The New York Giants’ moves over the last week have people questioning their goals and general manager Dave Gettleman’s abilities. They traded Odell Beckham Jr. last week to the Cleveland Browns for a first round pick, a third-round pick and 23-year-old starting safety Jabrill Peppers. Just a couple of days later, they signed receiver Golden Tate in free agency to a four-year, $37.5 million contract. The Giants had already traded defensive end Olivier Vernon and let safety Landon Collins leave in free agency.
In addition, reports came out that New York is not looking to draft Dwayne Haskins anymore. They do not feel that he is a good fit in their system. In fact, the Giants seem content with keeping Eli Manning as their starting quarterback for this season. Now, they may not even draft a quarterback at all with either of their two first-round picks. While some of these moves may seem counterproductive and confusing, it is still possible that the Giants do have a true plan. There is a potential explanation for each of the New York Giants moves this offseason.
Odell Beckham Jr. Trade
OBJ is both one of the most talented receivers in the NFL (maybe in NFL history) as well as arguably the biggest star in football. He was a great player as a Giant and just last season, received a monster five-year, $90 million extension. However, the Giants felt that Beckham was not a good off the field role model and did not like his demeanor on the field.
While trading someone as young and great as Odell Beckham Jr. is always going to be a controversial decision, the Giants may have been right to move on. If a player does not fit the locker room chemistry or has issues with the quarterback and/or coach, it can be detrimental to the team. In addition, a superstar receiver will generally not carry a team to a Super Bowl, or even the playoffs. Of the top five receivers in football, only Julio Jones has made the Super Bowl as a starter. In addition, OBJ has only made the playoffs once with the Giants. They lost their first game and Beckham, who had partied in Miami during the week before their game, had four catches for 28 yards and three drops.
He was young and still has time to mature, but the Giants brought in a solid haul in their trade. They received a first-round pick, a third-round pick and Jabrill Peppers. Maybe they will find a way to take DK Metcalf in the first round to make up for OBJ. Peppers was a first-round pick just two years ago and has been a solid safety so far. He is versatile, able to play both low in the box and high as a deep safety. Peppers can also be an asset in the kick-return game. At only 23 years old, he is very athletic, skilled and has room to grow.
Losing Landon Collins
Landon Collins was a terrific safety for the Giants and is still one of the best safeties in football. However, the Giants, for some reason, did not franchise tag him and did not even seriously consider bringing him back. It is easy to chide New York for not keeping arguably a great safety or at least trading him for something at last season’s trade deadline.
However, reports say that the highest offer the Giants received at the deadline was a fourth-round pick. It was actually a good decision not to make that trade. Based on the six-year, $84-million contract Collins signed with the Washington Redskins, New York will most likely receive a third-round compensatory selection in the 2020 NFL draft. Further, while Collins has been a perennial Pro Bowler, he has not returned to the every-down consistency from his 2016 All-Pro season.
The Giants were able to get Jabrill Peppers, a younger, more versatile strong safety, to replace him. Peppers is certainly not as good as Collins right now. But he is coming off a very good season in Cleveland and has the potential to become a Pro Bowler.
Olivier Vernon Trade
Vernon is a very good pass rusher still in his prime. He averaged about seven sacks with 19 QB hits over his three years in the Big Apple. In fact, he was a Pro Bowler last year and an All-Pro two seasons ago.
However, this was still a very good trade for New York. Their return from the Browns was Kevin Zeitler, an extremely solid right guard. Zeitler will help shore up that leaky offensive line. In addition, this year’s draft is very deep in defensive linemen. The Giants could take someone like Rashan Gary or Clelin Ferrell with the mid-first-round pick they received from Cleveland. Trading Vernon for Zeitler was a great move for the organization.
Golden Tate Signing
Merely days after trading one of the best receivers in football, the Giants signed Tate. They are paying him almost $10 million per year and still have dead cap from OBJ’s contract. This was the most questionable of their moves, but he is a solid receiver who generally acts like a professional in the locker room. If the Giants are truly still trying to make a playoff run or two with Eli Manning, they need weapons. Golden Tate is certainly not a bad one to add to the receiving corps,
Still, it’s tough to defend spending almost $40 million on a guy who is really a number two receiver. (Especially during a supposed rebuild).
Keeping Eli Manning as Starter
Eli Manning is nowhere near good enough to be earning the $23 million he is set to make. However, the Giants think they can still make the playoffs with him. Instead of signing someone like Nick Foles in free agency, they are rolling with Manning for this season. Even more surprising, they are now likely to pass on quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the draft. Reportedly, they think “he doesn’t fit the scheme because he is not mobile in the pocket.” Well, Eli Manning is also not mobile in the pocket and GM Dave Gettleman went all out to defend him yesterday.
Rolling with Manning for another season or two points in one direction: the Giants have a quarterback in mind that they would like to draft in one of the next two seasons. This is most likely either Tua Tagovailoa in 2020 or Trevor Lawrence in 2021. The Giants are reloading for Eli, hoping to make one last playoff push, and getting ready to jump up and draft one of these two.
Hopefully, this is the case. Otherwise, of all the New York Giants moves, keeping Eli Manning as a starter really doesn’t make sense.
Featured image from Associated Press
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