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Ranking the Giants’ trade pieces

Which Giants would be the best trade chips?

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NFL: New York Giants at New York Jets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants still have a good way to go before they’re a contender in the NFC. Despite having promising young players and arguably the best running back in the league, they’re in the midst of a rebuild.

Because of the current makeup of the team, the Giants would benefit from acquiring future assets in the form of draft picks. There are some players who the Giants would probably never trade, regardless of the return. Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Andrew Thomas and Dexter Lawrence are among the few untouchables on the team. Outside of that handful of players, though, it’s tough to see anyone the Giants wouldn’t move for the right price.

Let’s take a look at the five trade pieces the Giants have, based on value to other teams and the likelihood of being jettisoned.

Honorable Mention - Kevin Zeitler, OG

I considered putting Zeitler on the list. He’s 30 and fairly expensive with a $10 million base salary for 2020. However, with general manager Dave Gettleman fighting for his job, it would be a completely counter-intuitive move to make the offensive line worse. His credo has been improving the offensive and defensive lines, so trading a high-quality starter like Zeitler would completely contradict his philosophy.

5: DeAndre Baker, CB

DeAndre Baker’s legal situation still needs to be fully sorted out. At this point, it’s old news that Baker was allegedly involved in armed robbery and aggravated assault back in May. While Baker pleaded not guilty, it’s possible the Giants may feel he can’t be trusted.

The Giants added James Bradberry in free agency and then drafted a pair of cornerbacks (Darnay Holmes, Chris Williamson). Because of that, it isn’t crazy to think the team would feel comfortable giving up on Baker.

4: B.J. Hill, DL

Unfortunately, the Giants probably won’t use Hill as much as they should in 2020. His playing time decreased when the Giants acquired Leonard Williams. Add in the fact that general manager Dave Gettleman double down on his investment in Williams by slapping the franchise tag on him and you have a crowded defensive line.

Hill’s a player in a similar vein as Kerry Wynn. He can be a solid rotational piece, but he’s not irreplaceable.

Hill likely wouldn’t command great assets in a trade, but trading him and getting draft capital may be more worthwhile than under-using him.

3: Dalvin Tomlinson, DL

Tomlinson is the Giants best defensive lineman. An absolute behemoth in the trenches (6-foot-3, 318 lbs.), Tomlinson has found substantial success in New York. He’s an analytics darling, who earned a 78.1 season grade from Pro Football Focus.

He is, however, entering a contract year. Historically, the Giants have never really committed to promising defensive tackles. They’ve let Barry Cofield, Linval Joseph and Jonathan Hankins all walk in free agency. There’s a chance Tomlinson could follow suit. It’s unlikely the Giants would be willing to give both Tomlinson and the aforementioned Williams sizable contracts.

It would be interesting to see what kind of return Tomlinson could generate. While he’s among the league’s elite as a run-stopping force, he doesn’t offer much as a pass-rusher.

2: Golden Tate, WR

For all intents and purposes, Golden Tate was tremendous for the Giants last year. More importantly, he played a large role in Daniel Jones’ development. Tate finished the season with 676 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games.

However, Tate is certainly not a long-term piece for the Giants. He’ll be 32 by the start of the season. Additionally, one could argue keeping Tate, who does the most damage out of the slot, stunts Sterling Shepard’s production. The Giants originally signed Tate to a four-year deal, but they wisely built the contract to front-load all of the guarantees into the first two years. They can cut bait without being financially crippled.

While the Giants likely enjoy having Tate as the senior leader of the pass-catchers, he’s the type of plug-and-play receiver a playoff-caliber team would seek to acquire. He’s probably the most likely trade chip the Giants would be comfortable moving.

1: Evan Engram, TE

Giants fans seem to be split on Engram’s value to the team.

One side can point to his inability to stay healthy, less-than-ideal blocking acumen and the promising late-season play of Kaden Smith as reasons to move on from Engram. The counterpoint to that is Engram’s unique speed and explosiveness at the tight end position and the fact that new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett plans to fully utilize the tight ends.

Additionally, the Giants themselves don’t seem to be fully committed to Engram, despite picking up his fifth-year option. ESPN’s Matthew Berry reported in March the team will test the trade market for Engram and “don’t believe” he can ever stay healthy.

When Engram’s healthy, he’s a lethal threat in the passing game. Few tight ends possess his straight-line speed and explosiveness. Those traits were on display in last year’s Week 3 game in Tampa Bay when Engram took a short pass to the end zone.

The issue with Engram really has been health. The amount of games he’s played in has exponentially decreased over his three seasons, and his production has done the same. A season that features a fully healthy Engram could bring a 1,000-yard campaign.

It’s worth noting the Giants added two tight ends (Eric Tomlinson, Levine Toilolo) with NFL experience in free agency. While neither player can match Engram’s skill set, the Giants could be prepared to utilize a quantity-over-quality approach to the tight end position.

Out of all the players on this list, Engram would bring the most in terms of return assets.