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Big Blue View mailbag: Wide receivers, salary cap, DeSean Jackson, more

The mail’s here!

There are hints of Spring in the air here in upstate New York, which means it’s not football season. The mail, though, never stops. Let’s open the Big Blue View Mailbag and answer some New York Giants questions.

Todd Hosler asks: I have a body type question for you Ed, that pertains to the draft. Currently, we have a draft class of Smith, Chase and Waddle plus a hybrid TE in Pitts that appear to be head and shoulders above the rest. All of these players have plusses and minuses that may attract or deter you from drafting them.

My question is skill set/body type. Who do you would fit best with the Giants and Daniel Jones? Obviously, we would want all skills in one package. I have never met the perfect receiver so I think we should be mindful of the skill sets that each of these receivers possess. Some say Daniel needs separation while others might think he needs bigger targets. What do you think and what do the viewers think?

Ed says: Todd, the truth is I think the Giants need play makers. Body type is probably overrated. If you can make plays, you can make plays. Whatever your size.

Now, that said I do have a bias. Given my choice, I would like to see the Giants add a big, strong “X” receiver who is open when he’s not open simply because he’s big enough and strong enough to dominate defensive backs on 50-50 balls. To me, that describes one guy in this draft — Ja’marr Chase of LSU. It might also describe Kyle Pitts of Florida, depending on how he is used.

Now, there is another factor. I always used to think Eli Manning needed the bigger target or the guy with the big catch radius because he wasn’t a pinpoint, always throw the ball in the perfect place quarterback. He was a “give his guys a chance and see if they win” guy. In this case, I suspect Jason Garrett might function better as offensive coordinator with that big-bodied wide receiver to run some of his possession concepts. In Dallas, he had Terrell Owens and then Dez Bryant.

That said, if the Giants draft Jaylen Waddle because they think he’s the best play-maker on the board I’m not going to get all indignant because he’s not a big guy. If nobody can catch you it doesn’t matter how big you are.

As for the whole separation argument, I know what the numbers say about the Giants in that area. I think that’s a combination of talent and scheme, not body size.

Kevin McGowan asks: Should the Giants kick the tires on Desean? A WR with great ability to separate both vertically and horizontally, can turn a screen into a big play, better option on end arounds, inside tosses than any current Giant, and can still return punts. I think he has a season or 2 left in the tank. He’s not a #1 or 2, but a good addition to multiple wideout plays.

Ed says: Kevin, you are asking about DeSean Jackson. My vote is no. A really, really, really strong “no.” Just on the emotional side of it, I don’t think Giants fans could deal with seeing Jackson in a Giants uniform.

Seriously, though, Jackson will be 35 years old by the end of the 2021 season. He has already played for 13 seasons. He has been limited to only eight games total over the past two seasons by injuries. He’s not going to get faster, or healthier. He is only going to decline.

The Giants are still a building team. You want to bring in players who can give you more than one season. You can get the skillset Jackson had early in his career by drafting Jaylen Waddle. You could select Kadarius Toney, Rondale Moore or any of several other smallish speed guys in the draft somewhere beyond the No. 11 pick.

I don’t see any good reason to sign Jackson. Go get a burner in the draft. Or, sign a player in his prime like Curtis Samuel.

ctscan123 asks: Thanks for your response to my question last time regarding the offensive line. I’d like to continue that theme if you have room in the mail bag and talk about the possibility of obtaining the services of Orlando Brown.

He still has one year left on his contract and so would be a low-cost addition in a year where we are strapped for cash. He’s already been to two Pro Bowls, one at left tackle in his short career. While signing him would necessitate moving Thomas to right tackle, I am fine with that. I don’t think he did enough in his rookie year to have a lock on the position. Frankly, he could continue to develop with a bit less pressure on him.

Estimates very, but we could probably get him for a first and a 3 or a first and a four considering that the pick we would be offering up is the number 11 overall. I would be reluctant to pull the trigger on the former, but would be all over the latter. While the 11th overall pick is certainly a valuable commodity, I am happy to pay a bit more for proven production over the crapshoot of the draft. See Eli Apple and DeAndre Baker for reference.

How about you? Would you pull the trigger on a trade for Brown? And if so, what would be the most you would pay?

Ed says: CT, the answer is no. I recognize that he’s a really good player, and to be honest I wouldn’t have objected had the Giants drafted him back in 2018. There are, though, a lot of layers to why I would not trade for Brown.

First, I’m going to disagree with your assertion that Brown would be a low-cost addition. He is heading into his fourth season. He was not a first-round pick in 2018. If you’re trading for him, you are not giving up premium draft picks for a one-year rental. You are going to commit to signing him to a rich, long-term deal at left tackle money, which means probably $15 million or more annually.

The Giants not only are trying to pay Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson. They also have to figure out soon how to pay Saquon Barkley. Daniel Jones, too, if they decide he’s going to be the guy long term.

Let’s say you can get Brown for a first- and third- or fourth-round pick, as you suggest. For the Giants, the cost is actually more than that in terms of draft capital. You are pretty much throwing away the third-round pick you spent on Matt Peart a year ago, so add that to the cost. The Giants drafted Peart hoping he could be their long-term right tackle. I would like to see them give him the opportunity to be that.

Here’s the other thing. The Giants are coached by Joe Judge. Do you really think Judge is going to pound the table to give up two high draft picks or more for a player who is going to walk into the locker room and tell him where he is going to play? Maybe I’m overestimating that part of it, but the point is it’s clear that the coach is in charge, not the players.

Ray Kochert asks: Have you or the staff at Big Blue View heard any rumblings about the Giants pursuing Jadaveon Clowney. He seems to be off the radar screen this offseason.

Ed says: Ray, the answer is no. Why would Clowney be on the radar? If the Giants are spending money on the defensive line that has to go to Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson. To me, Clowney isn’t a consideration under any circumstance.

He’s a guy who’s production simply doesn’t match his name, or the paycheck he commands. He played only eight games for Tennessee in 2020, had no sacks and just 11 pressures. The Titans pass rush was terrible. If Tennessee isn’t tripping over themselves trying to keep the guy, I’m not sure why anyone else should.

Hard pass for me.

Mike Elston asks: What do the Cowboys do differently than the Giants that they always seem to have plenty of cap space, where except for rare years, the Giants always seem to have minimal space to pursue free agents The Cowboys aren’t shy about signing big name free agents. I am a long time fan of the Giants and prefer their develop from within philosophy, not looking for the Giants to follow the Cowboys style. I just don’t understand how the math works for the Cowboys.

Ed says: Mike, when I get questions like this I always like to remind that I am not a salary cap expert. You want to pay attention to Joel Corry of CBS or Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap if you really want the good stuff when it comes to the salary cap.

That said, I’m not sure the math works any differently for the Cowboys than it does for anyone else. The biggest trick teams have in their bag is using signing bonuses. A $9 million signing bonus, like the one in James Bradberry’s deal, might get paid when the player signs. It isn’t recorded that way, however. The bonus is split over the length of the deal, thus spreading out the cap hit.

Every team that signs free agents to big contracts eventually has to face the cap music, like the Giants are right now with Nate Solder, Kevin Zeitler and Golden Tate. To go with your question, the cap math favors the Cowboys this year. Fast forward to 2022 and Over The Cap currently shows the Giants in far better cap shape than the Cowboys.

I think the Giants did a really good job last offseason getting Bradberry and Blake Martinez to sign shorter-term deals that won’t tie up money for years and years to come. Let’s see if that continues.

Jesse Sorel asks: I’ve been reading the last couple of weeks that the Denver Broncos are not going to pick up the team option for Von Miller. Do you think he could fit in Patrick Graham’s 3/4 system? Is there any possibility that he could find himself in a Giants uniform? What would be the price? I understand if Shaq Barrett is a free agent he would be a better option.

Ed says: Jesse, Von Miller would fit in any system. He is one of those great players you scheme your defense around, not a guy you pigeon-hole into a role because “that’s how we play defense.”

That said, Von Miller is not going to be a Giant. First, it sounds like Miller and the Broncos want to work out a deal to keep him in Denver. Second, he’s one of those guys — even coming off last year’s injury — who is going to be able to choose where he goes if he hits the open market. He will go to a team that is already looked at as a potential Super bowl contender, not a team like the Giants that has had one winning season in the last eight years.