Fixing the New York Giants

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The New York Giants have entered a new era. Long time Giant and two-time Super Bowl winning Quarterback Eli Manning has officially retired. Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. found a new home in Cleveland last season. They have a new head coach fresh from Bill Belichick’s coaching tree in Joe Judge. Their offense is centered around a workhorse running back in Saquon Barkley.

This team and franchise needs a remodeling and I’ve outlined the blueprint below. The Giants fired Head Coach Pat Shurmur after two disappointing seasons. New Head Coach Joe Judge was the special teams and receiver coach for the Patriots the last few seasons after coaching under Nick Saban at Alabama for several years. Judge’s introductory press conference was promising, but what he does on the field is what will turn around this storied franchise that has endured a long stretch of disappointment.

The Giants need to take advantage of the opportunity with a new head coach and a quarterback fresh off his rookie season where he started a majority of the games and played really well at times. I’ll take them through cuts on their roster, free agency, and the draft. Let’s not delay any further, and let’s fix the New York Giants.

Cap Space: $69.4 Million

Cut:

If the Giants make the following cuts, their salary cap going into the 2020 offseason will be nearly $90 million.

Alec Ogletree, LB, $8.25 million

Moving from the Rams to the Giants still didn’t unlock who Ogletree was drafted to be several years ago. His price tag heavily outweighs his production, and it’s safe to say his potential is tapped out by now.

Rhett Ellison, TE, $5 million

Starting tight end Evan Engram missed a few games this season and Ellison was tasked to replace him in the starting lineup. He didn’t do much in those starts, and the Giants would be smart to move on this year.

Kareem Martin, LB, $4.8 million

Similar to Ogletree, Martin’s production is not even close to his cost against the salary for next season and the Giants can use that money elsewhere.

– Antoine Bethea, S, $2.75 million

Bethea simply wasn’t really used this season, therefore his contract is just wasted money.

Resign:

Leonard Williams, DL

The Giants traded for Williams in the middle of this past season from the Jets. It seemed like a mutual parting between the two sides, as Williams wasn’t happy with the Jets and he fell out of favor there. On the Giants, he was one of the bright spots on the defensive side of the ball this season.

Markus Golden, LB

Golden was another key piece on the Giants defense this season. Keeping another good starter on the front seven is a necessity.

Michael Thomas, S

Michael Thomas (not THAT Michael Thomas) played surprisingly well this season on the back end of this defense. He could push for a starter spot next season paired with Jabrill Peppers.

Cody Latimer, WR

This resigning is mainly focused around Latimer’s abilities on special teams. He showed some upside in the passing game, but he also had a lot of bad drops this season.

Russell Shepard, WR

I’m mainly interested in resigning Shepard to a short and cheap contract to see if he can build on some of his good performances from 2019.

David Mayo, LB

Mayo is a good piece to this linebacker corps who can spot start when necessary and mainly play well on special teams.

Deone Bucannon, LB

Bucannon is still labeled as a bust, but I think he still has value if someone can figure out how to use him properly. He’s a tweener linebacker and safety and I like that versatility.

Corey Coleman, WR

Coleman is in the same boat as Shepard. Short and cheap contract, let him earn a job in 2020.

Cody Core, WR

One of these receivers can make the roster. All three have potential, so let them compete and keep the best one.

Free Agency:

The Giants can be one of the biggest players in 2020 Free Agency if they make the cuts I listed above. The roster is kind of a skeleton, with many positions needing to be addressed. I am a firm believer in building a team through the draft, but a few big additions in free agency can be key in setting a new foundation.

Tier One:

This tier contains players that will demand top dollar once they hit the open market. Several, if not all, of these players may be resigned by their current teams quickly. But if not, the Giants shouldn’t hesitate on signing any of them right away.

Chris Harris, CB
Byron Jones, CB
Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE
Chris Jones, DL
Yannick Ngakoue, DL

Tier Two:

This tier is full of players who won’t quite command top dollar, but the Dolphins should make sure they give them enough to lure them to South Beach.

Kyle Van Noy, LB
Brandon Scherff, OL
– Shaquille Barrett, EDGE
Arik Armstead, DL
Jack Conklin, OT
– Bud Dupree, EDGE
Trae Waynes, CB
Jamie Collins, EDGE
– Andrus Peat, OG
Bruce Irvin, LB
Vic Beasley, EDGE
Joe Schobert, LB
– Bud Dupree, EDGE

Tier Three:

This group is made up of players that will be closer towards the middle of the league in terms of salary. Whether they’re higher in age, a career backup, or a player coming off their rookie contract that didn’t live up to pre-draft expectations.

Jimmy Smith, CB
Danny Trevathan, LB
Anthony Harris, S
Eli Apple, CB
Dante Fowler Jr., EDGE
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S
– Anthony Costanzo, OT
Logan Ryan, CB
– Leonard Williams, DL
Justin Simmons, S
Jason Verrett, CB
Ezekiel Ansah, EDGE
– Bryan Bulaga, OT
Kendall Fuller, CB
Andrew Sendejo, S
Bradley Roby, CB
– Matt Judon, EDGE
Darron Lee, LB
Vonn Bell, S
Mackensie Alexander, CB
– Daryl Williams, OT
– Logan Ryan, CB
Jimmie Ward, S
– Nick Kwiatkowski, LB
Kamalei Correa, LB

Draft:

Round One (pick 4):

Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

I am of the belief that the Lions will trade out of the third pick for a QB-needy team, meaning Okudah will be available for the Giants at 4. He is my third ranked prospect in this class and possibly the best cornerback to come into the league in many years.
If Okudah is off the board, the Giants should go with Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons. He can play all over the field, linebacker, safety, slot corner, edge rusher, etc. He is a defensive weapon that certainly deserves a top-5 pick.

Round Two (pick 36):

The Giants need to focus on the trenches with this pick. We’ve seen what the 49ers were able to do this season with a great offensive and defensive line. So we’ll take a look at prospects on both sides of the line that could be available with the 36th overall pick.

Offensive linemen:

Trey Adams, OT, Washington
Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan

Defensive linemen:

Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU
Neville Gallimore, DL, South Carolina
Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama

Round Four (pick 98):

Assuming Okudah is the pick at fourth overall and not Simmons, the Giants need to look at linebacker in the fourth round, as well as wide receiver. It sounds obvious, but you need to surround young quarterbacks with as much talent and as many weapons as possible.

But first, we’ll address offensive one and defensive line prospects around 98th overall for whichever one wasn’t selected last round:

– Yasir Durant, OT, Missouri
Ben Bredeson, OL, Michigan
Alton Robinson, DL, Syracuse
Khalid Kareem, EDGE, Notre Dame

And now linebackers:

Joe Bachie, LB, Michigan State
Jacob Phillips, LB, LSU
Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami

Wide receivers:

Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF

Rounds Five to Seven (picks 130, 161, 193, and 213):

The fifth round is typically where teams start taking shots at prospects with high upside, regardless of position. This is where the Giants can take a look at positions like running back, tight end, and safety. Below I’ve listed two players at every position (one around 130 overall and the other around 200 overall) that the Giants can target late in the draft.

Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
JaMycal Hasty, RB, Baylor
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
– Isaiah Hodges, WR, Oregon State
– Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Luke Farrell, TE, Ohio State
Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU
Matt Peart, OT, UConn
Damien Lewis, OL, LSU
– Marquell Harrell, OL, Auburn
Mustafa Johnson, DL, Colorado
Marlon Tuipulotu, DL, USC
Chris Orr, EDGE, Wisconsin
DeAngelo Malone, EDGE, Western Kentucky
Jeffrey McCulloch, LB, Texas
Mykal Walker, LB, Fresno State
Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
Dicaprio Bootle, CB, Nebraska
– Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jalen Elliott, S, Notre Dame

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