New York Giants trying to move Kevin Zeitler amid cap concerns

New York Giants, Kevin Zeitler

The New York Giants are wrestling with the salary cap this offseason and Kevin Zeitler may be the next one affected. The Giants already moved on from wide receiver Golden Tate, in large part due to the salary cap. But on their quest to work out their cap situation, it could be offensive guard Kevin Zeitler that moves on from the franchise next.

Instead of losing him for nothing with a cut, the Giants are looking to make a trade according to Jason La Canfora.

Unfortunately, the Giants don’t have very much trade leverage here. Everyone knows about their cap situation and how they have to get rid of players this offseason. Just like the Giants couldn’t get anything for Golden Tate and cut him for nothing, other teams anticipate the same thing happening with Zeitler. It seems like the league is willing to wait for that to happen and pick him up as a free agent.

Zeitler arrived in the Meadowlands in 2019 as part of the Odell Beckham trade. He started 15 games during that season and started all 16 games during the 2020 season. He was on the field for just about every snap during that time, so the Giants will have to figure something out at guard if they do move on from him.

With a salary of $12M for 2021, Zeitler is the second highest paid Giant this season if the Giants do end up keeping him. And that’s looking increasingly unlikely due to their need to mitigate cap problems right now.

New York Giants: 2 round mock draft – trading back to secure the haul

New York Giants, Rashod Bateman

If the New York Giants can get creative in the 2021 NFL draft, they can walk away with several premium draft selections and upgrades at multiple spots of weakness. Of course, injecting an offensive playmaker into a unit that ranked 31st in scoring last year is essential, but their defense could also use a bit of support.

In this mock draft, we execute a trade back with the New England Patriots, assuming there is a quarterback on the board they are keen on acquiring, and considering they are only four spots back from the Giants, it is not a crazy leap to make.

1st round: 11th overall pick/76th pick TRADED to NE for 15th overall and 47th overall pick 

Per Drafttek, here are the pick values:

NYG 11th: 1,250

NYG 76th: 210

=1,460

NE 15th: 1,050

NE 47th: 430

=1,480

Equal to a FAIR trade.

15th pick selection: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman has been climbing the draft board recently, and for good reason. He is considered one of the best route runners in the 2021 NFL draft class and represents a potential WR1 for the Giants at the NFL level.

In 2019, Bateman posted 1219 yards and 11 scores, adding 20.3 yards per reception to his totals. He’s not only a vertical threat, given his strong release package and ability to run slant routes in the short/intermediate range. He finds gaps in coverage and has reliable hands as a three-year starter for the Golden Gophers.

Landing Bateman here would be a fantastic selection, as he is a top-four receiver and would likely be a top 10 prospect if he featured in the SEC.

43rd pick selection: Wyatt Davis, Ohio State

The Giants managed to retain their 43rd overall pick in the draft scenario, and they find an immediate starting guard in Wyatt Davis. Davis is considered an immediate starter at right guard, but the Giants could do something a bit different with his talents.

If they elect to extend Kevin Zeitler one or two more years, they can lower his cap hit for the 2020 season and potentially trade him for draft capital next year.

In this scenario, Davis is plugged in at left guard, and if he progresses nicely, they can keep Zeitler on a minimal cap hit, but if he struggles, they can always move him back to the right side and trade Zeitler for draft capital. This is a win/win scenario and creates more competition at LG with Shane Lemieux and Will Hernandez looking to gain ground.

47th pick selection: Joseph Ossai, Texas

The Giants might have their pick of the second-round pass rushers at 47, with Penn State Jayson Oweh and Joseph Ossai from Texas available.

Ossai is an intriguing prospect, and I believe the Giants will favor him at outside linebacker. He’s a bit smaller than Oweh, but Ossai is capable of dropping back into coverage and filling specific spots, which is something that coordinated Patrick Graham likes to do. Ossai is a multiple player, with his ability to put his hand in the dirt and perform as a 5 technique defender.

The Texas standout is known for being clutch and coming up in big moments, and with an unstoppable motor, he reminds me a bit of JPP. He has incredibly strong hands and is quick off the LOS. He is a prospect with incredible upside, and at just 21 years old, his potential could be immense.

Some analysts believe Oweh is the better prospect and could be a 10+ sack pass rusher at the NFL level, but I love Ossai‘s story and his desire to fight for everything in life. He will commit 100% and give you everything on the field, and I like players who have a chip on their shoulder.

Joseph and his family were selected in the lottery pool for visas to the United States when he was nine years old, and after experiencing bullying in school and overcoming many challenges in his life, he does not want to let an opportunity like this pass him by. He’s one of those players I simply have a good feeling about, and his talents back up the that gut feeling.

New York Giants: Last 2019 free agent gone with Golden Tate cut

New York Giants, Golden Tate

Free agency is the kind of thing that can build a team up. Many teams have acquired lasting players that way, and made the leaps they need to improve. But for the New York Giants, 2019 definitely wasn’t the year for them when it comes to free agents. We’re only a couple of years later in 2021 and none of the free agents from 2019 are still here.

Most of them were gone already by the time we got to this point. Antoine Bethea was one of the oldest players on the team during his time with the Giants and was never expected to serve in his safety role as more than a stopgap until the draft.

Markus Golden, on the other hand, was the leader for sacks in 2019 but would end up traded during the 2020 season after the Giants strangely underutilized him and hardly gave him playing time in the new defensive scheme.

Golden Tate being cut for cap space removes the last member of that 2019 free agent class from the current group of players. It was of course, expected that he would be out of the door as soon as last season ended.

That’s partly for cap reasons, but also because of controversy. Last season, Tate wasn’t the most popular player with the coaching staff after his outburst on the sidelines and his wife’s behavior on social media landed him in hot water.

And with Tate’s production dropping from last season, it only makes sense for the Giants to move on due to all those factors.

The 2020 free agent class was far more successful than the 2019 one, but hopefully the Giants will take a look back at 2019 this year and use it as a learning experience.

New York Giants cut Golden Tate and David Mayo to clear cap space

New York Giants, Golden Tate

The New York Giants have made their first big cuts of the offseason. With free agency just weeks away, New York has made moves to clear up cap space. According to Ian Rapoport, the Giants released wide receiver Golden Tate and linebacker David Mayo tonight.

Both of these moves were expected, but they are now official. Cutting Golden Tate freed up $6.2 million in salary-cap space for the Giants. Cutting David Mayo freed up $2.3 million in salary-cap space. With these two moves, the Giants have made $8.5 million in cap space available to themselves for free agency.

Golden Tate was the Giants’ big free-agent signing in the 2019 offseason. Tate was brought in to replace Odell Beckham Jr.’s production but never met those expectations. Golden spent two seasons with the Giants, totaling 84 receptions for 1,064 yards and 8 touchdowns. Tate’s dead cap hit in 2021 will be around $4.7 million.

The Giants cut David Mayo from a very team-friendly contract. Mayo leaves behind $0 in dead cap. He also spent only two seasons with the Giants, signing in 2019. He was a starter for most of the 2019 season, totaling 82 combined tackles and 2 sacks. But, fighting through injuries in 2020, Mayo’s impact lessened to 29 combined tackles, 2 starts, and only 11 games played.

The Giants found a gem in Tae Crowder at the end of the 2020 NFL Draft. The team is presumably comfortable moving ahead with Crowder beside Blake Martinez. At wide receiver, it is no secret that the Giants are in the market for a new offensive weapon. The writing was on the wall for Golden Tate, especially after his public, off-the-field drama with the coaching staff in the middle of the 2020 regular season.

The 2021 offseason is heating up. Expect to see plenty more cuts around the league. With the salary cap expected to drop this year, teams will be releasing veterans to free up as much space as possible. The Giants might not be done making cuts ahead of the New League Year. The Giants have a couple of impending free agents to extend this offseason in Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams. They also have some holes to fill on both sides of the ball. The New York Giants were already over the salary cap, but these moves will bring them under and prepare them for free agency.

New York Giants: Ranking the 3 positions that need upgrades this offseason

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants only have a specific amount of resources they can allocate this off-season, and they will have to be strategic with how they manipulate the money available. They are currently $3 million over the cap, which means they don’t currently have the cash and flexibility to extend Leonard Williams on a multi-year deal. They will have to shed dead weight and find ways to open up money, but that is what professional financial experts are expected to do, like Kevin Abrams.

However, it is quite disappointing that the Giants don’t have much cap space despite the fact that they have a quarterback on a rookie deal. They have too much money tied up in players who aren’t making an impact, like Nate Solder and Golden Tate. The expectation is that they will move on from these two this off-season unless they can find efficient ways to reconstruct their current deals.

Nonetheless, multiple positions need upgrades badly, and the Giants have a few ways they can maneuver their cap situation and utilize their draft picks.

Ranking the three weakest positions for the New York Giants:

1.) WR

Finding an offensive playmaker this off-season is essential, as the Giants ranked last in yards of separation among their receivers in 2020, forcing quarterback Daniel Jones to carry the load. Jones only threw 11 touchdown passes this past season, a steep drop off from the 24 he threw his rookie year.

Ultimately, the expectation is that Big Blue will find a receiver in free agency, whether it be Corey Davis or Curtis Samuel, and utilize either the 11th or 43rd overall pick on a playmaker. This is a unit that desperately needs help, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be a WR, they could also target a player like TE Kyle Pitts in the draft.

The Giants can explore many different avenues, but we won’t forget co-owner John Mara guaranteeing they will allocate resources toward the position’s upgrade.

2.) RT

Right tackle has also been a tumultuous position, as the Giants utilized a rotation of Cameron Fleming and Matt Peart in 2020. Fleming was decent as a run blocker but a liability in pass protection. He played a key role in the Giants’ OL being the worst-ranked pass-blocking unit in the NFL. He is currently a free agent, so the Giants have to make another decision at RT, whether it be drafting a player in the first two rounds or signing a free agent. They could always stick with Peart, who is going into his second season but missed a good chunk of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19.

Dave Gettleman has been guaranteeing the solution for the OL for years now, and we are still right where we started in 2018.

3.) OLB

The New York Giants posted only 40 sacks in 2020, and after both starters went down with the season-ending injuries, the Giants did their best to supplement.

Ultimately, a majority of their pressure came from the interior defensive line, but they desperately need an upgrade at OLB, as relying on Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Cimines is becoming redundant. Neither has proven to be productive pass rushers, despite Carter showing a bit more development prior to tearing his Achilles against Dallas last season. There are a few options in the draft that could fall to the Giants at 43, including Joseph Ossai and Jayson Owen from Penn State.

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley working out with Odell Beckham Jr. in Arizona

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

One of the main storylines for the New York Giants this season is the recovery of Saquon Barkley. He’s arguably the most talented player on the team, and would be their undisputed top weapon if it wasn’t for his history of injuries over the past couple of seasons. The biggest blow to his career came during the 2020 season when he was ruled out for the year after a couple weeks due to an ACL tear.

This season will be a make or break one for Barkley as the Giants offense depends partly on him making a successful return. After all, the Giants had one of the worst scoring offenses in the league after his injury and their lack of a threatening rushing game was a big part of that.

Another player that found himself injured last season was former Giant Odell Beckham Jr., and it looks like the two have linked up for their recovery.

Barkley working with Odell Beckham this offseason

Barkley and Beckham have trained together in Los Angeles before but this time, the destination is Arizona. This comes after Beckham had his season similarly cut short when he tore his own ACL in only week seven, continuing a history of his promising career being cut short by not being able to stay on the field.

It’s for this reason that most would say the Giants won the trade that sent Beckham away – even if the Giants still don’t have a real number one weapon in the receiving game, even the most skilled receiver won’t help much if they can’t stay on the field.

One can hope that both players will make their way back to the starting lineup this season and that history won’t repeat itself. Both of them, after all, are a distinct part of the Giants’ recent past. And Barkley is still a huge part of their future. That’s clear this season more than ever, where the Giants will need a full recovery from Barkley to achieve their maximum potential.

New York Giants: Kyle Van Noy an interesting new free agent to keep an eye on

New York Giants, Kyle Van noy

The New York Giants are preparing for a crucial free agency period this offseason. New York has made it known that they are in the market for new offensive playmakers. The defense was the strength of the team in 2020 while the offense fell behind, averaging only 17.5 points per game.

But that is not to say that the Giants’ defense was perfect by any means. The Giants did a good job generating interior pressure and had an impressive trio of safeties combined with some 2020 free agency standouts in Blake Martinez and James Bradberry. There was one position, though, that the Giants were lacking consistent production out of.

The New York Giants did not have a consistent presence pass-rushing off the edge in 2020. They ran with a rotational pass-rush that saw numerous players start as edge rushers. Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines were solid edge players when healthy, but when they went down, New York had a revolving door at edge rusher.

Today, a new edge rusher entered the free agency market. The Miami Dolphins cut Kyle Van Noy after one season with the team to save themselves over $9 million in salary-cap space. Van Noy is an intriguing player that the Giants should keep an eye on as they approach free agency.

Kyle Van Noy stats and highlights

After one season in Miami, Kyle Van Noy is once again a free agent. Van Noy spent the first four years of his career with the New England Patriots before playing in Detroit with the Lions for three years. In 2020, Van Noy was a free agent searching for his third team. He ultimately landed in Miami but did praise the New York Giants and their new head coach Joe Judge earlier in the process.

Kyle Van Noy has familiarity with Joe Judge from their days with the New England Patriots. Last offseason, Van Noy was a guest on the Pat McAfee Show. He praised Joe Judge, referring to him as a “ball of energy,” and even said, “Go, Giants!” towards the end of his interview. Now that he is once again a free agent, Van Noy could be a potential fit with the New York Giants.

Kyle Van Noy is an eight-year NFL veteran that has played a versatile role throughout his career. He might not fill up the stat sheet, having a career-high of only 6.5 sacks in a season (2019). But Van Noy is one of those guys that generates a lot of hidden production.

According to Pro Football Focus, Van Noy tied third among non-defensive linemen in pressures with 28 in 2020. Kyle Van Noy is an edge rusher, but he is also an off-ball linebacker. He plays a variety of defensive alignments and performs well at every one of them. If the Giants sign Kyle Van Noy, he could potentially fill two needs for them. Van Noy would contribute to the Giants’ pass-rush and he would also be able to plug in as a solid off-ball linebacker next to Blake Martinez.

The Giants utilize a complex, versatile defense under Patrick Graham. In 2020, New York sent plenty of creative blitzes. Kyle Van Noy might fit perfectly in this scheme as a player who can rush from anywhere on the field. Additionally, his familiarity with the coaching staff could connect him to New York.

New York Giants should target TE Kyle Pitts for these 3 reasons

New York Giants, Kyle Pitts

The New York Giants desperately need an offensive playmaker in the 2021 NFL draft, and Florida TE Kyle Pitts could fit the bill perfectly. As a dominant threat in man coverage, Pitts has the ability to overpower corners and align in several different spots.

Pitts could be the next big thing in the NFL, considering his revolutionary style of play, and most consider him the epitome of the modern-day tight end. For Florida last year, Kyle hauled in 770 yards and 12 touchdowns over eight games. He’s dominant in the red zone and would offer a quarterback Daniel Jones an outlet not only as a security blanket but as an every-play receiver.

Here are three reasons the New York Giants should consider drafting the stand out TE:

1.) Kyle Pitts is only 20 years old

Looking at Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith out of Alabama, both receivers are 22 years old. Pitts, who has the ability to play X, Z, and in the slot, is only 20 years old and hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential. Not to say that the receivers won’t do the same, but Pitts has two additional years to find his underlying potential and maximize his physical traits.

At 6’6” and 246 pounds, not only is he a big body with the route running of a receiver, but he can line up as a traditional tight end and block in the running game. He needs to add a bit more muscle mass and refine his technique in that category, but if he develops properly, he has top-3 potential at the position in the NFL.

2.) Kyle Pitts didn’t drop a SINGLE pass in 2020

One of the biggest liabilities for the Giants currently is Evan Engram, who dropped a significant number of passes which ended up being significant to the Giants’ playoffs helps in 2020. Some might look at Pitts and compare them to Engram as a primary receiving option of the position, but there’s a simple difference, he doesn’t drop the football.

In fact, Pitts didn’t have a drop on 65 targets, as he was the only receiver in college football to have zero drops when commanding at least 65 targets. His reliable hands make him a fantastic threat in all facets, especially with a quarterback like Jones that spreads the ball around the field.

3.) Kyle Pitts is a dominant man-coverage receiver

Not only can Pitts dominate in the short/intermediate ranges of the field, but he is also capable of thriving as a vertical threat. He lead all TEs last year in catches and yards on targets when being thrown the ball 20+ yards from the line of scrimmage.

Considering Giants’ offensive coordinator Jason Garrett loves to utilize man coverage matchups, Pitts would be an absolute perfect scheme fit, especially when lined up outside against undersize corners. He’s a mismatch nightmare, and in 12 personnel with Engram, if they don’t trade the former first-round pick, the pair would simply be unguardable.

New York Giants: NFLPA grievance could cost Giants $3.8M on Williams tag

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

It’s looking like the New York Giants could franchise tag pass rusher Leonard Williams this offseason to prevent him from leaving in free agency. However, if they decide to do that, they might have to pay more than they initially expected.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Williams has an open grievance with the NFLPA to be designated as a defensive end instead of a defensive tackle. This would impact how much money Williams receives if the Giants do go ahead and give him the franchise tag.

The Giants may have to pay Williams more retroactively after franchise tagging him as a defensive tackle and playing him more as a defensive end, a higher paid position. The main concern, however, is that his tag price for a second time around would rise to $21.4M. The Giants will be in a tough cap spot this season and the front office definitely won’t be happy to hear about Williams costing $3.8M more to bring back.

It seems like the team wants to sign Williams to a longer deal but that may not happen with other teams being in a position to offer more money. Furthermore, the Giants may prioritize bringing back Williams’ fellow lineman Dalvin Tomlinson instead.

With other teams circling and sitting in a position to sign Williams this offseason, many have predicted the Giants going in another direction to address the pass rush, which Williams led in 2020. That might include drafting Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau, or trying to address the position through free agency. Either way, a potentially costlier tag is just one new thing on a list of reasons a Williams return in 2021 is looking more unlikely.

New York Giants: What will Darius Slayton’s role be in 2021?

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

Those who expected big things from the New York Giants‘ offense in 2020 were left severely disappointed. The Giants averaged a putrid 17.5 points per game this past season. Entering the season, there was plenty of excitement surrounding the Giants’ offensive core.

Veterans like Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard were looking to grow in a new offensive scheme. Quarterback Daniel Jones was entering his second season, along with wide receiver Darius Slayton, with both players coming off of impressive rookie campaigns. But, unfortunately, one of these players did not make the strides forward that they were expected to.

Daniel Jones seemed to make progress in 2020. His statistics were not impressive, but many fans feel he took a step forward and played much better in the second half of the year. Daniel did have a huge grade jump from Pro Football Focus. In 2019, his overall grade was a 65.9. In 2020, his overall grade rose to a respectable 78.4.

Darius Slayton, however, did not take the same jump that was expected of him. After an impressive rookie season where Slayton found the end zone 8 times with 740 receiving yards, fans thought he could elevate to a new status. But, it was more of the same, maybe even a little less from Slayton in 2020. Darius totaled only 750 yards on 2 more receptions with only 3 total touchdowns.

Now, entering the 2021 NFL offseason, the Giants are looking for new playmakers. General manager Dave Gettleman promised at his post-season press conference that he would upgrade the offense. With this in mind, Darius Slayton’s role in 2021 seems clouded and needs definition.

What will Darius Slayton’s role be in 2021?

Many Giants fans had high hopes for Darius Slayton in 2020. They thought he could elevate to “WR1” status and become New York’s primary receiver. But as the season went on, fans’ opinions changed and they started to hope he would develop into a high-end WR2.

Now, entering this offseason, the Giants are looking for new wide receivers to add to the mix. This could push Slayton down to “WR3” or “WR4” status. But could a reduced role like that benefit the wide receiver as he enters his third season?

As a primary receiver in the Giants’ offense, Slayton struggled at times. Lining up against opposing defense’s best cornerbacks might have been a task too tall for Darius. But in 2021, if the Giants are able to add a new primary wide receiver, Slayton could reap the benefits of facing the opposing team’s second, third, or even fourth-best cornerbacks.

Against team’s with weak secondaries, Darius Slayton flashed his high-end play. For example, Big Play Slay had 8 receptions for 129 yards against the Dallas Cowboys in Week Five. He also had a 93 yard receiving performance against Philadelphia in Week Ten.

Darius Slayton still had a couple of elite performances in 2020. But the consistency was lacking week-to-week. This could have been caused by injuries that bugged Slayton throughout the season. But looking ahead to 2021, if the Giants are able to add that new wide receiver they are searching for, they could see a new and improved Darius Slayton in a more refined role.