Why the New York Giants shouldn’t hesitate to extend S Jabrill Peppers

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants went on a spending spree this off-season, backloading a majority of the contracts to 2022 and 2023. With the expectation that the salary cap will increase tremendously over the next few years due to a massive TV deal executed this off-season, signing lofty contracts now that expire in two seasons makes a ton of sense. Not only do they match up with the expanding cap space, but also the expiration of quarterback Daniel Jones’ rookie deal.

However, in the process of signing these big names, they were forced to let go of one of their captains, interior defender Delvin Tomlinson. Normally, letting influential players walk that have a significant impact on the locker room is a negative, but the Giants have plenty of veteran players who can take over in that facet. One of them is safety Jabrill Peppers, who had a career year in 2020, totaling 91 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, and allowed a 65.2% completion rate over 69 targets, nearly double his sample size from 2019.

Peppers proved that he is not only an energizer on defense but deserves to be a long-term solution in the middle of the Giants’ safety unit. Currently, he’s projected to earn $6.77 million for the 2021 season, entirely guaranteed. The only way the Giants could get his salary off the books would be to trade him, but that would be a devastatingly poor decision.

The New York Giants have gotten the best out of Peppers:

The former Cleveland Brown has taken significant steps forward in his career since joining Big Blue, making the transition from free safety to strong safety, where he has thrived and developed under Patrick Graham in 2020.

Last season, he played 383 total snaps in the box, 264 at slot corner, and 143 at free safety. While he allowed 499 yards and two scores, the Giants played a predominant zone coverage scheme, which can oftentimes allocate yards to players who are simply close to the pass catcher and not in man coverage. This can often times skew the statistics, as Peppers was a quality force in the run game and adequate when dropping back into coverage. He also picked up a few impressive sacks, one of which against the Seattle Seahawks saw him burst through running back Chris Carson and wallop Russell Wilson in the backfield.

Ultimately, that leads us to our primary discussion — should the Giants extend him now instead of waiting?

Theoretically, if the Giants did extend him, they could lower his cap hit for the season and maybe sign a better offensive line piece to compete.

Alternatively, Peppers might want to take a chance on himself, balling out in 2021 and compounding that into a massive contract next season. Given his growth, only an injury would significantly hurt his value and potential earnings, which is possible, even probable in the NFL. Considering he’s missed a few games over the last two years, if the Giants did offer him a long-term extension, Peppers might be smart to accept and cash in as the cap sky-rockets in 2023 when he turns 28.

This leads me to believe that the Giants simply haven’t offered him an extension, but they could get a deal done mid-season if he proves to take another step forward. They also did spend a draft pick on Xavier McKinney last year and signed Logan Ryan to a three-year deal this past off-season. Peppers is a different player, though, featuring a thumper style that isn’t afraid to get physical in the run game. I believe the Giants would be intelligent to keep him around for the long term, and the 2021 season will tell us everything we need to know.

Why the New York Giants should not even consider cutting Jabrill Peppers

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants are in a tricky salary cap situation. The team placed the franchise tag on Leonard Williams which will account for over $19 million in cap space. The Giants do not even have that much cap space, so they will need to make some cuts to fit Williams under.

New York has already starting making cuts to clear cap space. Golden Tate, David Mayo, and Cody Core were all cap casualties. Levine Toilolo’s contract was also restructered to free up some 2021 cap space. But the Giants have a lot more space to clear if they want to sign Leonard Williams and any other free agentss.

Rumors and speculation have begun regarding the many different players that could be cap casualties in the 2021 offseason. One surprising and confusing name that has been floated out there is starting safety Jabrill Peppers.

Why cutting Jabrill Peppers is a terrible idea

Cutting Jabrill Peppers would save the New York Giants roughly $6.7 million in salary cap space. That money could help the Giants re-sign Leonard Williams or pursue a top wide receiver like Kenny Golladay. That is the argument for cutting one of the Giants’ best defensive players. That is the argument for cutting a 25-year-old safety that is a captain on the Giants’ defense, coming off of his best season of his career that saw him total a combined 91 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and 11 passes defended.

There are not many safeties in the NFL that can match Jabrill Peppers’s 2020 production. There are even less safeties in the NFL that can produce at that level for the price of only $6.7 million. Jabrill Peppers is on the fifth year of his contract (the Giants picked up his fifth-year option last offseason). He has spent two seasons with the team and truly came into his own this past year.

Jabrill Peppers fit seamlessly into the Giants’ new defensive scheme under Patrick Graham. The Giants have preached all year long that they want to set a solid foundation and develop their young players. Cutting a defensive captain that is 25-years-old would accomplish the exact opposite. Peppers is a player that strengthens the Giants’ culture and roster.

Of course, the Giants have depth at the safety position. Peppers did a phenomenal job starting at strong safety in 2020. Logan Ryan was excellent at free safety. And behind their two starters, the Giants have two quality players in Julian Love and Xavier McKinney. However, the same fans that complain about the Giants fans never having any depth are the same fans that will advocate for cutting Peppers in order to sign a big-name free agent.

Cutting Jabrill Peppers severely weakens the back end of the Giants’ defense. Starting in his place would be the electric Xavier McKinney entering only his second season after spending the majority of the 2020 season on injured reserve. Julian Love would also see more playing time, but not in his utility role that he has blossomed into. The Giants also love to run nickel and dime packages on defense that feature three, sometimes four safeties on the field. These packages would be eliminated from New York’s playbook if Jabrill Peppers is released to clear cap space.

Additionally, Jabrill Peppers is a true leader for the Giants. Jabrill has spent time training with slot cornerback Darnay Holmes, mentoring him and Xavier McKinney. The Giants are building something special in their secondary. They have an abundance of young, talented players. These players are all close to each other and enjoy playing together. It would be a grave mistake for the Giants to ruin the chemistry they have created by cutting one of their best defensive players in Jabrill Peppers.

New York Giants: 3 cornerbacks to consider in free agency to fill void CB2 spot

xavier rhodes, New York Giants

The New York Giants revamped their secondary from 2019 to 2020. They brought in a bunch of new faces this past offseason, signing Logan Ryan and James Bradberry, and the Giants drafted Xavier McKinney in the second-round.

Their secondary was the fifth-worst pass defense in 2019. They allowed 264.1 passing yards per game in 2019, but in 2020, only allowed 237.9 passing yards per game. The Giants were in the middle of the pack for best pass defense, coming in at 16th.

Safety’s Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, and Xavier McKinney are the future, and Bradberry island is a real thing. The G-Men just need another cornerback to go alongside Bradberry.

Here are three free agents the Giants should consider in free agency:

Xavier Rhodes

Xavier Rhodes was one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL this past season, but in 2017-2019, he struggled. The Minnesota Vikings decided to part ways with Rhodes this past offseason. Rhodes signed a one-year, $3,250,000 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts.

Rhodes recorded 42 tackles, 12 pass defends, and two interceptions this past season. With these solid stats, Rhodes could earn himself a pay increase but not too much where it will be out of the Giants’ price range.

If the Giants could find some money to give to Rhodes and if the secondary could repeat what they did this past season, this could easily be one of the best secondaries in 2021.

Jason McCourty

Will Logan Ryan recruit Jason McCourty to New York? The New York native just finished up his two-year deal with the New England Patriots — could McCourty team up with Joe Judge down in New York to finish his career?

McCourty has been a versatile cornerback who has played as an above-average outside cornerback for almost his entire career. McCourty has 723 career tackles, 106 pass defends, and 18 interceptions, and a Super Bowl Ring with Judge.

If McCourty wants to come to New York and leave his twin brother, the Giants have the capital to bring him in. He will have an opportunity to play alongside a Pro Bowl cornerback in Bradberry if he wants to.

Ross Cockrell

It seems like Ross Cockrell’s name is always in talks to come back to New York. With the Giants now having a better all-around team and an excellent secondary, he could come in and compete for the starting job on the outside.

Cockrell is currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; they are on their way to go play in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. With the Buccaneers stud cornerbacks, Cockrell has seen the least amount of playing time since his rookie season. Starting only two games and only recorded two pass breakups.

Cockrell only got a one-year deal with the Buccaneers for less than a million. But I will speak for all Giants fans here, we do not want another Cockrell fake signing again. Cockrell backed out of a deal this past offseason.

New York Giants secondary lacking according to PFF rankings

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants improved in the secondary this season, but they still have some ways to go. The main improvements, of course, were the additions of James Bradberry and Logan Ryan. And while Xavier McKinney spent much of the year injured, his return to the field sets up an intriguing next season with him playing besides Ryan and Jabrill Peppers.

Despite the improvements, the Giants still have a need at number two corner. That seems to have dragged them down when Pro Football Focus went over the league’s secondaries and put the Giants in the bottom half.

18. NEW YORK GIANTS

New York is this high because of one man only: James Bradberry. The fifth-year corner was signed to a monster contract this past offseason after four middling years with the Carolina Panthers. He didn’t play at a high level in his four years with Carolina, failing to surpass a 70.0 PFF grade in every season, so the contract was risky, to say the least.

But Bradberry proved all the doubters wrong and justified his pay this season. He ranked fifth among outside corners in coverage grade and fourth in forced incompletion rate (21%). There were quite a few missed tackles from him (14), but that’s something you can live with if he keeps up this shutdown play.

Some might disagree with where the Giants were placed as well as the dismissive assessment of non-Bradberrry members of the secondary because this take makes no mention of impact players Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan.

In fact, Ryan had his second best season in the tackling department in 2020 when he racked up 94. His three forced fumbles were also the second most he’s had in a season, and those who watched the Giants before his arrival can attest to his impact.

Jabrill Peppers also stepped up at safety this season and had a career high in both tackles and passes defended, registering a total of 11 in the latter category. That’s a big step up from his 5 the previous season. It gives him one of the highest totals overall this year at the strong safety position.

The Giants do indeed have a need for a number two cornerback, however, which may be addressed through the draft if the front office doesn’t target offense first, or a pass rusher. Alabama corner Patrick Surtain has been brought up as a name in the mix for the Giants to draft at the position, but with a number of other needs too, it’s not clear which way the Giants will go with the 11th pick.

New York Giants stars help inspire first DB Combine prep, but the man behind it all is Brian Walker

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers, Darnay Holmes, DBacks Academy

When the New York Giants began the 2020 season, their defense was supposed to be their weakest link. By season’s end, it was their strongest, thanks to fantastic play across the board and stellar coaching. Strong safety Jabrill Peppers is one player who saw his game take a jump to the next level, having his most productive season yet. He finished with a career-high 57 tackles and eight tackles for a loss. However, the catalyst behind Peppers’ fantastic year is his off-season work-ethic and his time spent with Brian Walker, the founder of DBacks Academy.

Walker also trains 4th round pick from 2020, Darnay Holmes, who saw incredible growth as the season progressed before suffering a knee injury. Earlier on in the season, Holmes faced off against first-round wide receiver Ceedee Lamb, holding him to just 43 yards. The mentality to succeed and work hard during your time off is what lead Holmes, as a fourth-rounder, to succeed. Walker played a key part in preparing the two young defensive backs for the Giants for the 2020 season, and it paid off in dividends.

Brian is leading the charge to a revolutionized way of training DBs and preparing them for the next level. 

“Helping the next generation get to the goal as quickly as possible. Whether it’s safety to linebacker, or safety to linebacker, or hybrid.”

“Every DB is not the same height, every DB is not the same speed. Just like we have SAT tutors, quarterback coaches, this is something for me, during my playing days, I wish there was a coach who could break it down and see the game different. The game is getting faster and faster.”

Brian has trained with players from the East to the West Coast, understanding the different styles and athletic abilities. This has helped form a specific teaching style that adapts to his athletes, no matter the age or background. His experience playing against some notable names has also contributed to his vast knowledge of the game.

“As a DB, one thing about California, everyone is fast, and because I had a wide receiver foundation and I had the Don Brown tree, I ended up leaving JUCO and going to Washington State. I was able to go against Deshaun Jackson and Reggie Bush, and a lot of these guys are staples.”

Q: You have to be anticipating change and keeping up with the times, so how do you foresee things changing for kids looking to prepare for the NFL in 2-3 years?

“I was blessed to play at the higher levels for a few years, but I did play Arena Football, and because it’s so small, it’s so quick. Now that the game of NFL, the guys are bigger, stronger faster, the guys are getting to the QB so much quicker. What I’m telling guys now, is that the game is built like Arena Football. The corners are bigger and the safeties are smaller and can cover. The slots are a lot quicker, the tight ends are more receiver(ish).”

“The biggest thing, eliminating the extra steps, making sure you’re not too high. Football is a game of angles. The proper angles get you in the right situation. The game is about technique because everyone is bigger, stronger faster.”

Walker is a fundamentalist, refining his players’ techniques and noticing the details to improve their game. He understands one major accelerant in development — fixing the minor issues leads to ‘major’ growth.

Being an athlete is only one step of the process, being a stellar student is half the battle.

Q: How important is being a good student as part of your teachings?

“I have a track background, we filmed everything to make every step is correct. With DBs, sometimes we can give the verbiage, but it might not resonate the right way. Using film, we can slow it down and break it down the right way. It’s just repetition, like a golf swing, the more you swing, the better you get.”

With technology becoming such an influential part of the way athletes train and build out their style, Walker is always ahead of the curve, using advancements to help his students.

Q: How do you use technology to your advantage? 

“I can actually teach more, I can pull up information in the blink of an eye. The little details, the micro and you can get it to the macro by using technology.”

Q: What Pro Athletes do you currently work with?

“Currently, we work with Darnay Holmes, Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Winfree, a handful of college guys, Jordan Fuller. Rashan Gary, some offensive linemen.”

“A lot of my guys are from the ground-up, 8th grade in the making. I’ve built relationships with these players, and I do tell people, I know the process of getting people from highschool to college, to pro. I know all three phases.”

What make the professionals different, what is their mentality?

“The mindset with all of them, they continue to want to learn. Growth mindset is really important for athletes.”

The purpose of DBs Academy isn’t to be a one-stop training session for professionals, it’s meant to develop relationships that grow over time, leading to exponential growth. Think of it as investing in the stock market — the longer you wait, the more money you will gain over time (given you’re invested in the right areas). With Brian, he views himself as the stock, and the more you trust and put effort back into him, the better you will be in the future.

Q: Defensive back-specific Combine:

“With the NFL Combine, there’s always a lot of DBs, and they get drafted, but unfortunately, they get drafted and then they’re out of camp within 2-3 months. That’s disheartening, because these are young men who spend most of their life trying to get drafted and they’re not there.”

“What’s the primary issue, what’s the root, the source?”

“I can be that eye, what makes the combine I do so special, never done before, extremely detailed on what we’re doing for the NFL, but also for a longer career. If I can make a free agent or 7th rounder first-day pick, that shows the development is there. How do you make them work as efficient and successful as they want to be? That’s what this Combine is meant to extract.”

The most innovative aspect of Walker’s system is the DB-specific Combine, giving young athletes a chance to showcase their abilities to scouts in a specific setting. The NFL Combine focuses so much on athleticism, it can often-time overlook the factor of potential. Brian respects and appreciates all of the hard work athletes put into their game, and with the high number of defensive backs trying to make it, any competitive advantage counts.

This DB Combine provides just that — a better way to get yourself in front of those that matter and refine your skills for what team-officials really need to see.

Follow DBacks Academy on Twitter!

 

 

One New York Giants defender who has blossomed under Patrick Graham’s scheme

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

When the New York Giants hired defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, most didn’t believe he would have the influence we’ve enjoyed during the 2020 season. His unit has willed the Giants to victory on numerous occasions, establishing a sense of toughness and grit the team hasn’t had in years.

While defensive lineman Leonard Williams and cornerback James Bradberry might get all of the hype, we can’t forget about safety Jabrill Peppers and the stellar job he has done, improving his game in nearly every category.

Peppers has been phenomenal the past few weeks but had his best game of the season and possibly his career against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 12. He allowed just one reception for 1 yard, dominating in coverage but also stopping the run at a high-level. He’s been one of the best tacklers on the team this season with 74 combined and eight tackles for a loss.

Making the transition to strong safety in 2019 had its ups and downs, especially after a tumultuous two-year sample size in Cleveland. He was a major piece in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, a trade that the Giants seemingly won based on the production they’ve received from Dexter Lawrence and Jabrill.

The New York Giants have committed to Peppers:

Jabrill has already had his fifth-year option picked up by the Giants and will spend one more season in blue before hitting free agency. However, his development this season under Graham has been inspiring and motivating for his future.

The hope is that Big Blue can afford to retain him after his rookie contract expires, as he continues to build his skill-set and become a versatile player in every phase. This season, he’s spent a lot of time in the box, covering tight ends and running backs in the flat. He has a career-high 10 passes defended, double his previous amount of five in 2019. He also has 2.5 sacks, another career-high.

To round out how well he’s played this season, Peppers has already set career-highs in 11 starts — passes defended, sacks, tackles for loss, and missed tackle percentage.

Over the course of the season, he will set new records in tackles and quarterback hits. At this rate, he is becoming a staple for the Giants on defense and deserves the respect he has commanded.

Thankfully, Graham has found ways to maximize his strengths and utilize them in creative ways. Not only is he a high-energy player, but he finds personal reasons throughout the game to dominate, similar to NBA-Legend Michael Jordan. On one notable play in week 14, he busted through Seattle’s offensive line for a huge sack against Russell Wilson. His aggression on the specific place stemmed from an earlier battle he lost to RB Chris Carson, putting him on his behind a few plays later to record the sack.

Peppers is a special player who just needed time and the right coaching to find his groove, and the Giants are lucky to have his skill-set available on Sundays.

New York Giants Injuries: Jabrill Peppers out and Julian Love questionable

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants have already been hit hard enough by injuries this season, but luck isn’t letting up on them. Jabrill Peppers has been questionable ever since his injury in the most recent loss, but after not participating on Friday practice he has been ruled out entirely.

The blow comes harder for the Giants considering the preseason injury to Xavier McKinney. With both the projected starting safeties from before the season sitting out, the team is in an awkward spot at the position going into a matchup with the Rams, who scored more than 30 points in each of their last two games.

Peppers isn’t the only player in the secondary that might miss time against the Rams. The secondary is pretty banged up in general and defensive back Julian Love may also be out. Love’s status is only questionable, but it doesn’t look good that he hasn’t been confirmed as healthy yet.

“We plan on having him practice. We’ll see how he’s moving around. He practiced well for us yesterday. We’ll see him out there today on the practice field,” Joe Judge said about Love before practice on Friday. But despite having limited participation in practice, nothing has been confirmed about Love being ready for Sunday’s game.

Love and Peppers are currently listed on ESPN’s depth chart as the starting safeties for the Giants. With potentially both of them out, it’s not a good outlook for the team. The Giants will have to get creative and experiment with the position, but even if they get an acceptable performance, it will be at the cost of taking talent away from the cornerback spot.

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers missed practice, could still return Sunday

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants don’t need more long term injuries this season, but Jabrill Peppers still has a questionable injury status. The safety who was injured in the blowout loss on Sunday didn’t practice on Wednesday. But his condition isn’t bad enough that the staff have ruled him out for the next game. As of now, it’s a tossup whether Peppers will play or not.

Peppers has a low ankle sprain but the length that this injury puts someone out can vary. On the lower end of the spectrum it can see a player bounce back in a week, but on the higher end it may put someone out for several months. It depends on the severity of the injury, and the Giants haven’t revealed the specific situation for Peppers.

Still, the fact that Peppers hasn’t been officially ruled out tells us that there’s at least a chance of a comeback for the Rams game. With the Giants set to take on a 2-1 team that scored over 30 points in each of their last two appearances, there’s an incentive to get Peppers back on the field for this one.

Linebacker David Mayo was also absent in practice and Joe Judge was noncommittal when asked about his recovery.

“It’s not official yet right now. He’s with the trainers. We still have a couple days to get it. I don’t anticipate seeing him practicing today,” Judge said to the media on Wednesday.

With other players such as Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard already sitting out for varying lengths of time due to injury, the Giants will need as many healthy players as possible to have a chance at bouncing back this year. It remains to be seen if Mayo and Peppers will be healthy come Sunday.

Giants Injury News: Mayo Eligible to Return This Week

New York Giants, David Mayo

The New York Giants linebacking corps could get a boost this week as David Mayo (knee) becomes eligible to return to the active roster fro m injured reserve.

Mayo has been on IR since Sept. 6 after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee during training camp. Under the new injury rules, players are eligible to return after three games and should the team choose to bring them back to practice, they have 21 days to activate them to the 53-man roster.

Head coach Judge said they could have a decision on Mayo as early as Tuesday.

Mayo played in all 16 games and started in the last 13 games replacing the injured Ryan Connelly. Mayo was second on the Giants with a career-high 80 tackles (50 solo), including two sacks.

“We’ll kind of look and see where that goes,” head coach Joe Judge said. “He’s with the trainers. I know he’s been working hard. I see him around the building. I don’t get a lot of time with him on the grass, but they say he’s working his butt off every day and improving on a daily basis. We have to look and see where he’s at. For us, it’s in his best interest to make sure that when we start that 21-day clock, that he’s in a position that he’s not going to have any setbacks that would take him past that 21-day clock. I want to make sure we do the right thing by him by not rushing him back before he’s fully ready, and that would keep him possibly off the field for the entire year. I want to make sure we go ahead and do right by him.”

Two other injuries to watch are safety Jabrill Peppers (ankle) and left tackle Andrew Thomas. Peppers turned his ankle on a special teams during a 49ers’ field goal attempt in the first quarter and did not return.

Thomas came out of the game during the final series and was replaced by another rookie, Matt Peart. Judge did not disclose if there was any physical issue with Thomas.

“I’d say with Andrew, you guys asked about him yesterday, he did finish the game,” Judge said. “There was nothing significant to really go over today with the trainers. Jabrill, I don’t have a timetable on him for anything. We’re going to evaluate him day to day. We’ll see where he is. He had that lower leg. They’re going through a couple more things with the doctor this afternoon, but it looks like it could go either way at this point right here.”

 

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers’ injury diagnosis revealed

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants’ embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers in week three was followed by some uncompromising injury news regarding starting strong safety Jabrill Peppers.

After falling backward on an extra point attempt, Peppers went down in severe pain, limping off the field a few minutes later. From the angle that was given, it looked like his ankle got caught underneath an opposing lineman, which could have resulted in something far worse than the actual diagnosis.

According to Ian Rappaport of NFL network, Peppers suffered a low ankle sprain, which is far better than the alternative. A high ankle sprain would’ve kept him out for a minimum of four weeks, but this injury should only last two weeks maximum before he can return. As Rapaport mentions, Julian Love filled the strong safety role last season when Peppers missed time with a hip injury.

However, new signing Logan Ryan could also fill that role, given his experience and size. I do believe that Love will slide into strong safety, given his experience last year, and Ryan will take over at free safety.

Nonetheless, the configurations are just semantics after a JV 49ers squad trampled over the Giants on their home turf, literally. By a score of 36-9, the Giants weren’t able to stop Nick Mullens and a team filled with reserves. That was more of a testament to their superior coaching and game plan. Creativity on offense and a more robust defense lead to a comfortable victory for the 49ers, and the Giants are now left to reevaluate everything they’ve done the past few months.

Of course, somebody needs to answer for the wrongdoings of this team in the talent department and game planning. Former head coach Pat Shurmur was the scapegoat in 2019, but general manager Dave Gettleman should be counting his final seconds with the Giants’ organization. Ownership doesn’t usually fire general managers midseason, but Gettleman is three years into his tenure, and the team has taken steps backward.