Let’s open the Big Blue View mailbag and see what questions we can answer while new york Giants fans await the Kenny Golladay decision.
Seth Weissman asks: Ed, losing Tomlinson is really bad. How are the Giants ever going to really build a strong team if they keep letting integral pieces leave? It seems like Minnesota let’s them draft DT’s and then waits a few years so they can pick them up in their prime. I know the Giants had to spend more money on Williams but getting him into a three-year deal plus the other moves they subsequently made surely would have allowed them to get Tomlinson the same deal Minnesota gave him. I don’t understand how Getty couldn’t pull that off. Thoughts?
Ed says: Seth, I truly believe the Giants would have liked to have Tomlinson back. I would have liked it, too. You hate to see good players leave. It was always apparent, though, that bringing Leonard Williams back would be the priority. I’ve said many times I believe it was the right one.
Looking at the deal Tomlinson got from Minnesota (two years, $21 million, $20.8 million guaranteed) it is structured in such a way that the 2021 cap hit is only $6 million.
Now, look at what the Giants have done in free agency this week. Kyle Rudolph, John Ross, Devontae Booker, Reggie Ragland, Ifeadi Odenigbo (I tested myself by spelling that one w/o looking). Mostly low-cost signings (yes, I know Rudolph is a bit of a bigger cap hit). I think the Giants made the calculation that they couldn’t achieve many of their free agency goals if they paid Tomlinson. On top of which, I think they made the calculation that increased snaps for Austin Johnson and B.J. Hill, plus perhaps the addition of a mid-round draft pick, could fill that run-stuffing role in a more cost-effective manner.
Ronald Buchheim asks: Why do you think the Giants paid $2.5 to $3 million for Booker? Could they have had Gallman, who seems to be just as good if not better, for much less? Or is Gallman determined to find a starting job elsewhere?
Ed says: Ronald, this one mystifies me. It isn’t so much not bringing back Wayne Gallman — I think Gallman is hoping to find an opportunity elsewhere to have a bigger role than caddying for Saquon Barkley. Good for him if he can find it.
What I truly don’t understand is committing $2.5 million in cap space this year to a Barkley backup. I’m firmly convinced they could have waited until after the draft and found a capable backup at the veteran minimum. I had proposed the idea of bringing back DeVonta Freeman, and I still think I would have been happier with that than committing money to Booker.
One thing I believe, though, is that this has Joe Judge’s fingerprints all over it. Judge is a former special teams coach and he is absolutely committed to the importance of that group. He wants backup players capable of being special teamers.
Gallman did not play a single special teams snap in 2020, and played only 17 the year before that. He can’t help there. Booker is an experienced special teamer, logging 533 special teams snaps over the past four seasons.
Peter Colavito asks: Do we think analysts have swung too far the other way on Gregory Rousseau, pushing him into the 20’s? I don’t watch as much video as you, but his length and agility reminds me of JPP - his ability to get into the backfield quickly and then, if he needs to, turn back around a chase a QB or RB from behind. I get that he doesn’t have the hand work and countermoves of other guys like Ojulari or Phillips, but that seems coachable relative to the physical tools.
Ed says: Peter, I don’t know what “we” think. I can only tell you what I think. The Jason Pierre-Paul comparison is obvious because of the length and athleticism. The question no one can answer is whether he can become that kind of player. I don’t see the instincts or enough of an all-around game to be comfortable. I think taking him at No. 11 would be a huge gamble with high bust potential. Someone will will take the risk before he gets out of Round 1. I just don’t want to see it be the Giants.
Jesse Sorel asks: With the addition of Kyle Rudolph the Giants spent 2 years 14-16 million depending on what report you read. The Giants have Engram, Toilolo, and Smith. Seems like a lot of resources to one position. Consider 3rd down you will have a Rb, 2 outside receivers, then either 2 TE’s or 1 TE and a slot. When the Giants line up in 3rd down one player taking up decent cap room will be on the sideline. Either Rudolph, Shepard, or Engram will be sidelined. Do you think it is wise to spend so many resources on the middle 2 receivers ( Rudolph, Engram, and Shepard)? Do you think the Giants could have found a cheaper inline TE? With the Jordan Raanan report coming out that the Engram will still have a role on offense do think Sterling Shepard is on his way out? A lot of resources on the TE. If you add up TE position I looks like 14-15 million this year on the TE position. Seems like bad cap management to me. Could of spent that money Rudolph got on a pass rusher like Reddick who got similar money Kyle is going to get. Your thoughts?
Ed says: Jesse, I admire the thoughtfulness but I think you’re spending too much trying to figure out a solution to a “problem” that I don’t see as a problem. Besides which, it’s up to Jason Garrett and Joe Judge to piece the puzzle together.
Let’s clarify the Kyle Rudolph numbers. It’s not two years and $16 million. It is two years and $12 million, with $4.5 million guaranteed and a $4.75 million 2021 cap hit. So, not nearly as exorbitant as may have been initially thought.
We don’t know what will happen with Evan Engram. Maybe the Giants keep him, and he spends more time split off the line as a big slot receiver. Maybe someone offers the Giants a third- or fourth-round draft pick and that is enough to entice the Giants to move him and clear the $6.013 in cap space. Don’t know.
I do know that Rudolph’s skill set as both a blocker and receiver is a tremendous fit for what Garrett seems to want from a tight end. See Nick Falato’s fantastic Rudolph film study for more on that.
The problem I have with the Giants’ allocation of resources at tight end isn’t the money they spent on Rudolph — I think they know exactly why they signed him and how he fits into their plan. It’s the money they spent on Levine Toilolo.
I couldn’t figure out why the Giants gave a so-so blocker who doesn’t catch passes a two-year, $6 million deal before the 2020 season. Now, I can’t figure out why they restructured his contract and took a $1.6 million cap hit to keep him this season rather than just cut him outright and save roughly $2.9 million. The restructure saved them some money, but I don’t know what Toilolo does that a player making the minimum salary can’t do.