New York Giants: Why Placing The Franchise Tag On Landon Collins Might Not Be A Bad Idea

Beginning on February 19, NFL teams will be allowed to place franchise tags on pending free agents. According to reports, the New York Giants will be one of the teams to use their franchise tag in this 2019 offseason.

Former all-pro safety Landon Collins is set to become a free agent in 2019. He will come with a high price tag if he hits the open market. However, reports seem to indicate that Landon will not be hitting the open market. The Giants will be placing the franchise tag on Landon Collins and letting him play out the 2019 season.

Some fans may be against this and would like to see Collins receive a long-term extension. While that makes plenty of sense, it makes sense for the Giants to franchise tag Collins, too. There are multiple reasons why the Giants might prefer to franchise tag Collins.

Landon’s Regression Since 2016

In 2016, Landon Collins was arguably the best safety in the NFL. He was a strong candidate for NFL AP Defensive Player of the Year. Collins posted a career high 5 interceptions and 13 passes defended that season while also being a force in run defense. He totaled an incredible 125 tackles with 9 tackles for loss. Landon even had 4 sacks in 2016. He was an unstoppable force on defense for the Giants in 2016.

Since then, things have been shaky for Landon. It could be argued that the reason for this is the Giants’ lack of talent at free safety. However, it cannot be denied that Landon has not been the same as his 2016-self in the past two seasons.

In 2017, the Giants were terrible. They went 3-13 and fired the entire coaching staff. Landon Collins was not awful that season, but he definitely took a step back from his dominance in 2016. Collins only had 2 interceptions in 2017. In addition, his tackle total dropped to 99 with only 3 tackles for loss. Collins did not record a sack in 2017, either.

However, Collins still flashed his raw talent in 2017. It is difficult to succeed at safety when Eli Apple is letting people run by him in coverage and you are not getting much help from a mediocre Darian Thompson. Collins was not as good in coverage, but he was still scary for runners to see in the open field.

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With the addition of new defensive coordinator James Bettcher in 2018, the Giants were hopeful Collins would return to his 2016 production. Unfortunately, what the Giants got was a bit closer to the 2017 version of Landon Collins. In 12 games in 2018, Landon did not have an interception. He did have 4 passes defended though, and was still great in run defense. He had 96 tackles and 5 tackles for loss.

Unfortunately, the most concerning aspect of his 2018 season was his second time being placed on injured reserve.

Landon’s Recent Injury History

One common theme for Collins in 2017 and 2018 is an unfortunate ending to his season. In both seasons, Landon suffered an injury toward the end of the year, ending his season with surgery. Week 16 of the 2017 season, Collins suffered a broken forearm. In 2018, it was a tear in his shoulder.

Injuries could be a cause for concern for Dave Gettleman and the Giants. The Giants will not want to invest a lot of money into a player if they do not think he will be able to stay on the field. When Landon was fully healthy in 2016, he was an all-pro.

The Giants will be looking to see if Landon Collins can remain healthy in 2019 under the franchise tag. If he can do that, and keep a high-level of play, he could earn himself an extension.

Seeing Collins Perform With Talent Around Him

Before committing to Landon Collins long-term, the Giants might want to see him play out one more season. Seeing him play with more talent around him might convince the Giants he is worthy of a new contract.

Collins has not really had a fair shot with safeties like Curtis Riley lining up opposite of him. The Giants could pair Landon with a competent free safety in the 2019 offseason. Doing this might elevate Landon’s play and possibly help him surpass his 2016 season.

New York Giants: Which Are Players Set To Become Free Agents In 2019

The New York Giants have a crucial offseason coming up for the future of their franchise. They will have to make multiple tough decisions in 2019, such as who to cut and whether or not to find a new quarterback. Along with that, they will need to decide who they want to resign and who they want to let walk in free agency.

When The Giants Can Start Signing Players:

The 2019 New League Year is on March 13 at 4:00 p.m. This is when all contracts expire and players officially become free agents. Teams can negotiate new deals with their players beginning on March 11. March 13 is the first official day of free agency. The Giants will need to have made decisions on their soon-to-be free agents by that date.

New York Giants With Expiring Contracts:

The Giants have 25 players with expiring contracts this offseason.  Among those 25 players are multiple starters. Players such as Landon Collins, Cody Latimer, Jamon Brown, B.W. Webb, Jon Halapio, Aldrick Rosas, Curtis Riley, Corey Coleman, Elijah Penny, Josh Mauro, and Zack DeOssie are starters on the 2018 Giants who will be free agents this offseason.

In addition to the starters just listed, plenty of depth players have expiring contracts also. Mario Edwards, Kerry Wynn, Russell Shepard, John Greco, Nathan Stupar, John Jenkins, Scott Simonson, Bennie Fowler, Alex Tanney, Kristjan Sokoli, Jordan Williams, Antonio Hamilton, Spencer Pulley, and Alonzo Russell are depth players for the Giants with expiring contracts.

Key Players For The Giants To Resign:

Among these 25 players are a couple of Pro Bowlers and key starters. Landon Collins is a former all-pro who will be looking for a big payday this offseason. In addition, Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas will look to get paid handsomely after being the best kicker in the NFL in 2018. These are two key, extraordinary players that the Giants will look to resign.

Aside from the Pro Bowl caliber players, the Giants will need to resign a few other starters this offseason. A pair of solid offensive linemen will need new contracts in 2019, Jamon Brown and Jon Halapio.

Jamon Brown was acquired by the Giants during their bye week in 2018. He was a massive improvement over their former starting guard, and quickly became a fan favorite. As soon as Brown stepped on the field for the Giants, the teams started to win and Eli Manning started to play better. Jamon Brown is a player that the Giants must resign in 2019.

Jon Halapio is a quality center who went down with a leg injury in week two of the 2018 NFL season. He was playing the best out of any of the team’s lineman through the first two weeks, and Dave Gettleman was quick to point that out in his post-season presser. The Giants plan to move forward with Halapio as their starting center, so expect to see him get resigned in 2019.

New York Giants Safety Was Benched In Week 17 For Lack Of Effort

The NFL regular season is over. The New York Giants played their final game of the season on Sunday. Their week 17 matchup was a home loss against the Dallas Cowboys. The final score was 35-36. The Giants’ offense played a great game, scoring 35 points. However, the defense was lousy, letting up 36 points.

The Giants defense played so poorly that head coach Pat Shurmur had to bench a player. The player that was benched was free safety Curtis Riley. Riley has received heavy criticism from fans all season. The Giants’ coaching staff benched Riley for a lack of effort.

The Play That Benched Riley

The Cowboys had the ball on 3rd and 3 from the 39 yard line with 5:12 remaining in the third quarter. Dallas was ahead 14-10 at this point in the game. Quarterback Dak Prescott rolled right and found tight end Blake Jarwin for a completion well beyond the first down marker. Jarwin caught the pass with four Giants players surrounding him, but no one was able to bring him down.

Free safety Curtis Riley was directly in front of Jarwin and had a chance to make a head on touchdown-saving tackle. Instead, Riley completely whiffed on the play and allowed Jarwin to walk into the end zone for the touchdown. Riley demonstrated a complete lack of effort on this play.

Who Might Replace Riley?

Curtis Riley was benched after this embarrassing play. His mid-game replacement was safety Sean Chandler. Chandler had a decent outing, finishing the game with four tackles. However, nothing from this game would indicate that Chandler is the long-term solution at free safety.

It is now officially the offseason for the Giants so they can begin to look for an upgrade at free safety. The Giants could draft a rookie free safety or sign a free agent safety.

The draft class is full of good safeties this year. The top ranked safety prospect is Deionte Thompson out of Alabama. Other top safety prospects include Juan Thornhill from Virginia and Jaquan Johnson from Miami.

In free agency, there are a lot of options. The Giants should definitely look at players such as Adrian Amos, Tre Boston, and Lamarcus Joyner. These are players that would likely fall into the Giants’ price range. If the Giants decide to invest heavily into the position this offseason, there are elite options set to hit the market. More expensive players include Tyrann Mathieu, Earl Thomas, and HaHa Clinton-Dix.

The Giants have may options to choose from. It is likely they will sign a free safety in free agency, but it is unknown how much the Giants will be looking to spend this offseason. Giants fans should be looking forward to an exciting and important offseason for Big Blue

New York Giants Division Rival Release Player At A Position Of Need

On Monday morning it was announced that the Washington Redskins had released safety D.J. Swearinger. Swearinger was cut due to repeated public criticism of the coaching staff. However, he has been an excellent player this season and should draw interest from many teams, including the New York Giants.

Swearinger As A Player

D.J. Swearinger is a strong safety who spent his last two seasons with the Redskins. Swearinger has a combined 51 tackles this season, and 79 tackles last season. He played primarily as a strong safety after the Redskins traded for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but he has the ability to play free safety too. Swearinger is 27 years old and has played for four teams in his six year career. The hard-hitting safety forced three fumbles while additionally recording one fumble recovery and even one sack this season. In two seasons with Washington, Swearinger totaled 20 passes defended and eight interceptions. This is consistent high-level play by the veteran that the Giants lack from that position.

How Could He Fit In The Giants’ Defense?

For the Redskins this season, Swearinger played strong safety. The Giants have former all-pro Landon Collins on their roster as a strong safety, so it may look like they have no need for Swearinger. However, Collins has just undergone surgery and is a free agent this offseason. If the Giants decide not to resign Collins, Swearinger is a player they would take a look at. If the Giants do resign Collins, there are still reasons why they might consider signing Swearinger.

Firstly, a position change could be on the horizon for Landon Collins. Collins is a run stuffing strong safety who plays like more of a linebacker than a safety. This is due to Collins’s lack of coverage ability. Collins was getting picked on by opposing teams in coverage all season leading up to his injury. Most notably was the Bears game where running back Tarik Cohen hauled in 12 receptions for 156 yards, including a 46 yard reception in which Collins was in coverage.

Due to his inability to play as a coverage safety, Collins could have his position switched to become a full-time linebacker. This would not be the first time defensive coordinator James Bettcher has done something of the sorts. During his time in Arizona, Bettcher switched safety Deone Bucannon over to linebacker due to his inability to cover.

In this scenario, Landon Collins would move down to linebacker and Swearinger would play strong safety. This would be a great move for the Giants, however, it would still leave a gaping whole at the free safety position.

Another way the Giants could use Swearinger would be by moving him over to the free safety position. Swearinger is more of a run support safety than a coverage safety, but for a run support safety he is great in coverage. He also had four interceptions this season and 10 passes defended.

The Washington safety is also the highest graded defensive back covering in-routes this season, according to Pro Football Focus. He played strong safety with Haha Clinton-Dix playing opposite of him at free safety with Washington. Those two elevated each other’s play and the pairing of Collins and Swearinger would likely do the same.

The Giants have holes at multiple positions and safety is one of them. With the inconsistent play of Curtis Riley, it is likely the Giants will be in the market for another safety this offseason. Multiple names will come up when discussing the Giants’ options, and D.J. Swearinger needs to be one of them.