Andrew Thomas

Giants Activate OT Andrew Thomas

Daniel Jones will have his left tackle back in the lineup tonight. The Giants announced that they’ve activated Andrew Thomas from injured reserve.

Thomas suffered an ankle injury back in October that landed him on injured reserve for several weeks. The former fourth-overall pick had previously missed a game this season due to a foot injury, so the Giants decided to be cautious with their young lineman. The lineman discussed juggling a pair of injuries when he spoke with reporters earlier this week.

“Just managing both, trying to do what I can,” Thomas said (via Michael Eisen of the team’s website). “It depends on the day and how they feel, so just doing what I can to make sure I’m ready to play.

“It’s not easy, but it puts a lot of emphasis on my technique. Plays that I might not be able to make athletically, if I have the right technique, I’ll be in the right position, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Thomas started 15 of his 16 games during his rookie campaign. He started each of his five appearances in 2021, and he appeared in 100 percent of his team’s offensive snaps through the first four weeks. Matt Peart slid in as the starter while Thomas was out of the lineup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/17/21

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Giants Place OL Andrew Thomas On IR

The Giants’ left tackle is out for at least the next three weeks. New York placed offensive lineman Andrew Thomas on injured reserve today, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).

Thomas suffered an ankle injury during Sunday’s loss to the Rams, but ESPN’s Jordan Raanan notes that the lineman isn’t believed to have suffered a high ankle sprain. While Thomas was lucky to avoid that significant injury, the Giants are still being cautious with the second-year pro, especially after he missed Week 5 with a foot injury.

The left tackle was the fourth-overall pick in the 2020 draft, and he started 15 of his 16 games in 2020. He’s started each of his five appearances in 2021, and he appeared in 100 percent of his team’s offensive snaps through the first four weeks. He was limited to only 29 snaps this past weekend before exiting due to his injury.

The Giants have already scrambling to fill spots on their offensive line, as center Nick Gates and guard Shane Lemieux have already been ruled out for the season. Per Raanan, Matt Peart is expected to fill in for Thomas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Wentz, Smith, Cowboys

Carson Wentz‘s status has fluctuated considerably over the past month and change, with the veteran quarterback having gone from starter to backup and then trade candidate to a player around whom the Eagles again want to build. The fifth-year passer’s issues with the since-fired Doug Pederson began well before the December benching, with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane noting the quarterback would randomly audible out of Pederson play calls down the stretch this season. This helped lead to Pederson benching Wentz on his own. During training camp, however, Eagles staffers saw warning signs of a potential decline, per McLane, who adds that some within the organization were concerned about passing-game coordinator Press Taylor‘s promotion. The proposition of a Pederson-Wentz-Taylor offensive power structure returning next season did not sit well with Lurie. The Eagles promoted Taylor last year but brought in Rich Scangarello and Marty Mornhinweg to help the offense as well; the latter two will not be back next season.

The Eagles are in the process of hiring Pederson’s replacement. Colts OC Nick Sirianni and Cowboys OC Kellen Moore interviewed Tuesday. Here is the latest from Philly and the other NFC East cities:

  • Alex Smith said at season’s end he would take a few weeks before deciding if he wanted to play a 17th season. He is under contract through 2022. But the Washington quarterback indicated during a 60 Minutes interview (via CBSNews.com) that the 2020 comeback season “has only emboldened for me that I can, you know, play at this level.” After cutting Dwayne Haskins, Washington has Smith and Kyle Allen under contract for next season. Though, Taylor Heinicke is a restricted free agent. Washington cutting Smith — an onerous proposition in 2019 and ’20 — would save the franchise $14.7MM in cap space, however, creating a complex situation for the QB-needy team.
  • Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper recently underwent ankle surgery, but Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram described it as a cleanup procedure (Twitter link). The Cowboys are not concerned about their top wideout missing much offseason time.
  • On that note, Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas also went under the knife recently. Last year’s No. 4 overall pick also underwent ankle surgery. Thomas played through ankle pain for much of the season, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic, who adds (via Twitter) the Giants expect Thomas to be ready for their offseason program.
  • The Eagles will have a new linebackers coach next season. Ken Flajole will not be back, according to Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). The 66-year-old assistant joined the Eagles as part of Pederson’s first staff in 2016. After spending most of the 1980s and ’90s as a college coach, Flajole has been an NFL assistant for 22 seasons.

NFC East Notes: Ertz, Giants, Cowboys

Zach Ertz‘s high ankle sprain may well have prevented a big trade. Prior to Ertz’s injury, the Eagles were willing to part with the eighth-year tight end before the Nov. 3 deadline, multiple NFL executives informed ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (video link). The Eagles view Dallas Goedert as a long-term cornerstone, a position Ertz previously held in Philly, and the older of the team’s two prominent tight ends became embroiled in a contract dispute with the team during camp. Ertz sought a deal in the George KittleTravis Kelce neighborhood ($14MM-plus per year) and openly questioned whether the Eagles wanted him around. Ertz’s current contract — a four-year, $42MM pact — expires after the 2021 season. He will be on IR beyond the trade deadline.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Although Joe Judge was interestingly noncommittal about Andrew Thomas‘ status earlier this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the No. 4 overall pick is in good standing with the Giants and will start at left tackle Thursday night. The Giants used third-round rookie Matt Peart as their left tackle starter against Washington, making the change because Thomas violated a team rule. Thomas played just 22 snaps in Big Blue’s win. Through six games, Pro Football Focus slots Thomas 61st among tackles — behind three tackles that were taken after him in this year’s first round.
  • The Eagles will continue to incorporate Jalen Hurts into their offense. Doug Pederson said this week using Hurts in a Wildcat-type capacity is something the Eagles are “definitely going to continue to explore each week,” via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP. The second-round rookie has played 19 snaps this season, including a career-high seven last week. Hurts has completed one pass but is averaging 7.0 yards per carry on seven attempts.
  • It is quite possible the Washington Football Team‘s mascot-less existence will continue into 2021. “There’s a pretty good chance we will be the Washington Football Team next season,” team president Jason Wright said (via John Keim of ESPN.com). The franchise made the change in mid-July.
  • Key defensive personnel could return for the Cowboys this week. Sean Lee and Chidobe Awuzie returned to practice and could be activated ahead of Saturday’s deadline. Both players went on IR after Week 1. Lee’s return from a sports hernia issue would follow Leighton Vander Esch into Dallas’ lineup, giving the embattled defense its full set of first-string linebackers. Awuzie is attempting to come back from a hamstring malady.
  • The Giants worked out a familiar player Thursday. They brought former first-round pick Corey Coleman back for an audition/checkup. The Giants re-signed Coleman in March but cut him ahead of the regular season. Coleman tore an ACL during the team’s 2019 training camp and has not played since.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Board, Thomas, Eagles, Jackson

There was a scary injury in the Giants game Sunday, as New York receiver C.J. Board went down with a neck injury that required him to be immobilized and carted off the field. Fortunately, it looks like the worst case scenario was avoided. The team announced that Board had been diagnosed with a neck sprain and concussion after being taken to a local hospital. Giants coach Joe Judge said after the game that the initial feedback he had gotten from doctors was “pretty positive.”

He also said Board was responsive and has movement in his extremities. A 2017 UDFA, Board is in his first season with the Giants. The Chattanooga product has seven catches for 66 yards on the year. Here’s to hoping he makes a swift and full recovery.

Now for more from the struggling NFC East:

  • The Giants didn’t start first-round rookie Andrew Thomas at left tackle on Sunday, but it wasn’t because of his performance even though he hasn’t been playing as well as the other first-round tackles. Thomas was benched for disciplinary reasons after breaking a team rule, Judge said after the game. Judge wouldn’t go into too many details, but he didn’t make it sound too serious. Thomas entered the game in the second quarter and while this doesn’t seem like a huge deal, it’s also not a great sign for the fourth overall pick’s development.
  • The Giants will play the Eagles on Thursday Night Football this week, and Philly is finally starting to get healthier. DeSean Jackson is expected to make his return from his hamstring injury for this Week 7 game, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jackson has missed the last three games as the Eagles’ offense has been besieged by injuries. Philly’s group of pass-catchers in particular have been banged up, and Jackson will return a much-needed vertical threat to the passing attack. Through two and a half games he had ten catches for 121 yards before going down.

Giants, First-Round Pick Andrew Thomas Agree To Deal

The Giants have finalized an agreement with first-round pick Andrew Thomas on his rookie contract, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY tweets. Thomas will receive a fully guaranteed $32.4MM, and the fifth-year option included in his deal would tether him to the Giants through 2024.

Of the several high-end tackle prospects this year, Thomas went off the board first. The Giants using the No. 4 overall pick on a tackle, despite deploying the No. 31-ranked DVOA pass defense last season, illustrates their need for a long-term piece at this position. New York has struggled to fill its tackle spots for several years.

Thomas declared for the draft after his junior season at Georgia. He started for the Bulldogs as a true freshman, protecting fellow 2020 draftee Jake Fromm for the past three seasons. Thomas is expected to start his career at right tackle, replacing Mike Remmers, before being projected to move over to the left side after Nate Solder‘s Giants tenure ends — likely after the 2020 season.

Here is the Giants’ 2020 draft class:

1-4: Andrew Thomas, T (Georgia): Signed
2-36: Xavier McKinney, S (Alabama)
3-99: Matt Peart, OT (Connecticut): Signed
4-110: Darnay Holmes, CB (UCLA)
5-150: Shane Lemieux, G (Oregon)
6-183: Cameron Brown, LB (Penn State)
7-218: Carter Coughlin, LB (Minnesota)
7-238: T.J. Brunson LB (South Carolina)
7-247: Chris Williamson, CB (Minnesota)
7-255: Tae Crowder, LB (Georgia): Signed

NFL Draft Rumors: Dolphins, Raiders, 49ers

Before the Dolphins stuck at No. 5 overall and drafted quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, there were rumblings that Miami wanted to trade up not for a signal-caller, but for an offensive tackle. Had the Dolphins followed through with that plan, they would have been targeting Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Thomas ended up coming off the board to the Giants at No. 4, so Miami would have had to get to the third overall pick in order to have a chance. The Dolphins ended up finding an offensive tackle later in Round 1 with USC’s Austin Jackson:

Here’s more from last night’s action:

  • The Falcons were heavily linked not only to a potential trade up, but specifically to Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson prior to the draft. Atlanta did want to move up for Henderson, per Rapoport (Twitter link), but they couldn’t find a trade partner for a number of reasons. Both the Dolphins and Chargers wanted quarterbacks, the Panthers refused to trade within the division, the Cardinals were stuck on Isaiah Simmons, and the Jaguars wanted Henderson for themselves.
  • The Raiders were attempting to trade back from the 12th pick before selecting Alabama wideout Henry Ruggs, according to Vic Tafur of The Atheltic (Twitter link). Speculatively, Las Vegas may have been happy to land any of the top-three pass-catchers and figured it could move down, acquire more picks, and still find a wide receiver. Instead, the Raiders surprisingly went with Ruggs, who was widely viewed as the third-best WR behind CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy.
  • After trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts in March, the 49ers “quietly” tried to sign several free agent defensive tackles with no success, tweets Rapoport. Instead, San Francisco moved back one pick before adding South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link), Kinlaw was off at least one team’s board due to medical issues. Most clubs, however, deemed him only a “moderate” injury risk.
  • The Cowboys debated between Lamb and LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson at pick No. 17 before ultimately deciding on Lamb, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Chaisson was a popular target for Dallas in many mock drafts, but when Lamb unexpectedly fell to the middle of Round 1, the Cowboys couldn’t pass. Dallas will now feature a superb three-WR set of Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup.

Dolphins Hoping To Acquire No. 3 Pick Without Trading No. 5?

Linked to quarterbacks at No. 5 throughout the pre-draft process (and connected to a 2020 first-round passer before the 2019 draft), the Dolphins are now believed to have a top-five tackle in sight. A report earlier Wednesday indicated Miami is interested in moving up to No. 3 for a tackle. However, the Dolphins are not conceding that they will have to give up their No. 5 pick to do so.

Instead of dealing the fifth overall pick to move up for the third, the Dolphins are trying to work out a deal that will allow them to acquire No. 3 and keep No. 5, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Only one team in the past 19 years — the 2018 Browns — has made two top-five picks in the same draft.

The Dolphins have spoken with the Lions about a move. Miami signed ex-top-10 tackle Ereck Flowers but will play him at guard; the team features a major need at tackle. Climbing to No. 3 would put the Dolphins in position to draft the best one — ahead of the likely tackle-seeking Giants at No. 4. The Dolphins have an interesting ammo arsenal to try and obtain two top-five picks, holding the Nos. 18 and 26 selections and two second-round choices.

Acquiring the No. 3 pick without giving up No. 5 would open the door to the Dolphins drafting a tackle and a quarterback. The latest out of Miami has pointed back to Tua Tagovailoa — after a stream of Justin Herbert buzz. The Dolphins taking a tackle at 3, however, opens the door to the Giants then holding an auction for any team wanting to climb ahead of Miami’s No. 5 pick to land Tagovailoa.

In addition to eyeing left tackles atop the draft, the Dolphins are interested in a right tackle. Dolphins GM Chris Grier likes Andrew Thomas at left tackle and his ex-Georgia teammate, Isaiah Wilson, Jackson adds. Wilson is viewed as a second-round-level talent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: What Will Giants Do At No. 4?

While the variance in this draft’s top three picks may be low, the Giants could go in a number of directions at No. 4 overall. They have been connected to several different strategies.

Picking in the top six for the third straight year (after never landing there from 2005-17), Big Blue has needs at a few places. The Giants could use help on the offensive line and at outside linebacker and safety. Based on the organization’s history and Dave Gettleman‘s impossible-sounding track record featuring zero trade-down maneuvers in seven drafts as either the Panthers or Giants GM, the Giants would be expected to hold their pick at No. 4. But noise about the team moving down has emerged.

Gettleman said this week he is seriously entertaining the prospect of moving down — something he did not strongly consider the past two years when the Giants took Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. The Giants may be going as far as planting a seed about Justin Herbert interest. Gettleman was believed to be higher on Herbert than Jones last year. But with only two teams in the past 38 drafts using back-to-back first-round picks on quarterbacks — the 1982-83 Baltimore Colts and the Cardinals in the past two years — teams do not appear to be buying this.

With Chase Young a lock to be off the board by No. 4 and the Giants not expected to take a cornerback that high, they may be down to tackle or Clemson do-everything defender Isaiah Simmons. The Giants have not gotten what they paid for in Nate Solder and signed stopgap right tackle Cameron Fleming. The latter, however, could be used as a swing man — as he was in New England and Dallas — to open the door for a rookie to start at right tackle.

Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs has been linked to the Giants for several weeks. However, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, massive Louisville blocker Mekhi Becton and Alabama’s Jedrick Wills loom as possibilities as well.

The Giants are evaluating Simmons’ fit. He played everywhere from off-ball linebacker to safety to edge rusher to slot cornerback at Clemson. That kind of rare versatility prompted ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold to label him the draft’s top prospect.

While Simmons could help the Giants in multiple areas, Gettleman has preached offensive line development since arriving in December 2017. They also would be in a better position to address their edge rusher need with more picks, hence the greater interest in trading down.

So where what will the Giants end up doing at No. 4 overall? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

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