New York Giants’ cap situation paints an ugly picture of mismanagement

New York Giants, Nate Solder

The New York Giants have made a number of moves this season to clear cap space in hopes of adding players and supplementing injuries. However, they have little room to work with in 2022, with the salary expected to rise by $30 million.

This past off-season, they presented massive contracts to Leonard Williams, Kenny Golladay and signed a bevy of smaller deals, including Devontae Booker and Kyle Rudolph. However, they currently have just $3.5 million available to spend next off-season, which isn’t even enough to sign their first-round picks from the 2022 NFL draft (they have two picks).

The Giants’ front office took an extremely odd route building the team, overspending at position players instead of essentials like the offensive line and pass rush. In fact, they have more than $25 million tied up in two receivers, both of which are considered injury-prone.

Golladay will count $21.15 million against the salary cap next season, with Shepard earning $12.5 million. Those are monstrous numbers when looking at the offensive line, who are making just a fraction of their cap hits combined.

The New York Giants have taken an ugly approach toward building their roster:

Total OL cap allocation for 2022: $20,229,049

Total WR cap allocations for 2022: $38,681,791

There is no better way to doom a team than invest salary, and draft picks at wide receiver, a position that becomes useless when your offensive line isn’t blocking appropriately. Injecting more talent at WR should be the very last thing you do after building a strong offensive line, in which a young quarterback can sit behind and wait for his receivers to create separation.

Currently, the Giants’ line ranks 31st in the NFL in pass-blocking, just one year after ranking dead last in the same category. Unfortunately, quarterback Daniel Jones has been unable to develop properly due to constant pressure and poor situations.

Looking at teams with more prominent offensive lines, it is clear that they invest heavily in the trenches. Just take a look at the Dallas Cowboys, who have made a living with fantastic players protecting their QB. While they fail in other areas, they are routinely competitive because of their line, with two of their lineman earning upwards of $37 million combined next season.

Successful teams invest considerably in their OL, and the Giants have failed miserably at doing so. Until they solve that problem, they will remain in the dark ages. With general manager Dave Gettleman preparing to retire, according to reports, the front office needs to find a replacement that has a strong history of investing properly in offensive line talent. Gettleman rarely spent high draft selections on bolstering the unit in the past, with Andrew Thomas being his first-ever selection in the first round to bolster the OL (with the Giants and Panthers).

Giants Injury Update: Andrew Thomas limping, Kaden Smith, Shepard and Slayton still bothered by hamstrings

sterling shepard, new york giants

The New York Giants are gearing up for a crucial game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. The Giants will need all hands on deck against a Dallas team that has won three straight games and scored over 35 points in the last two victories. Plastering the Carolina Panthers for 36 points, the Giants’ defense has gotten off to a tough start, representing another potential victim unless they can find the equation to taking down Dak Prescott and a Kellen Moore lead offense.

Ultimately, it starts with health, and the Giants had a few players on the injury report this week, as multiple faces are questionable for the contest.

New York Giants injury report:

Andrew Thomas: Limited (foot)

Andrew Thomas walked away from the New Orleans Saints victory with a foot issue. Thomas was a limited participant in practice but was walking gingerly, favoring his right foot. Thomas has been one of the more exciting players this season in terms of development, earning one of the best pass-blocking grades of any tackle in the NFL.

The expectation is that Thomas will suit up against Dallas without any limitations, but he will need the next few days to return to full health.

Sterling Shepard: Out (hamstring)

Shepard missed last week’s contest against New Orleans with a hamstring injury suffered against Atlanta Falcons in Week 3. Shepard has been one of Daniel Jones’s favorite targets this season, but the third-year quarterback relied on rookie Kadarius Toney to fill the void in what was the best performance from the offense this year.

Shep was out of practice on Thursday, indicating he might miss another game this upcoming weekend.

Darius Slayton: Out (hamstring)

Slayton suffered a hamstring injury against the Atlanta Falcons as well, missing Week 4 against the Saints. He’s in the same boat as Sterling — both failed to participate in practice on Thursday. Luckily, the return of John Ross will supplement his loss, holding over the WR core until the Auburn product is able to make a return.

Kaden Smith: Limited (knee)

Reserve tight end Kaden Smith has been listed on the injury report weekly with a knee issue, but he continues to suit up and make an impact in multiple facets. Last week, Smith primarily served as a blocker, but he is a reliable receiver who gets involved every now and again. He will likely be available against Dallas on Sunday.

Jabrill Peppers: Out (hamstring)

Peppers stated after the victory over New Orleans that it would be tough to stop him from playing against Dallas. Peppers remains the energizer of the defense, but his snaps have decreased consistently this season as coordinator Patrick Graham relies more on Xavier McKinney and Logan Ryan. If Peppers is able to go, expect him to return punts at the very least.

Ben Bredeson: Limited (hand)

With Ben Bredeson suffering a hand injury against the Falcons, the Giants rolled with Matt Skura at left guard last week, which surprisingly went quite well. Skura seems to have solid chemistry with Andrew Thomas and combo blocked with Billy Price adequately. The expectation is that Skura will start again despite Bredeson being limited on Thursday.

Nate Ebner: Limited (quad)

Special-teams ace Nate Ebner has been dealing with a quad injury for the last few weeks, but he hasn’t missed much time since attempting to join the national rugby team and making a comeback late in training camp.

Leonard Williams: Limited (knee)

Big money interior defender Leonard Williams has never missed a game due to injury, but he showed up on the injury report this week with a knee issue. Supposedly, the injury isn’t too serious, so he should be available against Dallas, and he’s going to have to bring his “A” game.

The New York Giants have something special in Kadarius Toney and it’s time to unleash him

new york giants, kadarius toney

The New York Giants snuck out of victory against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon, marking their first win of the season. After starting the year 0-3, the Giants’ offense enjoyed signs of life, as quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 402 yards and two touchdowns.

Long receptions to John Ross and Saquon Barkley resulted in scores from Jones, both of which were over 50 yards downfield. Coordinator Jason Garrett finally opened up the playbook and created more explosive plays against a top-rated New Orleans Saints defense.

However, despite losing Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton for the game, the Giants still managed to score 27 points, thanks to the performances of WR1 Kenny Golladay and rookie Kadarius Tony.

The two receivers combined for 194 yards and 12 catches, as this was Toney’s most active game after struggling to make an impact to open the year. His quick-twitch abilities and agility were on display, as he hauled in six receptions for 78 yards, including a long of 21. However, he made a number of important grabs, including several first downs, one of which was a 3rd-and-18 screen pass he maneuvered his way around.

It is clear that Toney is capable of being an elite playmaker, but the Giants must continue to build and design plays around extracting his talent. During his senior year with Florida, Toney posted a 35% forced missed tackle rate, the highest of any pass-catcher in college. Those attributes are clearly translating to the professional level, as he sent linebacker Demario Davis flying on multiple occasions, using his stop-and-go abilities.

It is time for Garrett and the offense to fully unleash Kadarius, as his route running has developed nicely this off-season, and getting him in space spells trouble for any defense. With a tough game in Arlington next week against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants will need all of their star playmakers, and Toney must be included in the game plan. Garrett is known for changing the strategy on a weekly basis, but this is a player he cannot leave out given his tremendous impact in the Week 4 win.

How will the New York Giants supplement the massive loss of Nick Gates on offensive line?

New York Giants, Nick Gates

The New York Giants already had problems in the trenches before losing starting center Nick Gates to a fractured lower leg against the Washington Football Team on Thursday evening. Gates, who was shifted over to left guard, was pushed back into quarterback Daniel Jones when a defender landed awkwardly on the back of his leg, sending him to the ground in a heap, experiencing obvious pain.

Losing Gates for the rest of the 2021 season is a massive casualty, as the OL was already thin. They’ve been actively trying to work in two players who the Giants recently traded for, Billy Price and Ben Bredeson.

Gates, who had allowed just one hurry and one pressure over 74 snaps the season, will be replaced by Price on the short-term at least. Price, who was recently acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals in exchange for B.J. Hill and a conditional draft pick, struggled in his first action with Bug Blue. He recorded an 8.7 pass-blocking grade, per PFF, allowing one sack, four hurries, and five pressures.

The Giants also have Matt Skura, who has been activated and will compete with Price for the starting job. Skura had issues last year snapping the football in Baltimore but was battling injury and was once considered to be a rising star at the position. I wouldn’t be surprised if Skura gave Price a serious run for his money, overtaking him and establishing himself as the starter moving forward. The Giants would be smart to provide both with an opportunity to showcase their qualities in live-action.

At left guard, the expectation is that Bredeson will take over full-time, despite having his fair share of struggles in pass protection through two weeks. He has a 28.6 overall pass-blocking grade, allowing five hurries and five pressures over 100 snaps. He has been far more efficient as a run blocker, but the Giants have unfortunately been unable to curate a consistent running game, aside from Daniel Jones and the read-option.

However, Bredeson has plenty of potential, and the Giants will likely exercise him at left guard with hopes he can develop as a pass blocker. Luckily, the performance of Andrew Thomas has been extremely encouraging and should help Bredeson adapt quicker. He is still learning the playbook and developing chemistry with his teammates, so there will be hiccups along the way.

There’s also the possibility the Giants trade for another player, which is where safety Jabrill Peppers and their extensive draft capital might come into play.

Report: New York Giants confirm Dexter Lawrence offsides call was botched

new york giants, washington, dustin hopkins

As if the loss against the Washington Football Team couldn’t get any worse, former New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes confirmed with a team source that the offsides called against Dexter Lawrence in the waning moments of the game was botched.

The Giants, who fell 29-30 to Washington to mark their second consecutive loss to start the 2021 season, are now staring a major deficit in the face. Allowing backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke to post 30 points on a top-10 defense from 2020 is quite problematic. Heinicke finished with 336 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He entered the game with three touchdowns in his career, nearly doubling that against a vulnerable Giants unit.

The Giants should’ve never provided kicker Dustin Hopkins with an opportunity to finish off the game, but the offsides called against Lawrence was a mistake, and the Giants will likely be hearing from the league office to tell them as much.

As you can clearly see, Lawrence reacts at the exact moment the long snapper begins his motion, which is entirely legal. Lawrence was, in fact, in an onside position that would’ve resulted in a missed field goal attempt from 46 yards, winning the game for the Giants and sending them to a 1-1 record as they prepare to take on the Atlanta Falcons at home next weekend.

This controversial decision sparks an entirely new debate regarding the use of technology in the NFL. Ultimately, having a second look at plays like this must be a necessity, especially when it can change the course of a game and affect a result.

From the angle provided, you can clearly see that Lawrence reacts almost simultaneously with the snapping off the ball, but from a horizontal viewpoint, it confirms that he was onside. The umpiring crew missed several calls in this game, including a roughing the passer penalty on Chase Young that was undeserving and a holding call on a touchdown run by Daniel Jones on receiver CJ Board. If the referees get these calls right, the Giants walk away easily with a victory, which is a serious issue for the NFL.

Giants projected to land 8th and 10th overall picks in 2022 NFL Draft

new york giants, joe judge

On paper, the New York Giants have a solid team capable of making the postseason. However, with holes on the offensive line and a scheme that hasn’t projected any confidence, most have lowered their expectations ahead of the 2021 season.

Last second changes to the offensive line and acquisitions have brought problems to light, but the Giants have plenty of playmakers on offense to have a better unit this upcoming season. Last year, they ranked 31st in points scored per game, so even reaching the average mark with a top-10 defense would propel them to the top of the NFC East.

Nonetheless, not many are convinced that Daniel Jones can lead the team to success, and without a proper protection scheme and starting level talent on the OL, expecting them to win double-digit games this season is optimistic.

ESPN has the New York Giants landing the 8th pick in the draft, with Chicago’s pick coming close behind at No. 10:

8. New York Giants

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 11.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 4.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 26.9%

Stat to know: Daniel Jones threw 11 touchdown passes in 2020 (14 starts) after throwing 24 in 2019 (12 starts), but despite the drop-off he actually had a better Total QBR last season. While he had the second-highest completion rate on throws 25-plus yards downfield (52%) last season, he could use more consistency in the quick-passing game. He had the second-worst completion rate (66%) on throws 10 or fewer yards from the line of scrimmage.

If the Giants were to settle with the 8th and 10th picks next year, they would likely be targeting a quarterback to replace Daniel Jones and restart the rookie QB window. This would also indicate the departure of general manager Dave Gettleman, who has failed miserably to build a competent offensive line, despite promising he would solve the issue since taking over in 2018.

There’s still reason for hope that the offense can reach an average level, with the additions of Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Kyle Rudolph, and the return of Saquon Barkley. Strategically, these weapons should force opposing defenses to feature fewer blitzers and have more players in coverage.

This season for the Giants ultimately boils down to the line winning their individual battles, something that left tackle Andrew Thomas struggled with in the final preseason game against the New England Patriots. If they can hold their own in 1V1 situations as the Giants expand their scheme and design plays for specific options, they will have far more success. The defense is capable of holding opposing teams to under 20 points per game, but the offense must average more than that if they want to walk away from the season with positives in tow.

3 offensive line combinations the New York Giants could test to start regular season

nick gates, will hernandez, new york giants

The New York Giants are heading into the 2021 season with major questions on the offensive line. Despite general manager Dave Gettleman spending a monstrous amount of draft capital during the 2020 off-season, the line is still in shambles.

However, don’t expect the evolution of the line to stop just because the preseason is over, the Giants will likely use the beginning portions of the regular season to test different combinations in hopes of finding an adequate unit.

Three offensive line combinations the New York Giants could test:

1.) The Shane Lemieux experiment

LT: Andrew Thomas

LG: Shane Lemieux

C: Nick Gates

RG: Will Hernandez

RT: Matt Peart

Oregon product Shane Lemieux was expected to be the starter at the beginning of the regular season, but after suffering a knee injury early in camp, he missed the majority of joint practices and real game experience. Lemieux was diagnosed with a partially torn patellar tendon, but he is fighting through and hopes to be a part of the team’s game plan in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos. Starting an injured player could have its downfalls, and this experiment must have a backup plan, especially if the Giants elect to give him the first crack.

2.) The Price is right?

LT: Andrew Thomas

LG: Nick Gates

C: Billy Price

RG: Will Hernandez

RT: Matt Peart

The Giants traded interior defensive lineman BJ Hill and a conditional seventh-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in exchange for versatile lineman, Billy Price. Price has been coined a bust up to this point in his career, but he is a serviceable center despite the Bengals moving him around the interior of the line to play both guard spots the past two seasons.

In this scenario, the Giants move Nick Gates over to left guard, allowing Price to start at center. Gates is capable of playing almost every position on the line, and with Will Hernandez making the move to right guard, Gates takes over on the left side next to Andrew Thomas, where they could have plenty of success.

This is a combination the Giants haven’t tested yet, but one that is undoubtedly intriguing based on Gates’s efficiency at multiple positions.

3.) Whole Wheat Bredeson

LT: Andrew Thomas

LG: Ben Bredeson

C: Nick Gates

RG: Will Hernandez

RT: Matt Peart

The Giants recently acquired former Baltimore Ravens fourth-round pick Ben Bredeson, a 2022 5th round pick and 2023 7th round pick in exchange for a 4th round selection next season.

Bredeson had a fantastic preseason with Baltimore this year, allowing just two hurries and two pressures over 182 total snaps at right guard. He is capable of playing on the left side, where he featured with Michigan back in 2019. At just 23 years old, he has plenty of untapped potential and was simply buried on the depth chart behind former Giant, Kevin Zeitler.

Bredeson is a solid run-blocking lineman, but also shined as a pass blocker this preseason. He hasn’t had any regular-season experience as a true lineman, rather featuring as an in-line tight end in jumbo packages with the Ravens last year. Ideally, the Giants will start someone with a bit of experience, but they are optimistic Bredeson can feature as the starting LG if need be.

Which combination would you prefer for the Giants come Week 1? Comment below!

New York Giants: Pros and cons for the offensive line ahead of the 2021 season

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge indicated that quarterback Daniel Jones wouldn’t play in the team’s first preseason game of the year against the Jets. Sitting Jones is a smart decision; avoiding potential injury as the offensive line looks to build chemistry with the regular season starting in less than a month.

That could be perceived as a major reason for concern. Deciding to sit your quarterback because the OL is in murky water suggests the team isn’t entirely convinced of their adequacy. However, plenty of teams refrain from playing their starting quarterbacks in the first preseason game.

Nonetheless, the Giants have a weaker unit than most, having ranked dead last in pass-blocking efficiency last season, per PFF.

New York Giants pros and cons list:

Pros:

-A young group

-Offensive tackles with potential

-Cheap contracts

-In-person training and a full pre-season

There is a reason for optimism regarding Jones’s protection scheme. Ultimately, three of their potential starters were drafted last season, and with COVID-19 making such an impact on the campaign, the unit didn’t have much time to train in person and build chemistry before being thrown into the fire. Facing off against one of the best defenses in the NFL in a Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers surely didn’t brew much confidence.

Having a full off-season to work collectively under a new coach in Rob Sale should spur improvement. Last year’s experience for Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, and Matt Peart will prove to be essential, but cutting Kevin Zeitler could end up biting the team in the butt.

It is hard to believe they will be worse in 2021, but based on a variety of reasons, expecting them to be above average is extremely optimistic. One injury to a starter and the Giants will be in a tough situation, so adding depth is essential.

One opportunity the Giants should consider is the trimming to the 53 man roster. NFL teams always provide a few surprising cuts, so Big Blue could find themselves a solid depth piece in the trenches in just a few days when rosters begin to thin out. That will be a situation to keep a close eye on.

Cons:

-Inexperience

-Lack of depth

-Awful 2020 performances

-Every position is a major question mark

-The success of Daniel Jones relies on the OL

The Giants’ offensive line has just eight years of experience overall, indicating vast greenness for a unit that desperately needs to protect their quarterback in his most important season. With Jones’s rookie window shrinking and the Giants investing heavily at the wide receiver position, it is now or never for them to see his peak potential.

Just referencing their individual performances from last year raises a few eyebrows. Andrew Thomas looked like Ereck Flowers at times but had a much stronger second half of the season. A lot can be attributed to former OL Coach Colombo, who was fired mid-season for interrupting some of the rookies’ development and changing their technique.

As stated above, there is a reason for optimism, but the con list is filled with unpredictable circumstances. We know they have talent at each position, meaning it comes down to the coaching staff and their ability to iron out some of their deficiencies.

New York Giants News: Team lands LB Todd Davis, Lemieux/Carter injury update

new york giants, todd davis

With starting middle linebacker Blake Martinez on the COVID-19 list, the New York Giants needed more linebacker depth on the roster. The team announced the signing of veteran LB Todd Davis to the roster on Saturday afternoon, with the expectation that Martinez will come off the COVID-19 list this weekend.

Davis, who is a seven-year veteran in the NFL, featuring with the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings, can offer competition next to Martinez at the LB2 spot.

Last season with Minnesota, the 28-year-old defender featured in 11 games, starting in six. He tallied 35 tackles, two tackles for a loss, 1.0 sacks, and two passes defended. During the 2019 season, he contributed 134 tackles, six tackles for a loss, and a career-low 4.3% missed tackle rate.

As a quality reserve, Davis could even push for starting snaps alongside Martinez given the opportunity. The team currently has Reggie Ragland, Tae Crowder, TJ Brunson, and Carter Coughlin eyeing playing time this upcoming season, but injecting more talent into a spot that is unresolved will curate a position battle.

The 6’1″, 230-pound linebacker has appeared in four postseason games, including a Super Bowl win with a Denver Broncos. That essential experience will provide the Giants with intangible value.

More news from training camp:

Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter has spent the last few days working on the side with trainers, struggling with an injury aside from his torn Achilles he suffered against Dallas last year. Carter is looking to make a comeback this season and return to his starting position after playing in just five games in 2020.

Carter took a big step forward after two tough seasons entering the NFL, securing the edge and playing well as a run defender.

In addition, the Giants are also planning to bring in center Austin Reiter, a former starter for the Kansas City Chiefs. Another Super Bowl-winning Player, Reiter, could push for starting snaps, potentially allowing Nick Gates to compete at guard with Shane LeMieux.

The second-year offensive lineman suffered an injury this week and is expected to miss a few weeks rehabilitating. Luckily, the injury wasn’t significant and won’t require any surgery.

Look at the New York Giants’ biggest question mark heading into the 2021 season

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The biggest question for the New York Giants heading into the 2021 season revolves around an offensive line unit that struggled considerably to keep Daniel Jones safe last year. Despite general manager Dave Gettleman guaranteeing that he would solve the woes in the trenches, the line ranked dead last in pass-blocking efficiency in 2020.

However, they are adequate in the run game, but as the NFL adapts to a more passing-centric style, the Giants are going to need to adjust before they doom their quarterback to another year on the run.

This off-season, the front office did very little to bolster the group, but there is hope they can take a step forward with the hiring of Rob Sale and Pat Flaherty as a consultant. However, avoiding the necessary bolstering could end up biting the Giants in the butt. They are optimistic the young guns will take a developmental step forward.

The projected offensive line for the 2021 season:

LT: Andrew Thomas

LG: Shane Lemieux

C: Nick Gates

RG: Will Hernandez

RT: Matt Peart

ESPN projects the Giants’ OL to once again be one of the worst pass-blocking units in the NFL:

32. New York Giants
Projected PBWR: 52%

Projected offensive line: Andrew Thomas (56th), Shane Lemieux (69th), Nick Gates (34th), Will Hernandez (31st), Matt Peart (DNQ)

So much for general manager Dave Gettleman’s grand plan for the offensive line. The rookie Thomas performed well according to our run blocking metric, but he was a liability as a pass protector — though he did battle an ankle injury that required surgery after the season.

In what could be a make-or-break season for third-year quarterback Daniel Jones, Gettleman got him more receiving help, but Jones is going to be on the run behind this O-line.

The primary factors that brew optimism are significant, ranging from a full off-season of work, in-person training, and consistent coaching. Left tackle Andrew Thomas dealt with an ankle injury throughout the 2020 season, which required surgery immediately after the year concluded. In addition, his offensive line coach Marc Columbo was fired mid-season, and his technique was changed considerably compared to his strengths while featuring with the Georgia Bulldogs.

Right tackle Matt Peart has added healthy muscle mass this off-season, increasing his strength and agility, which should assist in better pass-blocking snaps and a bigger frame in the run game. During his rookie campaign, Peart experienced just 150 total snaps, spending the majority of his time at right tackle, and the Giants expect him to win the position over Nate Solder this off-season.

Big Blue is investing a lot of chips into guards Shane Lemieux and Will Hernandez, who’re solid run blockers but lack serious fundamentals in pass protection. Hernandez is moving over to RG, where the Giants left a void with the departure of Kevin Zeitler. The hope is that Hernandez will adapt seamlessly to the right side, where he can be a more proficient run blocker alongside Peart. Lemieux, who was tortured in pass pro last year, has also been working tirelessly to improve his technique and functional strength. Behind them, the Giants have little depth, relying on Zach Fulton and a bevy of undrafted free agents.

Best case scenario is that the OL plays at an average level, in my opinion. On the off chance, they emerge as one of the best young offensive line’s in football, the Giants’ offense should take a significant step forward. However, that might be an optimistic viewpoint considering how little the Giants did to add talent. They invested more in coaching to help their players, which has proved to be a solution in the past.