Matt Peart

Giants G Shane Lemieux Out For Season

Days after losing Nick Gates for the year, the Giants have received word one of their other starting interior O-linemen is done for 2021 as well. Shane Lemieux underwent knee surgery Wednesday, and the procedure is expected to knock him out for the season.

The Giants announced the second-year blocker had left patellar tendon surgery. Patellar tendon issues represent one of the toughest injury obstacles to overcome, so this puts a stop sign on Lemieux’s early ascent as a pro.

A fifth-round pick last year, Lemieux moved into the Giants’ starting lineup midway through his rookie season. While Pro Football Focus did not view his rookie-year work positively, Lemieux was ticketed to join Will Hernandez as a starting guard this year and did suit up for Big Blue’s Week 1 game. But the knee injury Lemieux suffered early in training camp did not allow him to finish the team’s opener. The Giants then placed Lemieux on IR last week.

With Lemieux and Gates out, the Giants used recent trade acquisitions Billy Price and Ben Bredeson alongside Hernandez on the interior. The unit delivered mixed results in a Week 2 loss in Washington. The Giants are now trying third-round pick Matt Peart, who lost this year’s right tackle competition to Nate Solder, at guard, Darryl Slater of NJ.com notes. Bredeson is still set to start at left guard Sunday, however.

Given New York’s years-long troubles on its front, even when it was at full strength, the Gates and Lemieux setbacks represent a crisis point for the franchise. The Giants are 0-2 for a fifth straight season, and multiple O-linemen who were elsewhere a month ago — Price in Cincinnati, Bredeson in Baltimore — will be given emergency responsibilities.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

OL Rumors: Raiders, 49ers, Giants, Solder, Eagles

The Raiders are tracking to have two starters from their 2020 Week 1 offensive line setup back, with Kolton Miller signed long-term and Richie Incognito back on a lower-cost deal. But spillover from another training camp battle may affect Incognito’s standing. Denzelle Good and John Simpson will vie for the starting right guard spot, but Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed of The Athletic note Raiders coaches have informed the team’s guards the loser of this competition may still wind up replacing Incognito at left guard (subscription required). Incognito, 38, played well in 2019 but missed 14 games due to an Achilles injury last season. The Raiders cut him in March but re-signed him weeks later on a one-year, $2.12MM deal. Good replaced Incognito last year, and the Raiders are hoping Simpson — a 2020 fourth-round pick out of Clemson — can win the right guard competition.

Here is more on the Raiders’ O-line and the latest from some other offensive fronts around the league:

  • Elsewhere on Las Vegas’ O-line, the center spot may not be much of a competition. Despite offseason addition Nick Martin having started four full seasons with the Texans, the former second-round pick appears to be clearly behind former UDFA Andre James, according to The Athletic. After trading Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson to the Cardinals, the Raiders gave James an extension. James has played 116 offensive snaps as a pro; all came in 2019.
  • Nate Solder has moved to the Giants‘ roster bubble, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. The 6-foot-8 veteran worked as New York’s starting left tackle in 2018 and ’19, after signing a then-record tackle contract in free agency, but opted out in 2020. The Giants can spread out Solder’s cap hit over multiple years, but they would face a $13.5MM cumulative dead-money charge by cutting Solder. Andrew Thomas has taken over as New York’s left tackle, with Raanan adding that Solder will compete with second-year blocker Matt Peart for the right tackle job. Solder has not been a full-time right tackle since his rookie season in 2011.
  • Although former UDFA Daniel Brunskill provided some stability amid 49ers injury chaos last season, starting 16 games, the team plans to return him to a utility role. The 49ers are eyeing second-round pick Aaron Banks as their starting right guard, Matt Barrows and David Lombardi of The Athletic note. Brunskill worked as a swing backup as a rookie in 2019, primarily filling in for left tackle Joe Staley. The 49ers selected Banks 48th overall; the 325-pound rookie started in part of his sophomore season and throughout his junior and senior years at Notre Dame.
  • Rather than stockpile depth at tackle, the Eagles may look to trade the loser of the Andre DillardJordan Mailata left tackle competition, Eliot Shorr-Parks writes. While keeping both would provide insurance, Shorr-Parks notes moving Mailata in a contract year would make sense and Dillard may lose more value if he goes through this season as a backup. A 2019 first-round pick, Dillard missed all of last season due to injury and has logged just four career starts. A rugby convert chosen as a project in the 2018 seventh round, Mailata spent two full seasons in development but broke into Philadelphia’s starting lineup for 10 games last season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/1/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Three Giants Test Positive For COVID-19

Although the Giants are not scheduled to play again until Week 12, they have run into a COVID-19 issue. Following Graham Gano‘s coronavirus contraction, three more Giants players have submitted positive tests.

Rookie tackle Matt Peart, tight end Kaden Smith and recently added wide receiver Dante Pettis tested positive for COVID, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. They will join Gano, punter Riley Dixon and long snapper Casey Kreiter on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

While none of Friday’s cases have affected high-profile Giants players, four positive tests certainly is a concern for the team. The Giants said in a statement they learned of the tests Thursday night; contact tracing is underway. No Giants have been at the team’s facility this week. Gano’s positive test Monday nixed plans for any in-person meetings or light workouts, per Vacchiano.

Players who test positive must remain away from teams’ facilities for 10 days, so Friday’s news will shelve the three latest positive testers for the Giants’ Nov. 29 game against the Bengals. The Giants played without guard starter Will Hernandez in two games earlier this month because of his positive test.

A third-round pick viewed as a developmental tackle, Peart has mixed in on offense since his Week 6 start. The UConn product has played 64 offensive snaps over the past four games, rotating in with starting right tackle Cameron Fleming. Used as a blocking tight end alongside Evan Engram, Smith has started nine games this season and played 48% of Big Blue’s offensive snaps. Pettis, claimed off waivers earlier this month, has yet to make his Giants debut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 7/22/20

Here are the latest draft pick signings. With rookies set to report to teams’ training camps this week, teams are busy on this front.

  • The Vikings were the busiest team in the draft, making 15 picks this year. They have been active signing them Wednesday. Beyond first-rounder Justin Jefferson, Minnesota has agreed to terms with second-round tackle Ezra Cleveland, fourth-round linebacker Troy Dye, fourth-round defensive tackle James Lynch and seventh-round offensive lineman Kyle Hinton. Cleveland, rumored as a possible late-first-round selection, will be groomed to become a near-future starter for the Vikings.
  • The Broncos began signing some of their picks, most notably getting third-rounders Michael Ojemudia and McTelvin Agim under contract. A cornerback, Ojemudia is set to compete for a starting job opposite A.J. Bouye; Agim profiles as D-line depth behind established starters this season. Denver also signed fourth-round tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, a Mizzou alum set to rejoin his former quarterback (Drew Lock) in the Mile High City. The Broncos also reached an agreement with seventh-round outside linebacker Derrek Tuszka.
  • Despite having T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree under contract, the Steelers used a third-round pick on outside linebacker Alex Highsmith. The Charlotte alum agreed to terms on his four-year rookie deal. Highsmith recorded 15 sacks at the mid-major program last season.
  • Packers third-round pick Josiah Deguara also agreed on his four-year rookie contract. Green Bay eschewed its wide receiver need throughout the draft, using Day 2 to add a running back (A.J. Dillon) and Deguara, who profiles as a tight end/fullback. The Cincinnati product surpassed 900 yards between his final two college seasons, totaling 12 touchdown grabs in that span.
  • Tennessee third-round running back Darrynton Evans signed his rookie deal as well. Evans looks set to replace Dion Lewis as the TitansDerrick Henry change-of-pace back. The Appalachian State alum rushed for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He added five receiving TDs.
  • The Giants used first- and third-round picks on tackles. The latter selection, UConn’s Matt Peart, agreed to the terms of his rookie deal Wednesday. Peart profiles as a developmental lineman, working behind expected starters Nate Solder and Andrew Thomas. He stands to join Cameron Fleming as depth for Big Blue.
  • Washington has agreed to terms with third-round running back/wideout Antonio Gibson, fourth-round receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and fifth-round center Keith Ismael. Gibson and Gandy-Golden figure to be key parts of a Washington offense that is limited, beyond Terry McLaurin, in the passing game. Gibson totaled 1,104 yards from scrimmage at Memphis last season, while Gandy-Golden caught 20 touchdown passes in two years at Liberty.
  • Fourth-round Cowboys pick Reggie Robinson agreed to terms as well. The Tulsa cornerback joins a Cowboys team that lost Byron Jones in free agency. Dallas was active in an effort to replace the Pro Bowler, drafting Trevon Diggs in Round 2 and signing Daryl Worley.
  • Sixth-round Chargers safety Alohi Gilman, a Notre Dame alum, signed his Chargers contract Wednesday. Gillman joins a deep Bolts safety corps.
  • The Buccaneers drafted two running backs this year. On Wednesday, they agreed to terms with the second of those picks — seventh-rounder Raymond Calais. In addition to his work as a running back at Louisiana, Calais was a four-year kick returner for the Rajin’ Cajuns.