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Quarterback scenarios, roster questions dominate BBV mailbag

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Let’s open up the mail and get right to it

With the NFL Combine set for next week, let’s get to the your New York Giants questions in the latest installment of our Big Blue View mailbag.

John Neary asks: What is your opinion of cutting BJ Goodson, Kareem Martin and Alec Ogletree? If it up to me I would cut at least two if not all three.

Ed says: John, none of those guys are perfect players. Useful, but limited. In an ideal world, the Giants would magically find upgrades to all three players. It isn’t, however, that easy. How would you replace them? Can you actually find upgrades? What are the salary cap ramifications?

Goodson is in the final year of his rookie deal and only carries a cap hit of $865,000. No big deal. The other two, though, are trickier.

Martin is entering the second year of a three-year, $15 million deal with $7.25 million guaranteed. The Giants could move on from Martin, if they think they can do better. It would cost them $3.833 million in dead money, though, with a cap savings of only $2.1 million. Martin has a $1 million roster bonus due the third day of the league year, which begins on March 13. So, that would make March 15 a day to watch.

Ogletree carries an $11.75 million cap hit. He has a $6 million roster bonus due in mid-March. The Giants would carry $5.25 million in dead money while saving $6.5 million by cutting him. If they made him a post-June 1 cut they could save $7.75 million per Over The Cap, while carrying $4 million in dead money.

Ogletree, though, is a leader and the defensive signal-caller. If they cut him, who takes that role?

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson
Tua Tagovailoa
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Patrick Morris asks: Let’s talk QBs, but 2019 versus 2020. The major QB in play for the 2019 for the Giants is Haskins. Alternatively, in 2020, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, KJ Costello, and Jacob Eason may all be available in the draft, and all with an additional year’s experience. Is it worth waiting for the Giants, and/or building up 2020 draft capital to get a good pick out of the 2020 class?


Sean Kearney asks: While I understand the importance of drafting a QB and the cap-flexibility of a QB on a rookie deal, I do not understand the “QB-or-bust” mentality for this year’s draft. Couldn’t you argue it is just as important to wait for “your guy,” and not draft a Jimmy Clausen, Johnny Manziel, Blaine Gabbert, E.J. Manuel, Jake Locker, Matt Leinart etc. etc.? If this draft class is so full of question marks at QB, why not just fortify the O/D-lines to make the future Giant’s QB (whoever that may be) life easier? We sold the farm for Eli all those years ago and got 2 Super Bowls out of it, so why not sell the farm for a Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa next year?

Ed says: Patrick and Sean both asked the “is it better to wait until 2020?” quarterback question. So, let’s take them together and just answer it once.

I have said this before, and I will continue to say it. I don’t believe the Giants have to get their quarterback of the future “now.” I believe they have to get it right — whenever they make the move.

If they believe one of the quarterbacks in this class — be it Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones, Drew Lock, Jarrett Stidham or whoever — can be a franchise guy they can win with then they should select him. If they don’t think so, if they are talking themselves into a guy or selecting a quarterback just to placate the mob that believes they have to, that’s a mistake.

If they don’t select a quarterback at or near the top of this draft we will hear a whole lot of “how can the Giants continue to ride with Eli Manning and ignore their need at quarterback?” questions and comments.

I’m not buying that at all. They know how old Manning is. They know how little the team has won in recent years. They know they need to find a successor. They will. They might use this year’s No. 6 overall pick to do it. In my view, though, they don’t absolutely have to draft Dwayne Haskins or use the No. 6 overall pick to find that successor.

They just need to find the right guy — no matter how, or when, they do it.

True Blue View asks: Like Pat Traina stated, I too believe Odell doesn’t finish his current deal wearing Giants blue. With that being said, taking everything into consideration (i.e. dead money, locker room presence, generational talent, injury history, etc.) what return do you believe is worth a trade?

Ed says: I think you start with the Amari Cooper trade and up the ante from there. The Oakland Raiders got a first-round pick for Cooper, and he isn’t close to the player Beckham is. So, it’s a first-round pick plus other assets. At least, that’s what you would like to get.

There are variables. If and when you trade him, what are the circumstances? Are you trading from a position of strength, where you don’t have to and you can be choosy? Are you trading from a position of weakness where Beckham has forced your hand, everyone knows he has to be dealt, and teams will lowball their offers? I think what happens with Antonio Brown will be instructive.

Mark Turner asks: If Haskins is the only viable option in Round 1 and he’s taken, what are the plans in the later rounds versus are there other options for a late trade for QBs on existing rosters. Assuming Lauletta is viable, we would need to provide competition for him while Eli finishes out his last year.

Ed says: Draft-wise, I’d watch Jarrett Stidham of Auburn if he’s available to the Giants in Round 2. On Day 3, Ryan Finley of N.C. State might be an option, and quarterback guru Mark Schofield loves Brett Rypien of Boise State as a pocket-passing developmental guy.

A name to watch as a young guy who could be added to the backup mix would be Kyle Sloter of the Minnesota Vikings. His path to any playing time is blocked there, and he has a connection to Pat Shurmur.

Chicago Bears v New York Giants
Olivier Vernon
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Bruce Frazer asks: Wow. Wilson to the Giants in a trade, Collins cleaning out his locker and moving on, Beckham being traded for picks, such speculation. Ed, if you took a best guess what team changing move might you predict will take place before the draft to set the table for the Giants going forward this spring. If you have a best guess we would like to hear it.

Ed says: Before the draft? The most likely move might be moving on from Olivier Vernon. I think the Giants would like to find a way to keep Vernon because he’s their best edge player, but not at a cap hit of $19.5 million. I’m not sure they are going to be able to do that. If they move on from Vernon, they basically have to rebuild their entire pass rush.

As for all of that other speculation, it’s just that. Wilson to the Giants isn’t happening, and I think both Odell Beckham and Landon Collins will be Giants in 2019.

There was at least one other Vernon question in the mailbag this week. I hope this answers that one adequately, as well.

Hunter Monaghan asks: As I’m tired of people asking draft scenario questions that are unanswerable and reading the inevitable “there is really no way to answer that,” I’m going to start asking plain football questions the next few weeks. I always read from DBs that a handful of WRs, usually always including Julio Jones, can ‘run every route in the route tree’. Can you explain this concept - specifically - what is it that makes it so only a few WRs in the NFL seem capable of doing this? Why can’t every vet WR run every route in a tree? And I’ll throw in a fun one - who are your personal top 3 WRs in the NFL?

Ed says: Hunter, apparently you’re on to me. Unfortunately, there really is no way to answer some of the “scenario” questions because there are soooooo many variables.

Let’s get to your questions. First, the route tree. It’s really a matter of “degree.” Every wide receiver in the league knows how to run each route in the route tree. It’s just that some run certain routes better than others. That might be because of footwork, body type, speed, quickness, physical strength. Remember a couple of years ago when Janoris Jenkins talked about shutting down Dez Bryant. He said there were only three routes in the tree that Bryant could run and get open. Odell Beckham Jr., partially because of an ability to execute sharp cuts like no one else, might be the most dangerous receiver in the league on the slant route.

Here’s an analogy from basketball. Players know what a free throw is, what a three-point shot is, what a fadeaway jumper is. That doesn’t mean they are good at all of them.

Here is a look at the basic route tree, via an explanatory post from our friends at The Phinsider.

The other part of your question was about my top three wide receivers. There are so many talented guys I’m not really going to give you a “best” three. I will give you personal favorites.

Larry Fitzgerald. Because not only is he one of the best receivers to ever play, but one of the classiest. He’s the anti-diva wide receiver. He’s never a distraction. He’s never been a “look at me” guy. He has just played, and done it extraordinarily well. For 15 years. In one place. More often than not for bad teams. I respect that.

Michael Thomas. You’ll notice a theme here. Once again, this is partially because Thomas is one of the best in the business, and he does it without any of the “look at me” stuff and without causing distractions. He is one of those rare guys who can pretty much do everything.

I’m going to be honest when it comes to Thomas. I’ve also paid extra attention to him because I thought the Giants should have drafted him in 2016 to pair with Beckham. Instead, they took Sterling Shepard 40th overall. He’s a nice player but he’s not close to Thomas, who went 47th to the New Orleans Saints.

Julian Edelman and Adam Thielen. I’m cheating by giving you two guys, mostly for the same reason. I love their stories. Edelman has had a terrific career after being a seventh-round pick. Thielen is one of the best in the league, and went undrafted. I’m a sucker for underdog stories.