Some more questions, and some more answers, in the latest edition of my SNY Giants mailbag:
Did you hear anything about the Giants trying to get Warford, Clowney, Ngakoue or anybody on the free agent market? -- @sld150
Sure, let's start with all the big names. And the answers are no, no, no, and not really.
I get that everyone loves the big names and wants their team to throw their money around. And sure, guard Larry Warford, edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, or edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue would make the Giants better. But at what cost? Worford reportedly wants a contract worth more than $7 million per year? Clowney was seeking $18 million per year at last check. And Ngakoue is going to want well over $100 million in a long-term contract, and that's after trading for him which probably will cost at least the Giants' first-round pick in 2021, plus a lot more.
At this point, the team they have is what they're going to have when the regular-season opens. They do have the cap room to make some inexpensive signings. Maybe they'll now consider adding a cornerback, like Logan Ryan, thanks to DeAndre Baker's surprise legal issues. I also think they are hoping to re-sign edge rusher Markus Golden, if the price is right.
But if you're looking for big names and move-the-needle players, it's just not going to happen.
What free agent positions could the Giants possibly still be interested in? -- @Truck1223
Funny, 24 hours ago I would've told you it would be a center or an edge rusher. Now, of course, I'd have to think it will be a cornerback, thanks to the arrest warrant that was issued for Baker. There aren't many options, of course, outside of Logan Ryan. But they'll have to at least consider it since Baker was supposed to be one of their starters.
If there was a center available that was any good, I'd imagine they'd consider it. Same with an edge rusher, though I think Golden is their only option there. That's why the Giants placed the "May 5" tender on him, which is worth $4.1 million. They are hoping he doesn't get any offers better than that and decides to return to them.
Other than that, maybe I could see them adding a receiver before camp. They're pretty happy with the trio of Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, but there's not a lot of depth there. So if, say, Taylor Gabriel is still available then and the price is right, it wouldn't shock me if they signed him, or another receiver.
But I think they feel set at every other position, at least when it comes to adding free agents who are currently available. Cornerback would have to be the only priority spot.
Who do you think will start at linebacker next to Martinez: Connelly or David Mayo? -- @GiantsVidal1027
That's a really tough question to answer in this strange offseason because we certainly have no idea of Ryan Connelly's status, and the Giants don't really have a full grasp on it either. Connelly, of course, tore his ACL last September before his rookie year could really get started. The hope was always that he would be ready for this upcoming season, but there are a lot of steps to cover for him to get there.
Since I don't know what his workout situation is at the moment, I can't even guess at where he is in his recovery. But surely his inability to workout with the Giants is going to hinder his comeback a little bit. So I guess my guess would be that Mayo will enter camp as the starter next to Blake Martinez. The Giants gave him a three-year, $8.4 million deal so they obviously like him.
But it will really come down to where Connelly is in his recovery and, if he's OK, can he really compete with Mayo at training camp, whenever that happens? I think the Giants believe Connelly has a good, long-term future. But he suffered a pretty devastating rookie year injury that could be tough to overcome.
If Slayton doesn't have the same year he had last year and Shepard continues to have his God forbid concussions what do you see the Giants doing to improve the WR position? -- @FilthyRich777
Wow, that's a lot of bad expectations. And it's a big problem for the Giants because they only have three reliable receivers - Golden Tate, the aforementioned Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.
I can't really speak to Shepard's concussions, but there's no reason to believe Slayton will have a big dropoff from last year. I'd actually imagine he'll be better and more productive based on what I saw and how he seemed to improve as the season went along.
But OK, if Slayton and Shepard can't get the job done, what can the Giants do? Nothing. I know that's not the answer you wanted, but expecting them to find a mid-season replacement at such a key position is asking a lot. They didn't draft a receiver, so it's not like they have one waiting in the wings, either. Their fourth receiver is either Cody Core, who is really on the roster for special teams, or Corey Coleman, whose career has been a bust and is now coming off a torn ACL.
I guess one of their undrafted free agents, like Binjimen Victor or Austin Mack could prove to be the next Victor Cruz, but I wouldn't bet on it. So if they get into the season and Shepard is hurt and Slayton is struggling, they are really out of luck.
Why don't the NYG use Evan Engram as a big down-the-field WR like Plax instead of TE? -- @RockyBullwinkl7
The simple answer is: He's a tight end. But I know that's not the explanation you want.
There has been talk of Engram switching to receiver since he came out of college, mostly because he's not a good blocker and he's got excellent size (6-3, 240) and speed (4.42 in the 40 at the combine) that would theoretically make him a good receiver. I had asked scouts about that when he was drafted and the consensus was he didn't have the makings of receiver outside of size and speed, though. He wasn't a polished enough route-runner nor did he have good enough skills to battle NFL cornerbacks.
The general feeling was he was better suited as a mismatch guy, who could use that size and speed to take advantage of being matched up against smaller safeties or slower linebackers. Against a corner, with NFL cover skills, he'd be in trouble.
The comparison to Burress only works in size and speed (Burress was 6-5, 232 and ran a 4.59). But he was a fantastic receiver. He caught everything in reach - and his long arms put a lot in reach. He was adept at not only running his routes, but faking out his coverage. He mastered the intricacies of the position, like getting open, avoiding unnecessary contact, blocking out defenders, etc.
Engram as a receiver just wouldn't be in that class. He also doesn't want to be. He likes being a tight end. And there's no indication that the new coaching staff is even thinking about a switch.