New York Giants: Byron Jones A Top Free Agent Target In The Secondary

The New York Giants have been rebuilding their secondary. Last offseason, the Giants invested heavily into their secondary during the 2019 NFL Draft. New York spent three of their draft picks on defensive backs in the draft (four if counting Sam Beal).

2019 was a step in the right direction for the Giants’ secondary. However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. The Giants’ pass defense ranked fifth-worst in the NFL this season allowing 264.1 passing yards per game.

This offseason, the Giants need to prioritize rebuilding their secondary again. They are estimated by Spotrac to have over $69 million in cap space before they start trimming the fat and cutting veteran contracts. This gives New York the capability to sign big-name free agents in the secondary.

Luckily, there is one superstar cornerback that is set to hit the market in 2020. The Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Byron Jones will be one of the most highly-coveted cornerbacks in the 2020 free agency period, and he should be one of the Giants’ top targets.

Byron Jones Stats and Highlights

The Giants’ division-rival Byron Jones is one of the best cornerbacks in the league. At 27-years-old, Byron would be a perfect addition to the Giants’ youthful defense.

Byron Jones is a versatile cornerback that makes a significant impact in pass coverage. He has experience playing both safety and cornerback at the professional level and has done both exceptionally well. Jones is 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He’s a large-bodied cornerback with peak physicality to cover larger receivers and tight ends

The 27-year old defensive back out of Connecticut spent his first five seasons with the division-rival Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are in a bit of trouble regarding their salary cap. They just paid Ezekiel Elliot and Demarcus Lawrence, and they still have not paid Dak Prescott. New head coach Mike McCarthy will have some tough decisions to make regarding the team’s impending free agents, and he might have to let some big names walk out the door. Byron Jones could be one of those big names to depart.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jones had a forced incompletion rate of 15.1%, which ranked 22nd among corners through Week 17, and he held opponents to a 22nd-ranked 11.0 yards per reception. Jones has also tallied 20 passes defended over the last two seasons to go with 111 combined tackles in the same span.

 

New York Jets: 3 Defensive Free Agents the Jets Should Target

New York Jets

The New York Jets are entering this offseason with a lot of promise on the defensive side of the ball. However, there are still some massive holes they need to patch up if they want to be elite. The Jets don’t seem likely to use their first round pick this year on defense so who do they look at in free agency to strengthen up their unit.

Yannick Ngakoue

Yannick Ngakoue is a tremendously talented edge rusher who was the 69th overall pick back in 2016 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ngakoue is just 24 years old and is long overdue for a big payday after racking up 37.5 sacks over his first four years in the league. A member of the 2016 all-rookie team and 2017 pro bowl he is well accomplished. If the Jets were to go after Ngakoue expect a massive contract averaging from 19-22 million dollars per year. New York may not be the most ideal place to go especially with a problematic head coach, but if the money is right, he might be persuaded.

Byron Jones

Now some people might be reluctant to sign another 27-year-old cornerback after the Trumaine Johnson fiasco, but beggars can’t be a chooser. The Jets need him badly. Over the past two seasons, Byron Jones has been a shutdown number 1 corner and has only missed one game in his entire career. The danger in signing Jones is the fear that he might revert to his early years where he was wildly inconsistent and routinely got burned. Jones is one hell of an athlete setting a world record for broad jump in the 2015 NFL combine. If the Jets were to sign Jones, they’d likely have to pay him anywhere between 12-15 million dollars per year.

Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney has been sort of a bust ever since he came into the league. Early in his career, he was dealing with injuries but now fully healthy he just can’t seem to live up to expectations. Clowney was regarded as a can’t miss prospect and generational talent by many experts and while he may not be the insanely good edge rusher everyone thought he’d be he certainly isn’t terrible. Jadeveon Clowney is the edge rusher equivalent of Leonard Williams, good on his own but needs help to be great. If Clowney were paired up with Gregg Williams in this blitz heavy aggressive defense surrounded by the front seven talent the Jets have accumulated over the past couple years he might just reach his potential. Clowney’s market is anywhere between 13-17 million dollars, a price worth paying if he’s the Jets long lost sack master.

New York Giants: Top Three Big-Name Free Agent Targets In 2020

The New York Giants are rebuilding their 4-12 roster this offseason. New York hired its new head coach Joe Judge and is continuing to fill out its coaching staff. Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman will work this offseason endlessly to turn this team around and build a competitive roster.

This process will begin in March with the opening of free agency. The Giants can be big spenders this year if they want to be. They are estimated by Spotrac to have over $69 million in cap space before they start trimming the fat and cutting veteran contracts.

This influx of cap space could allow the Giants to shop near the top of the free agency market. Luckily for them, this is a loaded group of free agents hitting the open market in 2020. If the Giants go after the big-names, who should their top targets be?

Yannick Ngakoue

The Jacksonville Jaguars seem destined to lose one of their best players this offseason. Edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue is due for a new contract, and the two sides do not appear anywhere close to completing a deal. Last offseason, Ngakoue held out of training camp in hopes of a contract extension.

This offseason, Ngakoue will hit the open market as one of the most highly-coveted free agents. Through 4 seasons, Ngakoue has totaled 37.5 sacks. He has not had a single season in his career with less than 8 sacks, hitting that number in all 4 seasons, including a career-high 12 sacks in 2017. Additionally, Ngakoue has totaled 122 combined tackles over 4 years.

At only 24 years-old, Yannick Ngakoue would be a vital building block for the future of the Giants’ future. However, Yannick’s talents would not come cheap. The pass-rusher has an estimated market value of $17.1 million, according to Spotrac. This would create a significant dent in the Giants’ salary cap. But at a position of such great need for the Giants, it would be worth it to pay for the upgrade with Yannick Ngakoue.

Byron Jones

Another defensive building block will be available at the top of the market this offseason. However, this next option is not a pass-rusher. Byron Jones is a versatile cornerback that makes a significant impact in pass coverage. 

Byron’s versatility prevails through his ability to play both safety and cornerback efficiently. Jones is 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, a large-bodied cornerback with peak physicality to cover larger receivers and tight ends:

The 27-year old defensive back out of Connecticut spent his first five seasons with the division-rival Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are in a bit of trouble regarding their salary cap. They just paid Ezekiel Elliot and Demarcus Lawrence, and they still have not paid Dak Prescott. New head coach Mike McCarthy will have some tough decisions to make regarding the team’s impending free agents, and he might have to let some big names walk out the door. Byron Jones could be one of those big names to depart.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jones had a forced incompletion rate of 15.1%, which ranked 22nd among corners through Week 17, and he held opponents to a 22nd-ranked 11.0 yards per reception. Jones has also tallied 20 passes defended over the last two seasons to go with 111 combined tackles in the same span.

The Giants’ youthful secondary has a lot of inexperienced cornerbacks that have yet to prove themselves as capable starters at the professional level. Throwing Byron Jones into the mix would give the Gmen a reliable cornerback to gel the defense together.

Jack Conklin

The Tennessee Titans’ former All-Pro offensive tackle Jack Conklin will be a free agent this offseason. The right tackle is 25 years old, with four years of NFL experience under his belt. Conklin will be by far the best offensive tackle available this offseason.

Offensive tackle is a significant position of need for the New York Giants. Their 2019 right tackle Mike Remmers was only committed to a one-year deal and will likely walk away in free agency this offseason. On the opposite side, left tackle Nate Solder has seen a drastic decrease in quality-of-play and is being paid top-tier money. The Giants could look to move on from Nate sooner than later.

It is not a stretch to say that Conklin would be a notable upgrade over either of the Giants’ current offensive tackles. Conklin is not an excellent pass-protector, but he is a versatile and reliable run-blocker. According to PFF, Conklin finished with the No. 6 grade on zone runs, and the No. 14 mark on gap runs.

Jack Conklin was selected as a First-Team All-Pro during his rookie season in 2016. Since then, Conklin has not been quite as good, but he has still been one of the best right tackles in the NFL. Signing Jack Conklin would instantly turn one of the Giants’ positions of need into a position of strength.

New York Jets: What Will Jordan Jenkins Cost the Jets?

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins

Jordan Jenkins is the New York Jets most secret weapon. Over the past three years, Jenkins has quietly disrupted opposing offensive lines. Jenkins will be a free agent this offseason and the Jets must make the decision on whether to cut bait with their best pass rusher or not.

Production

Since being drafted in 2016 Jordan Jenkins has notched 20.5 sacks with back to back 8 sack years. Jenkins also has 6 forced fumbles, 5 of which he has recovered, and 7 pass deflections. Jordan Jenkins isn’t a Von Miller or Chandler Jones, but he is a very solid complementary piece that will always produce. Jenkins is also one of the biggest leaders on the team although he is not very vocal, he gives a stable veteran presence on a young defense.

Contract

A contract for Jordan Jenkins is tough to calculate because he values anywhere from 8 million dollars to 14 million. Unfortunately for Jenkins, there is a surplus of pass rushers in this year’s draft and free agency class which will most likely force him to lower his price tag. A reasonable deal Jenkins would be a four-year deal ranging from 35-45 million dollars.

Other Options

If the New York Jets don’t want to pay Jenkins, then they will most likely address the position in free agency. A couple of players to keep an eye on our Yannick Ngakoue, Jadeveon Clowney and Dante Fowler Jr. If the Jets want to draft a replacement, they’d most likely go either A.J. Epenesa or K’Lavon Chaisson with their first pick.

 

New York Jets: What is Robby Anderson Worth to the New York Jets?

New York Jets, Robby Anderson

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is due to hit free agency in just a couple of months. Robby Anderson has been a fan favorite ever since he stepped on the field back in 2016. Robby’s story is one of dedication and sacrifice to reach the highest level of competition in the world. But has he done enough to earn a second contract with gang green?

 

Backstory

Robby Anderson came into the league as an undrafted player coming out of Temple University. During his time at Temple, he missed the 2014 season due to academic eligibility but also recorded the second-most ever reception and yardage totals in school history. Robby entered Jets training camp to earn a spot in a crowded wide receiver room that included stars like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. During training camp and preseason Robby impressed coaches and earned a roster spot over Charone Peake, Jeremy Ross, and Chandler Worthy.

Production

Robby Anderson has been the most productive wide receiver on the Jets since 2017 while also being the Jets only deep threat. Since he started in 2016 Robby has averaged 14.8 yards a catch and has recorded over 3000 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns. Robby has also become Sam Darnold’s most trusted target over the past year, therefore increasing his value to the team. There is no doubt that Robby has been the Jets premier playmaker this past couple of years, but is he worth the 13-15-million-dollar price tag he allegedly wants?

Final Decision

The New York Jets have a big decision to make here but at the end of the day, I think they must cut bait with Robby Anderson. Robby has been great for the team, but he has never produced a 1000-yard season and is not a complete receiver. The upcoming draft is loaded with wide receivers that are just as good as Robby Anderson at just a fraction of the cost. If Robby Anderson wants to remain a New York Jet, he must lower his price tag to at least 10 million dollars. If the Jets were to pay a middle-tier wide receiver 13-15 million dollars in the name of chemistry, then it will demonstrate that they do not know how to evaluate talent and are content with overpaying average players.

 

What do the Yankees do with the Ticking Timebomb in Tanaka’s Elbow?

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka has been a fixture In the New York Yankees rotation since his debut in 2014. He was electric that rookie season, right up until the partial year in his pitching elbow was discovered. Rather than go through a full year of recovering and rehab from Tommy John surgery, Tanaka elected to simply rehab the tear. To this date, Tanaka still has that partial year in his elbow. And this is the final year of his contract. So it begs two very important questions:

First: What Does Tanaka Do?

As it’s been the case since he made his choice, Tanaka’s elbow could go at any minute. The fact that is still the case in the most important season of his career, should worry Tanaka. He went from being the Yankees bonafide ace, to the 3rd or 4th man in the rotation (depending on how you view Paxton’s August through October last year). Based on his postseason record, Tanaka will want ace caliber money, or something akin to what Stephen Strasberg got. With diminishing returns in the regular season each of the last 4 seasons, it’s hard for him to make that claim about his value. Especially if he finally has to get the surgery at some point in 2020.

Next, What do the Yankees Do?

It seems likely that when German’s suspension is over, he’ll slide into the rotation as the 5th starter. Deivi Garcia is poised to crack the starting rotation as a strike throwing machine. Jordan Montgomery, Johnathan Loaisiga and Luis Cesa are also all going to be viable spot start candidates moving forward. In order to build for the future, you sometimes have to dismantle the past, and Tanaka’s presence in the rotation may have to be dismantled moving into 2021.

Remember when the Yankees let David Robertson walk after 2018? Who’d have thought that he’d go down with Tommy John? The Phillies certainly didn’t, but the Yankees look a little smarter as a result. Plus, Tanaka is going to be 31 by seasons end. If the Yankees weren’t prepared to offer Didi Gregorius even a one year deal, being north of 30, with diminishing returns defensively (and offensively), why would they give Tanaka a likely 7 year deal? Especially if he goes down with Tommy John at any point this season?

It’s going to be interesting to see how things unfold with Tanaka. If the Yankees do give Tanaka a new contract, it may be with the caveat of Tanaka HAVING to get Tommy John by his signing. The only thing we can do right now is wait and see.

New York Mets Fans Better Show Love To Rick Porcello

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

If you ask New York Met‘s fans what is the best way to describe the team, it would probably be “disappointing”. The team has been mismanaged by the Wilpon’s, and the Wilpon’s can’t pay anyone good to come to the team, and, simply, they’re the New York Mets. They tend to always find themselves in sticky situations.

This is why it was interesting to see that former Cy Young winner and former World Series Champion, Rick Porcello, actually WANTED to become a Met this offseason.

Wait… Seriously?!

Yes!

In a recent report from SNY, Rick Porcello said his eyes were set on the NY Mets pretty early in the offseason. For a very simple reason:

“The Mets were the first one that called, even (as) kind of a small gesture because you get so many calls that day from different teams checking in,” Porcello said in an interview earlier this week.

I’m sure also being a native of Morristown, NJ, helped a little bit.

Home Town Beats Better Deals

In the same SNY article from Danny Abriano, Porcello flew in the face of convention for offseason talent of his caliber. Yes, he had a down year. But if you see the back of his baseball card, every bad year results in a bounce back year of fantastic proportions. He was dreadful in 2015 and 2017, but sandwiched in between was his Cy Young campaign. So other teams were willing to take a chance with bigger and better contracts.

The Toronto Blue Jays offered him a one year deal, with a chance for a one-year extension. One year was worth $10 million. Another team offered $14 million for one year. On the merits of an early phone call and a verbal promise of letting him start, and he accepts a $10 million one year deal.

When you look at the deal that Gerrit Cole just signed with the Yankees, it begs to question “What was he thinking?!”

Be kind to him Mets fans. How often do you get a guy who’s willing to turn down bigger and longer contracts to become a Met? Considering the luck the Mets have had, it’s not a very common occurrence these days.

The New York Yankees May Not Be Done Shopping For Pitchers

New York Mets pursuing Dellin Betances.

A lot of what I’ve been saying in my writing “The New York Yankees should do this”, is starting to come true. I told them they need to forget about the luxury tax and buy a starting pitcher, they did just that and got Cole. I told them they should try shopping JA Happ, they’re doing that now. I told them they need to sign Brett Gardner, they do that. So when I saw this rumor on Twitter, and it was corroborated by our own Alexander Wilson, I thought “Let’s see if they keep listening”.

This Would Be THE BEST Rotation In Baseball

Through the grapevine, the New York Yankees are looking to acquire one more arm, who would automatically move Sevy, Paxton, and Tanka to the 3, 4, and 5 spots in the rotation respectively. That arm is a three-time World Series champion this decade. And that is the left arm of Madison Bumgarner.

Now I know a lot of you are saying “He’s too old,” “he’s on the decline”, so just hold up. The guy is turning 30 next season, pitched over 200 innings, had a sub 4 ERA on a TERRIBLE Giants team, struck out over 200, and is on the comeback from back to back injury-shortened years by making all 34 starts he was scheduled to make for the Giants.

Yes, he gave up 30 home runs. And I already talked about how Cole will have to adjust to bring his fly-ball rate and home run totals down as well. But how could you not salivate at the prospect of your front 5 being Cole, MadBum, Sevy, Big Maple, and Masahiro Tanaka?! This would be baseball’s best starting rotation.

Why It Won’t Happen

It seems to be common knowledge that MadBum has no intention of leaving the national league. We all know the dude loves to hit, and that would be taken away from him pitching in the Bronx. And considering the success he has seen on the west coast, it seems more than likely that he’ll sign with the Dodgers.

Why It Could Happen

Bringing Andy Pettitte to talk to Cole did a lot to help persuade him to sign. MadBum is from North Carolina, recently retained Brett Gardner is from South Carolina. I think you all see where I’m going with this.

New York Mets’ Free Agent Profile: Alex Wood

New York Yankees, Alex Wood

The New York Mets‘ search to replace Zack Wheeler continues. Alex Wood is a good buy-low option to replace Wheeler’s value.

Alex Wood is as good a buy-low risk as there is on the free agent market this year for the Mets. He is coming off an awful and injury-riddled season with the Reds in 2019, but that’s not who he’s been his whole career.

Wood was injured before the season started in 2019. He dealt with a back issue that kept him out until July, but never went away. He made only seven starts, he was awful, then went back on IL until the end of the season. That was hands down the worst season of Alex Wood’s career. That should affect Wood’s his price range, which should allow the Mets to jump in the race for his services.

Wood made his major league debut with the Braves in 2013 as a spot starter and reliever, the Mets handed him his first loss. He excelled in that role during his rookie season and played a similar role in 2014, though he made more starts. Wood transitioned to the starting rotation full time in 2015 and he was good.

He had a 3.54 ERA and 3.45 FIP at the trade deadline. With the Braves going nowhere fast, they traded Wood to the Dodgers in a three-team trade. Wood wasn’t as good after the trade but still provided good numbers down the stretch.

Wood’s 2016 season ended early due to injury similar to his 2019, though he had been pitching very well prior to the injury. He came back better than ever in 2017. Wood earned his first all-star appearance and finished top-10 in Cy Young voting. In 2018 Wood moved back into that starter/reliever role making 33 appearances and 27 starts. He was good again in 2017 but continued a trend of fading down the stretch that led to his move back into the pen.

Prior to the 2019 season in an effort to shed as much salary as possible Wood was traded along with Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds.

Wood is only going to be 29 for the 2020 season and has a history of being one of the best fourth starters in baseball. Over the first six years of his career Wood averaged 134 IP, though two of those years saw him in the bullpen a lot. He had an ERA of 3.29, a FIP of 3.36, an ERA+ of 117, and he limited the home run allowing just 0.8 HR/9.

Wood should come at a cheaper price due to his injury that could be in the Mets’ range. If that’s the case they have to make a move to sign him. Prior to 2019 Wood had never had an ERA, FIP, or XFIP of 4.00 or over. There aren’t many pitchers in baseball who can say that. Adding that kind of pitcher to the New York Mets’ already stellar rotation is the least they can do to try and replace Wheeler.

New York Giants: A Peek At The Giants’ 2020 Free Agent Linebacker Options

New York Giants, Kyle Van Noy

The New York Giants are in the second year of a rebuild and need to put an emphasis on fixing their linebacker corps. Rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly was having an excellent season before tearing his ACL, but outside of him, the linebackers have not displayed adequate talent.

Alec Ogletree is also injured and has not been performing up to his contract with the Giants. It is likely that New York will move on from him this offseason. The Giants’ week five matchup was a clear example of how badly they need to improve their linebacker group.

The Giants missed 16 tackles against the Vikings, most in the NFL in week five. Additionally, the Giants’ lowest graded player on defense according to Pro Football Focus was linebacker Nate Stupar with an abysmal 27.4 overall grade. This grade is due to multiple missed tackles and failures in coverage.

It is quite possible that the Giants will look to sign a veteran linebacker mid-season in order to bandage their broken group. There are a few options out there for the Giants to sign, but if they are thinking long-term, they will need to look ahead to the 2020 offseason. Here is a peek at some of the top linebackers that will be available in NFL free agency 2020:

Joe Schobert

Joe Schobert is a 26-year-old linebacker for the Cleveland Browns. He has been an underrated player throughout his career so far but is a definite top ten talent at his position. Joe is an excellent coverage linebacker and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2016.

In 2018, Joe Schobert had the second-highest Pro Football Focus coverage grade of all linebackers at 87.7. Joe allowed only 92 yards after the catch in coverage and a 72.4 passer rating when targeted. These stats were both top ten in the NFL.

But Schobert is also a solid pass-rusher for a linebacker. He totaled 3 sacks and 6 quarterback hits in both 2017 and 2018.

Kyle Van Noy

This 29-year-old linebacker made a name for himself during the 2018 playoffs en route to the Patriots’ sixth Super Bowl. Van Noy is an excellent pass-rusher.

In 2018, Kyle Van Noy totaled 47 pressures. Mastermind Patriots coach Bill Belichick used Kyle Van Noy as a pass-rusher disguised as an off-ball linebacker. This allowed Van Noy to be a disruptive pass-rusher and total 3.5 sacks in the 2018 regular season and 4.5 sacks in the 2018 postseason.

According to Pro Football Focus, no off-ball linebacker rushed the passer more than Van Noy with his 275 pass-rush snaps in the regular season. So far in 2019, Van Noy has 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and an elite 89.4 overall PFF grade.

Kyle Van Noy would be a perfect addition to the Giants’ defense and could fill two needs for them. The Giants need an off-ball linebacker badly with Alec Ogletree being overpaid and underperforming and Ryan Connelly suffering an ACL injury. Connelly proved he can be the Giants’ starting linebacker, but he and Van Noy would be a nice one-two punch.

Of course, Van Noy has proven to be an important piece of the Patriots’ defense, so it is unlikely they will let him walk in free agency. But if he does hit the open market, this is a productive veteran that the Giants should jump on immediately.

Cory Littleton

Cory Littleton is another young linebacker about to hit free agency. The 26-year-old linebacker is off to a hot start this season. In week one, Littleton made Pro Football Focus‘s Team of the Week after a performance that saw him finish the game with four tackles resulting in a defensive stop, a pass breakup, and an interception.

Pro Football Focus commended Cory for his performance in coverage, stating that Littleton faced a whopping 10 targets in Week 1 and allowed seven of them to be caught. However, it was for a mere 47 yards, and he notched an interception. His 94.1 coverage grade was tops at his position.

Littleton is another player unlikely to hit the open market, but the Rams have spent a lot of money on their talented roster, so they might have to cut ties with their linebacker this offseason. Cory Will receive a nice pay-day if he does hit the open market in 2020. But his coverage ability would sure go along way in fixing the Giants’ defense if they were able to sing him.