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Big Blue View mailbag: What, if anything, should Giants do at the trade deadline?

The mail’s here!

With the NFL trade deadline just a few days away, there is a lot to discuss when it comes to the New York Giants. Let’s open the Big Blue View Mailbag and do that.

Wally P asks: You said point blank “The 5-1 record is nice, but the Giants aren’t Super Bowl contenders this year.” I can easily see us being 9-1 a month from now. Would you consider us SB contenders then? I would.

Ed says: Easily, Wally? Easily? Seriously? You are completely discounting the fact that the Seattle Seahawks are a good football team playing at home in a stadium notoriously difficult for visiting teams to deal with?

Let me put it that way. Anything is possible. So, yes, 9-1 is possible. So, yes, the Super Bowl is possible. I do not believe the second one is going to happen, even if the first one does. That’s just how I see it. Feel free to dream — you absolutely should. Enjoy the ride. If I end up being wrong, that’s cool. Won’t be the first — or last — time.

The Giants have won a few games against teams that — on paper — have more talent. Let’s see how they fare over the final seven games when they face the 6-0 Philadelphia Eagles twice, the 5-2 Cowboys, the 5-1 Minnesota Vikings, and the probably better than 3-3-1 Indianapolis Colts.

What is happening with the Giants is fantastic. It is a lot of fun. It should breed a lot of hope for the future. I do not, though, think it will be ending with a parade.

Mark Cicio asks: In regards to “making the playoffs”, I’m still not convinced we are a playoff team, nor do I think that makes or breaks our season. If we win 4 of our remaining 10 games it will give us a 10-7 record. Will that mean we fell apart as a team? It depends on how we lose. We are winning very close games, and history says that is most likely not a sustainable trend.

With that said, I want to see us competitive for the remaining 10 games of this season. We have obvious needs … WR’s, pass blocking interior linemen, quality middle linebacker amongst others. But if we continue to see growth in DJ, continued dominance with Dex and Thibs, continued strong coaching… I am fine with 4 out of the next 10. We have cap space and more draft picks coming, and that’s how a sustaining contender is built (aka Buffalo).

Your opinion on my thoughts?

Ed says: Mark, at this point the Giants should be a 2022 playoff team. I will continue to say, though, that my belief that what is being done by Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll is more about setting up for 2023 and beyond than it is about a magical Super Bowl title or deep playoff run this year. If those things happen, it is a bonus.

Gregory Carroll asks: Seems every Mailbag has Q&A about the passing game and mentions Golladay and Toney until I could barf. Then there is usually some comment about Barkley getting more targets and Robinson getting back into rotation. Blah, blah, blah. Every week I watch the game and highlights until my wife threatens me with leaving me for a bowler. Anyway, why is Sills V never mentioned? I know he isn’t an elite receiver, and is in the 53 because of others already mentioned; but, the man appears to be a blocking phenomenon. Seems that when I watch those highlights, he is opening holes in the secondary that I, a 75-year-old couch potato, could run through, much less Barclay and Robinson. Am I seeing what I’m seeing, or am I just a delusionary fan on the Sills V bandwagon? You have to admit, a guy in his situation and the effort he puts in is somebody you just love to root for.

Ed says: Gregory, Sills is never mentioned because fans understand that he is a limited guy without a big upside and they want to see someone better. Listen, Sills is playing first and foremost because right now the Giants don’t have anyone better. He plays because he does the right things. Daniel Jones trusts him, and that is important. He runs the right routes, catches the ball when it’s thrown to him, gives effort as a blocker. As Brian Daboll would say, he is smart, tough, dependable. And, yes, an easy guy to root for.

Rich F asks: In your interview with Michael Lombardi, which I found informative, he said the following about Daniel Jones: “I think when you study Daniel, they’re the worst team explosive plays in the National Football League. They’re not taking chances, they’re managing him. And I say this respectfully to Daniel Jones, because most quarterbacks with the exception of very few have to be managed.“

That sounds pretty dismissive. Early in the year the OL had problems holding up for the time needed to go deep. Once they improved, they haven’t had the wide receivers to go deep, with the possible exception of Slayton. If I remember correctly, Jones previously rated very well in the ability to complete long passes. How much of the lack of going deep do you attribute to the coaching staff managing Jones vs. them managing the hand he has been dealt?

Ed says: Rich, I don’t know if I consider Lombardi’s remarks dismissive. I think they were his honest opinion. We’ll see how the rest of the season unfolds. Maybe his opinion, and that of others, will change if Jones and the Giants continue to play well.

I think the Giants are just using the personnel they have the best they can, playing the game the way they think it suits them best. They are leaning into the strengths they do have and doing a masterful job hiding some of their deficiencies on both sides of the ball. They’re not just managing Daniel Jones, they are managing their roster — and doing it masterfully thus far.

Josh Diamond asks: I am on the pro Daniel Jones team and over the last 4 years I feel Jones has to be a league leader in dropped passes by his WRs. Are there any stats available that can prove this. I understand that there will always be some drops but last weeks game would have been much different without a few them. How much better does Jones look over past 4 years without so many dropped passes?

Ed says: Josh, yes the Giants had some drops last week. I counted five passes I thought could/should have been caught, even though I believe the Giants were only charged officially with three drops.

The Giants have dropped 12 passes this year, eighth-most in the league. In 2021, Giants receivers dropped the fourth-most passes in the league, 34. In 2020, they dropped the 10th-most, 28.

Receiving is not only about making big, splashy plays and the amount of separation you get. It’s about making the plays you are supposed to make. It is obvious the Giants have not been good enough at that position for the last several years.

Devin Aronstam asks: I was wondering, with the cap space we will be saving from the Kadarius Toney trade, can the Giants now potentially trade for a receiver that would have been thought to be too expensive due to the team’s dire cap situation (such as Jerry Jeudy)?

Ed says: Devin, there is a lot of smoke right now around the idea Jeudy would be a good target for the Giants. The 2020 15th overall pick has been somewhat of a disappointment for the Denver Broncos, there has been a lot of chatter that the Broncos might be willing to move on from him, and the Giants have an obvious need.

The financials would actually work. As of Thursday night, Over The Cap showed the Giants with $3.258 million in cap space after the Toney trade. Jeudy is on Year 3 of his four-year rookie deal, and carries a $1.991 million cap hit this season. He is signed next season at a base salary of $2.681 million.

To me, this is the kind of trade that would make sense — unless the Broncos are asking for the moon. The Giants would get the 23-year-old Jeudy through next season on his inexpensive rookie deal, meaning it isn’t just a short-sighted 2022 deal. Having Jeudy through next season would give the Giants plenty of time to assess whether or not he is a player they could go forward with.

Kelly Picariello asks: I know you must see the hustle we see from Thibs week in and week out. His rundown of the RB from the Jags this weekend gave me flashbacks of watching LT in my youth run down players in games. What do you think he needs to do to get to the QB sack? I feel like he is so close to multiple sack games in the future.

Ed says: Yes, Kelly, I see the hustle from Kayvon Thibodeaux. Earlier this week I wrote about the pre-draft ‘motor’ questions having been answered. I understand why the run down of Travis Etienne excited folks and drew the LT flashback.

What does he have to do differently? I don’t think he has to do anything differently. This is what he has done thus far:

You can’t focus on the sack number. Those come in bunches, and sacks are often the result of cleaning up a play when someone else forces the quarterback to move or do something he doesn’t want to do. The sacks will come if he just keeps playing the way he has been playing.

Walker Joyce asks: Ed, it’s GREAT to see that Nick Gates has returned to the roster. His recovery is even more impressive than Richie Seubert’s, so let’s hope his post-injury career is as robust as the latter’s.

Nice to hear that Matt Peart is also back. Maybe Bobby Johnson, the very impressive O-line coach, can accelerate his development. If so, along with Nick’s comeback, the finishing pieces of the line’s rebuild may already be in the house.

Meanwhile, what the hell’s happened to Shane Lemieux? He was a favorite of Johnson’s during the off-season, and “injuring a toe” shouldn’t lay a guy up this long. Remember how Mark Bavaro played through chronic turf toe, and other injuries to his feet?

Ed says: Walker, it’s not like Shane Lemieux stubbed his toe and has been walking around refusing to practice for the past two months. I have seen his injury called turf toe. I have seen it simply referred to as a foot injury.

What I know is that we saw Lemieux on crutches in the locker room after Week 1, which would indicate he had recently had surgery on that foot/toe. He has been around the locker room the last couple of weeks, but he still hasn’t been cleared to practice.

I think you just have to let go of the way the NFL was 40 years ago. It’s not the same. We’ll see what happens with Lemieux after the bye. I think we will probably see him at some point, but he may have already lost that left guard job.

Robert Goodman asks: Maybe this is a fan’s perspective but does Schoen think he needs to reward the team for what they have accomplished so far this season by going out and acquiring a few players, like a WR, OG and maybe a TE?

Ed says: Robert, no. I have said it over and over. The Giants can’t go and mortgage significant chunks of their future for short-term benefit. Trades have a cost, generally draft capital. The Giants can’t be in the business right now of giving away a lot of draft picks. They are not in a ‘win at all costs’ window. They are still trying to dig out from under past mistakes, build the roster, and set the Giants up for sustained success. They can’t get fooled into a bunch of quick fixes.

Matthew Annunziata asks: Over the last couple of seasons, the rules for the practice squad has changed. One of the rules was that each week, every team could protect x amount of players from being plucked off of their practice squad. Every week you would post who was protected. I haven’t seen that this season. So my question is do they still protect x amount of players each week or is that no longer allowed and every player is ripe for the picking?

Ed says: Matthew, to my knowledge four practice squad protections are still allowed each week. What has seemed to change is that those protections are not being made public. I do not know why.

Kurt Kampp asks: It is my understanding that compensatory draft picks are awarded after the season and before the draft. How can the KC Chief have a 3rd [round] comp pick at this time.

Ed says: Kurt, because of the new NFL rules compensating teams who have minority executives and assistant coaches hired to top jobs by other teams, the Chiefs received third- and seventh-round compensatory picks in the upcoming draft when the Chicago Bears hired Ryan Poles away from them to become Chicago’s general manager.

Larry Malakian asks: My question is about other team’s practice squads. With our Giants seemingly in desperate need at WR and TE, and hundreds of players available on other squads, I would think there must be some opportunity to upgrade the 53-man roster by signing a player that meets our need. I recall the Cardinals signed Max Garcia (Center) from our squad, even when we were thin at interior line.

Why aren’t we doing that? Is it because of our salary sap issues?

Ed says: Larry, thanks for the question. First, when you sign a player off another team’s practice squad you have to remember that he goes to your 53-man roster. You are committed to keeping him there for at least three weeks. So, there is that. The other thing is you are signing a guy on Tuesday or Wednesday and he has to be part of your 53 just three or four days later

Second, if you think the Giants are not working to improve the roster you have missed a lot. Fabian Moreau, Jaylon Smith, Landon Collins, Tony Jefferson, Tyre Phillips, Marcus Johnson, Tanner Hudson, Jason Pinnock, Justin Layne, Nick McCloud, Jack Anderson are all guys who were not with the Giants during training camp.

They have all been added as free agents or via waiver claims. Now, that is different than signing a player directly off a practice squad. The Giants have started a lot of these guys on the practice squad and elevated or activated them when they were needed/ready.

The Giants have not used the specific method you asked about, but they have made significant improvements to the roster since training camp.