There are no games for a few months, but the NFL never really stops. The offseason, in many ways, is as interesting as the regular season. Let’s get to some offseason New York Giants questions in a new Big Blue View Mailbag.
ctscan123 asks: I’m guessing that we’ll lose Lorenzo Carter, Evan Engram and Jabrill Peppers in free agency. Any sense of what they might be worth as far as comp picks go? I mean in addition to the pair of premium pics we’ll get for Nate Solder and Mike Glennon of course.
Ed says: CT, first of all let’s clarify that any free agents the Giants lose this offseason will not help earn them compensatory picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Those were determined last offseason. The only player the Giants lost who qualified as a compensatory free agent (CFA) was Dalvin Tomlinson, and the additions of Kenny Golladay and Devontae Booker cancelled that out.
Any free agents who qualify as a CFA in this cycle would — potentially — qualify the Giants for comp picks in the 2023. Based, of course, on how many CFAs the Giants sign this offseason.
Over The Cap annually projects those, and projections for 2023 CFAs are not out yet. Here is an explanation of the compensatory pick methodology. I don’t want to speculate and say “Engram will net a Round X pick,” etc. I’m going to leave that to the folks at OTC who really understand the formula and have done this sort of calculation for years.
Based on my reading, using on APY (Average Per Year of contract signed), playing time and the other factors considered, I would think Engram would net the highest comp pick by round.
Demetri asks: Eli Apple. His being drafted by the Giants bothered me then, it bothers me now. Eli Apple was not worthy of a first-round pick, particularly a high first-round pick. He was a reach. The Giants could have had Laremy Tunsil, 2x Pro Bowler; Tunsil would have been a steal at the place the Giants drafted Apple. I know the Giants had another pick in mind, and the Bears jumped ahead of them to pick the player the Giants wanted. I know the Giants want clean living players, but they put up with Lawrence Taylor’s off-field habits, didn’t they? That worked out all right, didn’t it? Question: will the new management be able to take a Tunsil? Should they be able to? I am not saying the Giants should be the refuge for all the bad boys in the NFL. I’m asking if they can take a steal when it is there in the draft. Seems to me the Giants could have cleared up any hesitancy about drafting Tunsil with a phone call and a contract that would heavily punish him for strays from good behavior.
Ed says: Demetri, you still want to talk about Laremy Tunsil? That was so many regime changes ago I’m not sure what the point is, but here goes.
Co-owner John Mara made it clear as recently as last month that the GM and head coach do not make decisions on players like that — he does. Mara is absolutely conscious of the image his team portrays and its place in the NFL. The Tunsil thing is something he was never going to approve. It came up basically as the draft was starting. There was really no time to investigate, to talk to the young man, to flush out what happened, how it happened and gather the info you want to make an intelligent, informed decision. Mara was never taking that risk on the fly.
I know some will point to former Giants kicker Josh Brown, and Mara knows he was too slow to act there. He is loyal to a fault, and I’m sure that played a part there.
As for LT, c’mon! That was almost 40 years ago. It was a vastly different time with different people making decisions, a different social and media environment, no Twitter or real 24-hour news cycle. A lot of that stuff wouldn’t fly today. It’s not even really worth discussing because the times are so different.
Going forward, if there is a player with a troubled past the Giants are interested in Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll will present their case to Mara and the Giants will enter draft night knowing whether or not that player is on their draft board or enter free agency knowing if that is a player ownership is willing to sign.
Steven Ahlberg asks: I keep reading about “dead money” and how John Mara was willing to take it on in order to help their salary cap situation. Why is this important? Why cut a player and take on dead money? Why not just roll the player out for another year?
Ed says: Steven, before I get into this I have to remind everyone that I am not a salary cap expert. I have a basic understanding, and do the best I can to offer explanations within that understanding.
Now, what is “dead money?” It is money allocated against the salary cap to players who are no longer part of your team, be they released, traded or retired. You don’t want dead money on your cap, but it is a necessary evil of the way NFL contracts work. The Giants, per Over the Cap, currently have $4.29 million in dead money on their 2022 cap. Nate Solder carries $4 million of that because of bonus money pushed into 2022 to help the cap-strapped Giants in 2021.
First of all, you sometimes have to cut or trade players you may want to “roll out for another year” simply to stay under the cap and have money sign rookies and operate throughout a season. The Giants may not want to cut Sterling Shepard, for example, but they may have to. He carries a $12.5 million cap hit in 2022, a lot for a player injured as often as he is. The Giants can save $8.5 million of that by making him a post-June 2 cut. They carry $3.995 million in dead money for 2022, but could use that money to sign rookies or add two or three low-cost veteran free agents. It becomes a balancing act.
You have a regime change with a new GM and head coach. They have a desire to craft the roster the way they believe is necessary. They will likely have to take on some short-term dead money to move toward that goal. Finding the $40 million Schoen says he needs to find to operate in 2022 means there will be some dead money created. That is unavoidable.
Again using Shepard’s contract as an example, his four-year, $41 million deal included $16.21 million fully guaranteed at signing. He has been paid that money, but for accounting and cap purposes that bonus is split over the life of the contract. Thus, no matter what the Giants are responsible on paper for $7.99 million in signing bonus money due Shepard over the next two years.
So, maybe they want Shepard. Maybe, though, they need the $8.5 million they can save more. You do have to fill out a full roster, and sacrifices have to be made.
This is why big-money free agent contracts, and even second contracts for your own draft picks, carry risk. There will often be money on your books to account for even after you move on from the player.
Daniel Albro asks: Hey Ed, I’ve been on the blog for quite a few years now, and due to the many changes at GM, and coaches the board has been more active than I can ever remember. The more clicks I guess the more popular the blog and you yourself become. So I was wondering about your aspirations. Would you like to move up into a network job, kinda like Florio has, like maybe the Giants reporter for NFL network, or something like that, or are you happy being where you are?
Ed says: Daniel, interesting question. I don’t mind sharing a bit of myself and what I’m about, so let’s do that.
First of all, I have run this website for 15 years. It has become bigger and more successful than I ever imagined, and right now things are as active and busy as they have ever been. I am incredibly proud of the work we do, and what this site has become.
In terms of aspirations, understand that I’m 61 years old. This is likely to be the best job I’m ever going to have. As a college kid I always dreamed of being a national sports columnist for a big-time newspaper like the New York Times, Washington Post or Boston Globe — the three papers I considered the pre-eminent sports sections of the day when I was a young man.
Life takes you where it takes you, though, and I have spent most of my working life either writing about sports, or designing/editing newspaper sports sections. I’ll take it. The one thing I always wanted was to be part of something that was the absolute best in its field in what it does. Selfishly, I think that’s what Big Blue View is when it comes to its place in the media market that covers the Giants.
If I was a younger man, if I had gotten into covering an NFL team in my 20s instead of my late 40s, I might be seeking to move someplace like ESPN or a big national job. That’s not realistic. Selfishly, I know I could do those jobs. I know how this sounds, but I don’t believe those people are better or more talented than I am. At my age, though, I also know no one is going to give me that opportunity.
I just want to do good work. As long as I continue to do it, I want to continue to make this site better. I want to do stories like the in-depth look at Brian Daboll from a couple of weeks ago, or the piece I did on Andre Patterson. The stuff I enjoy the most — more than the games and the daily grind stuff — is telling the stories about the people playing and coaching the games.
Glenn Bulfair asks: I’m surprised I haven’t read anything on the subject.
The Giant announcers are the worst. Most are ex-Dallas “Giant Haters.” The rest are just as bad, some are known some are not. On Giant game days my friends and I often say “Who’s that”?
I go back to the Jim Gordon/Dick Lynch days. Summerall and Madden were also perennial favorites of ours. Often, we have to turn off the sound and go to Bob Papa and Carl Banks on radio. Unfortunately, the radio delay can be tedious and painstakingly difficult to listen to.
It would be a more pleasant “watch” with Papa and Banks. Why can’t we find consistent announcers that are better balanced and/or Giant fans? It would even make Giant losses a bit more palatable. What say you?
Ed says: Glenn, I’m not sure what you are expecting when you watch the national broadcasts of Giants games. You are not hearing “Giants announcers.” You are hearing the national announcers for CBS/FOX/NBC/NFL Network who were assigned to the game by their bosses. They are neither Giants fans nor Giants haters. They are there to do a job.
It is not the job of the broadcast crew to favor one team or the other. Now, do announcers have biases? Certainly. Every person on the planet has biases of some sort. Troy Aikman, for example, should never be allowed to broadcast Dallas Cowboys games because he simply cannot be objective about the team he played a dozen years for.
I honestly believe that in most cases people hear bias against the Giants because what they are actually hearing is the truth about a bad team.
If you want to listen to “Giants announcers,” you have to tune in to Papa and Banks.