Super Bowl LI is Sunday and the New York Giants are not playing. Giants fans have plenty of opinions and questions about what it will take for them to reach Super Bowl 52. With that in mind, let’s open of the Big Blue View mailbag and see what is on your mind.
Josh Trowbrdge asks (via e-mail):
Do you think the Giants should make a run at Brandon Marshall if he gets released by the Jets (as expected)? Seems like a natural fit as he's the type of WR the Giants don't have, should be reasonably priced, and he can stay in NY where Inside the NFL is filmed. Plus he's a veteran presence for a young Giants WR group. What do you think?
Ed says: Absolutely not. I can’t speak for GM Jerry Reese, but if it were up to me I’d want nothing to do with Marshall. Yes, he has size and more than 900 career receptions. He is, however, going to be 33, is coming off a sub-par 59-catch season and has a history of not exactly being a great locker room presence. Besides, he has said in the past that he will retire if the Jets release him. I don’t know why the Giants would want the baggage.
William Ridley asks (via e-mail):
Janoris 'Jackrabbit' Jenkins came to NY with the reputation as a player who made some big plays while giving up a lot of plays and not being a shut down corner. This past season he was one of the absolute top cover corners, got a couple picks but didn't seem to give up so many big plays and made his first Pro Bowl. What do you attribute the huge jump in play from him to?
Ed says: Jenkins addressed this during the season. He said that while he was with the St. Louis Rams, whether because of scheme or because of a dearth of talent around him, he had to gamble more in an effort to make plays. He said that with the Giants he was able to just play within the scheme without taking so many risks.
MasterGee87 asks (via e-mail):
Are teams free to negotiate with their own FA's? if so what are you hearing about contacts between GIANTS and JPP?
Ed says: Yes, teams are free to negotiate with their own players. They just cannot negotiate with players currently under contract to other teams until the negotiating window begins on March 7. As for JPP, all we’ve heard is what we have already written. He apparently wants a big pay day and a lot of teams are likely to be willing to give it to him.
@bigblueview what position is more important to address, left tackle or middle linebacker?— The Goose (@thegoose93) February 3, 2017
Ed says: Left tackle. And it’s not close. Start with this. Your left tackle should be your best offensive lineman, he is the blind side protector for your quarterback. The offense doesn’t function without a good offensive line. And, of course, those linemen play every down. The middle linebacker in most defenses now is a guy who only plays on first down and in short yardage. Besides, the Giants are optimistic that 2016 fourth-round pick B.J. Goodson can fill that role.
@bigblueview Rashad Jennings has said he believes he will be back next season. Is that a real possibility or is he just being optimistic?— Landon Collins DPOY (@NYYfan2442) February 3, 2017
Ed says: I would think the answer is both. It is obviously a possibility until the Giants cut him. And yes, he’s being optimistic. He has a contract, he isn’t a free agent. So, until the Giants tell him they don’t want him he will say he expects to be back. In the end, I will be somewhat surprised if Jennings is a Giant next season. At this point, though, nothing he has said is really surprising. He knows the deal and part of what he is doing is making a pitch to come back.
@bigblueview what are the chances of retaining jpp and hankins, and if you had to pick one, which one?— Asbes7os (@asbes7os) February 3, 2017
Ed says: I have been over this a number of times already, but the question keeps coming up so I will address it again. I seriously doubt the Giants can keep both Jason Pierre-Paul and Johnathan Hankins. Per Over The Cap, the Giants are estimated to have $23 million cap space on a projected $168 million cap. That will change, obviously, but it illustrates that the Giants will not be flush with money to spend.
In an ideal world, you would love to keep both. But, the Giants are already spending huge money on Oliver Vernon and Damon Harrison. How much cash can they sink into the defensive line?
I have said repeatedly that if I have to pick one I’m taking Pierre-Paul. He is the better player, and top-tier defensive ends are harder to replace than defensive tackles. That being said, there are reports that Pierre-Paul wants Vernon money and in my view you can’t give him that. He’s older than Vernon, has a long injury history that includes that mangled hand and likely doesn’t have as many productive seasons left. If someone will pay him that kind of money, you have to let him go.
@bigblueview Is Kennard a DE or LB at this point?— Timothy Todoran (@TimothyTodoran) February 3, 2017
Ed says: He’s both. He is a linebacker who puts his hand in the ground and rushes from defensive end in certain passing situations. He helped the Giants that way in 2016, and if it works out that they need him to do that again in 2017 he’ll be just fine.
@bigblueview Eli is at his best with a strong TE. Why have the Giants continued to neglect addressing this position ?— Fat Dom Gamiello (@tonybeef32) February 3, 2017
Ed says: Neglected it? I don’t think that’s true. I think sometimes what you try just doesn’t work. They haven’t used a high draft pick on one, that’s correct, but I don’t think they have neglected the spot. In recent years their philosophy has been to try and find diamonds in the rough at tight end. It worked with Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard. It looked like it would work again with Larry Donnell, but he has fallen flat since 2014. Will Tye or sixth-round pick Jerell Adams might still work out. Remember, too, that the Giants signed Will Johnson last offseason to be their blocking tight end, only to have him spend the season on IR. It is, however, definitely possible that the Giants will use a high draft pick on a tight end this time around. There are a number of highly-regarded prospects in this class.
Ed says: You’re referring to Andrew Whitworth of the Cincinnati Bengals, the 35-year-old Pro Bowler most see as the best left tackle who could be a free agent. First, there is no guarantee Whitworth will become a free agent. Second, there is no guarantee the Giants will pursue him. I think they should, depending on the contract he wants, but that doesn’t mean they will.
I think the Giants will upgrade the line the best way they can. They may kick the tires on both guards and tackles and see who they can reel in. Most likely, no other left tackle is worth big money, so we’ll see. Maybe they turn to the draft. Maybe they leave Flowers at left tackle and try to upgrade the right side. They have three spots to figure out — left tackle, right tackle, right guard. Right now, it’s anybody’s guess how it plays out.