New York Giants waive veteran linebacker BJ Goodson, two potential signings

New York Giants linebacker, B.J. Goodson.

The New York Giants waived veteran linebacker BJ Goodson on Monday morning, which could be a pre-disposed move indicating a potential signing in the near future.

With several quality linebackers on the free-agent market, Goodson became expendable. The former Clemson product simply didn’t fit in defensive coordinators James Bettcher’s system, as he is a bigger linebacker that lacks elite athleticism.

Bettcher prefers linebackers that can fly around the field and play close to the line of scrimmage and drop back in coverage.

In addition, Goodson has been injured over the course of his three-year career with the Giants. He played in 15 games, starting 13 of them in 2018. He racked up 61 combined tackles and three quarterback hits. In 2017, he started just seven games before leaving with injury. He is a quality linebacker against the run and plays well close to the line of scrimmage, but has difficulty dropping him back into coverage. He’s essentially a poor man’s Alec Ogletree.

Here are two linebackers the New York Giants could sign:

There are two specific linebackers on the market that could be of interest to the Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman. Former Oakland Raiders linebacker Brandon Marshall could be an option. He recently stated that he used training camp with the Raiders to get back to full health after suffering a serious knee injury last season.

Marshall could be a perfect fit with the Giants, as he is one of the best coverage linebackers in football, according to Raiders coach Jon Gruden. While he might be a bit more expensive, he certainly has the attributes to be a key contributor if signed to the defense.

The second option is former Denver Broncos linebacker, Shane Ray. The former first-round pick has struggled in the NFL up to this point. However, in 2016 he recorded eight sacks and 48 combined tackles. He is fast at the line of scrimmage and can wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Finding a way to extract his potential in value is the hard part given his lack of productivity in recent years. He would likely be cheaper than Marshall, but his production would not be as valuable.

New York Giants could pursue several quality veteran linebackers

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

The New York Giants have a deficiency at the linebacker position. With just Alec Ogletree and Tae Davis locking down the middle of the defense, any injuries or inconsistent play could be detrimental to the success fo the team.

Veteran BJ Goodson has fallen down the depth chart and could be cut due to his inability to fit into defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s scheme. He prefers more athletic linebackers that can successfully blitz the quarterback but also drop back in coverage.

The New York Giants could take a flier on several veterans:

The Oakland Raiders released LB Brandon Marshall on Friday morning, making him an attractive option for team’s looking to add one of the league’s top cover linebackers. Before his injury, he was considered as such, but he’s hit a few snags in his recovery.

Marshall has used all of training camp to bounce back and could be in good shape to join a team looking to utilize his talents. His surgically repaired knee would need to pass medical clearance, but his impact is proven, and the Giants could use a player of his quality.

Also, former Denver Broncos defender Shane Ray could also fit the bill. The former first-round pick is three-years removed from an eight sack, 21 QB hit season.

The Giants could kick the tires on both defenders, but their price tag might hinder the ability for general manager Dave Gettleman to bite. The lack of depth at the position for Big Blue is a cause for concern, and I believe Marshall is the better option here despite both players having their fair share of weaknesses at the moment.

Ray could be a substitute for Kareem Martin, outside linebacker for the Giants, who has failed to make a significant impact since signing with the team last offseason.

Why the New York Giants Should Stay Far Away From LB Shane Ray

So Shane Ray is available….didn’t we just go through this with the best version of what he could be. Ray is an undersized edge rusher who can’t stay on the field. Sounds an awful lot like former New York Giants pass-rusher, Olivier Vernon, and is there really a need to relive that experience with a less effective version of the oft-injured Vernon?

Ray fell in the draft due to concerns about his size, due primarily to its impact on two things..could he stay healthy and did he have enough power to drive beyond lineman at the next level? Four years and one healthy season later Denver had their answer and so does the rest of the NFL.

How was Shane Ray utilized in the Mile High city?

In Denver, he has lined up opposite Von Miller which should have made his job 1000x easier. Offenses would be geared up to shut down Miller, so Ray would consistently have just one man to beat, and could use his speed and explosiveness, off the edge.

Four years later, Denver had to spend another top pick on Bradley Chubb to fill the role Ray was unable to. John Elway has proven to be a terrible executive but I don’t think even he wanted to spend another top pick to replace a guy still on his rookie deal.

With the Giants, Ray would be an even worse fit. There is no big-time rusher to draw additional blockers, Ray struggles in space so he couldn’t drop into coverage on stunts or some of James Bettcher’s more creative blitz packages, and his inability to get off blocks to apply pressure would leave a suspect secondary in a precarious position.

Sometimes a 5th-year option isn’t extended because a player was just not a fit for a scheme, sometimes he shows flashes but isn’t healthy or consistent enough to warrant a long term investment, and sometimes he is just garbage and it’s time to move on.

Why the New York Giants should continue forward without Ray:

I believe Shane Ray will be arriving to any new team in a large black Hefty bag. He was in the perfect scheme in Denver and managed to produce 2 sacks and 26 combined tackles over the last two seasons. If the Giants insist on throwing money away money on a gamble at edge rusher they’d be better off looking at someone like Ziggy Ansah who has been a better performer and has a non-stop. Maybe Nick Perry for the same reasons.

Both are older and have had their injuries, but they also have actual production in their pasts and add value as mentors to the young players the Giants are trying to build a foundation with.

The New York Giants Should Sign This Young Pass Rusher

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

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

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

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

Shane Ray Stats And Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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