Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - There were boos on draft night when the Giants picked Daniel Jones sixth overall, and he was booed when he threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium a few weeks later. He was considered a reach pick by many, a symbol of a desperate, lost franchise, and proof that their embattled general manager didn't have a clue.

All that, though, was coming from outside of the NFL.

Inside the NFL, Jones -- and the Giants' decision to pick him as high as they did -- was viewed a heck of a lot better than that.

"He had a lot of sponsors throughout the league. People thought he was going to be a good player," said Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout and current analyst with NFL Network. "Teams said he's got a lot of ability and thought he got unfairly beat up through the process."

"I got that sense as well," added former NFL quarterback Jim Miller, host of 'Movin' the Chains' on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "In terms of league coaches and GMs around the NFL, they liked Daniel Jones every bit as much as the Giants did."

 

That may be hard for fans and some members of the media to believe, but it's a sentiment echoed by multiple sources around the NFL in conversations with SNY. Heading into the NFL draft back in April, it was clear that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was going to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 1, but there was no clear consensus on who should be the next quarterback off the board.

Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins and Missouri's Drew Lock both had strong supporters. But so did Jones.

In fact, multiple sources confirmed that several teams considered Jones the next best quarterback in the draft and some considered him a Top-10 pick -- a fact which would seem to confirm the Giants' belief that Jones would not have still been available for them to select with their second first round draft pick -- 17th overall. The Giants believed that the Denver Broncos (at 10) and the Washington Redskins (at 15) were poised to take Jones, and that another team might try to jump up and grab him too.

It's impossible to know for sure whether that would have happened. But two pre-draft polls of NFL general managers - one taken by SiriusXM NFL radio and one by NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly -- strongly suggest Jones was unlikely to get out of the Top 15.

"Every GM had it listed differently," said Miller, who conducted the poll with his co-host, former NFL executive Pat Kirwan. "For some on the list, Kyler Murray was 1. For others on the list, Dwayne Haskins was 1.

"But there were teams that had Daniel Jones as their No. 1."

Video: Vacchiano: Daniel Jones is respected in NFL circles

"Murray was No. 1 (in my poll)," Casserly added. "But Jones and Haskins were basically tied at 2. Flip of the coin. And that's from talking to 25 teams. Twenty-five teams told me is that it was a dead heat."

So when the Giants took Jones at 6, it may have caused fans to scream in agony and throw things at their TVs, and it may have caused the media to tear in to Gettleman, but few around the NFL considered it a "reach".

"I'm sure some teams thought it was high, but nobody thought it was crazy," said one NFC executive. "We all liked this kid. He's not an all-time great prospect, but he's a good one. And (the Giants) needed a quarterback, too. It made perfect sense. I don't understand the hits (Gettleman) is taking."

"Look, if you have a need at that position and you like a guy, you don't play roulette and hope he's there at 17 when you're picking 6," Jeremiah added. "If you take a quarterback at 6 or 17 and you miss, a lot of people are going to lose their jobs anyway. So you might as well take the one you really want, rather than let someone else make that decision for you."

Video: Vacchiano: Daniel Jones is respected in NFL circles

The Giants, of course, seemed to know all that, which has only infuriated their critics who remain upset with the pick. Eyes seem to roll every time Giants coach Pat Shurmur says that Jones has "exceeded expectations" or that "We really haven't seen anything that he can't do." It even sounded arrogant when camp opened and Shurmur said "We had more of the information about Daniel Jones than some of the people that covered him. We're less surprised about things than maybe some other people are."

But he's right.

"This kid has talent," said an NFC scout. "He's got a good-enough arm, all the intangibles, and the perfect temperament for New York. Fans who saw a couple of highlights and listened to some (person) on the radio may think this was a terrible pick. But no one around the league does."

"I think he will be a starter in the league," said Jeremiah, who ranked him as the 32nd best player in the draft. "He's got a shot to be a solid, steady player. I didn't peg him as somebody that had the upside to be a Top 5, maybe not even a Top 10. But he's somebody that if you build the right team around him, he's a Top 10-15 quarterback and you can win a bunch of games."

None of that is to suggest Jones is a flawless prospect or that people around the NFL think he's destined for greatness. In fact, there does seem to be one consistent issue people around the NFL seem to have with him: He does everything good, but nothing that's necessarily great. Murray had the elite athleticism that made him a unique weapon. Haskins and Lock had cannon arms that made scouts drool.

Jones was a lot like a young Eli Manning during his days at Ole Miss - solid, but not necessarily spectacular in any particular way.

"I don't think he has just one elite, rare trait," Jeremiah said. "He's got great size but he doesn't have an overpowering arm. He's a really good athlete, but he's not uniquely special in that area. And personality-wise, he doesn't have that take-over-the-room charisma that some guys have had, like a Baker Mayfield. So nothing jumps out at you that way."

"I saw Jones as having the best vision and anticipation of anybody in the draft," Casserly said. "But Haskins gave you the cannon arm to make the 'Wow' throw. My biggest question when I saw (Jones) live at the (Senior Bowl) was arm strength. But people who've seen him more than I have said 'The arm is fine.'"

Of course, a "fine" arm, no "elite" traits and no skill that jumps out at you is exactly why so many outside the NFL thought he was a reach at No. 6. But again, enough teams seemed to like enough about Jones, that it would've been a big risk for the Giants to wait.

"I agree with Dave Gettleman, if they don't take him as high as they did, I don't think he's there (at 17)," Miller said. "There's no guarantee that other teams leapfrog and say 'Hey, he just made it through the Giants, let's get up there ahead of the Giants (next pick). Hey, look what happened to Arizona (in 2017). They wanted Patrick Mahomes, then Kansas CIty jumps all the way up from 24 into the Top 10 and then you're left holding the bag. That happens too many times in the NFL."

"You can't mess around with the quarterback," said the NFC executive. "If you like him, take him. We all understand that."

Inside the NFL, sure they do. Outside the NFL, especially in New York, the selection of Jones remains a lightning rod for a fan base that seems conflicted. There were constant cries the last few years for the Giants to replace Manning. Then they draft his replacement, and the cries became about how they drafted the wrong guy at the wrong spot.

An outstanding spring and a strong start to the summer won't be enough to quiet them, either. Remember, when the Giants traded up for Manning in 2004 the deal was relatively well-received by the fan base, but four years into his career there were still many who were trying to run him out of town.

So for some, it won't matter that NFL people believe Jones will be a successful NFL quarterback until he actually becomes one.

"The criticism of this pick is incredible," the scout said. "No one thinks it was a big mistake. I don't know what the fans are thinking. What did he do to deserve getting booed?"

"Look, they booed Donovan McNabb (in Philadelphia) and they booed Mario Williams (in Houston), and both of them turned out pretty good," Casserly added. "So getting booed isn't a bad thing now. You don't want to be booed about three years into this, but getting booed at draft time? That's not all bad."

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 23, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison (98) during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Aug 23, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison (98) during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Former Jets and Giants defensive lineman Damon "Snacks" Harrison will once again be looking for a new team.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Harrison is being released by the Lions after one and a half seasons with the team. 

Listed at 6-foot-3, 350 pounds, the run-stuffing specialist played 25 games with the Lions, with 24 starts. With Detroit, Harrison totaled 5.5 sacks, 49 combined tackles, eight tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

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Nov 9, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs (74) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Nov 9, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs (74) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants will clearly be on the hunt for offensive line help this offseason. And while there is no guarantee they'll select one in the first round of the NFL draft, there are already a couple of top prospects they seem to really like.

In fact, the Giants already "love" Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs, according to an NFL source familiar with the Giants thinking, and they have expressed similar interest in Alabama's Jedrick Wills. Both of them are widely considered among the top four offensive line prospects in this year's class, and they will get a good look from the entire league at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next week.

It is far too early to know whether either of them would interest the Giants enough to draft them with the fourth overall pick. Right now, the NFL consensus seems to have Wirfs and Wills in a four-man group at the top of the offensive line charts, with Georgia's Andrew Thomas and Louisville's Mekhi Becton. Which order they will eventually land in depends, for now, on who is asked.

Tags: Nate Solder, Ralph Vacchiano
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Matt Moore/Case Keenum
Matt Moore/Case Keenum

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Giants have multiple needs to fill this offseason, including offensive line help and virtually everywhere on the defense. There is also one, though that isn't pressing but needs some thought put into it before training camp begins this summer. 

As we all know, Eli Manning has gone off into the sunset following his stellar, Hall of Fame-worthy NFL career. Daniel Jones was already transitioned in as the quarterback of the future in Week 3, with Manning as his backup helping him along the way. 

Well, with the Manning gone, who is going to back up Jones now?

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Scott Thompson
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Jan 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a press conference before Super Bowl LIV at Hilton Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Jan 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a press conference before Super Bowl LIV at Hilton Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Sometime in the next few days, or maybe weeks, the NFL is going to add a 17th regular season game and two more playoff teams, which in turn will add to the number of teams in playoff contention.

The NFL owners have been steamrolling in this direction for years. And for all the resistance from the players, it's long been obvious that their compliance is for sale.

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Jan 6, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General overall view of the NFC Wild Card playoff logo during a football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 6, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General overall view of the NFC Wild Card playoff logo during a football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Changes are reportedly coming to the NFL's playoff structure.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the current CBA proposal includes seven teams from each conference making the the playoffs (currently six teams from each conference make the playoffs), with only one team per conference getting a bye.

The new rule would add one more Wild Card team per conference (meaning the Steelers and Rams would have made the playoffs last season), while putting extra importance on securing the number one seed.

Also of note in the new CBA, the players on the teams with a first-round bye would now be compensated for that weekend, whereas they currently are not. 

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 (Rick Scuteri)
(Rick Scuteri)

The Giants could be in the market to upgrade their secondary this offseason. Lions cornerback Darius Slay was placed on the trade block recently, according to reports on Monday

Could the Giants be a suitor to land him via trade? 

It could be costly both in trade assets and against the salary cap. 

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Nov 24, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; A detailed view of the New York Giants helmet during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Dinovo)
Nov 24, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; A detailed view of the New York Giants helmet during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports (Mike Dinovo)

The Giants will have long snapper Colin Holba back, according to The New York Post

Holba, 25, appeared in five games for the Giants last season. He was signed off the team's practice squad in November, replacing the injured Zak DeOssie. When signing to the 53-man roster, Holba signed a two-year deal, not a one-year contract, as first anticipated. 

Holba will be restricted free agent after the 2020 season. DeOssie, who's been with the Giants since 2007, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. 

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The Giants' secondary was young and left plenty to be desired in 2019. But could help be on the way?

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Lions have placed cornerback Darius Slay on the trade block and have talked to "multiple teams" about dealing the All-Pro defender. Could the Giants be one of those teams? 

So far, the Giants have yet to be connected to a deal for Slay, but one thing to consider, like any trade scenario, would be the compensation. 

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Nov 3, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New England Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema stands win the sidelines before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Nov 3, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New England Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema stands win the sidelines before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

It was reported earlier last week that Giants OLBs coach Bret Bielema had "definite interest" in the Michigan State head coaching vacancy, but the Spartans filled it with Mel Tucker

Well, now Bielema could be filling Tucker's vacancy left at Colorado. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Bielema is interviewing for that head coaching job with the Buffaloes. 

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As he continues to pursue his dream of playing in MLB, Mets minor league prospect and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow addressed the media on Sunday afternoon and made some positive comments on the two young quarterbacks playing in New York.

When asked if he was "yay or nay" on Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, Tebow laughed at the question and then gave an encouraging answer on the No. 6 overall pick in last year's draft.

"I think he's got a lot of talent," Tebow said of Jones. "I think he was coached really well in college. I think he will continue to improve. I think continuing to get him more weapons and confidence is pretty critical."

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Nov 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) lines up against the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) lines up against the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams made only 20 tackles with the team in seven games after being acquired from the Jets in a trade on Oct. 28.

The Jets drafted him sixth overall in the 2015 NFL draft out of USC, but he's struggled in recent years after being named to the Pro Bowl in 2016. The 25-year-old is set to be a free agent, as the Giants have until March 18 to sign Williams to a contract extension.

Looking to get back to his Pro Bowl form, Williams recently sought out the help of former New England Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

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Kevin Gilbride
Kevin Gilbride

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When Kevin Gilbride retired after the 2013 season, he didn't spend much time looking back. He was happy to put a 40-year coaching career behind him and focus on his grandchildren instead.

That's why when Oliver Luck, the commissioner of the new XFL called to see if he was interested in coaching again, Gilbride said no. But it didn't take the 68-year-old former Giants offensive coordinator long to change his mind.

Now, after 25 years in the NFL, 10 years with the Giants and two Super Bowl championships, Gilbride is back on the sidelines as the head coach and general manager of the XFL's New York Guardians, who won their debut game, 23-3 over the Tampa Bay Vipers at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

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 (SNY)
(SNY)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

A former Patriots quarterback-turned radio host believes Tom Brady could be the next quarterback of the Giants. Or at least Scott Zolak said on Boston's 98.5 The Sports Hub he was told by a "very connected" source not to "fall asleep" on the possibility.

But at the very least, you can probably hit the snooze button once or twice.

Really, though, at this point who knows what Brady's future plans entail? As he drags out what is fast becoming the most painfully overhyped, overanalyzed decision since LeBron James went on TV to announce he was taking his talents to South Beach, Brady is either riding the slippery slide toward free agency on March 18, or he's not. He's either heading to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville, East Rutherford, or staying put in Foxboro, Mass.

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 (Ron Chenoy)
(Ron Chenoy)

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and while he seems to be content with that for now, it's fair to wonder if he could be a fit in New York.

"I wouldn't mind being in Detroit for a while," Golladay told USA Today's Doug Farrar. "Everything should work itself out. I'm enjoying myself."

Originally a third-round pick of the Lions in 2017, Golladay has been tremendous with Detroit. surpassing the 1,000-yard mark in two of his three pro seasons. In 2019, he caught 65 passes for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns, proving to be one of the league's best young wide receivers. He's also proven to be a big-play threat, as his 18.3 yards per reception ranked second in the NFL. 

Tags: Sterling Shepard
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Leonard Williams (Brad Penner)
Leonard Williams (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Dave Gettleman has steadfastly stood by the most controversial trade of his reign, insisting that sending two draft picks to the Jets for a two-month rental of Leonard Williams was smart because "the juice was worth the squeeze."

The truth, though, is that it remains to be seen just how good the juice actually was. And it all really depends on what happens over the next five weeks. Maybe the juice was worth it for the Giants if they re-sign the 25-year-old Williams to a reasonable contract between now and the start of free agency.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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Tom Brady (Greg M. Cooper)
Tom Brady (Greg M. Cooper)

So, here we are, in a world where Tom Brady's future with the Patriots is actually up in the air after spending 19 seasons in New England. The future Hall of Famer said he isn't going anywhere in a Super Bowl commercial, but that is only in reference to hanging up his cleats for good. Changing teams is definitely in the cards. 

Could that be to the Giants? 

It seems like an enormous stretch, especially after the team drafted Daniel Jones sixth overall and he took over for Eli Manning as the franchise quarterback after two games into the 2019 season. But, according to Boston radio host Scott Zolak, there's a possibility. 

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Scott Thompson
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Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson (Jay Biggerstaff)
Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson (Jay Biggerstaff)

The Giants seem pretty set at wide receiver, with Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton all under contract for the 2020 season. But they're reportedly looking for more help.

According to Matt Lombardo of NJAM, the Giants are expected to pursue Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson, who is set to hit free agency.

Robinson, 25, started 10 games for the Chiefs during the regular season in 2019, hauling in 32 catches for a career-high 449 yards and four touchdowns.

Tags: Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Danny Abriano
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Kevin Gilbride
Kevin Gilbride

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When Kevin Gilbride retired after the 2013 season, he didn't spend much time looking back. He was happy to put a 40-year coaching career behind him and focus on his grandchildren instead.

That's why when Oliver Luck, the commissioner of the new XFL, called to see if he was interested in coaching again, Gilbride said no. But it didn't take the 68-year-old former Giants offensive coordinator long to change his mind.

Now, after 25 years in the NFL, 10 years with the Giants and two Super Bowl championships, Gilbride is back on the sidelines as the head coach and general manager of the XFL's New York Guardians, who won their debut game, 23-3, over the Tampa Bay Vipers at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

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Nov 3, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New England Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema stands win the sidelines before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Nov 3, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New England Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema stands win the sidelines before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

Well, it looks like Giants outside linebackers coach and senior assistant Bret Bielema will be staying in his current role. 

It was reported on Monday by the Detroit Free Press' Rainer Sabin that Bielema has "definite interest" in Michigan State's head coaching vacancy following the retirement of Mark Dantonio. But, according to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman, the job seems to be filled.

Colorado head coach Mel Tucker, after initially turning the job down, has reportedly agreed in principle to become the next Spartans head coach. 

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New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo before the start of overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo before the start of overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo has been named the next quarterbacks coach of the Jaguars, ESPN's Jordan Raanan reported Tuesday night

This upcoming season will be now McAdoo's first time on an NFL sideline since 2017.

Last month, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, McAdoo met with the Jaguars about their offensive coordinator position, after Jacksonville fired former OC John DeFilippo after one year with the team. But instead McAdoo will just focus on the quarterbacks, as former Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was named OC a few weeks ago.

Tags: Eli Manning, Geno Smith
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Darius Slay (Kirby Lee)
Darius Slay (Kirby Lee)

The Giants may be confident in their extremely young secondary, but GM Dave Gettleman should be looking around for a veteran cornerback to balance out that group heading into the new season. 

And Giants WR Darius Slayton is trying to help him out. 

Lions CB Darius Slay is in his final year with Detroit before coming a free agent in 2021, and he has made it quite clear that he wants to be the highest-paid corner in the league. Over the weekend, he responded to a suggestion from a Lions writer that said he would receive an extension that would pay out around $15-16 million per season -- that would make him the highest-paid. 

Tags: Darius Slayton, Scott Thompson
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Giants GM Dave Gettleman
Giants GM Dave Gettleman

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Dave Gettleman has presided over seven NFL drafts with two different franchises, and he still has never done it. Many other teams have, from the first round to the last, in an attempt to acquire extra draft picks.

But Gettleman, the Giants GM, has still never traded down.

This, though, could be the year he breaks that streak -- and possibly very early. He "seems more open to the idea" of trading back this year -- even in the first round, according to a source familiar with the Giants thinking. And a team source, while saying it's all wildly premature and there have been no actual trade discussions, acknowledged a rare trade back in the first round can't be ruled out.

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May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Giants GM Dave Gettleman has been steadfast in keeping his spot in the NFL Drafts he has lead for the Panthers and Giants over his career. Opportunities to trade back have come up, when he could've had more draft stock to work with. But, ultimately, he took the player of his choice.

This year, though, that could change after seven years of keeping his picks.

According to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, a source with familiarity of the Giants' thinking said Gettleman "seems more open to the idea" of trading back, and that includes his No. 4 overall pick. A team source added that a trade back "can't be ruled out."

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The NFL season officially came to a close last Sunday, as the Kansas City Chiefs knocked off the San Francisco 49ers to bring capture the Lombardi Trophy.

So that's it for football until training camp opens in July, right?

"Not so fast," says the XFL.

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Aug 22, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; NFL former player Michael Strahan is seen before a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Aug 22, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; NFL former player Michael Strahan is seen before a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

More than 18 years after Michael Strahan broke Mark Gastineau's single-season sack record, the former Jets pass-rusher wants the world to know that he thinks the record should still belong to him.  

"I just want to be recognized for the record," Gastineau told ESPN on Monday. "You wouldn't want your son getting a record like that. I don't think it's good for the NFL. It was never good for the NFL, and I'm surprised the NFL didn't step in."

Strahan's sack in question came against the Packers during the final game of the 2001 season. Sitting at 21.5 sacks, Strahan needed just one to break Gastineau's record. With the Packers up 34-25 late in the game, Strahan blew past Packers tight end Bubba Franks and had a free shot at Favre, who went down to give Strahan the single-season record.

 

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Nov 12, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive line coach Pepper Johnson gives direction as New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bills defeated the Jets 22-17 Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)
Nov 12, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive line coach Pepper Johnson gives direction as New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bills defeated the Jets 22-17 Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)

Pepper Johnson, was has been affiliated with both the Giants and Jets in his football career, was abruptly fired from his XFL gig only hours removed from the league's beginning over the weekend. 

Johnson, 55, was employed by the Los Angeles Wildcats as their defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. The team announced he was relieved of his duties on Monday.

The Wildcats had lost their inaugural game, 31-17, to the Houston Roughnecks, a game which featured winning quarterback PJ Walker tossing four touchdown passes. 

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Daniel Jones/Saquon Barkley (Geoff Burke)
Daniel Jones/Saquon Barkley (Geoff Burke)

Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are, unsurprisingly, considered longshots at best to win NFL MVP in 2020. Jones comes in at 66-1, while Barkley is listed at 100-1, according to BetOnline.ag.

After taking over at quarterback in Week 3 last season, Jones will enter the season as the undisputed starter following the retirement of Eli Manning. He'll hope to build on the relationship he developed with fellow rookie Darius Slayton, who also debuted in Week 3 and finished the season with 48 catches for 740 yards and eight touchdowns. Jones finished the season with 3027 yards passing and a 61.9% completion percentage. Other players at 66-1 include incoming quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.

Barkley took the league by storm in 2018 and led the entire NFL in yards from scrimmage, but missed three games with an ankle sprain in 2019. He finished the season with 1003 yards rushing and added 52 catches for 438 yards out of the backfield, but remains one of the most explosive running backs in the league. Barkley joins Jets quarterback Sam Darnold and former Giants wide reciever Odell Beckham Jr. among the players listed at 100-1.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley
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Nov 24, 2017; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema prior to leaving the field after the game against the Missouri Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Missouri won 48-45. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports (Nelson Chenault)
Nov 24, 2017; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema prior to leaving the field after the game against the Missouri Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Missouri won 48-45. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports (Nelson Chenault)

The Giants announced last week that Joe Judge's coaching staff was officially complete. But they might have to replace one position already. 

Bret Bielema, who was named the Giants' outside linebackers coach as well as senior assistant, is said to have "definite" interest in taking over the Michigan State Spartans after Mark Dantonio retired last week, per the Detroit Free Press' Rainer Sabin.

Michigan State was expected to see Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell be their top candidate, but he decided to stay with the Bearcats. Now the search is back to square one. 

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Feb 9, 2020; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride coaches against the Tampa Bay Vipers during the third quarter of an XFL football game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2020; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride coaches against the Tampa Bay Vipers during the third quarter of an XFL football game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A February afternoon of football graced MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was the center of attention in the home locker room after the game.

With the Giants in the NFL from 2004-13 -- starting out as the quarterbacks coach over the first three years before becoming the offensive coordinator for the final eight seasons, including two Super Bowl-winning campaigns in 2007 and '11 -- Gilbride was back at his old stomping grounds as he led the New York Guardians into the weekend's XFL opener.

Coming back to coaching after a seven-year retirement, Gilbride's return was a successful one with Sunday's 23-3 win over the Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1) before an announced crowd of 17,634. Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin welcomed Gilbride back accordingly after the game, awarding the head coach with the game ball.

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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

Should former Giants quarterback Eli Manning make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Saquon Barkley says yes. 

Manning retired following the 2019 season and his candidacy is a hot-button topic as of late. 

But the running back, who played the past two seasons with Manning, thinks it's not even a question worth asking. There's no doubt Barkley thinks Manning should be enshrined one day. 

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley
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Dec 22, 2019; Landover, Maryland, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is congratulated by Giants head coach Pat Shurmur after throwing a touchdown pass against the Washington Redskins in the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Dec 22, 2019; Landover, Maryland, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is congratulated by Giants head coach Pat Shurmur after throwing a touchdown pass against the Washington Redskins in the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

At a press conference on Thursday, former Giants head coach and current Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur spoke about the similarities between Broncos quarterback Drew Lock and Daniel Jones.

Shurmur reflected on his draft process memories of Lock, who was the No. 42 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft -- 36 picks after the Giants took Jones.

He said the Giants' decision to draft Jones sixth overall was an "organizational decision," according to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk, while also adding that the Giants had "a very, very high opinion" of Lock.

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December 8, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (78) during the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
December 8, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (78) during the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The last time the Giants had money to burn in free agency, they burned it at an unprecedented clip. They even managed to essentially buy their way into the playoffs, though that 2016 team was famously one-and-done.

The lesson, Giants co-owner John Mara said in a recent interview on WFAN, was "You can fix some holes pretty quickly (with free agency), but long-term I'm not sure that it really works."

In other words, don't expect the Giants to be big spenders when free agency opens on March 18, even though they'll have more than $60 million in salary cap space to spend. With Mara's endorsement, GM Dave Gettleman has taken a draft-centered approach to rebuilding the Giants (mostly). They'll dip into the free agent pool, to be sure, but it won't be a cannonball-type splash.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, DeAndre Baker, Jabril Peppers, Jon Halapio, Julian Love, Leonard Williams, Markus Golden, Sam Beal, Ralph Vacchiano
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February 6, 2020; Pebble Beach, California, USA; Peyton Manning (left) and Eli Manning (right) walk on the third hole during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament at Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports (Michael Madrid)
February 6, 2020; Pebble Beach, California, USA; Peyton Manning (left) and Eli Manning (right) walk on the third hole during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament at Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports (Michael Madrid)

On Thursday, recently retired Giants quarterback Eli Manning, joined by his brother Peyton Manning, joked with media about his improved golf game at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am PGA TOUR golf tournament.

"I think he might've snuck out for a couple rounds this season," Peyton Manning said.

"Had a little more free time than I wanted to," Eli Manning said. "Took advantage of it."

Tags: Eli Manning
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Dec 1, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; 
		New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up as head coach Pat Shurmur walks past before the game against the Packers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Dec 1, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up as head coach Pat Shurmur walks past before the game against the Packers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

The 2019 Giants season ended up being a start of a rebuild, and as often happens in such cases, the team underwhelmed in the win column. In their own right, the Jets weren't rebuilding and had higher hopes heading into last season, but didn't have the year their fans had hoped for, either. 

Despite both teams hitting their unders in 2019, the two are trending in opposite directions in the eyes of oddsmakers early in the 2020 offseason. 

The Giants, entering 2019 with a win total of six and missing that with four wins, see their over/ under increase to 6.5, according to OddsShark. 

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Alec Ogletree/Antoine Bethea
Alec Ogletree/Antoine Bethea

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants are already projected to have about $60 million in salary cap space to spend in free agency, and the truth is they may not need it all. Giants co-owner John Mara seemed to indicate as much in a radio interview last month when he called free agency "a double-edged sword."

"If you think free agency is going to fix all your problems, you are going to be sadly disappointed," he said on WFAN. "We are not going to be hog wild in there and spend it all."

Given that, there doesn't seem to be a need for the Giants to add even more cap room over the next few months by cutting some of their more expensive, veteran players. There will undoubtedly be a few cap casualties, especially with a new coach taking over, but with no financial need for downsizing, a few of the players on the brink might be spared.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Antoine Bethea, Golden Tate, Kareem Martin, Nate Solder, Rhett Ellison, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vic Beasley
Vic Beasley

The Falcons made it known Monday that they wouldn't be pursuing any contract negotiations with 2015 first-round pick OLB Vic Beasley, meaning he'll head to free agency looking for another suitor.

Could that be the Giants? It makes tons of sense when you break it down. 

Beasley had his fifth-year option picked up by Atlanta, and he knew he needed to have a better 2019 season than his previous two that saw average production. Well, he did just that with eight sacks, 42 combined tackles, 12 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles over 16 games. 

Tags: Markus Golden, Scott Thompson
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Jan 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Introductory press conference of New York Giants new head coach Joe Judge at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Jan 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Introductory press conference of New York Giants new head coach Joe Judge at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)

Giants head coach Joe Judge announced his coaching staff on Wednesday, filling in some blanks while weighing in on his new assistants.

"Everybody brings a different type of experience to the job. I didn't set out to hire anyone with former head coaching experience," Judge said while referring to Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens. "That ended up being a plus of what different guys brought to their area."

Here's the full breakdown of the Giants' coaching staff:

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Stephen Brown (Kirby Lee)
Stephen Brown (Kirby Lee)

The Giants have made a slew of coaching hires since new head coach Joe Judge took over, and they're not quite done.

According to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM, the Giants are hiring Stephen Brown as an offensive assistant.

Brown had been with the Cowboys since before the 2016 season, when he was hired to assist with the coordination of the running game. He also served as a "point person" for then-head coach Jason Garrett on "research projects and day-to-day operations."

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Due to NFL rules, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones hasn't been able to chat to his new offensive coordinator in Jason Garrett just yet about scheme.

So he did the next best thing, he talked to Garrett's last quarterback, Dak Prescott

Jones revealed he caught up with the Cowboys quarterback down in Miami during Super Bowl week and fired away some questions about his new OC. 

Tags: Daniel Jones
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Pro Fooball Focus released their second mock ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft following Super Bowl LIV. In it, there's a doozy of a trade. 

The Dolphins jump ahead of the Giants, and in the process, potentially do the G-men a favor. 

In order to snag quarterback Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama, the Dolphins moved into the third pick in a trade with the Lions. Good news: The Giants don't need a quarterback with Daniel Jones under center.

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With the 2019 season in the history book after the Chiefs' win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, the Giants and the Jets have some of the most salary cap to make their moves before next season. 

According to Spotrac, the Giants and Jets are both in the top 10 in terms of NFL teams with the most salary cap space heading into the offseason. 

The Jets round out the top 10, while the Giants slide in at No. 6. 

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Kyle Van Noy (Dale Zanine)
Kyle Van Noy (Dale Zanine)

Joe Judge has another endorsement from a former player, as DE Kyle Van Noy had glowing remarks for him on the latest version of The Pat McAfee Show

Van Noy is heading into free agency after spending the past three and a half seasons with the Patriots. It was with New England that Van Noy got to see just how obsessed Judge is with the game. 

Rob Gronkowski called Judge "out of control," and that sort of energy is something Van Noy can definitely agree with. 

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Giants GM Dave Gettleman
Giants GM Dave Gettleman

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There are still nearly three months to go until the NFL draft, and teams are a long ways away from having their draft meetings and finalizing their boards. It's too early to know anything, really, especially with the scouting combine still three weeks away.

But it's never too early to take a look, so here's a projection of how the first 11 picks of the 2020 NFL draft will go, including the picks for the Giants (at 4) and Jets (at 11). Their needs are easy to figure out, even it's still too difficult to zero in on the players:

1. Cincinnati Bengals - LSU QB Joe Burrow

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Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs
Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Giants GM Dave Gettleman has a plethora of options to work with at No. 4 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, and that's mainly because there are holes left and right on his current roster.

One of the biggest to fill, though, is on the offensive line -- an area the Giants have been trying to shore up for years. 

Tags: Kevin Zeitler, Mike Remmers, Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Scott Thompson
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Dec 29, 2019; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 29, 2019; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

With the Chiefs beating the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, the 2019-20 NFL season officially came to a close. And with the season over, it's time to look ahead to the 2020-21 season and Super Bowl LV, taking place on Feb. 7, 2021 in Tampa.

The Chiefs are the favorites to repeat, with the Ravens and 49ers right behind them.

As far as the Giants -- who finished the season 4-12 -- their odds are among the worst in the league.

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As the Chiefs clung to their 11-point lead in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl LIV against the 49ers, they got one last key defensive stand that sealed the deal.

On second-and-10 from their own 25-yard line, the 49ers' last stand came short when they saw quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's deep pass over the middle was intercepted by Chiefs safety Kendall Fuller.

The game-sealing play wrapped the Chiefs' 31-20 victory against the 49ers, one that saw Kansas City (15-4) come clawing back past San Francisco (15-4) with 21 unanswered points, sparked behind stops by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's unit.

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Saquon Barkley has been vocal about what type of personal impact Kobe Bryant had, and he expanded his thoughts in an interview that aired Sunday on ESPN.

Ahead of Super Bowl LIV during ESPN's pregame programming, Barkley was among four past and present NFL players -- including all-time great wide receiver Jerry Rice (1985-04), Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (2012-present), Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (2013-present) -- to reflect on the late NBA legend.

Bryant, 41, died last Sunday in a southern California helicopter crash that killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. Beyond the NBA, the 20-year Los Angeles Lakers star from 1996-16 inspired the generation that Barkley came up in.

Tags: Saquon Barkley
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Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) celebrates a sack against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (not pictured) in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee )
Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) celebrates a sack against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (not pictured) in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee )

Super Bowl LIV is finally here, as the Chiefs and 49ers square off at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Sunday night to see who will hoist the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy at the end of the night. 

Both squads have their stars. Patrick Mahomes leads a stacked offense that includes Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce as his weapons. But they're going to have to face off against Richard ShermanNick Bosa and the rest of the NFL's No. 2 defense. And, of course, you can't sleep on Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, and the rest of that Niners offense that ran all over the Packers two weeks ago. 

But, for Giants fans, there are a few players that you might want to keep your eye on as they'll enter free agency once this game is over. 

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Corey Ballentine, DeAndre Baker, Sam Beal, Scott Thompson
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Jan 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Introductory press conference of New York Giants new head coach Joe Judge at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Jan 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Introductory press conference of New York Giants new head coach Joe Judge at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)

Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman was a runaway winner of this year's Assistant Coach of the Year Award, but Giants' new head coach Joe Judge was one of just seven coaches to receive a vote.

Roman took home 41 of the 50 votes from the national media members, but Judge, along with Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, received one vote.

San Francisco DC Robert Saleh took home three votes, while Don "Wink" Martindale, the Ravens' DC who interviewed this offseason with the Giants, received one vote.

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