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Odell Beckham, Olivier Vernon, QB scenarios, more in BBV Mailbag

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It certainly has been an interesting week, New York Giants fans. The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine came and went. The Giants showed Landon Collins the door. They jettisoned outside linebacker Olivier Vernon in favor of top-tier guard Kevin Zeitler.

Let’s open up the Big Blue View Mailbag and see what questions the week has brought.

Gregg Schneider asks: With the Vernon trade it takes grabbing a QB at 6 off the table most likely. Do you think they will Edge or RT? Also do you think they will try to get 2 years out of Manning (as a note I don’t think he is done as a player yet) then go all in for Trevor Lawrence in 2021?

Ed says: I’m not sure that the Olivier Vernon trade completely takes quarterback off the table at No. 6 in the draft. It certainly increases the Giants’ need to add talent to the defense, as does the decision to move on from Landon Collins. I think we have to see how the rest of free agency plays out before we can really hone in on the Giants’ draft plan. The way things are going I wouldn’t doubt more surprises are in store.

As for Eli Manning, the Giants decision-makers seem to have more allegiance to him than many in the fan base or media. It’s year to year at this point, and we will just have to see. They have to find a long-term replacement, but it doesn’t have to be Dwayne Haskins.

As for 2020, there are a lot of variables. One of them will be whether or not Manning has any desire to continue to play. I will be really surprised if the Giants kick the quarterback can all the way into 2021. I just don’t see how they can do that.

Ed says: There were a few questions this week about Odell Beckham Jr. trade scenarios. Let’s dive in and discuss.

I think the Giants are keeping Beckham ... unless one of two scenarios unfold.

The first scenario? He gives them a reason to move on. That would mean another off-the-field distraction like last year’s unfortunate ESPN interview. GM Dave Gettleman can say what he wants about not signing Beckham to trade him, and coach Pat Shurmur can claim his relationship with Beckham is good, but I think there is only a thin rope tying Beckham and the Giants. Another incident could snap that line.

The second scenario? Simple. The Giants just plain get an offer they can’t refuse. Gettleman’s “we didn’t sign him to trade him” was not a “we absolutely won’t trade him.” It left him some room. If, let’s say, the San Francisco 49ers offered the Giants the No. 2 and No. 36 picks in the upcoming draft in return for Beckham that would be kind of hard to turn down.

Edwin Rosenberg asks: To me its a no brainer. Get Rosen for a 2nd round pick next year and use the 6th pick this year for an edge rusher. We need help putting pressure on QBs especially given our porous secondary. Your thoughts?

Chris and Fiona ask: Excellent interview with Dan Kadar. I wonder what Dan would think of the Giants pursuing Josh Rosen, if put on the trade block. What is your opinion?

Ed says: I’ll try to answer the various angles of the Josh Rosen question the best I can.

On paper, Rosen to the Giants makes sense. Especially if, as one former NFL exec told me, the value for the Arizona Cardinals quarterback, is probably a second-round pick. The question really comes down to how the Giants value Rosen.

The Giants had no interest in him in the draft a year ago. I have been told they really didn’t like him when he interviewed. Has that changed? Do they think he’s better than Dwayne Haskins? Or, at least, better than any of the quarterback options past Haskins?

Evaluators are mixed. Some think he’s better than Haskins. Some think he will never be better than Eli Manning is right now.

It all just comes down to how the Giants feel about Rosen. That I can’t answer right now.

Chris Hynes asks: Following the Combine, lets pretend that 3 QBs are taken in the top 5 picks (come on Denver, make that trade), which defensive player would you like to fall to the Giants? Outside of the Big 3 (Bosa, Williams & Allen) who would you want from Ferrell, Sweat & Gary?

Ed says: Well, Chris, I have doubts about your scenario. I will, though, play along. Listen, we can argue all day long about Clelin Ferrell, Montez Sweat and Rashan Gary. I think you need to put Ed Oliver and Devin White in this discussion, too. Some evaluators might add Brian Burns if we’re focused just on front seven defenders. I don’t think you go wrong here with Oliver, Gary, White or Sweat.

Greg Alvarez asks: Do you think There is a chance of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson ‘being there’ at pick 37? You dont need detective Clouseau to find where he fits into the Giants scheme. The only knock on him that I can think of is that there is a nonzero chance that he’s actually just a DC area gardener whose wealthy patron just passed away, leaving Chauncey to make his way through this world as a complete innocent. Your thoughts?

Ed says: Yes, I think there is a chance Florida safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson could be available at 37.

The Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard says of the 5-foot-11, 207-pound Gardner-Johnson:

Gardner-Johnson is the perfect modern NFL safety except for one thing: all-around consistency as a player. If you looked at his 2017 tape, you’d have seen a train wreck as a run defender and tackler, but a promising playmaker in coverage. This year, he was a little inconsistent in coverage as a slot corner, but remarkably improved in his physicality and tackling.

The reality is that there will probably always be some level of variance to Gardner-Johnson as a player, but I don’t think his lows are that low if the tackling is cleaned up as it was this year, and his highs are pretty dang high. When you consider all that he can bring to a defense with his combination of size, athleticism, range, ball skills and versatility, CGJ is a slight gamble that I would feel just fine taking in Round 2. He can help a defense right away, whether as a true free safety or in a nickel corner capacity, and still has the upside to become a more consistent playmaker as his career continues.

Would he be the right pick for the Giants if he is available at that point? No idea, to be honest. We have to see how free agency plays out. Do the Giants spend big money to acquire a free safety like Adrian Amos or Tyrann Mathieu? Do they take a quarterback in Round 1? What are their needs at the time? Who is on the board?

All of that said, the kid looks like a good player.

Lord Panaka asks: Why wouldn’t the Giants use the Transition Tag on Landon Collins? It’s a lower cap hit and if a team offers him more, won’t the Giants get more than just a compensatory pick?

Ed says: This is a question many people have had. Good friend Patricia Traina pushed the transition tag idea, partially because the cost would have been $9.53 million vs. $11.15 million for the franchise tag.

Here’s the thing. I think it came down to whether or not the Giants really wanted to keep the player, even at that $9 million + price tag. From Over The Cap, here is the how the transition tag works:

The transition tag is a lower cost and much lesser used mechanism in free agency. A team that does not designate a franchise player may designate a transition player in its place. The cost of the tag is the average of the 10 largest cap hits (minus workout payments and incentives) at a given position and like the franchise tag is fully guaranteed when signed. The teams receive no draft pick compensation if a transition player is signed to a deal with another team but they do have the right to match the offer sheet. The tender once made immediately counts towards the salary cap.

The key part of that, for me? “No draft pick compensation if a transition player is signed to a deal with another team.” Use the transition tag, decide not to match an offer, you don’t get a compensatory pick.

Not using the transition tag tells me the Giants had no intention of matching an offer for Collins or getting into a bidding war. By letting him go, there is at least the opportunity to receive a compensatory pick should the formula work out in the Giants favor.

Bruce Frazer asks: The Giants have enough cap space to maybe sign one quality player, if they don’t remove some more veterans from the roster. What do you think about Trey Flowers as an addition to the team. From the games I have seen him play he seems to be on an upward track. If the team drafts a foundation player in the 1st round either O-line or D-line Flowers would address a major need allowing the team to be more versatile with their choices as it does appear that Eli will be the QB in 2019. They need a lot of pieces and a player like Flowers would help them in more ways than one.

Ed says: I like Flowers a lot. I wrote about what he could bring to the Giants here. I think the Giants like him a lot, too. I think that if the Giants choose to spend big money to replace Olivier Vernon then Flowers will be one of the guys they look at. More likely, the Giants would dip into what is supposed a deep edge rusher pool in the draft.

Hunter Monaghan asks: It seems to me that everyone that is complaining about the defensive holes we keep opening up is forgetting a) that we had Collins, Harrison, Apple, OV, etc... and the defense still played poorly and couldn’t hold up to make key stops when we needed them and b) that when our defense was a top 2 defense in the league recently, our offense couldn’t score points if their life depended on it. I would never say offense is more important than defense, but would you agree that Getty is at least trying to move on from something that didn’t work and try a new strategy and that he’s doing it well? We tried having a top defense and relying on OBJ as the sole playmaker on the offense and that got us a first round playoff knockout and a terrible locker room chemistry. Now we’re trying to have a stacked offense (we put up a ton of points second half of the 2018 season, right?) with an offensive line and trying to fill holes in the defense. I think we’re just evolving and I’m all in for it.

Ed says: Hunter, I think that right now the offseason is just getting started. There are some who saw the Landon Collins move and thought, ‘Gettleman is nuts. He doesn’t have a plan.’ Well, maybe he is nuts. I do believe, though, that he has a plan. I think free agency hasn’t started and the draft is six weeks away. I’m sure the Giants understand that they have a lot of work to do, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I think this trade puts them in a position to take advantage of the strength of the draft, which is really on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants have made the playoffs once in seven years, and they can’t just maintain the status quo. I don’t think it’s about having a good offense or a good defense. I think it’s about trying to have both. Let’s see what unfolds the rest of the offseason.