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Big Blue View mailbag: Trade speculation, Patrick Graham, Kadarius Toney, more

The mail’s here!

New York Giants fans have a lot on their minds these days. So, let’s open up the Big Blue View Mailbag and answer some questions.

Matt Totaro asks: Last year, Patrick Graham’s name was getting tossed around as a possible head coaching candidate before removing his name from consideration. Has the play of the Giants defense, to this point, eliminated his name from those circles and potentially a job next year with the Giants? Was last year a fluke with several players having career years or this the fluke year?

Ed says: Matt, as good as the Giants’ defense was last season, as bright as Graham is, and as much he cares, I think it would be a massive overreaction for the Giants to out Graham from the defensive coordinator job at the end of the season if he doesn’t get things turned around.

I do seriously doubt that you will see Graham’s name bandied about much in speculation about 2022 head-coaching candidates. The way things have gone for the Giants this season, I’m sure his stock has dropped.

Now, was last year a fluke? I wouldn’t say that, but Leonard Williams and James Bradberry did have career years. There’s no Blake Martinez. Logan Ryan, Xavier McKinney, Lorenzo Carter, Jabrill Peppers and Adoree’ Jackson are all playing well below expectations.

Is that on the players to do their jobs better? Is it on Graham to put players in better positions to succeed? It is probably both.

Dave Kamens asks: How many first-round draft picks are on the Giants roster? Seems like Gettleman is enamored by this designation. He has tried on numerous occasions to reactivate many of their careers and has failed. When will he learn that these guys are free for a reason and to stop paying outrageous money for first round busts?

Ed says: Dave, there are 14 first-round picks on the Giants roster, unless my math is off (and I’m bad at math). That’s not a crazy number, though I didn’t go and count first-round picks on every team. The Carolina Panthers have 11 if you count Christian McCaffrey and Jaycee Horn (IR) and Stephon Gilmore, technically still on PUP.

Here are the first-round picks on the Giants’ roster:

Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Adoree’ Jackson, Daniel Jones, Dexter Lawrence, Jabrill Peppers, Billy Price, John Ross, Danny Shelton, Nate Solder, Kadarius Toney, Leonard Williams, Andrew Thomas, Isiaiah Wilson (practice squad).

Who are the first-round busts getting “outrageous money?” I do believe the Adoree’ Jackson signing was a regrettable overpay. The Nate Solder signing has been slammed for years and he hasn’t been worth the money, but perspective is important. When the Giants signed him they were desperate for tackle help, and he was the best one on the market. They had little choice.

Ross, Shelton and Wilson are all low-cost, low-risk one-year signings. Price is still on his rookie contract and he’s doing a decent job in a difficult situation.

You can whine about Jonathan Stewart if you want, but that was so long ago now it’s pointless. You want to kill the guy for giving Kelvin Benjamin a chance? C’mon. There are bigger fish to fry.

Ronald Buchheim asks: Do you think the Giants rushed [Kadarius] Toney back despite his ankle injury? I know the answer seems obvious in hindsight. But do you think there is unwise pressure to get players, or this particular player, back on the field, without considering long-term health for the good of the individual and the team? It seems to happen so often in sports. But maybe we only hear about the mistakes when guys get re-injured, whereas the majority of time the medical decisions work out well.

Ed says: Ronald, I think the chatter that “the Giants rushed Kadarius Toney back” or “Daniel Jones shouldn’t have played last week” is a bunch of nonsense. Should Andrew Thomas have played? Should anybody play? If the medical staff clears them, they play. There are probably a dozen or more guys on every team every week playing through something.

Toney didn’t get hurt because of some dereliction of duty by the Giants. I’m not sure if he got rolled up on or got his cleat caught in the turf. That’s not because the Giants made a mistake playing him. It’s football. There is a risk of injury on every play.

I think the Giants under Joe Judge have been exceedingly cautious when it comes to bringing players back from injuries. To the point where in my view they sometimes wait too long. Look at how careful the Giants were all through training camp with guys like Toney, Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay.

Now, did I think Judge made a mistake keeping Jones in for the entire game on Sunday? Absolutely. That was an unnecessary, foolish risk. I believe, though, that you’re grasping at straws by accusing the Giants of playing Toney when he shouldn’t have played.

CTscan123 asks: So obviously there’s been a lot of talk about the Giants potentially being sellers before the trade deadline. The players below are the most common Reasonable, (no one is trading Barkley) subjects of speculation on that front. That said, I haven’t seen much about desired or likely compensation. What would you hope to get for each player on the list and what would be the minimum you would be willing to take if that didn’t materialize?

James Bradberry
Jabrill Peppers
Sterling Shepard
Darius Slayton
Evan Engram
Will Hernandez

And oh yeah, can we fire Gettleman yet?

Ed says: CT, my list of tradeable players is slightly different. Remove Hernandez, add Lorenzo Carter. After what we have seen this year, I just don’t think the Giants can be in the business of trading away offensive linemen. If Hernandez continues to play as well as he has so far this season, the Giants have to bring him back. I wouldn’t want to break the bank, but I would want him re-signed.

As for what the Giants would get in return for any of these players, I always caution that the return on NFL trades is generally not nearly as much as fans think it should be. The Giants would probably get very little in return for Evan Engram and Darius Slayton. James Bradberry and Sterling Shepard “might” bring mid-round type compensation. Peppers I’m not sure. Here is a list of 2021 trades and the compensation. A lot of it is Day 3 type stuff, and that is probably most of what the Giants would be able to get.

James Barnes: As one of many long time, die hard Giants fans, it’s extremely frustrating watching the current team. I agree with you that Giants ownership will not be making a change with Joe Judge and it’s clear, on paper, the Giants do not have a talented roster, which the GM is accountable for. Six games does not make a season but assuming the Giants make a GM change at the end of the year, in your opinion, who are the top three GM candidates and the reasons why the Giants should consider?

Ed says: James, I will probably do a bigger look at this later on. I will give you two names quickly.

Monti Ossenfort — He’s Tennessee Titans director of player personnel. Ossenfort spent 15 years in the New England front office and is familiar with Joe Judge.

Jim NagySenior Bowl executive director, has tons of experience in scouting, is as plugged in to college football programs as anyone, and his experience running the Senior Bowl is similar in some ways to being a GM.

Here is two quotes regarding Nagy:

“Jim has experience contributing to Super Bowl Championships with three different teams. He is very intelligent, and a great man. He leads a staff and runs the Senior Bowl as if he was drafting for two expansion teams, every season, he is very invested in the quality of talent selected for the game. Jim succeeded another highly respected football executive, and has significantly improved the game from a talent perspective and essentially every other aspect of it.

“Who else in scouting has to deal with sponsors and the corporate side, dealing with the community and the demands there as well as interfacing with the league office, every team and GM, and all the agents? He has to deal with things none of us do and he hears from everyone in the league. He has the pulse on what everyone cares about. That’s unique.”

A little different format for the question below.

John asks: You’re GM again, congrats. Your phone rings with the following offers, do you take them or pass?

1) It’s San Fran, they’re interested in Engram for their 5th round pick in 2022. Kittle will be back and both of them on the field creates real problems for defenses. Engram won’t be asked to block all that much.

Ed says: Take the deal. I don’t care what team it is or the circumstances, provided it is out of the NFC East. I think a fifth-round pick might be the max offer for Engram, and I’m grabbing it.

2) It’s Tampa - they like Bradberry, they think if they can figure out CB they can make another run and will give you their 3rd round pick in 2022. Brady restructures to make the salary cap work and extends his contract until he’s 48.

Ed says: Take the deal. Again, don’t care what team or what they do with James Bradberry. He is under-performing, a third-round pick is good value, and moving him gives the Giants $12.136 million in badly-needed cap space next season.

3) Green Bay figures Shepard is a master of moving the chains on third down, and that keeps Rogers on the field, a 3rd round in 2022 feels too rich so they want your 6th along with Sheppard.

Ed says: No deal. Green Bay would actually be a perfect destination for Sterling Shepard. He is on my list of players I would consider trading, but I really don’t want to. To me, he’s still a core guy, a really good player who has several productive years left, and a guy who can be a locker room leader. I want to keep those guys if I can. The third-round pick is tempting, but if I deal him I only save $4.5 million against the cap and take a $7.99 million cap hit. I’m keeping Shep.

4) The Charges here, thinking they’d like to cut down letting up 162.5 yards per game rushing, and have no plans leaving Peppers in coverage. They’d give you their 4th in 2022 for him.

Ed says: Take the deal. Bye, bye, Pep. My feelings on Peppers are clear. He is an energetic player and he does some things well, although covering the pass is not one of them. He is a free-agent-to-be, he is going to want big money and if I’m the GM I am not giving it to him. I will take what I can get and let Aaron Robinson, Julian Love and Darnay Holmes play the rest of the year.

5) It’s the Chiefs, they want Barkley. They’re willing to bet on him getting healthy and creating a very scary offense. They’re willing to give you their #1 2022 pick, but want Barkley and the worse of your 3rd round picks in 2022.

Ed says: No deal. No. No. No. No. No. I have made this clear before — trading Barkley at the deadline is a dumb thing to do. I would be selling low. Way low. A pick that will probably land late in Round 1 in exchange for Barkley and a pick that right now would come in at No. 68 overall is not a good deal for me.

The right thing to do is to get Barkley healthy, let him play the second half of the season and hopefully rebuild his value. Once he has done that you sit down with ownership in the offseason and have a frank conversation about Barkley? Is he part of your future and deserving a long-term second contract? Or, is trading him for the best package you can find and moving in a new direction the best thing? If you do decide to trade him, I think you will generate better offers at that point.

Jeff Newman asks: Assuming Dave Gettleman gets fired or “retires” this year, which seems like a pretty safe bet, John Mara has one job to do, hire a new GM. Let’s hope he gives the new GM free reign to shape the team as he thinks best. I don’t want him to telling the GM you got to keep Jones or Judge etc. That being said, how does Mara ensure he picks the best GM possible? Who does he go to for advice? Who SHOULD he go to for advice?

Ed says: Jeff, if the Giants are in the market for a new GM I really don’t know who Mara should go to for advice. I just know this shouldn’t be another Ernie Accorsi-led search. The time for that is gone. I think you cast a wider net than the Giants did last time. The only truly “outside” candidate the Giants talked to last time was Louis Riddick. The job was always going to be Gettleman’s. That sort of pre-determined outcome can’t happen the next time Mara is in the GM market. He needs to decide what he wants or needs, then get out of his comfort zone and try to go find it.

Spencer Gross asks: I wanted to ask your opinion on the Peart/Solder debacle. I read your most recent article about Peart’s opportunity and I agree that it’s a huge step that could go either way but my questions is why in his holy name is Solder still wearing a Giants uniform let alone on the field? Wouldn’t it be best to see how Peart could do gaining experience on the right where he is expected to become the cornerstone at? Solder is more than a liability. Rob Sale is seeing something no one else in the league is seeing, “Nate had a few good games in a row right there, playing better, starting to play at a higher level“ watching him get bullied by anyone that comes to the line is heart wrenching and multiple protection assignments get slid his way consistently. I understand the NFL will send its best against you every week but having Solder out there seems like a disaster constantly waiting to happen. Is it his Judge/Patriots connection that keeps him around? Because it certainly doesn’t look like playing good football is doing it.

Ed says: Spencer, I think we can all agree that it would be better for the Giants for Peart to play and Solder to sit when Andrew Thomas comes back. That probably should have been happening all along. Justified at this point or not, I’m sure Joe Judge has trust in Solder dating back to their time together in New England.

As for what Rob Sale said, I know what he was referring to. He played OK from Weeks 2-4, and again in Week 6. Not great, but OK. He was awful Week 5 vs. Dallas. The difference? He was at left tackle vs. the Cowboys. The Giants want to put the best combination they can out there, and that means putting Solder at right tackle where he has a better chance to succeed.