So many questions. The Big Blue View Mailbag is absolutely overflowing this week with New York Giants questions. I’ve gotten to as many as I can. I’ve tried not to questions on duplicate topics. I will also be holding some questions that require longer answers and will, as time permits, use them as the genesis for full posts in the future.
Let’s get started.
Alex Ferguson asks: How much do you think ‘Future Contracts’ play into the draft selection process? What I mean is that if a team drafts a QB, OLT and a top offensive weapon all in a two-year period, for instance, then 4-5 years from now they either need to find a lot of money or face losing a top talent.
Ed says: Alex, thanks for the question. Futures contracts have zero impact on a team’s draft or free agency strategy. These are guys on your practice squad you want to bring back or guys who weren’t in the league at the end of the season. Those contracts are about filling out 90-man rosters for offseason programs and training camps, and giving some long shot players a chance. No one signs a player to a futures contract and counts on that player. You are hoping a couple of them surprise and contribute, that’s all. They get minimum salaries, so their really isn’t any cap impact.
David Wright asks: I know you’ve been pounding the table for Chase Young for a while now, should he fall to the Giants. I’ve watched many Ohio State games this year (granted I’m not a professional scout) but I saw some things that could be potential red flags for Young. He seems to rely mostly on his motor and doesn’t always seem to have counter-moves, he tends to get his sacks in bunches taking advantage of weaker tackles and has a tendency to disappear for stretches during games, and he frequently has trouble disengaging from lineman and doesn’t seem to factor much in stopping the run. At least that’s my amateur take.
Is there any chance we might be over-hyping him? IMHO, there seems to be a lot of boom or bust to his game; I’d be hesitant to declare him a sure bet. I know I’m aging myself a bit, but Cedric Jones keeps popping up in my head.
Ed says: Pounding the table for Chase Young? I don’t think I have been doing that. I have said over and over that I don’t think Young will fall to the Giants, and telling people to move on from the idea he is a “must-have” for the Giants.
What I have said is that whether the Giants go into the draft thinking they will take Isaiah Simmons or whether they are targeting an offensive tackle, Young is the one guy who would make me re-think everything. If he’s there — the best player in the draft, playing a premium position where the Giants happen to have a real need — I take him and figure out the other stuff later.
Could draft analysts — not “we,” because as much as I’m glad people comment/e-mail/respond to my tweets, their views have zero impact on how I see things — be overhyping Young? Sure. There are absolutely no guarantees or sure things in the draft — except that sometimes you are going to get it wrong.
Cedric Jones? That’s harsh. I do see some Osi Umenyiora in Young’s game. Umenyiora was a guy who would disappear at times, sometimes even for a few games at a time, but when he showed up he SHOWED UP in a big way. We’ll see what Young turns into, but if he is miraculously available at No. 4 the Giants shouldn’t hesitate to grab him.
Rich F asks: I’ve been wondering about the mock drafts and the volatility of the offensive tackles that are being projected to go to the Giants in the first round. At the end of the year, it appeared that Andrew Thomas was the consensus best lineman. Then it February, the mocks had the Giants overwhelmingly selecting Jedrick Wills. That lasted a couple of weeks, and since then it has been either Tristan Wirfs or Mekhi Becton. What causes this constant change? Is it just boredom because of the time? Are people over-thinking? Or something else?
Ed says: Rich, that’s an interesting phenomenon and it happens at certain positions every year. First, understand that coaches general managers pay very little attention to the draft prospects until their season is over. GMs may attend a few games, but they do very little film work on college prospects in season. Coaches, not at all. They are worried about week-to-week and game-to-game prep.
So, those rankings come from the handful of draft analysts who focus constantly on the draft, perhaps with some guidance whatever scouts they may talk to.
Everything changes when coaches and GMs get fully immersed in the process, start looking at players and envisioning how they would fit in their systems. Then, the whole pre-draft process when coaches and GMs get to see these kids in all-star workouts, interviews, on-field workouts, the Combine, etc., changes everything.
Here’s the other thing that happens. In September, October, November a draft analyst is probably generally telling you purely what he thinks. By now, those analysts have been pumping every source they know for information on what teams really think of certain players and how they rank them. The closer you get to the draft the more you see rankings and mock drafts from most of the big-name mainstream media members — generally, at least — start to reflect how teams actually have players graded.
It’s never an exact science and there are always surprises. But, my rule of thumb is don’t get attached to a guy in November. See how it plays out.
Jay Berman asks: Heard Gettleman restructured Bradberry & Martinez - adding a couple million dollars to potential dead-cap hits in their contract years 2 & 3 respectively, while opening space for this year. What might we expect is behind his latest maneuver?
Ed says: Yes, Jay, the Giants modified the original’y reported contracts of Blake Martinez and James Bredberry. Here’s how:
- Martinez — Rather that a straight $10 million roster bonus in Year 1, Martinez gets a $4 million Year 1 roster bonus. He gets a $6 million signing bonus pro-rated over the three years of the contract. The deal is still heavily front-loaded. It just added $2 million to the cap hit in 2021 and $2 million 2022, while saving the Giants $4 million vs. the cap in 2020.
- Bradberry — Rather than. straight $12 million roster bonus in Year 1, Bradberry gets a $3 million Year roster bonus and $9 million in signing bonus pro-rated over three years. That adds a bit of potential dead money to the second and third years of the deal, but gives the Giants and extra $6 million in 2020.
It’s all about creating flexibility. The Giants gave themselves room to continue scouring the market for help this year, and really added very little (in relative terms) in potential 2022 dead money. What they will do with the extra space remains to be seen.
Tom Pietrzak asks: Do you have any thoughts about how Mara, Tisch and Gettleman grade their decision, in hindsight, to hire Shurmur as HC? If they could do it all over again, would they make the same choice? On the one hand, Shurmur brought stability and accountability to an organization that desperately needed it, yet only managed to win 9 games in two years. Looking forward to your response!
Ed says: Tom by firing Pat Shurmur two years into a five-year deal and consequently having to pay him NOT TO BE THEIR COACH for the next three seasons John Mara, Steve Tisch and Dave Gettleman told you loud and clear how they graded that decision. An ‘F.’ And let me be clear, firing Shurmur and hiring Joe Judge was an ownership decision. It was not a Gettleman decision. He was busy convincing ownership why he shouldn’t be shown the door along with Shurmur.
Shurmur did two things the Giants hoped he would do when they hired him. As you indicated, he brought stability and what I would call professionalism back to a team that needed it. He also helped them find and begin to develop a quarterback to replace Eli Manning.
What he didn’t do is win games. It’s a bottom line business, and the Giants determined — rightly, I think — that as many positive qualities as shurmur possessed he just wasn’t a winning head coach.
Now, would the Giants make the same choice if they could do it over again? Let’s look at the coaches hired that year.
Giants — Shurmur
Raiders — Jon Gruden
Titans — Mike Vrabel
Lions — Matt Patricia
Cardinals — Steve Wilks
Colts — Frank Reich
Bears — Matt Nagy
The only ones on that list who were legitimate candidates for the Giants job were Wilks (fired after a year) and Patricia (who has done poorly in Detroit). Vrabel, Nagy, Reich and Gruden were never going to coach the Giants. If there is anyone on the list that perhaps the Giants should have considered it’s Reich, but remember he was also an afterthought candidate in Indy.
Who else coach they have hired? Josh McDaniels? Please stop with that. Steve Spagnuolo? Really?
The Giants made the choice that seemed to make the most sense at the time. I understood it, and I still understand it. The Shurmur hire just didn’t work out.
Reality is, getting the right head coach isn’t easy. Look around the league — teams get it wrong more often than they get it right. That’s why when you get it right you keep that guy as long as you can.
Jay Breezy asks: Is there any chance that the draft top 3 goes 1 - Burrow 2- Chase Young 3- Okudah/Simmons and the Giants are on the clock with no substantial trade offers. Quarterback needy teams (Dolphins at 5, Chargers at 6, Panthers at 7) assume the Giants won’t take a QB which hurts the Giants leverage. Any chance the Giants select Tua and look to trade him? What if Tua happens to be the highest player on the Giants board? Has this ever happened in the past? (Besides Eli Manning draft and trade).
Ed says: Jay, when I get questions like this I always hear Ben McAdoo’s voice in the back of my head (which I hate to admit) saying “never say never.” So, I’ll say there is maybe a .0000001 percent chance of something like that happening. I would put more zeroes in there, but I’ve already typed a lot of words and my fingers are getting tired.
In other words, that’s not happening.
If nobody is willing to trade up to No. 4 to take Tagovailoa, the Giants will sit there and take either the best defensive player or best offensive on their draft board. The Manning trade was a thing where the Giants only took Philip Rivers because they had the deal in place when they made the pick. They aren’t going to take Tagovailoa and then start shopping him or Daniel Jones.
The idea for the Giants is to convince one of those teams — like the Dolphins — that they have an offer in hand from the Chargers, Raiders or someone else for that pick and force them to move up for their quarterback.
Austin Willis asks: Is there any way whatsoever that Markus Golden is on the roster this upcoming season? Is there any money left at all? And what are Golden’s options if he’s still a free agent by the start of the summer?
Ed says: Austin, like in my answer above I would say there is always a chance. I would, though, say it is a really teeny, tiny miniscule chance. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the reasons why the Giants haven’t brought Golden back, and I think there are two of them:
- Price — I have said again and again that Golden is not a No. 1 pass rusher. I think he entered free agency hoping to be paid like one, and that simply isn’t going to happen. The Giants got a good year out of Golden last season and he is a hard worker who is good in the locker room, but I think the Giants are wary of overpaying him or being tied to him for multiple years.
- Flexibility — Golden had success playing in a James Bettcher defensive system. In all probability, new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham sees a guy like Kyler Fackrell, who also has coverage skills, as more of a fit for the way he wants to use his edge guys.
As for Golden. the longer he doesn’t have a new team the more he is going to have to reduce his price tag. He might end up taking another one-year deal, or waiting until after the draft and seeing who still needs a pass rusher.
Jason Sorley asks: I continue to see trade scenarios and discussions around QB needy teams like the Dolphins and Chargers dominating the discussions around trade back scenarios for the Giants pick however anyone watching the draft over the last few decades will know that teams also target non-QBs when looking to trade up into the top 10 (See; Ditka). I understand it’s easier to pinpoint trade ups for QB but do you see any trade back scenarios for the Giants for a team looking for another position?
Ed says: Jason, anything is possible. I don’t, though, see any teams moving up to No. 4 for any other reason that to select a quarterback. I’ve kicked around trade scenarios with several analysts/talent evaluators and none that I have communicated with see any trade-down scenarios for the Giants that don’t involve a team coming up to get a quarterback.