The New York Giants find themselves at a crossroads.
Over the off-season, they thought they were gearing up to build on their 11 win 2016 campaign, and (perhaps) make a run at the Super Bowl in Eli Manning’s twilight years. Instead they have found themselves with a painful and hugely disappointing 1-6 record courtesy of failures from across the roster, coaching staff, and front office.
Halfway through the season, it looks more like an honest rebuilding effort could be in the offing.
The NFL’s trade deadline is usually much quieter than the NBA’s, and far far less interesting than MLB’s, which can determine which teams will be vying for that year’s Pennant. But this year the Giants find themselves in an interesting position of having a potentially tradeable commodity, a potential partner, and the potential motivation to strike a deal.
DRC is on the wrong side of 30, but he is still a long, dynamic athlete, a savvy cover corner, and has proven to be a versatile DB, playing outisde, the slot, and safety for the Giants. He is also on a (relatively, for the position) team-friendly contract. However, he has run in to some — or more than ‘some’ — friction with the Giants’ coaching staff over his usage and general frustration.
DRC is popular in the Giants’ locker room, but with just $2 million in dead money after this year, combined with his age, he might be a cap casualty as the Giants look to the future. Rather than releasing him and getting nothing, the Giants could look to move him for something in return.
Questions about Ben Roethlisberger’s future aside, the Steelers have a team capable of contending in the AFC. Part of that has been the move to bring in former Cleveland Browns’ cornerback Joe Haden. Haden has experienced a renaissance in Pittsburgh, and is playing up to the standards he set early in his career. And as a result, he is helping the Steelers’ defense return to former glory.
On the offense, rookie receier Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster has effectively supplanted Martavis Bryant, and the latter is not happy about that. Byrant has only recently been reinstated following a year-long suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He is one failed drug test away from being out of the NFL completely, and he has been public about wanting out of Pittsburgh.
On the surface, each team has motivation to move a player causing waves, and each player might need a change of scenery at this point.
From the Steelers’ perspective, Bryant has become an afterthought in their offense — thanks in large part to the play of Smith-Schuster. They wouldn’t be giving up anything they expect to miss at this point.
For the Giants, DRC might be gone after this year anyway, and if they release him, they won’t even get compensatory pick consideration. But beyond that, the Giants are seriously lacking in offensive threats. While they might expect Sterling Shepard back after the bye week, and while he is a very productive slot receiver, they simply lack threats on the outside.
They need a threat at wide receiver, and deep, to keep defense’s from choking down on the area of the field that both Shepard and Evan Engram use. Bryant has the length and deep speed they simply lack, and has shown an undeniable nose for the endzone (15 career touchdowns in 28 games as a secondary option behind Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell).
Bryant is also under contract in 2018 for just $705,000, and the prospect of the 6-foot-5 speedster across from Odell Beckham Jr., along with Engram and Shepard would be exciting for next season. He could be a young (25 years old) replacement for Brandon Marshall, who might be a cap casualty after the season.
It goes without saying that the two teams are remarkably close, both personally, and professionally. Just this season, the Giants made a deal with the Steelers for former starting corner Ross Cockrell and also got punter Brad Wing from the Steelers. Striking a deal wouldn’t be uncharted territory between these two franchises.
Why neither should do the deal
As the whole league has seen over the last two weeks, depth is important and no position is safe from being wiped out by injury. The Giants had their receiving corps destroyed in an afternoon, and this past week has seen some of the best offensive linemen in the NFL put on the injured reserve. That should be ample reason for the Steelers to hang on to Bryant. He might not be a vital piece now, but you never know when injuries could strike. Also, DRC is an aging player who has dealt with injuries of his own.
On the Giants’ side, DRC is still a useful player who is under contract for next season, and while he might be frustrated, he’s also one of the “good guys” in the locker room. A valuable veteran and leader on the defense. Bryant has had obvious discipline issues and was a malcontent in an organization that is remarkably similar to the Giants.
So, would you make the deal?
Would you trade Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Martavis Bryant?
This poll is closed