The New York Giants preseason is about to end, followed by some difficult decisions to reach the 53-man regular-season roster limit. With that as a backdrop, let’s open the Big Blue View Mailbag.
Ronald Buchheim asks: Why didn’t Platzgummer play vs. the Browns after his 48-yarder vs. the Jets? Isn’t he better than Brightwell? Any chance he’ll make the roster?
Ed says: Ronald, preseason is about seeing all of the players on your 90-man roster to be able to make an educated judgment when it comes time to set the initial roster and practice squad.
The Giants see Sandro Platzgummer every day in practice. He made a nice run against the Jets. To be honest, he isn’t better than Gary Brightwell — it’s not even close — and he isn’t making the roster. He will be on the practice squad, perhaps with a roster exemption again. The Giants really don’t need to see more in games.
Brightwell is a sixth-round pick who played at a big-time school. Platzgummer is a kid from Austria who made one nice play in a preseason game and now everyone is going ga-ga over him. The Giants played Brightwell because they need to see him, and he needs the reps.
James Pauloski asks: When a player is waived (injury settlement), how much is he paid? Is it related to the extent of the injury (recovery time), and is the player given health benefits during that time? I don’t recall reading any discussion of injury settlements.
Ed says: James, there is no set amount that a player is paid. As “settlement” implies, it is negotiated based on the expected time it will take a player to recover from his injury and seek employment with another team. I am not going to pretend to be an expert in the nitty-gritty of these settlements.
Here is a great explanation from the Russell Street Report:
In the NFL, an injured player cannot be released. Often a team and player will reach an Injury Settlement in lieu of putting, or keeping, the player on IR for the rest of the season. Once an Injury Settlement is reached, the player is released. This is done when the player has a chance to recover from injury and play again in that season. However, if the player is still under contract for future seasons and the team wants to retain the player’s rights for the future, the team will not agree to an Injury Settlement and instead decide to continue to carry the player on Injured Reserve (IR).
An Injury Settlement is usually based on the amount of time that the team and player agree the player will be unable to play. So, for example, if the player is only expected to miss the first month of the season, the team and player will usually agree to a settlement of 4/17ths of the player’s scheduled base salary. The team then receives a Salary Cap credit of 13/17th of that salary. An Injury Settlement is attractive to both the team and player because it allows the team to create additional Salary Cap space and allows the player an opportunity to catch on with another team and not have to sit out the entire season on IR.
If a player is released with an Injury Settlement, he can not be re-signed by that team until after the term of the Injury Settlement (the number of weeks used to calculate the Injury Settlement), plus three (3) additional weeks.
Alan Goldstein asks: There seems to be some confusion regarding things like the PUP, Injured Reserve and some of the guys on the roster. I tried to make sense of the rules and they are somewhat opaque. For instance, Aaron Robinson doesn’t seem to have practiced at all so is he eligible for PUP to start the season? Elerson Smith is also somewhat of a concern because he has practiced. In order to put him on short term IR do they have to add him to the 53 to start the season? Is there any way for the team to stash him away for a short time without having him pass through waivers?
Ed says: Alan, thanks for the question. Let me try to clarify.
An injured player unable to practice can to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list at the beginning of training camp. He cannot practice until he is cleared by doctors and passes a physical.
In the case of rookie cornerback Aaron Robinson, he began training camp on PUP and is still there. If Robinson remains there throughout the preseason, and he certainly will at this point, he can be placed on regular-season PUP to begin the season. He would not count against the 53-man roster and would be eligible to return after the sixth game of the season. After the sixth week on PUP, a player must be allowed to return to practice, placed on injured reserve, or released within five weeks.
Elerson Smith is in a different situation. He began training camp on PUP, but has been taken off. He has, though, barely practiced and I have serious doubts that as a fourth-round pick out of a small school who did not play in 2020 when his team’s season was cancelled due to COVID-19 that he will be anywhere close to being ready to contribute to an NFL team in less than three weeks.
If the Giants were to cut Smith and try to get him to the practice squad, he would have to go through waivers. He is a young pass rusher with upside and almost certainly would be claimed by someone. So, that is not a palatable option.
Since Smith is off PUP, the Giants will have to carry him as part of their 53-man roster. Once that happens, they can — and almost certainly will — place him on injured reserve. Remember, with the new IR rules an unlimited number of players placed on IR after the 53-man roster is formed can return to action after missing just three games. This is what the Giants did with linebacker David Mayo a season ago.
Christine Dalessio asks: Besides Ryan Santoso (traded to the Carolina Panthers), do you see any other positions with depth/specific players that may be trade material to improve an area of need? Especially for O Line (not to beat that horse) vs scouring waiver wires.
Ed says: Christine, first I have to say that Joe Judge did a masterful job of talking up Santoso, building his value, and allowing the Giants to get something in return for him.
Now, is there anyone else on the roster who is tradeable right now?
I would say one of the wide receivers, but with all the injuries the Giants have I doubt they can afford to deal one. Besides, is anyone really giving up a draft pick or offensive lineman for C.J. Board or Dante Pettis, where there will be a dozen or more comparable players on the waiver wire after Tuesday?
The only player who intrigues me as a trade chip might be defensive lineman B.J. Hill. If the Giants really think David Moa or undrafted free agent Raymond Johnson III can be contributors this seadon — and I am far from convinced of that — maybe Hill would have value to someone.
Taj Siddiqi asks: The Giants were able to sign free agents like Adoree Jackson, Kyle Rudolph, [Kenny] Golladay and Danny Shelton during the off season. Expected return of a healthy Saquon Barkley. Also considering this is the second year of this coaching regime I was optimistic that this team is on the way to 10+ wins season.
With all the injuries and uncertainty of which of these injured players will be available at the start of the season and questions about the offensive line my optimism has all but disappeared.
So my questions to you Mr. Valentine are how to look at this upcoming season? A season that will be a winning one or is it going to be another season of making progress? Do we need to wait for O-Line to play together and gel? Will the status of Danny Jones as our QB of the future remain unanswered?
I do believe in JJ and his coaching staff. Also I think JJ and DG work well together but not sure what to expect from my beloved GIANTS this coming season.
Ed says: Taj, there is no way to know exactly what is going to happen this season. I know it’s hard for fans to do, but you can’t live and die with the ups and downs of every preseason or training camp practice. It’s a rollercoaster that will give you an ulcer.
I think this is a team that is likely to be “around” eight or nine wins. Maybe a little more than that if things fall into place. Less than that if things go off the rails with injuries, the offensive line doesn’t perform adequately, or Daniel Jones just doesn’t take a step forward.
For the most part, all I can tell you is to keep the faith. Nothing that counts has happened yet. Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Adoreee’ Jackson and others are injured, but teams all around the league are dealing with similar things. The Giants haven’t yet lost any key players to season-ending injuries.
I think there are reasons for optimism. I think there are reasons for concern. The Giants had two good days and two bad days during joint practices with the Browns and Patriots over the past two weeks. That tells me that my instinct that they are sort of middle of the pack right now could be on target.
Be optimistic, but don’t be overly optimistic and expect a 13-4 season. If the Giants give you a nine- or 10-win year that’s something to feel good about.