It is time once again to open the Big Blue View mailbag and see what’s on your minds, New York Giants fans! Let’s get right to it.
Adam Present asks: Every year on roster cut day, NFL teams will often get down to 53 not just by releasing players, but placing a few on the injured reserve as well. I’ve always wondered - how many of those players being placed on IR at the start of the season are really dealing with injuries that take the whole year to recover from? For example, Brittan Golden was put on IR after suffering a calf injury in the last preseason game that didn’t look to be too serious (albeit from my limited information).
Do teams actively try to put some of these fringe roster guys on IR instead of waiving them, so that they can be effectively “stashed” and get another look in next year’s camp? If so, how do the players feel about this? Are they happy to get paid for a year knowing they’ll get another shot with the same team, or does this bother them, and would they prefer to get a chance to come back sooner and sign with someone else? Additionally, how do these roster moves affect the cap and payroll?”
Ed says: Rules generally prevent stashing of players because before rosters are cut to 53 players non-vested veterans (guys with less than 4 years of experience) have to pass through waivers before they can be placed on IR. That means teams can claim them. There are some guys who get placed on IR with injuries and then released with injury settlements once they are healthy enough to go out and seek jobs with other teams. Players on IR do count against the cap.
David Matuozzi asks: With the practice squad now in place, can you please remind us of some players who began their tenure with the Giants on the practice squad before going on to become meaningful contributors?
Ed says: The one that immediately comes to mind is cornerback Grant Haley. He began last year on the practice squad, played 10 games on the active roster and ended up starting nine as the nickel cornerback. Corey Coleman spent a few weeks on the practice squad last year before being activated. Fullback Elijhaa Penny was plucked off the practice squad of the Arizona Cardinals. Starting center Jon Halapio began 2017 on the Giants’ practice squad. Those are just a few examples.
Tony Del Genio asks: After reading your and Patricia Traina’s pieces on fan overreaction to the Kyle Lauletta and Alonzo Russell cuts, I am left wondering: How should fans watch exhibition games? Should we have turned off the TV as soon as Daniel Jones was out of the game, assuming that nothing we see from the 3rd stringers means much for their chances of sticking (and that the choices of those 3rd stringers don’t matter for the success of the team, in contrast to the sense of urgency of the up-to-the-minute reports over the weekend on cuts)? Turn off the sound since the announcers seemed as enthralled with these players as we fans were? How do I interpret the ecstasy of the players who ran out on the field after the Lauletta-to-Russell TD? After all, they are in the locker room and see some of what we don’t. How do I interpret the locker-room callout of Alonzo Russell by Pat Shurmur after his hustle play in the Bears game? I don’t know what to think, but I don’t think the fans are completely to blame here.
Ed says: Tony, I don’t think anyone deserves “blame” here. When Kyle Lauletta completed that game-winning pass to Alonzo Russell, teammates and coaches celebrated with players they liked, players they have spent months (in the case of those two players, actually two seasons) working with. They reveled in it and were happy for them, as they should have been.
Not every player you see perform well in preseason games will make the roster. Players like offensive linemen Nick Gates and Chad Slade, running back Paul Perkins and maybe a couple of others helped themselves in the games. Fans have to realize, though, that so much more than what they see in the four preseason games is involved in setting the roster. Salary, how they fit with their teammates in the meeting and locker rooms, skill sets, how many players are needed at various positions, whether or not someone the organization believes is better pops loose on the waiver wire or in free agency.
In the case of a guy like Russell, his hustle made it easy to see why fans got attached to him. Remember, though, while he spent the last three seasons on practice squads Cody Core, who replaced him, was a productive player on the active roster of the Cincinnati Bengals.
I say watch the games, enjoy them, look for the Cinderella stories. Be wary, though, of convincing yourself that a guy is a superstar in the making, or at least a roster lock, because of a couple of preseason plays.
Michael Poulin asks: On the BJ Goodson trade. The Giants traded Goodson plus their 7th round pick next year in return for Baltimore’s 7th round pick (conditionally). So the Giants may end up exchanging a better pick for a lower pick. Why would the Giants do this? Was it just a way to get the Packers to pick up Goodson’s salary for 2019?
Ed says: Michael, first and foremost the Giants were fortunate to get anything in return for Goodson. They had been ready to waive him before the Green Bay Packers jumped in with a last-minute trade offer. The Giants give up Goodson and a 2020 conditional seventh-round pick, and they get back a conditional seventh-round pick the Packers had acquired from the Baltimore Ravens. The presumption is that the Giants end up with the higher of two picks, theirs or the one the Packers got from Baltimore. That is likely the condition — the Giants get whichever pick is higher.
Walker Joyce asks: Re Golden Tate’s suspension in particular, and suspensions in general, what’s the point of banning a player from club facilities? If they can’t play and are docked game checks, isn’t that enough? To inhibit their conditioning, or rehab, or even the mentoring of younger players seems punitive. And they can’t even speak to coaches and teammates? Aside from being hard to enforce, this also seems excessive.
Ed says: Suspended is suspended. The player is not part of the team. I don’t have much, if anything, to say here other than the fact that the idea that a suspended player can’t be at the facility or around his teammates doesn’t bother me in the least.