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Big Blue View mailbag: Turnaround timeline, salary cap ... and even a punter question

The mail’s here!

Let’s dispense with the pleasantries and get right to your weekly Big Blue View Mailbag.

Miosoti Galan asks: So many commenters on BBV (and Giants fans in general, I suppose) seem totally fixated on filling every roster hole immediately and making every possible personnel move to Win Now in 2022.

This extremely short-term view doesn’t seem to jibe with Schoen’s plan.

Given the roster moves, the post-draft front office overhaul and - most importantly, IMO - the big name players with either expiring or “escapable” contracts after the 2022 season (Barkley, Jones, LW, Golladay, Martinez, Shepard...) what do you view as the timeline for the Giants resurrection to respectability?

And if you had to guess (which I’m asking you to do, respectfully) what do you think the timeline Schoen & Co. have in mind.

I’ll share mine:

2022: Lost season. front office overhaul; start of the roster purge. Just get the organization straightened out without embarrassing themselves on the field. 12+ losses

2023: Rebuild Year One. True roster purge of Barkley, Jones, LW, Martinez, Shepard, Golladay; bridge QB is 75% likely. another 10+ loss season; first true Schoen draft and roster.

2024: Rebuild Year Two. Team reflects Schoen & Daboll’s “philosophy”; New “Franchise QB” is 50% likely; Schoen’s imprint fully on the team; 7-9 win season

2025 Year One of the New Era. Time to deliver with playoff contention; Win a game or two against top teams; New “Franchise QB” is 100% likely; 9+ wins expected going forward with meaningful Week 18 games.

Thoughts?

Ed says: Miosoti, you are absolutely right that not every problem can be fixed in one offseason. You chip away the best you can with the resources you have available, and hope that over time you make enough good choices and do enough good work to build something special.

Now, a timeline. You’re talking about four years. Seriously? If it takes that long to show any real progress, Brian Daboll will be out the door and Joe Schoen might be gone with him.

I don’t think I can actually say “this should happen Year 1, this should happen Year 2, etc. One thing I will say is that I researched this a while back and, while there are exceptions, usually you see on field progress in terms of wins and losses by Year 2 if a new coach or regime is going to be successful.

If you’re looking at this and thinking, well, maybe they can post a winning record by 2025 that’s not going to fly. I can guarantee you John Mara isn’t thinking that way.


Walker Joyce asks: Ed, in today’s [last week’s] mailbox column, you said you expected Tyrod Taylor to be the opening day starter next year. You suggested it would come down to Daniel Jones’ cost. Even if he has a solid year this season?

Are you suddenly down on him? The Cap is fluid every year, and a team will always find room for a QB it wants.

I’ve always been a Jones fan, and agree with Mara that circumstances have stunted him from Day 1. Now that he’s healed and has a good coaching staff and a stronger unit around him, I expect him to blossom in ‘22, like Simms did when he finally got healthy and had Ron Erhardt as his OC.

And if that happens, why wouldn’t they give him a new deal? Both sides can make the numbers work if they want to.

Ed says: Walker, I do believe that odds are against Jones being the Giants’ quarterback beyond this season. On the flip side, I steadfastly believe the Giants are doing the right thing by giving him the opportunity with a new GM and coaching staff.

I’m not down on Jones. I was asked about the odds, and I think that’s the reality. The franchise tag for quarterbacks in 2023 is projected to cost $31.497 million, which would make him the 12th-highest paid quarterback in average annual value. Can Jones do enough to show GM Joe Schoen he is worth that investment? Or worth a long-term deal?

I know the situation around him hasn’t been great, or even good. Still, the other reality Jones faces is that new GMs and coaches want to succeed or fail with “their” guy, not the previous regime’s guy.

Jones has some ability and could certainly beat the odds. I believe he is better than he has shown the last two years. I just feel the reality is that he faces an uphill battle.


Nikki Chawla asks: Hi Ed, quick question regarding the cap. Won’t the Giants create more space as we cut players to get down from 90 to the official opening week roster? Everyone knows about the $2.5 mil saved if/when we cut/trade Slayton, but won’t we create additional space if we cut a veteran like Max Garcia and other players on the 90 man roster on our way to 53?

Ed says: Nikki, yes but you are forgetting or not understanding something important about how the salary cap works.

During the offseason, from the day the league season opens until teams make final cuts to assemble an initial 53-man roster, there is something called the ‘Top 51’ rule. The means that only 51 (the 51 highest-paid) of the 90 players on the roster count against the salary cap. Go to the Giants page on Over The Cap and you will see the cutoff. That’s because the league recognizes that it’s not feasible to count 90 players against the cap.

So, at this time of year when a player is added to the roster the 51st player in terms of base salary drops off the top 51 list. If a player like Garcia were cut, a player below the cutoff would be added. Unless a more expensive veteran were signed.

During the season, the 53 players on the roster count against the cap. So do practice squad players and guys on injured reserve.


Andy Loesberg asks: What are your thoughts on the Giants punter. I can’t believe Jamie Gillan is the Week 1 starter? I was surprised they didn’t draft a punter late or sign another free agent. Any other thoughts?

Ed says: Andy, if you recall my weekly mock drafts I quite often selected a punter for the Giants in a later round.

I don’t know if Jamie Gillan will be the punter, but he has been an adequate NFL punter during his three NFL seasons. He isn’t great, but paying Gillan $965,000 to be adequate is better than paying more than $3 million for the same type of performance from Riley Dixon.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Giants watch the waiver wire as training camp cuts are made to see if they can find an upgrade that makes financial sense. If they can’t, remember that they are paying Gillan less than a third of what they would have paid Dixon for what will likely be the same level of performance. Besides, Gillan is 24 and could still improve.


Gary Hamalainen asks: What am I missing here? UDFA Andre Miller from the University of Maine ... how or why is he a TE on theGiants roster? While he would have good size as a big WR, he seems small for a TE. I don’t know what Coach Daboll wants from the TE position but I’ve always believed that you have to be a minimum of 6’4” 245 pounds. Evan Engram was too short to be a TE ... that always bothered me ... a TE should be a very visible target. Is 4.54 speed automatically too slow for WRs these days? The Hall of Fame is full of great WRs that didn’t have prototype speed. I consider WR to be a position of need for the Giants and I don’t understand why Andre Miller is not a prospect. As a TE he could get bigger, but not taller. What’s up with that? Do I just have an antiquated notion of what a TE should be.

Ed says: Gary, you kind of answered your own question. The tight end position isn’t what it used to be. Yes, teams want those guys who are 6-4 and above and weight 255-260. Guys who can play inline and still get open against safeties while split out into the slot or to the boundary are not easy to find. The Giants think fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger can become that type of multi-faceted player. As tight ends coach Andy Bischoff told me the other day, though, those guys are “rare” coming out of college these days.

Darren Waller was a 232-pound wide receiver in college. Ricky Seals-Jones was a wide receiver at Texas A&M. Noah Fant was a 232-pound tight end who went in the first round to Denver in 2019. Tyler Higbee of the Rams was a combo tight end/wide receiver in college.

The game is changing. Teams are spreading the field more, detaching tight ends from the line of scrimmage more, looking for matchups to take advantage of. If they can line up a tight end with wide receiver skills against a linebacker or even a safety with less than stellar coverage skills they want to exploit that.

The more I think about Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka and the personnel they are assembling, I think you are going to see the Giants leaning into that “basketball on grass” style where they spread everything out, get the ball out quickly, scheme some touches and try to make defenses handle their athletes in space.

I think Miller, who told me he weighed 228 pounds at rookie mini-camp, absolutely fits that philosophy. So do Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney and Saquon Barkley. If the Giants thought Miller could separate against the league’s better cornerbacks, they might have tried him there.

Also, for what it’s worth, Miller told me he had interest from a number of teams that all wanted to give him a look as a tight end.


Douglas Mollin asks: Tis the season for optimism for all but a few perma-bear Giant fans.

Don’t yell at me, but if you squint could you make the case that we’ll be in the hunt for a playoff spot going into game 17?

  • DJ steps up big time.
  • The OL gels by mid-season.
  • Saquon, Toney, Golladay, Robinson prove to be weapons.
  • Thibs, Ojulari, LW and Dex give us a fearsome pass rush.
  • Daboll/Kafka/Wink add legit coaching/game-planning to the mix.
  • Soft schedule.

Too much Kool-Aid?

Ed says: Doug, any Kool-Aid is too much Kool-Aid. I haven’t had that stuff to drink since I was a kid, and the thought of drinking it now is, well, disgusting.

Anyway, I know that’s not what you asked. Listen, you can make any case you want or believe anything you want at this point. It’s still May. Want to believe Daniel Jones will morph into an All-Pro? Go ahead. Want to dream about a Super Bowl parade at the end of the season? Fine with me, I won’t stop you. Want to believe the Giants can be a playoff contender? Feel free.

Listen, all of those things you mentioned could happen. Or, maybe none of them will happen. Most likely, we get results that fall somewhere in the middle of all that.

We are at the beginning of yet another re-start for the Giants. Everything I have seen thus far makes me optimistic Joe Schoen gives them a good chance to get this one right. That doesn’t mean it will happen in one year.


Julian Roberts asks: I am curious as to what the average players are doing between OTA and training camp. Do they still stay in camp and practice on their own or do the coaches get involved? Also, does Nick Gates work with the training staff to rehab his leg in camp as well?

Ed says: Julian, I’m not sure what you mean by “average” players. Let me answer this the best I can, though.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement mandates that players only have to attend the mandatory mini-camp in June during the offseason. Everything else is, at least theoretically, voluntary.

Team coaches cannot work with players outside of the agreed upon work days during the offseason program.

Some players will work out at their team facilities year round, or for at least part of the offseason. That generally means use the weight room. They can’t watch film with coaches, receive instruction, get their playbook or any of that type of thing. Players at this level do much of their real offseason training with specialized, highly-qualified position trainers who run their own workout facilities or training businesses.

As for Nick Gates, all injured or rehabbing players work with the training staff during the offseason program. I’m sure he also had therapists and trainers he works with away from the facility, as do all injured players.


Ed says: Marc, I think it is impossible for me to put specific numbers on it or say “this is what I need to see” to call it a success.

I think you know it when you see it. Do they look like they have a plan or a philosophy rather than just seeming to throw darts and hope? Can they protect? Can they run the ball when they have to? Can they get off the goal line when they are backed up? Can they score touchdowns at a decent rate in the red zone? Are the playmakers getting targeted when it matters? Does Daniel Jones show he is the quarterback to go forward with?

In terms of points, the Giants have been at the bottom of the league the past two seasons. League average was 23.2 points per game in 2021, 24.8 in 2020. If you want a number, can the Giants get into that range?

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