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Big Blue View mailbag: DeShaun Watson trade, Daniel Jones, cap questions, more

The mail’s here!

You have waited all week, so let’s open the Big Blue View Mailbag and see what New York Giants questions we can answer.

ctscan123 asks: So, with our season being over, like many year-round G-men fans I have turned my thoughts to free agency. At this point, I think most of us would like to keep Leonard Williams, but I was thinking about it from a “this or that“ perspective. Williams will probably cost north of $20 million a year. Tomlinson is estimated at around $12 million as is Curtis Samuel. So if the question is “would I like Leonard Williams to stay on the Giants?“ then the answer is Hell yes. If the question though is “would I prefer the combination of Dalvin Tomlinson and Curtis Samuel or to keep Leonard Williams?“ Well, that’s a trickier question for me. Considering the comp pick we would likely get for Williams, and the remaining strength on the line even without him, would you pick “this or that?“

Ed says: CT, I have said consistently that I would choose Williams over Tomlinson. I’m not going to back off that stance. Now, I absolutely recognize that Williams is going to be more expensive. That means that I recognize it will be more difficult for the Giants to sign other players in a situation where the salary cap is expected to go down from $198.2 million to somewhere around $180 million. Assistant GM Kevin Abrams, who is the Giants’ primary cap specialist, is going to have to work some magic. Not that he would be easy to replace, because he wouldn’t be, but it is easier to find run-defending tackles than to find guys who impact the run and the pass and can line up all across the line.

As for the 2-for-1 nature of adding Samuel into the mix, I think that the Giants fully understand the need to add playmakers. Whether they do it in free agency, the draft, or both, I believe they will find a way to add at least one big-play threat on the outside.

Back to the original question, I’m taking the more well-rounded, impactful player and going from there.

Kobe Goodall asks: Take me back through the 2019 draft. Why were the Giants so fond of Daniel Jones? The pick seemed kind of forced. We needed to replace Eli but I feel as though they drafted the same person. Jones has all the same problems Eli had and his demeanor is parallel to his in my opinion.

How do you feel about Eli Manning? People say they miss Eli a lot but I don’t. He was a frustrating QB to watch and couldn’t protect the ball. He was fabulous on his Super Bowl runs, but so inconsistent that I never thought that he was that great of a QB. How do you rate Eli’s career as an NFL fan, not a Giants fan?

Ed says: Why were the Giants so fond of Daniel Jones? Kobe, you largely answered your own question. Everything about Jones — skillset, demeanor, who trained him — screamed ‘Eli Manning’ when the Giants looked at him.

Why wouldn’t that be attractive to the Giants? They won two Super Bowls with him, and probably should have won three. I know the final few seasons Manning was a shell of the player he had been and the Giants probably went too long with him, but in my view he’s the best quarterback the franchise has ever had. if they believed they had come across version 2.0, of course they were going to want that.

Was the pick “forced?” I don’t think that’s the right way to look at it. Were the Giants backed into a corner a little bit? Sure. Manning’s time was pretty much up and they knew they had to get a successor in place soon. They believed in Jones and they made the move. I know it killed GM Dave Gettleman to leave a pass rusher as outstanding as Josh Allen on the board, but they thought Jones was their guy and did what they believed was right.

The Giants could have taken Sam Darnold or even Josh Allen the year before, but didn’t. They could have waited until 2019, but there’s no guarantee they could have landed Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa. Quarterback is the most important position in football. It’s also incredibly difficult to get it right. If it was easy, every team would have a great one. I will never criticize a team for doing what they feel they have to do to get the right quarterback.

Now, will Jones ultimately prove the Giants right? I know some people have already decided the answer is no, but the jury is still out.

Todd Rochel asks: Is there any buzz of Joe Judge adding to his coaching staff? With Bret Bielema leaving they have a spot open for the OLBs coach. Also, do you think Dave DeGuglielmo will be back as the o-line coach?

Ed says: Todd, the only thing we know at this point is that the Giants will need a replacement for Dave DeGuglielmo. His contract expired and the Giants will look for someone who can provide some stability there.

As for other additions, there has been nothing. Some fans have speculated about adding a passing game coordinator or someone like that to help Jason Garrett, provided he returns as offensive coordinator. There has been no talk of that I know of, though, and the Giants already have a former coordinator in Freddie Kitchens and a good offensive mind in Derek Dooley on staff. For what it’s worth, I’m not a big believer in getting too many cooks in the kitchen.

As to replacing Bielema, let’s see what happens. I have no inside information on this, but I do have an observation. I think former New England Patriots coordinator and Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia is a natural candidate for that role given his connection to Judge. I also think Patricia would give the Giants a natural successor if defensive coordinator Patrick Graham leaves in a year or two.

Thing is, I would expect Patricia to exhaust his options to land a defensive coordinator job before he would accept a position coach role.

Douglas Mollin asks: I’m enjoying reading the position updates but it got me thinking that most every area of the team needs attention. Maybe that’s the case with most NFL teams, but it seemed kind of stark when I wrote it out:

  • We have Saquon back, but we need a capable RB2.
  • We are rolling with DJ as our QB, but we should upgrade McCoy.
  • We have a “pro-bowl” TE, but it’d be nice to upgrade that too.
  • We absolutely need more WR talent.
  • The OL has potential to get better, but also likely needs at least one new starter (RT and/or one of the guard spots).
  • The Dline is our strength but we have two FAs to address.
  • We obviously need to add talent to our Edge group.
  • Maybe Crowder is the answer next to Blake, but it’d be nice to upgrade the LB group too.
  • Bradberry is a real pro bowler and we have some depth pieces, but CB2 is also a need.
  • Safety seems stable with Peppers, McKinney, Ryan.
  • Kicker is money, but we likely bring in competition for Dixon.

I’ve hopeful that 2021 is the year we cross .500, start beating good teams and get back to the playoffs ... but that list gives me pause. Stay optimistic for 2021, or are we realistically another year away?

Ed says: Douglas, of course you should stay optimistic. Yes, there are questions. Every team enters the offseason with questions, with areas of the roster they hope to improve. The Giants have a good young coach. They have a good coaching staff around him. They have more players on the roster they should be excited about going forward with than they have had in several years.

Right now, we have no idea what the 2021 roster will look like. How will the Giants handle the salary cap? How will they try to address their needs for playmakers on offense and defense? Will Daniel Jones take a step forward? We’ll find out.

By the way, a year away from what? Are we talking about getting to 8-8 or better? Being a Super Bowl contender? Let’s see what happens during the offseason and then we will have a better idea about the 2021 Giants.

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans
DeShaun Watson
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Bob Donnelly asks: There’s a possibility that Houston will trade [DeShaun] Watson.

Should the Giants consider a trade using Barkley as the cornerstone? Jones would be an obvious 2nd piece. Engram as a pro bowler could be a third.

Most Giants fans would be ecstatic.

Houston is getting 3 first rounders but may want more.

Perhaps Hernandez, or Zeitler, or Tate could be thrown in with a late round pick or two coming to NY to make it work.

I know including Hernandez would be sending 4 of the Giants last five first round first picks but I suspect many Giants fans would be okay with that. I suspect DG would find that hard to swallow. What are your thoughts on the trade pieces NY would need to send to Houston, and should they pay the price?

Ed says: No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. The Giants are not going to, and should not, trade for DeShaun Watson.

Bob, you might be ecstatic with your proposed deal of most of the franchise for Watson. I’m not. I know how good Watson is. But, you basically want to give up half the roster to get the guy. Who is he going to hand the ball to? Throw it to? Who is going to block? It sounds to me like your idea is just keep adding names to the mix until the Texans say yes.

Besides, I can’t see the Texans taking that swap. Jones, sure. He would give them a young quarterback, which they would obviously need. They would likely want draft picks — probably first-round draft picks for the next several years. I can’t endorse that. I know what I wrote above about paying whatever price you have to in order to get the right quarterback, but I’m not willing to more or less gut the franchise for Watson. What good does it do if you get the guy, but you have put yourself in a position where you have no way to put talent around him?

Interestingly, the Watson trade topic came up on a recent ESPN podcast with Field Yates, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. Yates asked Kiper to propose a Jets trade offer for Watson and McShay a Miami Dolphins trade offer.

  • McShay proposed 2021 and 2022 first-round picks, along with a second- or third-rounder. Not nearly enough when you consider what Kiper proposed.
  • Kiper proposed the Jets sending picks 2 and 23 this year, the Jets 2022 first round-pick, two second-round picks and two third-round picks to Houston for Watson.

The Giants just can’t do that. If you believe in Jones, which the Giants apparently do, I would rather build around him than go get a different quarterback while ravaging my ability to add players who could help him.

Matt Totaro asks: With a projected cap around $180 million, the Giants are roughly $2 million over. The cap last year was $198.2 million and most teams were not anticipating the near 10 percent percent reduction when they signed players to their multiyear deals. If the Giants were to sign Leonard Williams or let’s say Allen Robinson to a $15 million dollar contract would that mean they need to clear 27 million dollars just to make that happen or is there more to it?

Ed says: Matt, contracts, though, are far more complicated than saying if a player has a three-year, $45 million deal he costs $15 million against the salary cap each season. Team will use signing bonuses, roster bonuses, workout bonuses and incentives to manipulate the cap and change the value of a contract. They will also front- or back-load contracts.

Here is an example from Over The Cap using the three-year, $43.5 million contract James Bradberry signed with the Giants.

Notice how the cap number changes each year based on the structure of the deal. Also, how the guaranteed money is almost all loaded into the first two years of the deal. That enables the Giants to get out of the third year of the contract if they wanted to without a a huge cap hit.