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Which Giants Would You Make Available For An NFL Expansion Draft?

The NHL is holding one today, so just for one let’s imagine who the Giants might lose if the NFL were expanding

NFL: New York Giants-OTA
Josh Johnson
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL will hold an expansion draft Wednesday to stock the rosters of the league’s newest franchise, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. SB Nation looked at what kind of roster an expansion NFL team could put together.

Since it’s the offseason, and it might be kind of a fun time-killing exercise, I figured that we would try putting together a list of players the Giants might make available in such a scenario. We can’t use the full 90-man roster, so we will use the players on our most recent 53-man roster projection.

From SB Nation, here are the expansion draft rules.

NFL expansion draft rules

Unlike the NHL — which allows teams to protect players from being selected — NFL teams have had to do the opposite and choose a list of players to make available. Assuming the league sticks to the same rules, each of the current 32 franchises would have to put five players on the list, giving the new expansion team a list of 160 players to pick from.

And just for the sake of clarity, how about we just call that team the Brooklyn Beats?

Instead of locking players away like the NHL, the NFL works more like a yard sale. Here are the rules the other 32 teams would have to follow to make five players available to the Beats:

  1. No kickers and punters
  2. No players set to become free agents
  3. No players who just spent an entire year on injured reserve
  4. Only one player with 10 or more years of experience

In 2002, the Texans’ expansion draft was held on Feb. 18, about two weeks after the Super Bowl and about two weeks before the beginning of free agency. So teams essentially used Houston as a way to dump salaries.

The Jaguars, Jets, and Ravens all entered February in need of cap relief and got it from the Texans. The first eight selections for Houston were all players from Jacksonville, New York, or Baltimore — and all but one carried a cap hit of at least $2.5 million.

Following the same rules as 2002 adjusted for inflation, the Beats would have to pick at least 30 players or at least $63.46 million worth of contracts.

Eligible Players

Using the rules above, here are the players who would be eligible to be placed on such a list. For our purposes, I am defining free agents as players who are expected to be unrestricted free agents. Exclusive Rights Free Agents and Restricted Free Agents, who the Giants have rights to, will be considered eligible for the expansion draft.

QBs — Eli Manning, Josh Johnson, Davis Webb

RBs — Paul Perkins, Wayne Gallman

TEs — Rhett Ellison, Evan Engram, Jerell Adams, Will Tye

WRs — Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Dwayne Harris, Darius Powe

OL — Ereck Flowers, John Jerry, Bobby Hart

DL — Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, Romeo Okwara, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Avery Moss, Robert Thomas

LB — B.J. Goodson

CBs — Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Donte Deayon, Michael Hunter

S — Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams

Specialists — LS Zak DeOssie

Who I Would Make Available

Remember, I have to choose five.

  1. Zak DeOssie (LS) — A no-brainer. The rules are no kickers or punters, but long-snappers are eligible. Putting DeOssie on the list is easy. There is also zero chance the Beats, our theoretical expanssion team, would select him. So, this protects someone the Giants want to keep with no real risk of losing a player.
  2. Josh Johnson (QB) — Whatever. If an expansion team selects Johnson, no great loss. Johnson has been around the league since 2008, but has only been on active rosters in seven seasons, per Pro Football-Reference.
  3. Owamagbe Odighizuwa (DE) — If an NFL expansion draft were to be held now you would almost have to make Odighizuwa available. Considering that he didn’t attend OTAs, there are huge questions about his future in football, and he’s had two unproductive years, he wouldn’t be considered a big loss. Like DeOssie, though, pretty much no chance the Beats would select him.
  4. Darius Powe (WR) — A big, young wide receiver with upside. The Giants like him and would probably like to keep him, but they have several other players on the current 90-man roster who could fill this spot.
  5. Robert Thomas (DT) — I thought seriously about Donte Deayon here. I chose Thomas for a couple of reasons. First, if the Beats were to select him, the Giants would still have Jay Bromley and Corbin Bryant. Second, the Giants as currently constructed need all the reserve cornerback options they can get, and Deayon has a chance to stick.

Valentine’s View: If I were GM of the Beats and were to take a player off that list, I think I’d take Powe. There really aren’t many appealing choices, and the Giants wouldn’t really get hurt by losing any of these guys.

Who Chris Would Make Available

  1. Josh Johnson (QB) – My “vet” pick, and this is a pretty easy one. Nothing against Johnson, but with Geno Smith and Davis Webb back there (not to mention Eli Manning), the Giants have numbers to absorb the loss.
  2. Dwayne Harris (WR) – This is probably my hardest “offering.” Harris is still one of the top special teamers in the league and a reliable (and TOUGH) slot receiver. Special teams matter and I'd hate to see him go.
  3. Darius Powe (WR) – The Giants have a lot of young receivers, and I had to pick somebody. Powe hasn't (yet) shown that he has harnessed his upside so he might still be safe.
  4. Will Tye (TE) – A coin flip between he and Jerell Adams, but Adams' blocking, special teams ability, and athletic upside still intrigue. Tye will likely lose chunks of reps to Engram and Ellison.
  5. Owamagbe Odighizuwa (DE) – The Giants have a logjam at DE. Owa still has the highest athletic ceiling of any of them, but his status is a mystery at this point so he is the least reliable.

Valentine’s View: I considered both Harris and Tye myself, and neither is a bad choice. Putting Harris out there might be a way to dump salary if the Giants wanted to. I would hesitate to make Tye available only because Matt LaCosse never seems to stay healthy, and Rhett Ellison spent the spring doing little more than watching because of a calf injury.

Who would your five be? Remember the guidelines above, and drop your five in the comments.