Reader Mailbag: St. Patty’s Day Edition

Part 2 of our St. Patty’s Day Weekend Mailbag

Checking in to see what’s on the minds of New York Giants fans…

From Joe M.

The Giants appear to engage a practice of allowing their players entering last year of contract to play out the contract instead of attempting to sign the player to a multi-year arrangement to provide cap space. Please explain the logic behind this measure.

Joe, you are assuming (incorrectly) that this is always the Giants’ choice. Quite often, agents advise their clients to wait until the market opens and the new salary cap space becomes available which in turn re-defines the market.

While there are exceptions—and usually those exceptions are the “lifers”—this is a standard practice a lot of teams put into effect.

think back to the very early years of the salary cap’s existence. How many times did we all bemoan the Giants’ practice under then-GM George Young and, to an extent, Ernie Accorsi, to rush to re-sign guys without seeing how the market developed? As a result, those teams ended up with serious cap issues.

 

From Nathaniel

Reese attended Zach Cunningham’s pro day, typically a sign he’s high on the prospect. At 23, do you see us grabbing him or a possible Leonard Floyd repeat of last year?

Nate, right now I don’t think anyone is set regarding who they are going to pick. You remember how last year there were last-minute trades that turned the board upside down?

This is why I don’t like mock drafts (yes, I write them when asked), why I don’t read into visits and pro days and why I tell people to wait until the draft itself.

With that said, usually if Reese attends a Pro Day, it’s usually a sign that the prospect is thought highly enough. But I wouldn’t go making up the draft board based off these reports just yet.

 

From Stan K.

Where is the money coming from to pay for their new tight end and any other free agents they are targeting?

Stan, I assume you’re referencing the players they already signed. They had space for those guys, as far as I know. I will have a breakdown of the contracts each of the new players received in the March issue of Inside Football, but as far as I can tell, none of them counted for more than $5 million against the cap.

From  George B.

At this point last year it looked as though the Giants would have a lot of money ($12-15 million) to carry over into 2017. Fast forward and it seemed to mostly disappear. I get that there were performance levels achieved and that there were players added as the season progressed, but did the small carryover surprise you?

Know what George? In all the years I’ve been covering the salary cap, I’ve often found that the pubic cap report is never accurate nor updated as frequently as it should be.

As a result, reporters and fans get information that is not correct; then when the new information comes out, all of a sudden, people are left wondering what happened to the surplus.

The further explain what might have happened to the money: injured players who were waived received injury settlements; some players who deal with season-ending injuries received split salaries from the point they were put on injured reserve.

Then there was payment made to the practice squad players, which I believe counts toward the cap–you keep cutting and bringing guys back, and that’s a new transaction.

So there were any number of reasons why what we all thought they’d have for 2017 in terms of space really wasn’t there.

From Bob Guijarro

We have traded Marshall Newhouse for Fluker, is that an upgrade of tackle position?

Bob, it’s too soon to say. I’ll be better able to answer this question once we get into the spring practices as far as fundamentals, and then int he summer once the pads go on.

 

From Tony T.

How much do you see the decision to franchise JPP following the moves last year in FA along with McAdoo’s statements at the combine to suggest the team has shifted to a greater emphasis on the defense, pulling back from the last 3 TC years where defense seemed to be subordinated to offense and ST. Secondly what is your assessment of Tye?

Tony, I don’t think the defense was, as you put it, “subordinated.” I think what happened was the personnel department grossly overrated the talent they had on defense in 2015. Toss in the injuries that wrecked that unit, and it was destined to be a disaster.

As for franchising Pierre-Paul, I keep telling people defensive ends that can rush the passer and stop the run don’t’ grow on trees. Most of the defensive ends in the draft class are better fits for 3-4.

Also what people seem to forget here is that the Giants are working with a 36-year-old quarterback whose window is fast closing. They’re in a “win it all now” mode.

So it makes no sense for them to let guys who were extremely productive (and I’m talking more than just the sacks here) walk away.

Regarding Will Tye, I think he can expect some competition from a draft pick that I anticipate will be coming no later than the end of the second day.

I will also add this: If a guy is probably going to get competition at his position, if the message isn’t loud and clear regarding what’s going on, then I don’t know how else you can stress it.

From Jim P.

It’s generally acknowledged that Ereck Flowers had a poor season and that the Giants need substantial improvement at left tackle. At the least, are they going to bring in (via free agency or draft) some competition for left tackle

Jim, at this point there just isn’t money nor is there really anyone out there who might be an upgrade at left tackle.

With that said, something I keep saying that the “bench Ereck Flowers” crowd doesn’t seem to want to grasp is that the Giants have to make a decision regarding Flowers’ option year after the 2017 season.

This is why I don’t think they’re going to move him from left tackle—he’d basically have to start over from scratch.

I would not be stunned if we find out that Flowers finally got himself into LeCharles Bentleys O-line Performance Center this offseason. There are so many benefits, among them working with teammates Weston Richburg and John Jerry. If Flowers has pride in his job—and I believe he does—I can’t see him continuing to keep the status quo.

From Matthew L.

Is there any push from either the players or management to create more opportunities in the next CBA for off-season teaching opportunities within each organization so players do not have to go to specific academies such as LeCharles Bentley’s Offensive Lineman Academy?

Matthew, this is an excellent question and one that I really don’t have an answer to. I would think coaches and management would be more in favor for changing the structure of the offseason guidelines to make it longer (not so long ago, the program would start in mid-March) and to ease up on some of the non-contact rules.

As for the players, my understanding is that they are free to pick whatever schools they want to attend on their own time for their training, and that these schools are usually not affiliated with the teams or the league.

So I guess it’s like anything else. If you want to get better at your profession, you’ll make the necessary arrangements and sacrifices to do so. If you really aren’t serious or are contempt with where you are, you’ll stand pat or just keep doing what got you the job to begin with.

If I hear anything differently, I’ll pass it along—my guess though is that with four seasons still to be played on the current CBA, no one is really thinking much about that just yet.