New York Giants: Where Are The Strengths On Gettleman’s Roster?

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants, once again, are 0-3. Here we are, in September, talking about who we should take with our top-five pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Out for blood are disgruntled Giants fans, campaigning to begin the Tank for Trevor Lawrence.

These are dark times for New York’s prolific football franchise. The Giants are, historically, one of the greatest franchises in NFL history (arguably in the history of all sports). But for years now, the Giants have been at the bottom of the barrel.

New York has changed head coaches like supermodels change outfits at the Met Gala. Ben McAdoo was hired in 2016 and fired in 2017. Shurmur was hired in 2018 and fired in 2020. Joe Judge was hired this offseason to be the team’s next head coach, but things have gotten off to a very shaky start.

In addition to the firing of Ben McAdoo in 2017, New York also fired general manager Jerry Reese. To replace the two-time Super Bowl champion Jerry Reese, John Mara and the Giants brought in a familiar face: Dave Gettleman. Gettleman previously worked with the Giants from 1999-2012. When Mara promised “wholesale changes,” Gettleman is not the man many had in mind.

Worse Under Gettleman

Three years into the Gettleman era, the Giants have seen little- actually, no improvement. New York is 9-26 since Gettleman took over the roster in 2018. In Jerry Reese’s final 35 games, the Giants were 14-21. Dave Gettleman has run the Giants into the ground; it is time for everyone to realize this.

What Are The Strengths?

Gettleman, admittedly, inherited a bad roster in 2018. But what has he done with that roster? Has he turned any of its weaknesses into strengths?

When looking at the Giants’ roster, it is hard to find any real strengths. The Giants have invested a lot into their offensive line and defensive line, but only one of those two units have performed as a strength for the Giants.

New York has invested a slew of assets into their defensive line. Those investments have paid off, for the most part, as Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence combine with Dalvin Tomlinson to form an impressive front line of defense.

But the investments on the offensive line have not found the same success. Andrew Thomas looks like he has the makings of a franchise left tackle, but nearly every other position on the offensive line is a weakness. New York has allowed Daniel Jones to be pressured on 41.5% of his dropbacks through the first three games of the season.

One strength that could also be pointed out is the running back position. Well, that could have been pointed out before Saquon Barkley went down with a season-ending knee injury. The Giants’ receivers have struggled to gain separation this season. Evan Engram has been wildly disappointing. So it is hard to identify any of the skill positions as a strength.

The Giants’ defense has some bright spots. Blake Martinez has been a top-performing at the inside linebacker position and James Bradberry has been lockdown on the outside at cornerback. But the rest of the secondary has struggled and the pass-rushers have not maintained their impressive level of play from Week One.

Overall, Dave Gettleman has built a roster that lacks impact players for the Giants. Every positional unit could use an injection of talent. The quarterback position is also a giant question mark as fans are campaigning for the team to tank for Trevor Lawrence and replace Daniel Jones.

Given the current state of the Giants’ roster, it is hard to see this team being competitive this season, despite the division being the worst in the NFL. Additionally, it is inexcusable on Dave Gettleman’s part for the Giants’ roster to be as bad as it is. His seat is flaming hot and it seems like the writing is on the wall for Dave Gettleman’s impending doom.

New York Giants: Could Ryan Connelly Become An Impact Player As A Rookie?

The New York Giants drafted Wisconsin linebacker, Ryan Connelly, in the fifth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The New York Giants have had one of the worst linebacker corpses in the NFL for years now. The Giants’ last general manager, Jerry Reese, placed little to no emphasis on the linebacker position.

This was strange considering the Giants thrived off of a strong linebacker corpse in the ’80s. Fortunately, the Giants’ current general manager, Dave Gettleman, has placed more emphasis on improving the Giants’ linebacker position than his predecessor.

Dave Gettleman has made two notable moves to improve the Giants’ linebacker corps in his two years as the Giants’ general manager. Last offseason, Dave Gettleman made a trade for former Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree. Ogletree struggled at times in 2018, but still, lead the Giants in interceptions with 5 picks.

Big Blue’s latest attempt to improve the linebacker position came in the 5th-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The New York Giants selected inside linebacker Ryan Connelly out of Wisconsin with 143rd overall selection. Giants fans have high hopes for Connelly’s future, but will he be able to make an instant impact as a rookie?

How Connelly Can Make An Instant Impact:

Ryan Connelly considered a surprise pick for the Giants in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Many expected the Giants to draft an offensive lineman, but the decision to draft an inside linebacker could pay dividends.

The Giants’ current linebacker corps is weak. The starting linebackers on the Giants, Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson, both had disappointing seasons in 2018. Alec Ogletree is a leader and will certainly start in 2019, but B.J. Goodson has been an inconsistent player in each of his first three seasons, so Connelly could overtake his starting role.

B.J. Goodson has not played 16 games in any of his three seasons in the NFL. He played 15 games in 2016 and 2018 but played in only 7 games in 2017. In order for Ryan Connelly to take over the starting linebacker position, he must stay healthy.

Goodson started in 13 games in 2018 and finished with 61 tackles. He also added 2 interceptions, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 fumble recovery. Still, Goodson did not grade out particularly well by Pro Football Focus’s standards in 2018, finishing with an overall grade of only 66.2. PFF noted there were times when Goodson “couldn’t seem to find [his] covers.”

Pro Football Focus grading might not have been too kind to B.J. Goodson in 2018, but it was certainly favorable towards Ryan Connelly. Connelly finished ahead of the 10th overall pick, Devin Bush, in PFF grading in 2018.  Ryan finished with an overall grade of 85.2, a run defense grade of 82.5, and 50 total stops in 2018.

Ryan Connelly is a speedy linebacker with the ability to shoot gaps. His 1.54s 10-yard split recorded at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine ranks third among participating off-ball linebackers that weighed in at 240-plus pounds since 2010. Connelly was praised by NFL scouts for his instincts and play recognition.

Ryan Connelly was a great linebacker against the run for Wisconsin in 2018. Ryan totaled 89 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and 1 forced fumble. Unfortunately, Connelly was not an extraordinary linebacker defending the pass as he finished his collegiate career with 2 interceptions and 5 passes defended in 4 seasons.

There is some serious potential in the New York Giants’ 5th round pick this year. Ryan Connelly is a talented inside linebacker who could end up starting for the Giants in his rookie season and beyond. If Connelly can reach his true potential, he will be an absolute defensive steal.

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 Giants: Should The Giants Trade For Chiefs’ Pass Rusher Dee Ford?

Beginning on February 19, NFL teams were officially allowed to apply the franchise and transition tags to impending free agents. The New York Giants have yet to place a tag on safety Landon Collins, but a few other teams have used their tags. The deadline to use the franchise tag is Tuesday, March 5th.

The Kansas City Chiefs officially placed the franchise tag on edge defender Dee Ford on Saturday, March 2nd. However, the Chiefs will be listening to trade offers for Ford. The Chiefs recently made a change in their defensive scheme, which is why they are willing to trade Ford.

Highlights From Dee Ford’s 2018 Season

Dee Ford is a 3-4 edge defender. He is a stand-up outside linebacker that is great at rushing the passer. In 2018, Ford had 13 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 55 tackles. He was Pro Football Focus’s 11th ranked edge defender with an overall grade of 87.7. He even earned PFF’s number 1 ranked pass-rush grade in 2018 with a grade of 91.0.

Why The Giants Might Want To Trade For Dee Ford

With the Giants having the 2nd least total sacks in the league in 2018, Ford could be a big upgrade off the edge. The Giants are reportedly shopping Pro Bowl edge rusher Olivier Vernon. If the Giants do not find a trade partner, they could cut Vernon to free up a large amount of cap space.

Regardless of wether the Giants trade or cut Vernon, they will still have a massive hole to fill at the edge position. Dee Ford could fill that hole.

Olivier Vernon was good in 2018, but has been inconsistent during his entire career with the Giants. In 3 seasons with the Giants, Vernon never reached 10 sacks in a single season. He has only done this once in his career. He had 11.5 sacks with the Dolphins in 2013. Ford has reached 10 sacks twice in his career. He had 13 in 2018 and 10 in 2016.

Former Giants general manager Jerry Reese signed Olivier Vernon to a massive contract back in 2016. Current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman inherited Vernon and his gargantuan contract last offseason. With Vernon not playing up to his contract, it makes sense Gettleman is considering moving on from the veteran.

An interesting scenario that could take place is a Vernon for Ford trade. Olivier Vernon played under the Chiefs’ current defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo when he was with the Giants. Spags helped Vernon have a career-year in 2016. This might lead the Chiefs to have a lot of interest in Vernon.

Vernon could go back to being a 4-3 defensive end for the Chiefs, while Dee Ford could continue his career as a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Giants. It would be a high-risk, high-reward trade for both teams. But if Spagnuolo can get the best out of Vernon in Kansas City, and Dee Ford can continue to progress his talents in New York, both teams could walk away from this trade very happy.

Why Dee Ford Is A Risky Player To Trade For

Dee Ford did have PFF’s highest pass-rush grade in 2018, but that grade came out of no where. In Ford’s first four seasons in the NFL, he was nowhere near as good as he was in his fifth season. Dee has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career.

In 2017, Ford dealt with a back injury. This forced him to play in only 6 games and total a measly 2 sacks. It took Ford 5 years to finally hit a real stride, then, once he did, his defensive coordinator was gone. Maybe a change of scenery will bode well for Dee. Or maybe he will regress back to his previous playing talent.

If the Giants trade for Ford, they will be hoping to progress his talents. The Giants have lacked a serious pass-rushing threat for years now. If Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher can figure out a way to elevate Dee Ford’s talents, trading for him could be a brilliant move.

New York Giants: Several Former Giants To Play In The AAF

The NFL is no longer the only professional American football league in the world. As of February 2019, the NFL will be accompanied by the Alliance of American Football (A.K.A. the AAF). The AAF is comprised of eight teams. Unfortunately, the state of New York will not be represented in the AAF. However, plenty of former New York Giants will be seen in the Alliance. So Giants fans can use that to help them decide what team to root for.

The eight teams are as follows: Arizona Hotshots, Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders, and the San Diego Fleet. Ten former Giants are spread across these eight teams.

The two teams with the most former Giants are the Memphis Express and the Arizona Hotshots.

Memphis Express:

The Memphis Express is lead by head coach Mike Singletary. Singletary is a legendary former linebacker who played for the Chicago Bears. He will be coaching three former Giants on the Express.

One former Giant on the Express is tight end Adrian Robinson. Many fans remember Robinson from one infamous quote by former Giants GM Jerry Reese. Reese was quoted referring to Robinson as “the JPP of tight ends.” In 19 career games with the Giants, Robinson totaled 5 catches for 50 yards and 1 touchdown. Not exactly prime JPP production out of Robinson, however, things are likely to change in the AAF.

Another notable Giants playing in the AAF on the Express is the punter, Brad Wing. Wing was a popular player amongst Giants fans because of his ties with star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Wing and Beckham are good friends and have been ever since they were teammates in college at LSU.

The third former Giant on the Memphis Express, Charles James II, is another friend of Odell Bekcham Jr. James and Beckham even faced off in a friendly game of Madden when Odell was on the cover in 2016. Charles James II is a speedy defensive back who spent one season with the Giants in 2013. He played in 12 games and totaled 4 tackles. He then spent a couple seasons with the Houston Texans, one with the Indianapolis Colts, and now he is in the AAF.

Arizona Hotshots:

Three former Giants are on the Arizona Hotshots. However, none of the three played for the Giants in an official regular season game. The three players are an offensive lineman, a running back, and a safety.

Running back Jhurell Pressley was on the Giants as recent as 2018. He provided some quality snaps in the preseason. Unfortunately, Pressley did not make the final 53-man roster for the Giants in 2018. He will get his chance to showcase his talents with the Hotshots in 2019.

Malcom Bunche is an offensive lineman who was also with the Giants in 2018. Bunche almost made his way onto the final roster, but he got cut on the final cut day.

Free safety Rahim Moore was a member of the Giants for a very small period of time. On January 12, 2017, Moore signed a reserve/future contract with the Giants. He was released by the Giants on May 25, 2017. Moore was most productive during his time with the Denver Broncos from 2011 to 2014. Maybe the opportunity in the AAF will allow Moore to regain or surpass his production level from Denver.

The Apollos, Iron, Stallions, And Fleet:

The other four former Giants in the AAF are on the Orlando Apollos, the Birmingham Iron, the Salt Lake Stallions, and the San Diego Fleet.

On the San Diego Fleet, edge rusher Damontre Moore is a name that Giants fans may remember. Moore seemed to have a lot of potential when he was drafted in 2013, but, unfortunately, he never reached his full potential. Damontre Moore is most remembered by many Giants fans as the pass rusher who roughed the passer too many times. Despite this, Moore has landed in San Diego and will look to be an impact edge rusher in the AAF.

On the Orlando Apollos, another former Giant who never reached his full potential can be found. Will Hill was once a great safety on the backend for Big Blue. In 24 career games, Hill wracked up 115 tackles, 4 passes defended, and 2 interceptions. Hill looked like he could be a cornerstone for the Giants in his first two years, but then his off-the-field issues caught up with him. Hill was suspended for drug use and the Giants decided to move on. If Hill can remain clean off the field, he could be a top-tier player in the AAF.

Amba Etta-Tawo was a receiver for the Giants during the 2018 preseason and training camp. He emerged as one of Kyle Lauletta’s favorite targets and seemed likely to become a backup for the Giants. Unfortunately, he too was a surprise cut at the end of preseason.

A return man for the Salt Lake Stallions is Kaelin Clay. He was on the Giants in 2018 and did play in the regular season. However, Clay’s career with the Giants is unfortunately marred with one glaring bad play. In the 4th quarter of the season opener against the Jaguars, Clay muffed a punt to end the game. The Giants lost the game. Clay then suffered an injury a few weeks later and the Giants decided it was time to move on.