn’t practice on Wednesday but released an injury report regardless, showing who would have been kept out.

Corey Ballentine was marked out with a knee injury, Mike Remmers out with a concussion, Alec Ogletree with a back injury, and Lorenzo Carter with a knee injury.

These players aren’t exactly at unimportant positions, either – the offensive line hasn’t picked up a lot of praise this season and it’s debatable if Saquon Barkley will be able to repeat his big performance form last Sunday if the Giants have to deal with an injury at tackle.

Then again, the Giants were able to pull out the win despite Remmers having to leave the game last week with his concussion. Remmers only played in 17 snaps, or 24% for the game.

Ballentine is part of a secondary that would do good to not lose more players after its leader, Janoris Jenkins, was already waived earlier in the season. He had no insignificant part in the Giants’ win on Sunday as a member of the secondary who played 77% of the game’s snaps, making 5 combined tackles in the effort.

But with the Giants out of the playoffs and fighting to keep their high draft pick, a loss on Sunday likely wouldn’t bother too many people. And it’s definitely not any easier for the Giants to win this week, with a number of injuries to starters once again. That assumes, of course, that none of the players marked out on Wednesday bounce back in time for the game on Sunday.

The New York Giants already have one future linebacker on the roster

New York Giants, Giants, NYG, Ryan Connelly

When Ryan Connelly went down in the waning moments of a victory over the Washington Redskins in week four of the regular season with a torn ACL, the New York Giants suddenly faced a reality they were not anticipating.

Having already designated their trust in several inconsistent linebackers, Connelly shot up the roster, overtaking Alec Ogletree and pushing BJ Goodson into the waiver wire after the pre-season. The Wisconsin product not only proved he can be a play-maker, but also a leader on defense who has the physical traits to become a quality starter in the middle of the field.

How well did Ryan Connelly perform with the New York Giants?

In just four games and three starts at inside linebacker, Connelly racked up 20 combined tackles, one sack, two interceptions, and two tackles for a loss. That would put him on pace for 80 combined tackles, four sacks, eight interceptions, and eight tackles for a loss in his rookie campaign. The best part about that prediction is how quickly he managed to develop into a starter on an NFL team.

Ogletree, who racked up the interceptions in 2018 with five, quickly fell out of favor with the Giants after missing tackles and failing to compete in coverage against tight ends. Connelly was stellar in coverage in the short game but also showed incredible instincts at the line of scrimmage.

Connelly was known in college for shooting the gap and stopping runners behind the LOS. With Wisconsin in 2018, he managed 10 tackles for a loss and 3.0 sacks in 12 games. Tearing his ACL undoubtedly sets him back in his progression, but this type of injury isn’t as significant to a player’s career as it once was. He will return to 100% health and has already been out of the walking boot for quite some time.

The Giants have a future starter at the linebacker position in Connelly. In the meantime, David Mayo has performed well, grading out as the 17th best linebacker in football this season (so far).

As per PFF’s Team of the Week:

LB DAVID MAYO, NEW YORK GIANTS

One of few bright spots in the Giants’ 19-14 loss to Chicago, Mayo recorded a 92.4 overall grade across 36 defensive snaps on Sunday. He recorded six defensive stops and one pass breakup on his one target in coverage.

An impressive game from Mayo who could earn a starting spot on the team with this type of performance. However, I estimate the Giants will pursue a premium linebacker in free agency or the NFL Draft to pair with Connelly. Retaining Mayo as a depth piece or situational option is a great idea, nonetheless.

New York Giants news, 11/27 – 3 defenders to stay and 3 to hit the road in 2020

New York Giants, Alec Ogletree

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

The 2020 offseason will be full of turnover for the New York Giants, again. The defense is in dire need of support at numerous positions, especially at the inside and outside linebacker positions.

Let’s take a look at three players that will stay, and three that will go:

1.) Markus Golden – STAY

The only productive pass-rusher for the Giants this season has been Markus Golden, who has logged 7.5 sacks through 12 weeks. The Giants are still in need of a premium pass-rusher, but Golden is more than capable and should be retained. He won’t be paid like one of the best in the league, but he will garner a healthy contract nonetheless. The Giants have the money to invest, and if they’re keen on pairing him with another top-end outside linebacker, retaining him should be an easy decision.

2.) Alec Ogletree – GO

Ogletree’s contract takes a significant dip in dead-cap next season ($3.5 million), making him expendable. If Big Blue keeps him on the roster, he will count a whopping $11.75 million in dead-cap, an amount they shouldn’t be willing to pay for his incapable services.

Not only has Ogletree been absent against the run for a majority of his tenure with the Giants, but his coverage skills are abysmal. The $8.25 million in cap-space the Giants save can be allocated towards a variety of different positions, which seems to be the likely scenario.

3.) Michael Thomas – STAY

Thomas, who’s a special team maestro, will be a free agent after this season. The New York Giants must make it a priority to re-sign him and retain his stellar abilities. Thomas isn’t a defensive threat by any means, but his value on special teams is worth the investment 100x over.

4.) Leonard Williams – GO

In three games with the Giants, Williams has been mostly absent. Against the Bears, he finished with one total tackle and one QB hit. Against the Jets, he logged four QB hits and three combined tackles. For the most part, Williams hasn’t earned the 3rd round value GM Dave Gettleman placed on his head when he traded for him.

The Jets were begging to get rid of him, and Gettleman gave up far too much value, dropping a fifth and third-round pick (if he re-signs before the new league year). Considering the valuable players Gettleman has hit on later in the draft; he might have missed big on this deal.

5.)  Janoris Jenkins – STAY

Jenkins is the only trustworthy cornerback on the team, and his contract is relatively friendly considering the market-value of top corners in the NFL. If the Giants were keen on getting rid of Jenkins, they would have traded him before the deadline, which indicates he will likely remain with the team for at least one more season.

The veteran corner has displayed a lack of effort at times, but can you blame him for the lack of quality the Giants have surrounded him with in recent years? Big Blue needs a top corner, and Jenkins fits the bill perfectly for one more season.

6.) Antoine Bethea – GO

Bethea was signed to supplement the free safety position with Curtis Riley, leaving in free agency. So far, I miss Riley, who was known for taking bad angles at ball-carriers. Bethea is an absolute liability in the secondary but is solid closer to the line of scrimmage in a strong safety role.

The Giants don’t have a use for him as Julian Love secured an interception in Sunday’s loss to the Bears, seeing his highest snap-count this season. The Giants seem him as a potential long-term solution at the position.

Nonetheless–

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New York Giants: Alec Ogletree to Make Thanksgiving Special

New York Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree has been in the league since 2013 and in that span of time has been nothing short of a leader both on and off the field.

Ogletree got his start with the St. Louis/ Los Angeles Rams after being drafted in the 2013 NFL.  Since then he has earned many accolades and awards due to his career highlights.  What makes Ogletree really stupendous are not just his stellar plays, but also the work he does off of the field.

This upcoming Thanksgiving Ogletree will be holding an event in which he will aim to help others during this holiday season.  This is Ogletree’s Sixth Annual Turkey Drive.  It will be held on November 19th from 5-7 p.m. at his alma mater Newnan High School located at 190 Lagrange  St. in Newnan, Georgia.  Ogletree will be handing out frozen turkeys and Thanksgiving sides.  This will benefit the less fortunate and those in need.  The littlest of gestures can truly make a difference in a person’s life and brighten their days during this upcoming holiday season.

The holiday of Thanksgiving is about showing an attitude of gratitude and a sense of appreciation for what we are blessed to have in our lives.  Ogletree is showing his thankfulness for the place that bred him and his gratefulness to where he came from by helping families in need.  Ogletree is doing such a great deed, especially during this busy, hectic season where people are dealing with stress and is alleviating some of their woes by lightening their load and spicing up their holiday!

What Ogletree does on the field is stellar, but what is truly commendable is the things he does for the community!