Monday afternoon the Miami Dolphins announced that they had waived/inured rookie EDGE Curtis Weaver following a “significant” injury.
While the release of a talented rookie is always going to raise eyebrows, this is actually fairly standard operating procedure in the NFL. Teams can’t just place rookies on injured reserve and instead must jump through the hoops of releasing them and exposing them to the waiver wire before they revert to the team’s injured reserve.
Full context here, as pointed out by several on Miami beat, is Weaver has a significant injury and probably will not play this season but because he's an untenured player, team can't transition him directly to IR, he must be cut and clear waivers first. Not indicative of talent. https://t.co/veCbUtTE08— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) August 24, 2020
The New York Giants need help rushing the passer.
The Giants didn’t do much to address their anemic pass rush over the off-season, adding only Kyler Fackrell in free agency and selecting a few linebackers late in the draft. Instead it looks the present and future of their pass rush depends on the development of young players like Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, B.J. Hill, Dexter Lawerence, and whether or not DL coach Sean Spencer can turn Leonard Williams’ potential into production.
Sitting here, we can’t say what the Giants’ pass rush will look like in 2020, but what if they can make an investment that could pay off in 2021 and beyond?
Could, or should, the Giants put in a waiver claim on Weaver?
Let’s set the injury concerns aside for the moment; Weaver is an intriguing prospect. He racked up an impressive 13.5 sacks last year for Boise State before that season was cut short by injury, and over the course of his collegiate career he amassed 34 sacks in 39 games. That works out to a fairly ridiculous 0.87 sacks per game over three years, which was also accompanied by 47.5 tackles for a loss.
Weaver’s play jumped off the tape during my draft prep this past winter, and while he doesn’t look like a modern EDGE, nor does he have elite athleticism, he has a knack for beating offensive tackles and being disruptive in opposing backfields.
At the time I wrote:
Curtis Weaver projects as a rotational EDGE in a multiple defense. He has the ability to play out of both 2 and 3-point stances, giving his defense flexibility in alignments and fronts. Weaver is a very smart, polished player who understands his assignments, is rarely fooled by misdirection, and has very good technique. He shows a rare ability (for a prospect) to rush with a plan, setting up tackles and then responding with a counter move. Weaver’s ability to win with his hands, gain half-man leverage, and move in a short area can make him an absolute handful for blockers.
Weaver might be best served by dropping some weight and playing at roughly 250 or 255 pounds. He has a stocky build which limits his ability to bend, but seemed both thicker and slower towards the end of his junior year — particularly after he suffered a foot injury. Playing lighter would reduce the stress on his foot as well as help improve his quickness, expand his range, and could make his speed rushes even more dangerous.
Weaver could play a role similar to Melvin Ingram of the Los Angeles Chargers. While Weaver isn’t quite as good of an athlete as Ingram, he sports a similar frame and versatility. Weaver’s football IQ, motor, and ability to find ways to beat blockers will get him on the field in the NFL. If he can maintain his play strength at a lighter weight with improved athleticism, he has the upside to start in a scheme that takes advantage of his IQ and versatility.
That scheme versatility to rush as an outside linebacker in a 2-point stance as well as a hand-on-the-turf defensive end would play well in Patrick Graham’s multiple defensive scheme. Based purely on his tape and production I had a “second day” grade on Weaver, with his measurables shading that toward the third round.
But he was a fifth-round pick for the Dolphins, and the reason for that is likely related to injury concerns. Weaver suffered a foot injury late in his junior year, needing help to get off the field then returning to the sideline in a boot.
Saturday, Weaver suffered another foot injury, reportedly an injury to the sesamoid bone.
Ron Slavin, the agent for Dolphin's Curtis Weaver tells KTIK that he suffered a sesamoid bone injury (foot). It's a season long injury and he has until tomorrow to clear waivers.— 93.1 KTIK The Ticket (@ktik931fm) August 24, 2020
That can be a long, tough injury for a player to get through. If the sesamoid bone sounds familiar, it’s the same bone involve in derailing Jon Beason’s 2014 season after he injured it in March. Former Washington Football Team tight end Jordan Reed also suffered sesamoid bone injuries and had them removed in the summer of 2018.
So should the Giants put in a waiver claim on a player who won’t play in 2020?
The decision itself will likely involve the Giants’ medical reports on Weaver from before the 2020 NFL Draft and their doctors’ opinions on how likely his foot injuries are to be lingering or recurring issues. The Giants’ ties to Miami — through Patrick Graham — could also inform the decision. He knows Brian Flores and likely has an idea in mind as to how the Dolphins wanted to employ Weaver. If the Giants have a similar role in their defense, it could be a natural fit.
To the best of our knowledge here at BBV, if the Giants were to put in a waiver claim — which might be seen as dirty pool around the league, considering that it’s a procedural quirk that even makes Weaver available — they will have to carry him on their roster through the rest of training camp and keep him on the active roster before placing him on IR until after final cut-downs.
So not only would the Giants have to pay a player who won’t be playing, they’ll have to sacrifice a roster spot for a player who could make the team and help them this year. But then again, the potential payoff is significant. Considering the Giants are fourth on the waiver wire, they stand a good chance of being awarded the rights to Weaver should they make a claim.
So what say you, Giants fans? Should the Giants put in a waiver claim on Weaver?