It’s a Memorial Day Weekend edition of the Big Blue View Mailbag. So, as we head into summer let’s see what New York Giants-related questions we can answer for you.
Jim Jordan asks: I have a quick question regarding the tender offer the Giants put on Markus Golden. In everything I’ve read, it’s always presented as Golden has until July 22 to find another team who will offer him more than the $4.1 million offered by the Giants. But is Golden only able to accept offers that exceed what the Giants offered him, or can he sign for any amount he wants? For instance, could he accept $3.5 million from a top tier team, passing up some money in exchange for the chance to possibly win a ring?
Ed says: Jim, theoretically you are correct. Golden is an unrestricted free agent. He can sign whatever offer he wants — even one for less that he would get from the Giants. We all know, though, that he is unlikely to do that. Especially having gone into free agency thinking/hoping he would come out of it with a bigger long-term deal.
James S Dilday asks: This is a twofold question. What is Jerry Reese doing now, is he out of football and how do his last two drafts stack up to Gettleman’s first two drafts? Do you agree with the decision to purge the team of many of Reese’s picks that are now playing for other teams?
Ed says: James, Reese has not gotten back into the NFL since the Giants fired him. He turned down an opportunity to interview for the Oakland Raiders job before it went to Mike Mayock in 2018. Other than that, to my knowledge, he has not had any opportunities. He would probably have to get back in as a consultant or even as a director of a college or pro scouting department. I honestly have no idea if he would do those things, or even has interest in returning to the NFL at this point.
The second part of your question leads me down a dangerous road. I am well aware of the perception that I bash Reese at every opportunity, and this will probably turn into another one of those situations where if that’s what people want to believe I’m doing then that is what they will believe.
As for the question itself, it isn’t completely fair to compare Reese’s last two draft to Dave Gettleman’s two drafts with the Giants, since you are comparing players with three or four years of experience to players with one or two. We can try, though.
Let’s use the “above-average-to-elite” standard Nick Falato wrote about earlier in the week.
I would argue that in his final two drafts Reese selected zero elite players, three above-average ones (Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Dalvin Tomlinson) and two who might be average players (Eli Apple, B.J. Goodson).
The fact that Apple is in the “might be average” category and the way he got run out of New York is a demerit for Reese.
As of now, I think we can all agree that Saquon Barkley is an elite player. I’m going to put Dexter Lawrence in the above-average category, because I think it’s pretty clear even after only one season that he belongs there. There are several players who could be above-average by the time they have had three or four seasons in the league — Will Hernandez, Lorenzo Carter, Darius Slayton, Daniel Jones among them.
There are other players who could be average to above average — I’ don’t think we have enough information yet to categorize them. Those are Oshane Ximines, Julian Love, Ryan Connelly, Corey Ballentine.
What about DeAndre Baker? Let’s just see where this goes. He has the talent to end up an above-average player. He’s in enough hot water right now, though, that his NFL future is clearly in doubt. How that all plays out will have to color any judgment of Gettleman’s draft classes.
For me, simply judging those two classes it’s advantage Gettleman based purely on potential. Oh, and Barkley.
As for the decisions to move on from so many of Reese’s players, you have to remember how bad the Giants were. They had just fired a GM for the first time in their history. This is how teams do business most of the time, and while I don’t always agree with it I do understand it. New regimes want to succeed or fail with their players and based on their decisions, not with someone else’s players.
I could go move by move, but I don’t think we need to do that in this setting. Maybe in a future post I will do that. For now, how many mistakes have the Giants made in moving on from those “Reese players?” How many of them have gone on to be truly successful players elsewhere?
Not many. At least in my view.
Most of the moves had to be made. I’d argue that letting Devon Kennard go and trying to replace him with Kareem Martin was a mistake, though I doubt it was a big enough one to change anything about the Giants’ fortunes the past two seasons. Other than that, I have very little issue with the players they let go.
John S asks: Frankly, for all the reasons mentioned repeatedly (new offensive/defensive coordinators, new head coach, at least 2 new pieces starting on offensive line, very short preparation time, etc.) I have no won-lost expectations. There are four things I’ll grade this season on:
- Daniel Jones improves and largely eliminates questions about his being the ‘answer’ at QB.
- The offensive line stabilizes. I’d really like to see Peart and Lemieux playing by the end of the year.
- Clear defensive back starters from the existing gaggle establish themselves, and ideally take flight.
- Joe Judge and coaches earn respect and create a solid team culture.
Your thoughts on realistic expectations outside of W-L?
Ed says: John, for the most part I don’t take issue with your four things. One thing I will say is there seems to be pretty common agreement that Matt Peart needs a redshirt year. If he is playing in 2020, something bad has happened and my gut tells me it might not be pretty. As for Lemieux, if he is playing guard that means something has happened to one of the Giants better players — Kevin Zeitler or Will Hernandez. I keep cautioning about expecting to see Lemieux playing center. He has never done it, and he is probably the fourth option right now behind Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates and Jon Halapio (who isn’t on the roster at the moment, I know).
You can’t simply throw out a season and give Judge a mulligan. I take more of those on the golf course than I like to admit, but that isn’t going to fly in the NFL.
It’s going to be hard for Judge to establish himself if the Giants win two games. There will probably be a lot of ugly Jones moments if the Giants are that bad, and a lot of poor play in the secondary and elsewhere.
All of those things you mentioned are factors that work against the 2020 Giants. In the end, though, for the positive steps everyone is hoping for to take place the Giants have to win enough games that you at least feel like there is hope going forward.
I don’t know what that number is (sorry, gang, here I go not being willing to put a hard number down in an answer). I just know the Giants will be hard-pressed to say any of those good things took place unless they win some games.
Steven Schlein asks: Armed robbery charges aside, what are the consequence if [DeAndre] Baker admits that he was at the gambling party, lost money, etc? Is that alone a serious violation of NFL rules that could lead to suspension?
Ed says: Steven, here is what Daniel Wallach, legal analyst for The Athletic, told me about that.
“The standard of proof [for the NFL] isn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt it’s whether credible evidence exists to justify the imposition of a suspension. Credible evidence is as low a threshold as you’ll ever get in the law. It just means that you need some evidence that these players committed the acts in question,” Wallach said.
“You already have the arresting officer’s probable cause affidavit that recounts witness interviews that place Baker at the scene of the crime holding a gun, threatening to shoot somebody. If Roger Goodell wanted to suspend DeAndre Baker solely on the basis of that police officer’s probable cause affidavit he has every right to do so under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.”
Bruce Frazer asks: You’ve seen Nick Gates up close, on the field. What are your thoughts on his chances going forward? Is he good enough to become a full-time guard at the NFL level?
Ed says: Bruce, I like Gates. I know Dave Gettleman does, too. That said, we really saw a two-game sample size last season. That’s not enough to make a full-fledged determination on whether or not he can be a full-time starter. I’ll say this, though — it was enough to make me want to see more. We would have a better idea had Pat Shurmur left Gates in the starting lineup for the final couple of games last season, rather than giving the right tackle job back to Mike Remmers.
I would be comfortable if Gates had to step in this season for either Will Hernandez or Kevin Zeitler. Really, though, I would like to see him get a real shot at the center job. With the shutdown caused by the pandemic, though, I’m not sure that can or will happen. It seems like on-field time, and reps, are going to be in short supply.