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Big Blue View mailbag, 12/14: Nate Solder, Wayne Gallman, Daniel Jones, more

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The mail’s here!

It’s Saturday and you really don’t want to head to the mall less than two weeks before Christmas. So, here’s an excuse. Let’s open the Big Blue View mailbag and answer some questions.

Bruce Frazer asks: It is increasingly apparent that Nate Solder is a liability vs asset on the Giant’s O-line. Last week against the Eagles, even with help, Vinny Curry harassed and sacked Eli. Given his contract and cap ramifications what possible options do the Giants have regarding their financial obligations if they choose to move on and replace him at left tackle? Whoever is head coach or GM next year might decide to keep him, but given the problems Solder has had can they really afford to maintain the status quo?

Ed says: Bruce, there’s no doubt that Solder’s performance this season hasn’t been good. I’m inclined to cut him a little slack knowing what his son is going through. I also believe he’s played through a myriad of injuries this season that haven’t been reported. Still, if he’s out there he’s got to do his job.

The Giants still have work to do on the offensive line. Dave Gettleman keeps trying, but it’s not easy. I don’t know that they have any options regarding the financial obligations to Solder, unless someone is willing to take him in a trade. For what it’s worth, it’s my understanding the Giants were willing to basically give Solder away at the trade deadline and no one would take his contract.

Solder carries a monstrous $19.5 million cap hit next season, so it’s no wonder no one would take that hit. The Giants would carry a $13 million cap hit if they cut him before June 1 and a $6.5 million hit if they make him a post-June 1 cut.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good options in this situation.


Seth Weissman asks: I realize the season still isn’t over and I know you don’t study the college players the way Chris does, but given the state of the organization as it is now and assuming the Giants take Chase Young with their number one, do you think they’ll draft an OT with their second pick? I am really hoping there’s quality there. Solder may be a great guy and very charitable off the field, but unfortunately he’s been way too charitable to opposing teams on the field. Before Jones got hurt, he was getting crushed by blindside hits. Also, since they traded a third, how do you see them being able to build this linebacking group, which is still awful?

Ed says: Seth, I hate the idea of committing to the ‘Round 2 has to be Position A, Round 3 has to be Position B,’ approach to the draft. You have no idea who will be on the board, you have no idea how free agency will go, you have no idea what your actual in-season needs will turn out to be. You look at the board when it’s your tun and figure out which player you have graded in that range is the one you think could help you the most.

That said, if the Giants were able to find an offensive tackle on Day 2 who could start on the right side and perhaps eventually move to the left that would be a good thing. Of course, you could say the same thing about center. Or wide receiver. Or linebacker. Or safety. Or maybe even cornerback. So, no, I’m not committing to “it has to be an offensive tackle in Round 2.’

As for linebacker, don’t forget that Ryan Connelly is on IR. That’s a good start. Let’s see who the defensive coordinator is next year and what the scheme is.


Jay B asks: [Daniel] Jones has had a really up-and-down year but I really love his promise. He really did a good job shutting up a lot of naysayers who said that can’t make the throws he’s proven that he can. Here is my two part question for you:

In your opinion is Jones stalled development more on the coaches or Jones?

Second if you had to choose two things that Jones will have to get better at doing for next season what would they be?

Ed says: Jay, I’m not going to agree with the notion that Jones’ development is “stalled.” Well, other than the fact that you can’t really get better when you aren’t playing. Check out this piece on Jones by Mark Schofield.

I don’t know if I could give you two things. I still think the primary thing is ball security, mostly learning to manipulate the pocket and get the ball away before he’s in trouble. Maybe a second thing is just reading defenses, learning more about when and how to get the Giants from a bad play to a good one. That’s really just experience.


Marcus Mewborn asks: We obviously know Pat Shurmur will most likely be fired but Gettleman is also on the hot seat. If that is the case and [Dave] Gettleman goes too, could we see a big roster turnaround with a new GM and surprising moves like Gettleman did (OBJ, LC, OV, Snacks)? I only ask because if your looking for a GM to continue to build on what they have that will be harder than finding a GM that will come with ideas that will cause turnaround and rebuilding.

Ed says: Marcus, if you fire a GM and bring in a new one it’s because you really didn’t like the job the old one was doing. If a new GM comes in, of course there is going to be turnover. There will be some surprising cuts or trades, and maybe some surprising additions. That’s just how it goes. If you think the current GM is making progress building toward something, if you like the path he is on, you let him keep doing his work. No new boss is ever beholden to the decisions of the old one.


Brett Gallitto asks: Roughly 1/5 of the salary cap has been taken up by OBJ‘s dead cap hit and Eli Manning’s salary. Will this will factor into Mara’s/Tisch’s decision to keep Pat Shurmur? It has to be hard to win when 1/5th of the cap is taken up by a player on the bench and a player that’s not even on the team.

Ed says: Marcus, let’s clear up the math first. Manning’s cap hit is $23.2 million, 11.83 percent of the cap. Beckham’s dead money is $16 million, 8.0 percent. So, that is slightly under 20 percent of the cap.

To be honest, I’m tired of the complaining about Manning’s cap hit. He was the team’s starting quarterback at the beginning of the season and his cap hit for 2019 is sixth among quarterbacks. He’s a two-time Super Bowl MVP and a 16-year veteran who might go to the Hall of Fame. That’s the price.

Now, as for whether the Giants dead cap will have anything to do with a decision to keep Shurmur the answer is absolutely not. Shurmur’s job is to coach the players he has, develop them, get the most out of them and WIN SOME GAMES. The Giants are 2-11 and if you go game-by-game I can give you probably four more games the Giants should have won this season.

The Giants will judge Shurmur based on the work he has done and whether or not he can teach this team to win. Not on their cap situation.


Philip Curnan asks: Why do you think Wayne Gallman hasn’t been given playing time?

I’m beginning to think his playing well would undercut the decision to use the second overall pick on a running back. I’m not saying that Gallman is on a par with Barkley, only that he represents a more appropriate use of draft capital on running backs.

Ed says: Philip, I’m not buying the whole “undercutting the idea of drafting Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall” idea.

I believe it’s simply that this coaching staff has never seemed comfortable with Gallman. The Giants signed Jonathan Stewart a year ago, and it was apparent from the beginning they felt Stewart would be the primary backup to Barkley. That, of course, changed when Stewart was injured.

I believe Gallman is a good rotational running back who can do a little bit of everything. To be honest, though, knowing that this coaching staff has never really seemed to have faith in Gallman I’m actually surprised Buck Allen didn’t cut into his playing time sooner.