Baylor’s Matt Rhule is rumored to the be the Giants‘ preferred candidate, and although he turned down the Jets last year, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv notes the native New Yorker is expected to consider leaving the college ranks to coach the Giants. This and the soon-to-be-available Cowboys job might be the only ones Rhule would presently consider, per Vacchiano. Rhule, who spent 2012 as the Giants’ assistant offensive line coach, has drawn interest from the Panthers and Browns as well. The 44-year-old college coach plans to go on vacation soon after Wednesday night’s Sugar Bowl, but Vacchiano adds the Giants are expected to meet with him before he departs for said trip.
Mike McCarthy, however, may have the best shot at competing with Rhule for the job, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes. The former Super Bowl-winning Packers coach is believed to have gained steam, per Vacchiano. McCarthy is scheduled to meet with the Giants on Friday. He’s set to interview with the Browns on Thursday and has already met with the Panthers twice.
Here is the latest from the NFC East:
- In Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, the Cowboys have two of the league’s top free agents. Prescott is certainly not going anywhere and, despite the prospect of the team using its franchise tag on its quarterback, Cooper is not expected to reach the market, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Cooper continues to indicate Dallas is where he wants to be. The lack of a new collective bargaining agreement helps the Cowboys on this front, as they could use both their franchise and transition tags if no CBA is in place by March 10. However, to fully avoid the risk of losing one of these key players, the Cowboys would need to reach an extension with one of them before the March 10 franchise tag deadline. A wide receiver franchise tag is expected to cost just more than $18MM; a transition tag would come in at nearly $16MM.
- Leonard Williams told Dave Gettleman he wants to stay with the Giants, according to the GM (via Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post). (Williams, however, has said he will hit free agency if the Giants don’t give him “top-tier money.”) The Giants made the strange move of trading two mid-round draft picks for the contract-year defensive end, and Gettleman said he wanted to get an up-close look at Williams in the Giants’ system. Of course, the Giants will likely have a new defensive system soon once a new head coach arrives.
- Giants center Jon Halapio suffered another severe injury this season — a torn Achilles in Week 17 — but the team is expected to tender him in restricted free agency, per Dunleavy. Halapio suffered a broken leg in September 2018 but returned to start a career-high 15 games this season. The 28-year-old snapper is not expected to be ready until at least training camp. He underwent surgery Tuesday.
- The Eagles‘ longtime safety tandem of Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod may break up in March, with the latter a free agent. But Jenkins is a rumored extension candidate, and Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com expects a re-up that would make Jenkins one of the NFL’s highest-paid safeties to occur soon (Twitter link). Jenkins, 32, would be a 2021 free agent. The Eagles have been busy with major extensions lately, coming to terms with Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson during the season.