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Valentine’s Views: DRC, Brad Wing, linebackers, more

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Emptying the notebook on the Sunday before free agency

NFL: New York Giants-OTA
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

No one should be surprised by Saturday’s news that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will either agree to a significant pay cut or be released by the New York Giants. Even when the premature reports came out of a move to safety for DRC I continued to caution that there was no way the Giants would go into 2018 with Rodgers-Cromartie carrying an $8.5 million cap hit.

Rodgers-Cromartie remains a good player, but 32-year-old part-time defensive backs — and like it or not that is what DRC is — don’t get to count as a full 5 percent of team’s salary cap.

There is a romantic notion among some that DRC is among the game’s premier corners. That, truthfully, isn’t really the case. He is a good player, but he played only 54.9 percent of the Giants’ defensive snaps last season. He turns 32 next month.

The Giants would like to keep him. They have enough questions in the secondary — Eli Apple, the free agency of Ross Cockrell, the free safety spot among them. It is, however, going to have to be at their price.

It was always going to be that way. This isn’t Major League Baseball. In the NFL, players get paid based on what they are, not what they used to be.

Whither Wing

I will admit I was a bit surprised by the news on Saturday that the Giants had terminated the contract of punter Brad Wing. Wing had a horrendous 2017 season and I figured he would face serious competition for the job this summer, but I didn’t think the Giants were going to outright let him go at this point.

One thing, though. Let’s stop with the nonsense that Wing was cut because he is close friends with Odell Beckham Jr. This has nothing to do with Beckham or the video that surfaced over the weekend. This is about the Giants feeling like they needed to find a better punter. Period.

While many other teams have already made splashy salary cap cuts, the Wing move is the first by the Giants. The free agency tampering window opens Monday and the signing period on Wednesday, March 14, so moves are coming. I still anticipate wide receiver Brandon Marshall, kick returner Dwayne Harris, and guard John Jerry being let go. Perhaps linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong, too.

A quarterback in the draft

The Giants could easily take a quarterback at No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Baker Mayfield visited the Giants during the week. There is still a lot of talk in the scouting community about Josh Rosen being the most “pro ready” of the quarterbacks in this draft class.

If the Giants take a quarterback second overall, I think I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty it will not be one of those two young men. Whatever you believe about either of them, I simply don’t believe their personalities are a fit for GM Dave Gettelman and head coach Pat Shurmur.

My money would be on either Sam Darnold or Josh Allen being the pick at No. 2 if the Giants go quarterback. My pick would be Darnold. I think the Giants prefer Allen. We’ll see.

Ereck Flowers not part of the future?

It is no secret that the Giants are looking to upgrade their offensive line. Gettleman admitted as much the day he was introduced as general manager.

Ereck Flowers was former GM Jerry Reese’s pick, and a guy Reese defended to the bitter end.

Don’t be shocked if he isn’t part of the Gettleman-Shurmur plan. I continue to hear that the Giants are shopping Flowers, but aren’t finding any real takers at this point.

It seems drastic, but if the Giants can solve the tackle spots in other ways Flowers could even be a candidate to be a post-June 1 cut. That would save the Giants $4.579 million against the salary cap. It’s probably more likely that Flowers returns, but that doesn’t appear to be a lock.

Linebackers!

BBV’s Dan Pizzuta came on ‘Locked on Giants’ with Pat Traina and I to explain why he doesn’t like the team’s trade for Alec Ogletree. Sorry, Dan, I continue to be unable to poke any real holes in the move from a Giants’ perspective.

Ogletree is a three-down linebacker. He will only be 27 next season, so should still have prime years left. He is known for his leadership. He can be an effective blitzer. He is not a perfect player, but there is a lot to like. I’m also going to disagree with Dan about the fourth- and sixth-round picks the Giants gave up — I don’t think you could find an instant starting middle linebacker and leader with one of those picks.

The Ogletree contract isn’t as bad as it appears at first blush. The $10 million cap hit is high, but if the Giants don’t touch it they can release Ogletree after a year without any dead money. That would put Ogletree in a “prove it” year. If they want to re-structure his signing bonus they can do so, lowering the 2018 cap hit.

The Giants might not be done with veteran acquisitions at linebacker. Connor Barwin, who had five sacks for the Rams last season and has 55.5 in his career, could be a name to watch. Inside linebacker Avery Williamson of the Tenneseee Titans is another player who could interest the Giants, though the Ogletree trade might lessen that.