The 2022 NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, and there have been a number of reports that the 6-1 New York Giants are hunting for a potential upgrade at wide receiver. So, let’s talk about what General Manager Joe Schoen should, and should not, do over the next couple of days.
My stance has been clear all along. Schoen and the Giants have to remember that they are building for the long term. Their surprising success this season should not lead them to give up premium draft assets for a win-now, quick fix type player.
That, though, does not mean Schoen should do nothing. If an opportunity presents itself to potentially help the Giants over the second half of the season AND for future years, it should absolutely be considered. Provided said opportunity does not cost the Giants premium future draft assets.
What is my definition of a premium draft asset? At this point, that would be a first- or second-round pick. The Giants have two picks in the third round thanks to the Kadarius Toney trade, and at this point both would be late third round selections. My view is it would be fine to move one of those picks in exchange for a player who could upgrade the receiver position for multiple years.
Remember, too, that the Giants are projected to get compensatory picks in Round 6 (Lorenzo Carter) and Round 7 (Keion Crossen). So, they might be able to add a late-round pick to an offer as a pot-sweetener.
So, which players make sense?
Albert Breer of SI says teams around the league believe Chase Claypool of the Pittsburgh Steelers could be had for a third-round pick. Other reports have indicated the Steelers want multiple second-round picks. If the former is the price, fine. If it’s the latter, no thanks.
Claypool is on Year 3 of his four-year rookie deal with base salaries of $1.211 and $1.512 million this year and next. Claypool, 6-foot-4, 238 pounds, caught 121 passes his first two seasons but has been supplanted in Pittsburgh by George Pickens.
The Giants have been linked to Jerry Jeudy of the Denver Broncos. If Denver would take a Round 3 pick for Jeudy, he is another rookie contract player who would make sense. He has a connection to Giants coach Brian Daboll from Alabama.
I have previously advocated for the idea of trading for D.J. Moore of the Carolina Panthers. That would be more costly financially, but the 25-year-old is a top-flight receiver signed through 2025.
There are Brandin Cooks rumors, but the Houston Texans are said to want a second-round pick. Cooks is 29, and has base salaries of $18 million in 2023 and $13 million in 2024. Thanks, but no thanks.
The Giants could also opt for incremental upgrades with under-used players like Denzel Mims of the New York Jets or Terrace Marshall or the Panthers, players who could possibly be had for sixth- or seventh-round picks.
Ultimately, I doubt anything big happens. I think, though, the next couple of days will be interesting.
Here are some other notes gathered throughout the week.
‘You got to make that play’
I had a chance to catch up with wide receiver Marcus Johnson on Thursday, and I asked him his reaction to Daniel Jones’ emotional outburst after Johnson’s fourth-down drop at the goal line against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday.
Johnson said at the time he had “no idea” Jones had reacted that way. In his sixth NFL season, Johnson also said he had no problem with it.
“I was telling myself the same thing in my head. You got to make that play. That’s what I’m here for. It’s plays that I should be making and I know I can make and I have made,” Johnson said. “We talked about it and I said you were competitive, just like me.
“Obviously you don’t want don’t want to display that on the field. Naturally, we want to make sure we’re supporting one another in all aspects, but I respect Daniel to the fullest. And I know what kind of man he is, and what kind of teammate he is, so we talked about it. I didn’t even know it happened. But like I said, he’s a competitor. And I would expect that from him and myself to stay on top of that and make sure that we’re holding each other accountable.”
Johnson, 28, has, aside from the two drops against the Jaguars, made the most of his opportunity since the Giants signed him to their practice squad at the beginning of the regular season.
“Man, it’s [the opportunity] huge. I’ve been around long enough to understand that. And from the moment I got here, I knew that,” Johnson said. “And I’m still learning, it’s still a learning curve with everything. But I feel like I’ve handled it well for the most part. And I gotta put that game behind me. I was able to be in this position after the game in London and after the Baltimore game. And I didn’t play the way that I should against Jacksonville. And I got to learn from that. I got to take those corrections and apply them and I know I will. I’ve been here before. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve struggled and I’ve bounced back.”
‘Keys to the car’
After Daniel Jones scored the go-ahead touchdown against Jacksonville on a 1-yard quarterback sneak, head coach Brian Daboll couldn’t wait to greet him on the sideline. Turns out everyone on the sideline was excited not only by the touchdown, but by Jones’ decision to audible from a different running play.
“Daniel did a nice job there,” said offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. “We had a run called and those guys took it upon themselves to sneak in down there on the inch line. That was a good job by them being football players.”
Kafka said that “the quarterback has the keys to the car” from the aspect of changing plays and making RPO and zone read decisions, and that Jones “does a good job handling it.”
I can’t help but take that as a sign of Jones’ growth, and of the staff’s confidence in him to run the offense correctly.
What squib kick?
Remember that bouncing kickoff by Graham Gano before Jacksonville’s final possession that nearly squirted out of bounds before reaching the end zone, a result which would have put the Jaguars at the 40-yard line?
Well, that was not a squib kick. It was a mis-hit by Gano.
“We weren’t trying to do that. That was just kind of one of those things that happens from time to time – just a mis-hit ball. [We] got lucky,” said special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. “We were trying to kick the ball out the back of the end zone.”
One other note from McGaughey that I was asked about during the week. The illegal formation penalty the Giants were hit with after Jacksonville’s first touchdown, which ended up with the Jaguars converting a 2-point conversion, came because the Giants had a player lined up on the wrong side, putting an illegal number of players on one side of the snapper.