New York Giants: Off Season Moves Before the Draft

 

By Michael Stewart

Introduction: GM Dave Gettleman as advertised focused mainly on the offensive line in free agency and despite missing out on his prime target in Andrew Norwell, Below are grades based on decision making (Retaining, Letting go and Trades) for the Giants on their moves this off season. The grading system will be ranked as follows: Good Decision to trade/trade for, keep or let go-Grades A+ to B/ Moderate Decision to trade/trade for, keep or let go-Grades B- to C/Bad Decision to trade/trade for, keep or let go-Grades C- to F

Trades:

DE-Jason Pierre-Paul: The Giants trade JPP to the Tampa Bucccaneers for basically a 3rd round pick in the 2018 draft. Dave Gettleman made his most publicized move thus far as the Giants GM by trading Jason Pierre-Paul and saving much needed cap space ($19M) for 2019. Grade A (Good Decision to trade)

OLB-Alec Ogletree: The Giants acquired the veteran linebacker for a 4th and a 6th pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Ogletree provides a much needed upgrade at a position that was neglected by former Giants GM Jerry Reese. Grade B (Good decision to trade for)

Free Agent Loses:

OLB-Devon Kennard: Signed with the Detroit Lions for 3 years/$18.75M . Kennard had a solid career thus far as a Giant, however; the Giants didn’t value Kennard as high as the Lions did ($6.25M per year). Not re-signing Kennard based on what he got from the Lions was a good decision by the Giants. Grade A+: (Good decision to let go)

OC-Weston Richburg: Signed with the San Francisco 49ers for 5 years/$47.5M. Richburg got a deal more based on his performance in 2015 and not over the last two seasons. Richburg performance has been in a decline over the past couple of seasons, not re-signing him was a solid decision by the Giants. Grade A (Good decision to let go)

OG-Justin Pugh: Signed with the Arizona Cardinals for 5 years/$45M. Pugh’s career flourished once he moved from right tackle to right guard for the Giants a few years back. However; injuries have plagued Pugh over the last two seasons (Knee and Back). The Giants were wise in not offering Pugh a contract and I believe the Cardinals will regret this in a couple of years. Grade A (Good decision to let go)

OG- D. J Fluker: Signed with the Seattle Seahawks (terms unknown)-Fluker several weeks ago hinted that he would explore the free agent market and most likely leave the Giants. The Giants did have some interest in bringing Fluker back at the right price. Reportedly, but not confirmed; the Seahawks offered a contract that was more than what the Giants would have offered. Grade C- (Bad decision to let go)

Re-Signed:

OLB-Mark Herzlich: Resigned for 1 year/$790,000-Excellent team player and a solid contributor on special teams and in the locker room. Grade B (Moderate decision to retain)

OL-John Greco: Resigned for 1 year/$1.015M-Low risk signing for the Giants and should add depth to the offensive line as Greco has 70 starts during his career. Grade C+ (Moderate decision to retain)

OL-Jon Halapio: Resigned for 1 year/$555,000-Halapio is another solid backup able to contribute short term. Grade C+ (Moderate decision to retain)

 

OC-Brett Jones: Resigned for 1 year/$2.914M with a 2nd round tag. Jones could still be signed by another team, but it will cost a 2nd round pick. Jones led all Giants in 2017 in performance based pay with $248,000; which is part of the collective bargaining agreement that compensates players based on playing time and production in comparison to their salary. Grade B+ (Good decision to retain)

DE-Kerry Wynn: Resigned for 1 year (terms unknown) Wynn has been a serviceable defensive end for the Giants since his arrival in 2014. Although his playing time has been in a decline over the last two seasons, Wynn provides much needed depth and insurance for the Giants. Grade B (Good decision to retain)

DT-Robert Thomas: Re-signed for 1 year/$630,000-Thomas more than likely will have one last chance to show the Giants that he can be a productive backup DT. The decision to resign Thomas over Jay Bromley would indicate that Bromley’s days as a Giant are over. Grade C- (Bad decision to retain

Signed

Jonathan Stewart-2 years/$8.4M with $2.95M guaranteed (RB): Newly acquired RB Jonathan Stewart is a 10 year veteran in the NFL with a lot of wear and tear under his belt. However; GM Dave Gettleman must still believe that Stewart has more to offer (at least 2 more seasons) as an effective running back. Currently, the Giants have Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins as the other running backs on the roster. Not sure why overpay for Stewart when Darkwa had similar production in 2017 and is younger and certainly would be cheaper. Grade C+ (Moderate decision to sign)

Teddy Willams-1 year deal (CB): Injuries have hampered Williams over the last two seasons. However; the 6’1/210 cornerback has a ton of speed and should add some needed depth to the cornerback position and to special teams. Grade C (Moderate decision to sign)

Kareem Martin- 3 years/$15M with $7.5M guaranteed and a $3M signing bonus (OLB): The signing of Martin makes a ton of sense as the Giants new defensive scheme implementing the 3-4 fits Martin like a glove. Martin and the Giants new Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher were together in Arizona and the 6’6/272 pound defender should help other Giants transition into the new defense smoothly. Grade B+ (Good decision to sign)

Nate Solder-4 years/$62M with a $16M signing bonus (OT): Once the Giants missed out on their primary target Andrew Norwell, they quickly focused on plan B by signing the 30 year old left tackle Nate Solder. The addition of Solder solidifies the Left Tackle position; which has been a major problem over the last several seasons. Grade A- (Good decision to sign)

Patrick Omameh-3 years/$15M with $5M guaranteed (OG): Omameh may not have an household name, but the 6’4/327 pound lineman has displayed quality versatility in his career and is currently the best guard on the Giants roster. Being able to play both guard positions, Omameh could be under the radar signing that could blossom into a steal. Grade B (Good decision to sign)

Curtis Riley-(CB): Riley was undrafted in the 2015 NFL draft and didn’t see action until 2016 when he played in four games for the Titans. Riley played in seven games in 2017 and recorded 11 total tackles and an interception. This is strictly a depth move for the Giants. Grade C (Moderate decision to sign)

Josh Mauro- (DE): Mauro has played for the Arizona Cardinals over the past 4 seasons and is very familiar with defensive coordinator James Bettcher 3-4 scheme. Mauro will battle it out for a roster spot with other current Giants defensive ends and perhaps any prospects taken in the draft or through UDFA (undrafted free agents).Grade C+ (Moderate decision to sign)

Cody Latimer- (WR): Latimer has 35 receptions for 445 yards and three touchdowns in his career. These are not numbers that would point to a starting role, however; Latimer is also a kickoff return specialist; which could mean the end for Dwayne Harris and freeing up $2.45M in cap space. Grade C+ (Moderate decision to sign)

B.W Webb (CB): Webb will be another cornerback to provide depth in a position that desperately needs it. Webb has been with several teams (Cowboys, Steelers, Titans, Saints, Bears and Browns). Grade C- (Bad decision to sign)

Final Thoughts: I don’t expect to see much more free agent signings before the draft in late April as the Giants cap situation is limited, unless releases, cuts or restructuring contracts are made. How these moves affect which direction the Giants go in the draft is still unclear. However; it shouldn’t count out the possibility of them trading back in the draft for additional picks if needed.

 

 

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