Any interest the New York Giants might have still had in free agent running back LeGarrette Blount likely came to a screeching halt Wednesday. That is because the New England Patriots issued a little known and rarely used “May 9 tender” on Blount.
There had been a post-NFL Draft expectation that the Giants, or any team interested in Blount, would wait until after May 9, when free agent signings would no longer factor into the league’s compensatory pick formula, to sign Blount. This tender changes that.
The tender, which is a seldom-used mechanism, means that if Blount remains unsigned past July 22, he can play only for the Patriots during the 2017 season. If he signs before that date with another team, Blount would count toward the 2018 compensatory draft pick formula. The tender carries a value of 110 percent of a player's base salary from the year before, which would amount to $1.1 million for Blount.
The Giants are currently projected to receive a fourth-round compensatory pick for the free-agent loss of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. Signing Blount would, at the least, lessen the value of any compensatory pick the Giants would receive in the 2018 NFL Draft. If you’re interested, here is a look at how that projection from Over The Cap was derived.
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While guard Justin Pugh prepares to play on his fifth-year option, Richburg might beat Pugh to the obligatory pen-to-contract picture on social media. Richburg is a skilled pass protector and a trusted Eli Manning soldier who played through a torn ligament in his snapping hand in 2016. Westburg's run-blocking dipped from fourth to 29th in the league among centers, according to Pro Football Focus, but let's assume the hand issue played a part in that. With former first-round tackle Ereck Flowers struggling to make the NFL transition, the Giants will place a premium on steady performers up front. Plus, center money isn't outrageous. The average per-year payout for the top-10 centers is $7.9 million. The Giants acknowledged last summer that Richburg was a candidate for an extension, and it might happen this summer.
"I really love coach McAdoo and what they're doing. They're coaching me hard, making me better and I'm getting better," Smith said. "I love his personality. He's an offensive-minded coach. That's something I haven't had before. I've had two defensive head coaches (Todd Bowles and Rex Ryan). To have a guy like that has been great."