The New York Giants Should Sign This Young Pass Rusher

Should the New York Giants look into linebacker, Shane Ray?

The New York Giants had one of the league’s worst defenses in 2018. The defense ranked 24th in the league, allowing 371.4 yards per game. Their pass rush was one of the league’s worst, ranking 30th in the NFL with only 30 total team sacks.

Despite this, the Giants did not really commit to improving the pass rush in the 2019 offseason. They only drafted one pass-rusher, Oshane Ximines, in the 2019 NFL Draft. It looks like the team will rely heavily on the young, unproven duo of Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter.

However, there is still a solid, young option in free agency if the Giants want to add more potential pass-rushers to this defense.

Shane Ray Stats And Highlights

Shane Ray was a 1st round pick for the Denver Broncos in 2015, but he never panned out in Denver. The team decided to part ways with Shane Ray this offseason, thanks to the addition of Bradley Chubb in 2018.

Ray never reached his full potential in Denver. He has never started 16 games in a season and has only played in 16 games one time. Interestingly enough, in that one season (2016) where Shane Ray played all 16 games, he recorded a career-high sack total with 8 sacks on the season.

In 2018, Shane Ray did not start a single game for the Broncos. He only played in 11 games. It is hard to tell whether Shane Ray’s lack of playing time and production is his own fault or the fault of the Broncos.

Shane has had some injury troubles in his career, but that is not the only reason his playing time has been limited. The Broncos already have talent at Shane Ray’s position. Extreme talent. Von Miller is one of the NFL’s best pass-rushers and it would be silly to give him less playing time for anyone, let alone Shane Ray.

Shane Ray would not be a full-time starter with the Giants. Instead, he would be a situational pass-rusher. For example, on passing downs, such as third and long, the Giants could put in Shane Ray instead of a run-stuffing lineman and have a little bit extra pass rush.

He never reached his full potential in Denver, but he did flash it every so often. Shane Ray is a speedy edge rusher that can throw a strong bull-rush in the mix at any time. The Giants should sign Shane Ray as a situational pass rusher to give them an edge in the critical moments of close games.

What The New York Giants Got In Return From The Odell Beckham Jr. Trade

The New York Giants shocked the NFL world in March when they traded away their star player days before free agency began. The Giants traded wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. after five impressive, yet controversial seasons with the team.

The New York Giants traded Odell in exchange for safety Jabrill Peppers and two draft picks (17th overall and 95th overall). Now that the 2019 NFL Draft has concluded, we know exactly what the Giants got in return for Odell. In reality, the Giants got quite a defensive haul.

Jabrill Peppers

The Cleveland Browns drafted safety Jabrill Peppers with the 25th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Peppers had an up and down career with the Browns before being traded to the Giants in 2019.

Jabrill played 29 games in two seasons with the Browns. Peppers is a great safety in run support. He totaled 139 tackles in his two seasons with Cleveland. However, he is not just a run defender.

Peppers snagged 1 interception in each of his 2 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was poor in coverage in his rookie season, however, in his second season, Peppers improved greatly. He recorded 5 passes defended in 2018. According to Pro Football Focus, Peppers’s coverage grade jumped to a 77.3 in 2018 after posting a poor coverage grade of 61.7 in his rookie season.

Jabrill Peppers is an extremely versatile safety. In 2018, Peppers played just about every position on defense. He provided the most of his snaps at the free safety position (281 snaps), but he also contributed 172 snaps at linebacker, 133 snaps at edge, and 108 snaps at slot cornerback.

The Giants filled a big hole by trading for Jabrill Peppers. In the 2019 NFL offseason, the Giants saw their star safety Landon Collins walk away in free agency. Collins signed with the division rival Washington Redskins. The Giants replaced Collins with Peppers. Time will tell whether or not this was a good move for Big Blue.

Dexter Lawrence

With the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Dexter Lawrence, an interior defensive lineman from Clemson. Lawrence is a mammoth of a human being. he stands tall at 6 feet 4 inches and weighs a whopping 342 pounds.

In 50 career games at Clemson, Dexter Lawrence totaled 131 tackles. He also had 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Dexter is a powerful lineman who excels in stuffing the run. He demonstrated his strength at the Combine with 36 bench reps.

Lawrence has also flashed the ability to push the pocket and apply interior pressure. If he can slim down a little bit, Dexter could become a versatile, pass-rushing and run-stuffing defensive lineman.

Oshane Ximines

The Giants defense lacks pass rusher, but with the 95th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, they finally got one. Oshane Ximines is the first NFL player to ever be drafted from Old Dominion.

Oshane is a solid pass-rusher with tons of potential. He played 50 games in college and recorded impressive numbers. In 50 games, Oshane totaled 32.5 sacks, 51 tackles for loss, and 176 total tackles. He was productive against the run and as a pass-rusher.

The reason Oshane Ximines fell all the way to the 95th pick is his lack of size. He weighs in at 253 pounds and is listed at 6 feet and 3 inches. This is considered undersized in the NFL at the edge rusher position. Regardless of size, Ximines has the strength and talent to succeed at the next level. If Oshane Ximinez can fill out his frame a bit, he has the potential to be a stud pass-rusher for the Giants over the next decade.

Each of these players’ careers will always be put under a microscope because of their connection to the Odell trade. It will be interesting to look back at the end of these players’ careers and see who won the Odell Beckham trade.

New York Giants: This Free Agent Linebacker Could Be a Perfect Fit on Defense

The New York Giants have one of the league’s worst defenses. They went from bad to worse in the offseason. After an abysmal 2018, the Giants let their best pass rusher and their best safety go in the offseason. These moves left even more holes on the Giants’ defense.

Prior to these moves, the Giants were already weak at a number of defensive positions. One of those weak positions is at linebacker. The Giants will need to upgrade this position sooner than later, whether that be through the draft or through free agency.

Free agency started about two weeks ago, so the market has really thinned out. However, there is still at least one quality linebacker available for the Giants to consider. That linebacker is former Washington Redskin, Zach Brown.

What Zach Brown Could Bring To The Giants:

At 29 years old, Zach Brown could bring a nice veteran presence to the Giants’ locker room. The Giants already have Alec Ogletree for that, but Brown and Ogletree could be a great duo of defensive captains. Brown has also performed better than Ogletree as a player, too.

Zach Brown struggled through an injury in 2018 but still played top-notch football. He totaled 96 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 10 tackles for loss. Despite playing with an injury, Brown played all 16 games for the Redskins. He did only start in 12, but he played in all 16. Pro Football Focus graded Zach Brown as the 3rd best linebacker in the NFL in 2018 with an overall grade of 89.2.

Brown has been an impact player for the past 3 seasons. He has totaled over 10 tackles for loss in each of the last 3 seasons and in 2017 and 2016 he had incredible combined tackle totals. In 2016, playing for the Buffalo Bills, Brown racked up a huge 149 tackles as he was selected to the Pro Bowl. That tackle number was 2nd highest in the league in 2016.

In 2017, Brown put up another solid season. He had 127 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks with the Washington Redskins. On top of this, Brown was solid in pass defense in 2018. According to Pro Football Focus, Brown was one of only six linebackers to play at least 350 coverage snaps and not allow a single touchdown in coverage.

If the Giants sign Zach Brown, they will be getting a highly productive and very consistent linebacker to man the middle of their defense.

New York Giants: What Options Remain At Right Tackle?

The New York Giants have holes all over their roster. After a wild free agency period, the Giants managed to create more holes and fill barely any of them. One gaping hole on the roster is at the right tackle position.

After missing out on premier right tackle Daryl Williams in free agency, the Giants were not left with very many options. The Giants need to upgrade the right tackle position as soon as possible. However, their options are running thin.

Free Agency

If the Giants want to sign a right tackle in free agency, they will need to do it soon. The market has really dried up over the past two weeks. The Giants met with a free agent from Minnesota, Mike Remmers. According to his agent, the meeting went well and the team will likely sign Remmers, however, nothing was imminent.

Since then, we have not heard a peep. This leaves some fans wondering when this contract will get done or if it will get done at all. If the Giants are unable to sign Remmers, who would they turn to?

There are a few veteran right tackles sitting on the free agency market. One name the Giants could consider is Jared Veldheer. According to Pro Football Focus, Veldheer is an immediate-impact free agent who played well in 2018 before going down with an injury. He earned a 62.4 overall PFF grade which is much higher than Chad Wheeler’s overall grade of 47.4.

If the Giants end up missing out on Mike Remmers, it would be wise of them to turn their attention towards Jared Veldheer or a prospect in the draft.

NFL Draft

A lot of speculation has begun surrounding the Giants’ 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The pick was acquired via trade from the Cleveland Browns. Many fans and experts have been predicting that the Giants will draft a right tackle at 17 in their respective mock drafts.

A few great tackle options will be available at 17. Names to keep an eye on include Cody Ford, Jonah Williams, and Dalton Risner.

Cody Ford played right tackle for Oklahoma and did a phenomenal job protecting the Heisman Trophy Winner, Kyler Murray. Ford is an excellent pass blocker. He only allowed 8 pressures in 2018 as a full-time starter. Cody is an extremely athletic offensive tackle. He was impressive at the NFL Combine and consistently showed elite agility on tape. This athletic ability might cause a team to move Ford to guard, but if he were to be drafted by the Giants, he would play right tackle.

Jonah Williams is similar to Cody Ford in the sense that teams will consider moving him to guard. This is because Jonah is a bit undersized for the offensive tackle position. Despite this, Williams was a consistently great player during his time at Alabama. Jonah played left tackle in college, however, he could be moved to the right side since the Giants already have Nate Solder. Williams allowed only 10 pressures in 2018 and was also Pro Football Focus’s 3rd ranked run-blocker. Williams has been mocked all over the place from the top 10 to the top 25. If he slides to 17, the Giants will have to consider drafting him.

Dalton Risner is a technically sound offensive tackle prospect out of Kansas State. Risner allowed only 28 pressures on 1,489 pass-blocking snaps in his college career and could step in and start immediately at right tackle for the Giants. He did not face the same type of elite defensive talent that Cody Ford and Jonah Williams faced, however, he was still an elite collegiate offensive tackle. Risner could be an absolute steal for the Giants at 17, or if he falls all the way to the second round (which he might).

New York Giants Lock up Several Quality Players Ahead of Free Agency

The NFL’s new league year begins on March 13th. That is the day that NFL teams can officially sign free agents and make trades. Until then, teams can only communicate with their own players and impending free agents.

With the new league year coming up, the New York Giants have gotten to work resigning their free agents (or letting them walk for nothing). On Wednesday, the Giants made a few decisions on their exclusive rights free agents.

Aldrick Rosas

One of the Giants’ top in-house free agents this offseason was their kicker, Aldrick Rosas. The Giants officially tendered Rosas on Wednesday. This move brings him back next season at the minimum salary.

This move was a no-brainer for the Giants. Aldrick Rosas was arguably the best kicker in the NFL last season. Rosas had a 97% field goal percentage in 2018, making 32 of his 33 attempts. Aldrick was Pro Football Focus’s highest graded kicker of the season with an 88.7 overall grade.

Week 13 was Rosas’s best game of the season. He won Special Teams Player of the Week. In week 13, Rosas went 3/3 on field goals, including a game-winner in overtime. Aldrick even nailed a 57-yard field goal at the end of the first half, which was a franchise record for the longest field goal in Giants history.

If Rosas can perform like this again in 2019, expect him to get a proper long-term extension next offseason.

Corey Coleman

The Giants signed Corey Coleman back in November after he had been cut by the Buffalo Bills. Coleman has had a tough time staying on a roster. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016 but played there for only two seasons. He never even made the Bills’ 53 man roster.

Once the Giants signed him, Coleman got limited playing time. He played in 8 games and caught 5 passes for 71 yards. Coleman also fielded 23 kickoffs. He showed the potential to be a great kick returner for the Giants in the future.

According to Ian Rapoport, Corey Coleman showed enough flashes in his short stint to warrant a longer look from the Giants. Along with Rosas and the others, Coleman received his tender on Wednesday worth $2.025 million. The Giants will be hoping to turn Coleman into a legitimate receiving threat in 2019.

Jon Halapio

The Giants’ starting center at the beginning of the season went down with a season-ending injury in week 2.

GM Dave Gettleman has noted on multiple occasions how well Jon Halapio was playing prior to breaking his leg. According to Pro Football Focus, Halapio had the 3rd best pass blocking grade (85.2) from week 1 among centers with at least 50 offensive snaps.

Jon Halapio will likely be the Giants’ starting center in 2019. This is why he received an exclusive rights tender to keep him around for the 2019 NFL season. If Jon Halapio can prove that his 2 weeks of solid play in 2018 were not a fluke, Halapio could potentially play his way into a long-term contract extension in 2019.

Elijhaa Penny

The Giants tendered exclusive rights free agent Elijhaa Penny as well. Penny was the Giants’ fullback in 2018. Penny is a solid receiving fullback who can contribute as a blocker, too.

He was Pro Football Focus‘s 4th highest graded fullback in 2018 with an overall grade of 68.6. He is a versatile fullback who performed well in 2018. Penny could be the fullback for the Giants for years to come if he continues to play at this level.

New York Yankees: How Concerned Should We Be About Luis Severino’s Injury?

On Monday, the New York Yankees presumed ace Luis Severino was scratched from his first spring start due to what the team called “rotator cuff inflammation” and will be shut down for two weeks. Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said that it is “highly unlikely” that Severino will start the season with the team, forcing the Yankees to look for a new opening day starter. Severino was warming up in the bullpen and felt pain in his shoulder at about 1PM, 10 minutes prior to first pitch.

With Severino likely not on the 25 man roster to start the season, this leaves the fifth starting pitcher position wide open. Plus, how severe is Severino’s injury anyway? We’ll look into all of it right now.

Yankees: Severino’s concern level

From what we hear, the Yankees are not particularly concerned about Severino…. yet. When he had his MRI Tuesday, the results came back quite clean. With that being said, he should be cleared after two weeks if his shoulder isn’t hurting. No Tommy John surgery has been recommended, but if he continues to have pain after the two weeks, the team will grow more concerned.

The plan is to begin a throwing program after the two weeks, then get him some in-game action before camp breaks and the team heads to Washington for an exhibition. My guess is that he would spend a week or two in extended spring training before going to Trenton and/or Scranton for a few rehab stints. Remember, CC Sabathia is also a few weeks behind due to his offseason heart surgery and will also likely not be on the opening day roster.

Options from free agency

When talking about free-agents, two names come into the minds of Yankees fans: Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez.

In 2018, Dallas Keuchel had a rather down season, his ERA at 3.74 in just over 200 innings. A lot of people thought that the Yankees might push towards him more than signing JA Happ or acquiring James Paxton. But the team didn’t and now heading towards the middle part of March and spring training, he remains a free-agent.

Gio Gonzalez had an ERA last season of 4.21, but remained effective with a 10-11 record in just over 170 innings. Gonzalez, now 33, was a former first round draft pick in 2004. He could still be a fit for any team, and his stats show those of an average fifth starter.

But which one is the better option? In my opinion, Gonzalez is. Gonzalez is older than Keuchel and is now fit to be a five starter, and will not want a whole lot of money. Keuchel was the Astros number one starter just a few years ago, but is now settling as more of a two or three starter.

If Keuchel was available after the 2019 season, the Yankees would jump right on board with him, but they have a solid rotation when healthy. Signing Keuchel would be expensive, and would force the Yankees to really rearrange their pitching staff once everyone is healthy. With Gonzalez, you can DFA or release him and not lose much of anything for your team or salary.

In-house options

The Yankees have a few guys who could replace both Severino and CC in the first few weeks of the season.

Luis Cessa is the first name Yankee fans jump to. Cessa hasn’t had it that great so far in the big leagues, an ERA a bit under five and a 5-11 record. He is slowly improving, but the problem is that he’s out of options. If he starts in the MLB this season, to send him to Scranton they must DFA him and hope he clears waivers.

Domingo German struggled last year for the Yankees, making some starts for injured pitchers in the springtime. His ERA was over 5.50 and won just two games in 14 starts. But his start this spring has been promising, giving up no runs thus far in 4 2/3 innings.

Jonathan Loaisiga, or “Jonny Lasagna” also made a few starts last season, but had an ERA over five despite going 2-0. He definitely needs some more work, and got hammered on Tuesday against the Cardinals, giving up four runs in 2 1/3 innings.

It remains unknown how the Yankees will fill Severino’s hole to start the season, but either way the team goes, there are options.

New York Giants: Why It Is Inexplicable, Inexcusable, and Incompetent To Not Franchise Tag Landon Collins

New York Giants, Landon Collins

On Monday afternoon, teams all around the NFL used their franchise tag on their best impending free agents, except for the New York Giants. The Texans used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney, the Chiefs used the franchise tag on Dee Ford, and the Seahawks used the tag on Frank Clark.

All of these teams used the tag on their best defensive player. The deadline to use the franchise tag is March 5th at 4:00 p.m. A report by Ian Rapoport surfaced on Monday revealing that the New York Giants do not plan on using their franchise tag on their own best defensive player, strong safety Landon Collins.

Now, typically, I write my articles in a very objective way. I do not use the first-person narrative like I am right now, and I do not give my opinion. I usually just present the facts, rumors, and reports, then explain what it means for the Giants.

However, this is a special case. The Giants’ choosing to not use the franchise tag on Landon Collins has set the majority of the fanbase off into a feeling of vicious anger. It has also lead many fans to lose hope in general manager Dave Gettleman. So, allow me to be the voice of the people.

What Is The Franchise Tag?

Franchise tags are tools that allow NFL teams to keep would-be free agents for one year. The player’s guaranteed salary for that one season is attractive — the greater of the average of the top five salaries at his position, or 120 percent of his prior year’s salary — but such a tag provides the player no long-term security.

In 2019, the franchise tag’s price for the safety position is $11,150,000. Apparently, the Giants think that is too pricey for the best player on their defense. This is coming from the general manager who admitted his defense was terrible and vowed to improve it in the offseason.

Letting your best defensive player walk for nothing does not make your team better in any way. If the Giants do not think Collins is that talented of a player, they do not have to sign him to a long-term extension. In fact, it would be wise of them not to if they do not believe in him as a franchise player. But it would be the bare minimum for the Giants to place the franchise tag on Landon Collins.

Explaining The Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag:

There are three types of franchise tags. The non-exclusive franchise tag, the exclusive franchise tag, and the transition tag.

When a player is placed on the non-exclusive franchise tag, they have the opportunity to gain two first-round picks as compensation if the player leaves. The non-exclusive franchise tag allows other teams to make contract offers to Landon Collins and allows the Giants to match these offers if they so desire. If the Giants do not want to match the offer, Collins goes to the team whose offer he accepts and the Giants receive two first-round picks as compensation.

That is just one way for the Giants to receive compensation for Landon Collins. Collins has a reported trade value of a third-round pick. Prior to the 2018 trade deadline, the Giants shopped Collins in hopes of receiving a second-round pick. They were offered a third-round pick but declined the offer.

Why Using A Franchise Tag Is A No-Brainer:

If the Giants did not plan on keeping Landon Collins around in the future, why did they not accept the third-round pick at the trade deadline? What sense is there in letting a star player walk with nothing in return?

It is not too late for the Giants to get something in return for Collins. They could if they wanted to, but they are choosing not to. This is just inexplicable.

If the Giants want to move on from Collins, they should still place the franchise tag on him. When signed to a franchise tag, the Giants have the ability to trade Collins. Without a doubt, a team would trade for him. Offenses were scoring at a record-setting rate in 2018. Everyone is looking for help on defense (except for the Giants, for some reason).

Collins will have a “significant market” if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Even if Landon did not become an unrestricted free agent, he would still have a huge market. A team would trade for him. The Giants could still get their third-round pick for Collins, which would be a huge addition considering they do not have a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Why Landon Collins Is Worth The Salary Cap Number:

Maybe Collins is not deserving of a long-term extension with about $11 million annually. That opinion could be validly argued. But when you look at the rest of the Giants’ roster, I can not figure out why they think this price is too high. Collins is a former all-pro safety. He is the most consistent player on the Giants’ defense. Yet he is not worthy of about $11 million.

However, Gettleman thinks Alec Ogletree is worth being the third-highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL. Gettleman is fine paying Ogletree $11,750,000 in 2019, but he cannot find the money to pay Landon Collins. Alec Ogletree was Pro Football Focus’s 81st ranked linebacker in the NFL in 2018 with an overall grade of 50.7. He was the second lowest graded player on the Giants in 2018, but he will make $11,750,000 next season.

Landon Collins was the third-highest graded player on the Giants’ defense in 2018 with a grade of 70.4. This overall grade is also much higher than the Giants’ highest-paid player in 2019.

Dave Gettleman’s Mismanagement Of The Salary Cap

Eli Manning is set to make $23,200,000 in 2019. He had an overall PFF grade of 64.3 in 2018, making him the 31st ranked quarterback in the NFL. There are only 32 teams in the NFL. Compare this to Collins’s third-highest defensive grade on the Giants, and lack of a contract with the team.

I love Eli Manning as much as the next guy, but Dave Gettleman cannot justify paying Manning that salary and yet whine that the franchise tag price for Collins is too high. Cutting the 38-year-old Eli Manning saves $17 million in cap space. At the very least, the Giants could negotiate Manning into a pay-cut to free some cap space. That is the missing money for Collins.

Believe me when I say this: Eli Manning is my favorite football player of all time and he is the reason I am a Giants fan. But this does not change the fact that his contract is hurting the rest of the Giants. Especially when they refuse to pay star players due to limited cap space.

Eli Manning is a franchise hero. But 21 passing touchdowns does not cut it in today’s NFL. Jerry Reese failed Manning. He was unable to build a solid roster around Eli when he was in his prime. This is a fact, however, that time is gone. Eli is not in his prime anymore. The Giants do not need to pay him like he is in his prime, especially if it means letting talented players walk out the door with nothing in return.

Cutting Eli Manning frees up $17 million. Releasing backup tight end Rhett Ellison frees up $3.25 million. Cutting edge rusher Olivier Vernon frees up $11.5 million. That is $31.75 million freed up right there to put the Giants at roughly $58 million which is more than enough to make moves while franchise tagging Landon Collins.

New York Jets: The Pros and Cons of Signing Le’Veon Bell In Free Agency

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

The New York Jets’ rushing attack was rolling downhill for the first 6-weeks of the 2018 season. In week 7 against the Vikings, Bilal Powell suffered a devastating injury that derailed his career.

In the penultimate game of the season, Isaiah Crowell sustained a foot injury that prevented him from returning to his former glory. Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon both showed some flashes of talent, but neither stood out as a pass-catching back.

All of this begs the question:

Is Le’Veon Bell a Good Fit For the New York Jets?

Bell’s numbers are otherworldly. When he’s been on the field, he’s averaged 86 yards on the ground and 43 yards through the air. If you added that to the Jets’ current offense, Sam Darnold could throw for 200 yards to his receivers, and not have to worry about anything else. Jets fans have been waiting for that situation since 2010.

Conversely, Bell brings a lot of baggage with him. He’s been suspended for the first 3 games of consecutive seasons, and he’s missed 18 games in his career. Most notably, he held out the entirety of last year, and going a year without football takes a toll on a player’s overall athleticism.

What Will The Jets Have To Give Up?

That holdout actually hurt Bell’s value more than anything. Last summer, he wanted quarterback money: rumored to be $30 million a year. The breakout of James Connor brought about questions if Le’Veon is a ‘system’ running back. Nobody denies that Bell is an elite receiver at running back. However, he’s going to want Todd Gurley money, almost $15 million per year. Oddly enough, that’s only $500k more than his franchise tender last year.

Why Bell Should Not Be A Jet:

Le’Veon Bell is a stellar talent with a poor attitude. This may be old-fashioned, but he does not put the team before himself. You can look past the holdout; the drug suspensions and the contract dispute went on for multiple years. The Jets brass dealt with Darrelle Revis in a sub-par manner, and he didn’t even have any character issues. For a rebuilding team with a cornerstone, franchise quarterback, establishing the right culture in the locker room is imperative.

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.

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: Former Broncos Linebacker Could Be An Option In Free Agency

It is no secret that the Giants had one of the NFL’s absolute worst defenses in 2018. General manager Dave Gettleman has said publicly that fixing the defense is a priority for him in the 2019 offseason.

One position group that the Giants could improve at is linebacker. Luckily for them, there are plenty of quality linebackers in this year’s free agency class. On Friday, another veteran linebacker was added to the mix.

Brandon Marshall

In an effort to free up cap space, the Denver Broncos declined the option of one of their defensive starters. This player is linebacker Brandon Marshall. Marshall is 29 years old and has played for the Broncos since 2013. But now, in the 2019 offseason, Brandon Marshall will become a free agent.

Marshall had a down year and 2018 and was not able to stay on the field. He played in only 11 games due to injury, but only started in 7 of them. He still managed to total 42 tackles. Despite missing 5 games in 2018, Marshall does not have an extended history with injuries.

In 2017, Brandon Marshall played and started in all 16 games. Brandon racked up 106 total tackles, 3 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, and four passes defended. On top of that, Marshall forced a fumble, and recovered one for a touchdown.

Brandon Marshall was in impact player in 2017. If he can return to form in 2019, he could wind up being a steal in free agency for whichever team signs him.

The Giants’ Linebacker Needs

Last offseason, the Giants traded for linebacker Alec Ogletree. Alec was a captain for the Giants in 2018, but he was far from being a top linebacker in the NFL.  Alec Ogletree finished the season with a 50.7 overall grade, ranked 81st out of all linebackers in the league. He was inconsistent in coverage and missed many tackles that left fans frustrated with the defensive captain. B.J. Goodson performed better (66.2 overall PFF grade), but was still only the 41st ranked linebacker in the NFL.

With these low grades, the Giants are clearly in need of another linebacker. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Marshall recorded PFF grades of 74+ each season. In 2017 and 2018, his grade was in the 60s, but that would still be an improvement from Alec’s 50.7 overall grade.

The Giants need help on defense, and adding another solid veteran linebacker would be a huge addition to the 5-11 team. Brandon Marshall should be available on a cheap contract due to his age and injury during 2018. However, that low price point is why he might be a fit for the Giants. Marshall could come in and be a solid starter for the Giants in 2019. If he is able to exceed expectations and return to his prime form, the Giants could come away with the steal of free agency.