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Big Blue View mailbag: Non-Daniel Jones edition

It’s a bonus edition of the mailbag!

With the Big Blue View Mailbag continuing to overflow, this is a Sunday bonus edition. After exclusively answering questions about New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in our regular Saturday mailbag, this is a non-Jones edition to try and answer some other questions.

Devin Maffei asks: One player that seems to be looked over at his position compared to others (Trenton Simpson, Drew Sanders) is Jack Campbell out of Iowa. Was the Butkus Award and William Campbell Trophy winner, so you know he has high character. A tackling machine, and Lord knows the Giants need some help there. In 2021 he had 125 tackles and 145 this past year. The only LB in college football to grade higher than 90 in both run and pass coverage. He also brings some value as a blitzer. He almost seems like a throw back linebacker stuck into todays game. Kinda seems like a a perfect fit for Wink’s defense, where he can play downhill and attack gaps. He has the ability to scrape and speed for pursuit. I understand some of his limitations in man coverage, and he isn’t the athlete the other two guys are. However, I think he has great discipline, quickness, and football IQ. The Giants should be banging the table at 57 if he is still there. Reminds me of Darrian Beavers but better. Have you watch any of his tape, have any thoughts?

Ed says: Devin, I have watched Campbell extensively. I like him, but I’m not sure about using the second-round pick at No. 57 for him. At No. 89, the first pick the Giants have in Round 3, I would be fine with that — with the caveat, of course, that I would have to see who else is on the board.

As far as Campbell being a perfect fit for Wink Martindale, I am not sure about that. Martindale talked during the season about really preferring speed at the linebacker position, and that is the one thing I think Campbell does not possess. I would worry a bit about his range, and about him possibly getting exposed covering tight ends or running backs in man-to-man defense.

Jack Signorelli asks: Is speed something that can be coached? [Evan] Neal gets beat consistently by being too slow to keep up with the outside pass rush. What do you think of drafting a tackle with our first pick and moving Neal to guard?

Ed says: Jack, when you talk about Neal getting beaten to the outside I think you miss the mark in talking about speed. It’s probably more about footwork, which can be coached. As far as drafting a tackle and moving Neal guard, I have answered this before. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. The Giants used the No. 7 overall pick on him. You don’t just give up after one year.

George Sawicki asks: Can you please explain how “dead money” works and what it means relative to the salary cap.

Ed says: Here is the best definition of dead money I can find. It comes from CBS Sports salary cap expert Joel Corry:

Dead money is a salary cap charge for a player who is no longer on a team’s roster. It exists because of how salary cap accounting rules operate.

Signing bonuses, option bonuses and certain roster bonuses are prorated or spread out evenly over the life of a contract for a maximum of five years. When a player is released, traded or retires, the remaining proration of these salary components immediately accelerate onto his team’s current salary cap.

Signing bonuses, in particular, are pro-rated over the life of a contract. Let’s look at Kenny Golladay’s contract, for example. Part of the four-year, $72 million contract Golladay received from the Giants was a $17 million signing bonus.

Now, he received that $17 million bonus immediately. It was not, however, all charged to the Giants salary cap in 2021. It was split over five years — the four years of his contract and a 2025 ‘void’ year. Thus, there is a cap charge of $3.4 million for that bonus in each of the five years.

For accounting purposes, there is $10.2 million in signing bonus and a guaranteed $4.5 million 2023 roster bonus that have to be accounted for. Thus, if the Giants cut him prior to June 1 they will take a $14.7 million salary cap hit — $14.7 million in ‘dead money’, money on their 2023 cap for a player no longer on the team.

I hope that helps.

Philip Joseph asks: How would you rate these players on your draft Big Board? (1 thru 8 )

Torrence, OL, Florida
Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Addison, WR, USC
Flowers, WR, Boston College
Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
Schmitz, C, Minnesota
Tippmann, C, Wisconsin
Dexter, DL, Florida

Ed says: Philip, I have not studied Florida defensive lineman Gervon Dexter. So, I am not going to include him.

I don’t really do big boards. I have never actually participated in the Big Board we create here at Big Blue View. Let me try to answer this in a way I hope you will find satisfactory.

If the Giants drafted any of these players in Round 1 I would be happy:

Michael Mayer, Jordan Addison, Zay Flowers

If the Giants drafted any of these players in Round 1 I would understand it:

Jalin Hyatt, John Michael Schmitz, O’Cyrus Torrence

This player would be a fine Day 2 pick in my estimation:

Joe Tippmann

That’s how I see things today. Two months from now is anybody’s guess.

Robert Scotto asks: One question that I and others on site have had and are curious on: do we know specifics since last year’s draft of how many scouts were let go and how many new ones came into our organization?

Ed says: Robert, I’m not sure I can give you an exact answer. Here is what I know, and what I could figure out from the team website.

Joe Schoen brought in assistant GM Brandon Brown, director of pro scouting Chris Rosetti and assistant director of player personnel Dennis Hickey last season.

How many were let go or left on their own I don’t know exactly.

In their first year on the scouting staff in 2022 were college scouting coordinator Ryan Hollern (re-assigned from chief of staff under Joe Judge), area scout Scott Hamel and national scout Mike DeRice.

So, there were roughly a half-dozen new people scouting players for the Giants over the past several months.

Christopher White asks: What should we make of Elerson Smith? I know he’s been hobbled by injuries the last two seasons, but I had such high hopes for him as the fourth-round pick after a noteworthy 2021 Senior Bowl performance. Does the team view him as a “potentially” vital rotational edge piece (ahead of Ximines and Ward?) or just as an athletic special-teamer who may stick until his rookie contract runs out (or, worse, as a guy like Toney who just can’t/won’t get on the field and therefore needs to be jettisoned now)? The answer could impact our upcoming draft mid-rounds: would you consider adding quality depth at Edge or DI the more pressing need (after we somehow address OL, ILB, WR and CB)? Thanks for any insight.

Ed says: Christopher, Elerson Smith has barely played in two years. Count his final collegiate season having been cancelled and he has barely played football in three years. “Vital rotational edge piece”? You can’t be serious. I really like the kid, who I have talked to a number of times. He can’t be counted on for anything at this point. Like Oshane Ximines did last year, Smith is going to have to fight for a spot. If he makes it in 2023, great. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t. He was certainly worth a fourth-round flier a couple of years back, but Day 3 picks are hit-and-miss. The GM and head coach with the Giants now did not bring him in. If he doesn’t earn it, he won’t stay.

Chris Chianese asks: I see that Higgins and Aiyuk may be available via trade this offseason, and as much as I would love to see them as a WR1 in a NYG uni, I can’t see Schoen dealing the picks it would take to get them or players like them. What do you think? I’m thinking it’s more likely we see a WR in round 1 of the draft to begin to figure out upgrading the receiving corps.

Ed says: Chris, I don’t see Joe Schoen giving up a massive amount of draft capital for Tee Higgins or Brandon Aiyuk, either. Never say never, of course, but I think upgrading via the draft is more likely.

John Scott asks: I’ve read a number of explanations on the franchise tag but I don’t understand it. Supposedly it’s the average of the 5 largest salaries of other players at the position. Rodgers is at $50M, Wilson is $49M, Murray is $46M, Watson is $46M, and Mahomes is $45M. Obviously, that doesn’t average out to $32.416 million. Is it the average of the base salaries only (without all the bonuses)? Or the average of the top 5 cap numbers?

Ed says: John, it’s more complicated than that. Here is the nuts and bolts explanation from Over the Cap:

Franchise and transition tenders are calculated by adding the respective tag numbers, divided by the sum of the salary caps, from the previous five seasons, and finally multiplied by the current season’s salary cap. Franchise tag figures are based upon the top five salaries at each respective position, while transition tag figures are based on the top ten.

Bill Virginia asks: I understand the cap space number around $50mil. What I don’t understand is that all they have to spend in 2023? I thought the league gives each team x amount of money to do business. They way it looks now Jones and Barkley can break the bank.

Ed says: Bill, the salary cap for the 2023 season is $224.8 million. Teams don’t start with exactly the amount of the cap whenever it is set. They have to fit ALL of their contracts under that number. Per Over The Cap, the Giants currently have $46.873 million left to spend on the 2023 cap, and that happens to be the fourth-most cap space of any team in the NFL. Remember, many players have multi-year contracts, so a certain amount of money is allocated years ahead of time.

As for as Jones and Barkley, having money to spend once they get them signed or decide to franchise tag one is why the negotiations are tricky. The Giants have much more to do than sign those two players. Remember, though, they can also create cap space by cutting players like Kenny Golladay and extending the contract of someone like Leonard Williams. So, the cap number is always fluid.

Keith Fraser asks: Unfortunately this is an Odell question ... with the rumors of him possibly coming back, and teammates seem to love him, even eli endorsed it I think ... but that plane video was bad in my opinion, proved he hasn’t matured at all and I don’t want him coming in and ruining whatever culture Dabs and Schoen (?) Build. I’d rather draft and build a WR and bring in an established mature player elsewhere (LB, CB, IOL). And if they really want an established No. 1, those DHop trade rumors are more interesting to me than bringing Odell back ... long story short, do you have any idea how serious those rumors about OBJ are?

Ed says: Oh, Keith, you had to go and debut with an Odell Beckham Jr. question. Oh my! We heard a lot of chatter about Beckham to the Giants near the end of the season. To be honest, I never believed a word of it. I thought it was media and Beckham camp driven. I know the Giants took a meeting with Beckham. To be honest, I thought that was for show. Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll know the frenzy Beckham causes in New York and with a need at wide receiver I think they are smart enough to know they would have been blasted if they had not at least met with the guy. Now they can at least say they did their due diligence, had a meeting and it just didn’t work.

As for current rumors, I have not heard any. You might read Beckham’s name on a media-generated list of receivers the Giants could target. That doesn’t constitute a rumor that the Giants are actually doing that.

My $.02 is Beckham to the Giants doesn’t make sense. He’s had several major injuries, he isn’t the player he used to be and my belief is that he wouldn’t be worth the money he would likely command.