With free agency going on and Odell Beckham Jr. going to Cleveland, the Big Blue View mailbox is absolutely stuffed with New York Giants questions this week.
I have done my best to sift through the mail and answer at least one question on all of the topics that were raised. By the way, I did skip a couple of “questions” that were really little more than emotional rants.
Here we go.
Michael Calley asks: Do you think that, given good protection by the offensive line, and having good weapons at WR, TE + RB, Eli Manning still has enough game to lead the Giants on a deep playoff run?
Ed says: I think Manning is still functional. He can make the necessary throws, he can get in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage, he knows what he’s doing. I don’t know about deep playoff run, let’s see what the roster around him ends up looking like.
Also, I really don’t think what Manning can or cannot do is the important consideration any longer. The important consideration is what the Giants do about the post-Manning era.
Michael Koopersmith asks: Is Will Hill a realistic option for the Giants at safety? I know there’s some bad history here, but – based on his AAF play – it looks like he still has the skills, and he would probably be inexpensive to sign.
Ed says: No. I do not think Will Hill is going to get another NFL opportunity anywhere. He hasn’t played in the league since the Baltimore Ravens let him go in 2016 after he failed yet another drug test. He’s just unreliable. Who is going to sign him knowing that the first thing that will happen is Hill serving a 10-game suspension. I’ll be shocked if his NFL career isn’t over.
A couple of salary cap-related questions ...
Pb Dorfman asks: Hi Ed, my question is how can Washington sign Collins to this big contract when according to over the cap they only has about 10 mil in cap space?? Where do they get the money?
Brandon Clarke asks: I never understood where the money comes from when they say “ they turned X amount of dollars into a roster bonus, freeing up X amount of dollars from the cap”. If the money doesn’t come from the cap for that bonus then where does it come from. How can you “ free up cap space” if they’re getting paid anyways.
Ed says: Guys, if you want a really detailed explanation of how the cap works, check out this post from Over The Cap. Basically, teams can move money around in the form of bonuses and can change the base salary in a multi-year deal on a year-to-year basis. Landon Collins, for example, has a $15 million signing bonus. That doesn’t count $15 million against Washington in 2019. It counts $3 million against their cap for each of the next five years. Teams manipulate the cap by spreading out bonuses and by using some bonuses that don’t count against the cap.
Raymond Dansereau asks: If I understand many commentators, when Patriots let players walk for comp picks and trade for draft picks, they are being smart and following the “Patriots Way.” When the Giants let Collins walk and trade Beckham, they are crazy and have no plan. What am I missing?
Ed says: Raymond, there is just a lot of bitterness right now. The Giants haven’t been winning, people get attached to certain players and they don’t want to see them leave. The Giants have a plan, which I detailed on Friday. I also talked about it with Ralph Vacchiano of SNY on the latest ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast.
My advice to everyone is to step back, let the emotions die down, let this play out. We’ll see where it goes, and whether Gettleman can bring the Giants back to winning.
Jens Burnham asks: I am a Giants fan that lives in Germany. I am a big time OBJ fan and at first was shocked. However, I think the trade was necessary because Beckham always seemed to be a foreign part of the team. Every off season we prayed that no scandals would appear and he barely showed up for practices that were not mandatory. He always spent time in California rather than practicing in the giants facility. All that mixed with the Steelers and AB situation makes sense. Besides many fans have criticized OBJ in the past especially after the boat trip. So they did with Eli but than when actions are happening the fans get crazy. I believe the Giants are better off without him and I do see the plan. I believe the New York Giants want to adopt the “Patriots way” with no stars but scheme and passion. I am glad they go for it. What do you think?
Ed says: Jens, I don’t know about “no stars.” They do have Saquon Barkley. I get where you are going, though. They are trying to change how they are built and how they do business. NFL teams, I believe, have not done a good enough job learning from the Patriots over the years. To win, it has to be team over individual.
Bruce Frazer asks: Reports over the past few days suggest that free agents are now inclined to pass on signing with the Giants, most assuredly due to the talent that has been shipped from the team this week. Did the team, in retrospect, handicap themselves in regards to signing FA players who could help? Is it now a do or die draft for the team to improve enough in 2019 so they will be able to attract FA players in 2020?
Ed says: Bruce, I don’t know what reports you are referring to. I will guess there might be a couple of those “I’m not going there” decisions. I don’t really think they handicapped themselves. Look at the guys they have brought in over the past few days. If there is a job opening and you can pay there will always be guys who line up for it.
A trio of quarterback questions ...
Jeremy Miller asks: I see so many reports linking a QB to the Giants this year via the draft or a trade for Rosen. Next year’s draft is so much better from a QB perspective (Lawrence, Tua, Herbert) than this year. Wouldn’t it make more sense to add some defensive pieces this year via the draft and wait a year on the QB? If we stink this year (and we probably will), we are up for a top pick and can get the QB of the future then...and will have almost a $100M in cap room next year to turn this thing around quickly. Thoughts?
John Lunz asks: Do you think that the Giants should trade for Josh Rosen even if they see him as worse than Murray and Haskins because the cost to acquire Rosen will probably be quite a bit lower (i.e 2nd round pick for Rosen)? Worst Case Scenario: Rosen stinks and the Giants are in the running for Trevor Lawrence potentially.
Matthew Pecoraro asks: If the KC mold means transitioning a veteran QB to a rookie, and there is no financial commitment to Eli next year (and no talk of extension) doesn’t that, and the signing of Tate to give a veteran WR presence, show the Giants hand that they are using their draft capital in some way to draft a QB THIS year and give him experience for 2020?
Ed says: Guys, as Gettleman and Shurmur have both indicated there are a lot of different models for how to go about a quarterback transition. What the Giants absolutely know at this point is that its incumbent upon them to find the right quarterback to take the torch from Eli Manning.
I don’t think they know who the guy is going to be, or exactly what it’s going to look like.
They could take one of the guys in this draft if they really believe in him. They could trade for Josh Rosen if they really believe in him, or just think he’s a cheaper option worth a shot. They could choose to build the roster this year with the mother load of picks that they have and then do what they have to do next year if they believe their guy is in that class.
What they should do is what THEY believe in. It’s not going to work if you don’t believe in a guy but you take him because the fans want him. It’s not going to work if the GM picks a guy he believes in, but that the coach doesn’t really want. It’s not going to work if you are taking a guy because you have to and not because you really think he’s the guy.
What they should do is identify the guy THEY believe in — this year, next year, whenever — and then do what they need to do in order to put him in a Giants uniform.
John Scott asks: Can you make a prediction: by mid-point of the 2019 season, are we going to be saying “We really miss Odell” or will this offense be performing at a high level and surprising a lot of people? Something tells me that even with all that talent out the door, his absence is going to allow other players to come into their own and this team will function more cohesively, like we saw after Tiki’s retirement and Shockey’s injury in 2007.
Ed says: John, I get where you’re going with the comparison to losing Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber. The Giants can only hope. Golden Tate isn’t as talented as Beckham. Few receivers are. The question is really difficult to answer because we don’t know who all the players will be.
The Giants functioned pretty well on offense in three of the four games they played without Beckham at the end of last season. If the offensive line improves and they get competent receiving options for Manning I think they believe they can continue to play well. And that removing the potential for distraction will be a net gain for the organization itself.
Steve Mygodney asks: Glad to see OBJ gone. Nothing but trouble. Should have made trade before we gave him big contract. Should have received more draft capital in return. Golden Tate contract way too big $37 million, $23 million guaranteed. Just like Stewart fiasco from last year. Not trading Collins last year. Do you see Gettleman on his way out with his poor business decisions?
Ed says: No, Steve, I don’t. We can argue about individual decisions. Everyone has an opinion on every move. When you look at the big picture, though, what do you see? The Giants have 12 — 12!!!! — picks in the upcoming draft, two in the top 17. They have roughly $100 million in salary cap space for next offseason. They are set up to do some really good things to upgrade the talent on the roster.
Remember, all of these money decisions get run by ownership. I truly believe the team of Gettleman and Pat Shurmur get at least a three-year window to try and get the Giants back on track. We are just entering Year 2.