Joe Schoen has a big job this offseason. The new GM of the New York Giants has to clear $40 million or so in cap space, figure out if there any Giants unrestricted free agents he wants to bring back, dive into free agency to see if he can find affordable help, and prepare to run his first-ever NFL Draft.
I figure Joe needs a little help. I can’t let Tim McDonnell, Chris Pettit, Chris Mara and Brandon Brown have all the fun, so I’m here for Joe.
Just because I can, and because it’s a fun way to spend part of a Friday afternoon, I used the Fanspeak Ultimate GM tool to run a mock offseason. Now, there are some things about the Fanspeak tool that are aren’t perfect. For example, I could restructure a player, but couldn’t figure out how to actually calculate a restructure, I plodded ahead, anyway.
Here is how things went down. Joe, I’ll be expecting that ‘thank you’ e-mail any time now.
Bye, bye, Bradberry
The first move I made was to trade cornerback James Bradberry to the Las Vegas Raiders. That reunited him with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and saves $12.136 million in cap space. I could have waited and made Bradberry a post-June 1 cut/trade, increasing the savings to $13.5 million. I wanted that money available immediately, though, so I made the move.
The return for Bradberry? Raiders picks in Rounds 3 and 5, 22nd overall in each round. I thought that was fair.
More cap moves
I slashed wide receiver Sterling Shepard, tight end Kyle Rudolph, punter Riley Dixon, center Nick Gates (sadly), edge defender Oshane Ximines and linebacker T.J. Brunson. I restructured Blake Martinez in this scenario.
I sat our free agency, with the exception of bringing back edge defender Lorenzo Carter on a one-year, $5 million deal. That should make Nick Falato happy. More importantly, it gives the Giants flexibility to not really worry about edge should Kayvon Thibodeaux or Aidan Hutchinson not fall into their lap in the draft.
Below, my cap situation. Maybe not quite as healthy as I would like, but not bad. There are a few other moves that could be made to save more room, but for now I held off.
Two things to know about this draft. The big board I chose came from ‘Draft Diamonds,’ used mostly because it was one of the most recently updated choices. I also only went four rounds deep in making picks. To be honest, that is mostly because even going beyond three rounds is really stretching my knowledge of prospects at this point.
Round 1, No. 5 — Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
Round 1, No. 7 — Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The top-rated player on the board here was LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. Given Stingley’s injury history and the fact that his best tape is from 2019, I’m not comfortable picking him here. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, the Cincinnati cornerback, went No. 4 to the New York Jets. I also need to be convinced that Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis is a fit for Wink Martindale, so I passed on him.
Thus, I went all-in on trying to fix the offensive line by selecting Linderbaum.
Round 2, No. 36 — Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Martindale told Giants.com that he needs as many quality cornerbacks as he can get. Here, I give him the best one remaining on the board.
I ended up with four picks in Round 3, courtesy of the Bradberry trade and a move down with the Denver Broncos that netted me a pair of third-round picks.
No. 75 (Rd. 3, pick 11) — Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
No. 81 (Rd. 3, pick 17) — Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
No. 86 (Rd. 3, pick 22) — George Pickens, WR, Georgia
No. 96 (Rd. 3, pick 32) — Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
I’m pretty happy with that haul. An athletic linebacker, a versatile running back, a wide receiver who could have been a first-rounder if not for an injury and an all-around tight end who could be more productive as a pro than he was as a college player.
Round 4 (pick 7, No. 111 overall) Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
Chenal might be just a two-down player, but I thought he was worth the pick here. To be honest, as I said above, this is where my comfort level with knowing prospects begins to fall off.