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Big Blue View mailbag: A trade idea, USFL players, fullbacks, more questions

The mail’s here!

It’s a Saturday in the summer, and you are still thinking about New York Giants football. I know you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. So, let’s open the Big Blue View Mailbag and answer some questions.

Edwin Gommers asks: Would you entertain a trade scenario with the Steelers involving Claypool and Slayton. I do know the team is probably better of with some DB help, but it seems both Claypool and Slayton could benefit from a fresh start and if Claypool pans out, the team could probably move on from Golladay after this upcoming season and build around a young(er) core of Toney, Robinson and Claypool. A direct trade involving Claypool and Golladay seems impossible based on the cap numbers and Golladay’s disappointing performance last season so a 2-step approach might work better. I do have some concerns though that based on how the WR market has exploded Claypool may command a salary similar to, if not higher than Golladay.

Ed says: Would I trade Darius Slayton for Chase Claypool? Edwin, I don’t know if you mean straight up or as the primary players in a trade package. The answer, though, is absolutely. In a heartbeat.

Chase Claypool is not one of the three best receivers in the NFL, which he apparently believes he is. He is, though, a superior player to Slayton. Make that far superior.

For what it’s worth, the Steelers would never make that trade. New Steelers GM Omar Khan would get destroyed in the media and the fan base if he did that. Claypool is a 6-foot-4, 238-pound ascending star who has 121 catches for more than 1,700 receiving yards in two seasons. Slayton is a backup coming off a poor season who has 124 receptions and more than 1,800 receiving yards in three years.

On top of that, Claypool ($1.804 million salary cap hit) is the less expensive player, with Slayton’s cap hit being $2.54 million.

Daniel Albro asks: I think it’s really cool you get to interview some of the players and coaches. It gives us a chance to hear things first hand. My question is, do any of these players and coaches tell you they come to BBV to read your content on them? Or do they check the blog from time to time? If so I hope they don’t read the comment section, it can be brutal at times for some players and coaches.

Ed says: Daniel, I honestly don’t know. I don’t ask players or coaches if they read the site. I believe that some do. Every once in a while a player will retweet something we post. Last year, Andrew Thomas liked a post that made its way to the BBV Instagram page.

The overwhelming majority of players are on social media and when something is written or said about them it makes its way into their orbit. For the most part, though, I think players and coaches are smart enough not to go out of their way to read stuff from any of the media that covers the team. Doing so can’t help them, and it’s only counter-productive toward them doing their jobs well.

I do know that the Giants’ PR department monitors all media about the team. When something is written or reported that a coach or player needs to know about, especially if they know the coach or player will be asked about it by the media, it is their job to keep that coach or player informed.

Mike Binder asks: There’s been plenty of discussion about what it might take to see DJ back in blue in ‘23, but what about a couple other folks whose contracts are up next year? Obviously, the big name is Saquon, what would it take for him to be back? A replication of his rookie year, or would that price him out? Also what about Blake Martinez, was his reworked deal a one-year gig only or is there a chance he could be re-signed at the right number assuming a relatively healthy and decent year?

Ed says: Mike, let me take each of those players separately.

Saquon Barkley

I honestly wonder if that decision has already been made, at least in GM Joe Schoen’s mind. The successful teams that Schoen was part of with the Buffalo Bills did not place a high positional or monetary value on running backs.

I still think that is Barkley is outstanding the first half of the season, there is a possibility Schoen would look to capitalize on that by acquiring draft assets at the trade deadline.

Even if Barkley is outstanding in 2022 — and I hope he is — my guess is that Schoen would be loathe to give him a huge second contract. There is example after example in the past decade (Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey come to mind) of running backs not living up to rich second contracts.

The projected running back franchise tag for 2023 is $12.962 million. I could see the Giants perhaps going that route if Barkley has a nice 2022 season. No matter what, though, I can’t see Barkley getting a rich long-term deal after this season. Unless John Mara overrules Schoen.

Barkley’s future is something former Giants scouting assistant Tom Rudawsky and I discussed on a recent ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast. Rudawsky said:

“Ultimately I think he is a guy that after this year he’s not going to be a Giant ... I think the running back position, especially when you’ve got an offense that is spread out, that’s kind of pass heavy I think there are a lot of different guys at that running back spot that can get the job done ... I think you can find backs in the mid to late rounds that’ll do the job.”

Blake Martinez

Martinez is an interesting case. He is back, I believe, both because of the dearth of talent the Giants had around him when he re-signed (as evidenced by drafting Micah McFadden and Darrian Beavers) and the leadership and intelligence he provides.

I wonder if Martinez’s Giants future has more to do with the development of guys like Tae Crowder, McFadden and Beavers than it does with how he performs in 2022.

Like a lot of veteran players on the 2022 roster, I think it’s anybody’s guess as to whether he will be back in 2023. My heart says yes because I like the player. My gut says no.

Jon Davidson asks: As a Giants fan living in Chicago, I get to suffer through the NFC North slog every season. But one of the teams just posted an interesting question, and I wondered about BBV’s take. Are there any players from the recently finished USFL season that might make sense for the G-men?

Ed says: Jon, I watched maybe one quarter of USFL football the entire season. I know almost nothing about the players in the league. Good friend Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan and CBS Sports, though, knows the league as well or better than anyone. Since this is a question I have gotten a few times, and was curious about myself, I turned to Emory for an answer.

On Thursday’s ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast,’ we spent much of the show talking about that topic. Go to the 8:00 mark of the podcast below and listen until the commercial break (about 10 minutes). Emory goes through a number of players who deserve NFL opportunities.

Daniel Malone asks: Why did the Giants get rid of their fullbacks? Elijhaa Penny was reliable.

Ed says: Daniel, I thought Penny was an excellent player. I banged the drum for years for the Giants to use Penny more on offense, and he was also a valued special teams player. I hope he finds an NFL job, if he wants to continue his career.

Why did the Giants move on from Penny and Cullen Gillaspia? They have a new head coach and a new offensive philosophy, that’s why. Not every team carries a fullback, and only 26 fullbacks played any offensive snaps last season. The Giants appear to want to spread the field and try to create matchup issues with formation and personnel, and the new regime apparently felt they could do that better without a true fullback. They will probably use a tight end on occasion as a lead blocker.

One interesting thing is that the Buffalo Bills, where Brian Daboll came from, and Kansas City Chiefs, where Mike Kafka came from, both utilized true fullbacks. Reggie Gilliam played 156 snaps for Buffalo last season, and Michael Burton played 106 for Kansas City.

An interesting player to watch in training camp is undrafted free agent Jeremiah Hall. He played two years of tight end and two years of fullback at Oklahoma. He’s got some receiving and running skills and is ideally suited to that hybrid role. He might be a roster darkhorse.

Chesapeake Blue asks: Baker Mayfield just got traded to Carolina. The OTA period is over. Can he even get the playbook from the team, before camp? Does the CBA address this situation at all?

Ed says: Good question. I was not certain of this and could not find the answer when I perused the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I was interested because Sandro Platzgummer told me this spring that when he came to the Giants in July of 2020 he was in New Jersey for a month but could not get his playbook until camp started, which made his first training camp difficult. Perhaps that had to do with International Player Pathway program regulations.

I checked with some folks who have worked in the league and am told that a player who joins a new team at this time of the year can receive his playbook immediately, provided he has a signed contract.