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Podcast: Moving on from Weston Richburg “probably the right move” for Giants

Oscar Aparicio of ‘BetterRivals’ tells us ex-Giant hasn’t played up to massive contract in San Francisco

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NFL: Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers
Weston Richburg
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Not a lot has gone right for the New York Giants in their much-ballyhooed rebuild of the offensive line.

  • High-priced left tackle Nate Solder hasn’t played up to the level of the four-year, $62 million contract he signed.
  • Free-agent right guard Patrick Omameh (three years, $15 million) played his way to the bench.
  • The player the Giants counted on to be their starting center, Jon Halapio, went down in the season’s second game with a broken right ankle.
  • Ereck Flowers bombed at right tackle, got benched and then released. Chad Wheeler hasn’t been any better.

Did Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman do anything right in this rebuild other than select guard Will Hernandez in Round 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft?

Well, moving on from Weston Richburg was apparently a good decision. That was the opinion of Oscar Aparicio, host of the ‘Better Rivals’ podcast for SB Nation’s San Francisco 49ers website, Niners Nation.

Richburg, of course, signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract ($28.5 million guaranteed) with the 49ers during the offseason. The Giants and 49ers play Monday night, and Aparicio joined the show to talk about that upcoming game.

“If there is a weakness on the offensive line unfortunately it’s really at center. Weston Richburg was a big free-agent signing for the 49ers and so far this season he’s not performed in the way that you would expect for the kind of marquee signing that I think we were getting,” Aparicio said.

“I thought, honestly, we were getting little bit of value with Richburg because when he was not injured he was playing at a very, very high level. I thought, OK, maybe he was injured and that’s why he wasn’t playing well the last kind of year and some change that he was with New York, but he’s not performed super-duper well.”

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said Richburg has “added a ton” to his team.

“He’s been as good a center as I’ve had, he’s been one of the main reasons I believe we’ve been able to run the ball as well as we have had this year despite our injuries,” Shanahan said. “He’s battled through the last few weeks, battling some injuries, and he’s missed one game but he’s been out there playing through some stuff. Guys love him here and he’s really helped us.”

Whatever you believe the Pro Football Focus grades to be worth, here they are. Richburg is PFF’s 36th-ranked center with a 55.4 overall grade. He has allowed two sacks and 19 pressures.

In small sample sizes, Halapio (69.4) and Pulley (63.1) grade higher. Greco (56.0) grades out roughly equal while splitting time between center and guard. The trio has allowed four sacks and 23 pressures. Combined, they earn $2.2 million in base salary this season. Throw in the $480,000 being earned by rookie Evan Brown and the Giants are spending $2.68 million on the center position this season.

Aparicio told us that Richburg “hangs out in that average area” among NFL center, and the numbers would seem to back up that assertion.

“I think that you probably made the right move to not pay him a ton of money if you can get someone to perform at that average level on a much cheaper contract,” Aparicio said.

Also on today’s show

  • Aparicio and I discuss the reasons for the negativity surrounding the 1-7 Giants vs. the more positive atmosphere around the 2-7 49ers.
  • We talk about the Nick Mullens phenomenon.
  • I address the Kyle Lauletta situation, including a brief clip of Lauletta speaking to media on Tuesday.
  • I talk about the Giants’ hopes for new offensive lineman Jamon Brown.

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Don’t miss Dan Pizzuta and Chris Pflum on Friday as they debut an NFL Draft show. Also, if you missed it, check out my show from earlier this week that included an interview with Newsday’s NFL columnist Bob Glauber.

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