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Big Blue View mailbag: At least some things haven’t changed

The mail is here, as usual!

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You can’t count on a whole lot of things in this crazy, mixed-up, quarantined COVID-19 world. The mail, though? You can always count on the mail. At least on the Big Blue View mailbag, which is here as always to discuss questions about your New York Giants.

So, let’s open the mail and see what we find as we all search for a little normalcy in our daily lives.

Ed says: I’ll make this simple. NO.

Jay B asks: We must get your opinion on how much better the Giants look in what they got for Beckham vs. what Houston got for Hopkins? Getty got ripped for it but seems like he got that one right again.

Ed says: Jay, I’ll just say this. Bill O’Brien the GM is probably going to eventually get himself fired. Some guys just don’t understand what their limitations are. Gettleman turned one great talent who had become a headache into three good young players. O’Brien turned a more productive player than Beckham into a running back who has a massive contract and isn’t very good anymore and a second-round pick.

So, yes, I think Giants fans should feel better about what Gettleman got for Beckham.

biggiantsan asks: The intentional grounding rule seems pretty clear. Out of the tackle box and past the L. O. S. Or, in the vicinity of an eligible receiver if within the tackle box. Now, for the question. When the QB ‘spikes’ the ball to stop the clock, he’s within the tackle box, there is no eligible receiver in the vicinity. Why is that not intentional grounding?

Ed says: All I can really do here is quote you the section of the NFL rulebook (Rule 8, Section 2, Item 3) that deals with this. It reads:

Stopping Clock. A player under center is permitted to stop the game clock legally to save time if, immediately upon receiving the snap, he begins a continuous throwing motion and throws the ball directly into the ground.

My take on that is this — it adds excitement at the end of a half or the end of the game. That makes it a good thing.

Erik Yatto asks: It’s the silly season. Love your mock drafts. They’re a great thought provoking conversation starter. In that vein, the Giants have addressed some of their defensive needs, but not their most glaring need, the OL. The Jags just traded Foles, presumably because they believe in Minshew. Here’s a hypothetical theory. Could the Jags be in on Tua or Herbert? Could they offer the Giants two first round picks (9+20) and a third to move up to 4? The Giants could get a big 4 tackle at 9, pick the BPA at 20 (EDGE, WR, LB or whatever) and recoup their missing third-rounder (Leonard Williams deal, blech). Do you think that could be realistic, or am I being a G-man dreamer? Love to hear your thoughts.

Ed says: Erik, I like the way you think. I’d take Nos. 9 and 20 (even without the third-round pick) for No. 4 in a heartbeat. I have said over and over I would take Nos. 12 and 19 from the Raiders for the fourth pick. Same deal here. In either spot (though 12 is dicey) I think you can get a Big 4 offensive tackle plus another first-round talent either at wide receiver or to add to the defense.

I do not, though, think the Jaguars are making that deal. If they were quarterback-hunting I think they might, but I don’t believe they’re in that market right now. They are in tear-down mode. My gut instinct is they aren’t ready to make that move. In all honesty, I would be thrilled to be wrong about this one.

Marcus Mewborn asks: Based on Giants signings in free agency, do you still think they will or should consider trading down in the draft to build up this team?

Ed says: Marcus, I don’t think free agency changes the “trade down or stay put” equation. I think that decision depends entirely upon what kind of offer(s) the Giants get and how they view the players available. If they can move down, still get a player they really want, and add picks in the top half of the draft it’s something they really should do. If they are convinced there is one offensive lineman or difference-making defender they must have at No. 4 then they stay where they are.

Steve Alessandrini asks: I believe the Giants can untag Williams and use the money to sign other players. If so, do you think Gettleman should give him a take it or leave it deal and if he leaves it pull the tag and shop elsewhere? It’s probably the only way to get leverage back with Williams. We still have many needs to fill and DG doesn’t like to draft hungry!

Ed says: Steve, yes a franchise tag can be rescinded. That doesn’t give leverage back to the team, though. It turns the player into a free agent.

Sure, they could rescind the tag if they changed direction and decided to make a deal with Jadaveon Clowney. I don’t, however, believe that will happen.

As for having needs, every NFL team always has needs. No one has a perfect roster, and you don’t build your team by being dependent upon free agency. They didn’t get everything they needed or wanted in free agency. They did get better, especially on defense. That was the No. 1 thing they had to do, and in my view they did.

Thomas Campbell asks: With the Giants almost ($10 mill left maybe for Golden) finished with FA, I ask you, will they cut Solder and draft LT with their 1st pick? With the new CBA they can now spread his dead money over 2 years. With Fleming and Gates, and a draftee fighting for RT, one of the top OT would be available.

I offer,

Rd 1 Becton OT
Rd 2 Lewis Edge
Rd 3 Pittman Jr WR
Rd 4 Hennessy C

Ed says: Thomas, I don’t know where you are getting the idea that the Giants still have $10 million annually available for Markus Golden. They really don’t, and I would think if they were really interested in Golden they would have made that happen already.

As for Solder, I will keep saying this until I’m proven wrong. I think Solder is going to be one of the Giants’ starting tackles in 2020. I see the idea the Giants will cut him as highly unlikely. New CBA or not, designating Solder a post-June 1 cut means the Giants still carry $9.5 million in dead money for 2020. I don’t see them wanting to do that.

As for the draft, Solder or no Solder I think offensive tackle in Round 1 is the most likely path for the Giants.

Keith Cartmell asks: Coaches and players are supposed to be separated until the new league year starts, but I recall in years past that this schedule was accelerated for new regimes (HC, OC, DC, etc.). With COVID-19 social distancing in place, will the league allow teams (especially with new regimes) to distribute playbooks to players earlier to learn the plays/verbiage?

Ed says: Keith, I don’t know the answer to that question yet. Things are fluid right now and I’m not sure anyone does. For teams with new coaches the offseason program wa s supposed to be to begin April 6. We know that’s not happening. It would make sense to give teams the ability to reach out to players in some fashion, but with no predictable timeline for anything right now and so many moving parts we’ll have to wait and see.

Brian De Paris asks: Since the LB position has been addressed in free agency, do you think the Giants are more likely to take 1st round caliber WR with their 2nd round pick since it’s such a talented class? I really like this scenario especially if the Giants are able to trade down to the No. 6 spot in exchange for another 2nd round pick. That way we come away with our franchise OT, a playmaking weapon for DJ, and a solid 2nd round talent at a position of need who can contribute immediately. Do you like this scenario or do you see the Giants waiting for the later rounds to draft skill position players?

Ed says: Brian, I think it’s always been apparent that the Giants have to address adding talent/depth at wide receiver somehow. I’m not going to say they have to or will pick a receiver in Round 2 or Round 3 or whenever. I think, though, it’s a pretty safe bet they will pick a wide receiver at some point in the draft.

Jesse Sorel asks: I’m not a fan of paying Martinez 14 million a year when he is not good in coverage. Just wondering if you know if the Giants actually checked in on Cory Littleton before Martinez. The contract Littleton signed is very similar to Blake’s and Cory is a much better player. Also I like the Bradberry deal but don’t you think the Giants should of went after Chris Harris instead with the two-year, $20 million. He can play slot corner and outside. Giants really need a slot corner.

Ed says: Jesse, before I get into a full answer let’s clarify a couple of things.

Blake Martinez is not getting $14 million per year. He signed a three-year, $30.75 million deal, making the average salary $10.25 million. His cap hit in Year 1 in $14 million because the Giants structured the contract with a $10 million roster bonus and only $4 million of 2020 base salary. Also, Chris Harris signed for two years and $17 million with the Chargers, not two and $20.

I honestly don’t know if the Giants checked in on Littleton, though I think due diligence requires you to check on the price tag and see if the player has any interest in joining your franchise. As for Harris, he will be 31 next season and I never thought he was realistic for the Giants. They do need to do something about the slot, but they have clearly tried to sign players who still have prime seasons left. I like that approach. The Giants also needed an outside cornerback who could cover No. 1 receivers to take the pressure off DeAndre Baker and the other young cornerbacks. That’s what James Bradberry does.

Patrick Morris asks: Rather than try to get the maximum value out of any trade down, what do you think is the minimum value that Gettleman would take to swap first round picks with the Dolphins or Chargers? IE, if the Dolphins just offered a 1st round (#5) and 3rd round pick for the Giants #4 pick, would Gettleman take it? What about a #5 and a 4th round pick?

Ed says: Patrick, I don’t know what Dave Gettleman would consider minimum value. The model has to be the Indianapolis Colts-New York Jets trade in 2017. The Jets moved up from No. 6 to No. 3. In addition to the No. 6 pick, the Jets gave Indianapolis a pair of second-round picks in that draft and a 2018 second-round pick. I think you have to come away with Day 2 assets. Is one Day 2 pick enough if it’s just a move of one or two spots? I would like more than that, but that might be what you’re able to get.

Glenn Mausolf asks: Should the Giants try and sign an “older” pass rusher such as Cameron Wake? They clearly are not going to be able to sign a top tier option after the Leonard Williams decision. This sort of transaction is not about getting piece in place for the future, but just trying to be more competitive next season. Assuming the money involved made sense, would you acquire a player like this or not and leave reps for the younger players like Carter and Ximines?

Ed says: Glenn, I’m saving the snaps for younger players. The money, too. In my view, you sign a guy like Wake if you’re a playoff team and you believe that somewhere along the way he can make a couple of plays for you that give you a chance to win a Super Bowl. The Giants aren’t there.

I like the signing of a guy like Kyler Fackrell on a one-year “prove it” deal. He will be 29 in November and if he gives you a good season he’s a guy who could become part of your rotation for a few seasons.

I’m taking the longer view.

Jon Brown asks: I have heard you say that the Raiders two picks in round one would be a good trade back scenario for the Giants if they were offered. However if Detroit is now locked in on Okudah because of the loss of Slay, and if Washington gets an offer from Miami that they can’t refuse, do you scrap any trade back offer if Chase Young is sitting there at 4?

Ed says: Jon, let’s not get everyone’s hopes up that Chase Young would be available at No. 4. But ... a scenario like this is why you don’t do anything now. You sit tight, talk to other teams and lay the groundwork for a potential trade at No. 4. You don’t make one at this point. You have an agreement basically in place if trading back makes sense after you see the first three picks. You watch what unfolds with those first three pick and then you make your decision when it gets to be your turn to make a selection.

Anthony Del Genio asks: The Giants lost most of their games last year because of their defense, which was poor even in two of their victories. A good part of that was their failure to (per Patricia Traina’s in-game Twitter) “Please.Cover.The.Tight.End”. Free agency did not address this. If the Giants pass on Isaiah Simmons for one of the big 4 OTs, where do you see them getting help on this? Is there a good cover LB in Round 2 or 3? Would they make Jabrill Peppers a cover LB?

Ed says: Anthony, there were a lot of problems on defense a year ago. Covering the tight end was only a small part of that. Ryan Connelly got hurt. Peppers got hurt. David Mayo is a better run defender than coverage linebacker. Alec Ogletree was a bad player. Blake Martinez isn’t Cory Littleton in coverage, but he is better than Ogletree. Coverage is not his strength, but the Pro Football Focus data shows him as a coverage upgrade from Ogletree.

Besides, it’s not always the off-the-ball linebackers covering the tight end. Improve in the slot. Get an upgrade (Julian Love, maybe?) over Antoine Bethea at safety? Improve in the slot. Coach better so there aren’t so many blown assignments. All of those things can help.

I’m not sure at this point where they can add someone if they don’t choose Simmons. Regardless, I think they can be better.

John M Scott asks: Dave Gettleman talks about using free agency to set yourself up so you can take the best player available in the draft. Do you believe he’s accomplished that?

Ed says: John, I’m not sure the Giants have fully done that. I’m not sure anyone ever does that. You would always like to add more talent. What I do believe they have done is focused on the defense and added as much talent as they could on that side of the ball so that they could use the draft to focus on offense. It just so happens that I think that was/is a smart strategy because two of the offensive areas of need (offensive tackle and wide receiver) happen to be positions where there is depth in the upcoming draft class.