Giants Rumors

Giants To Sign Oshane Ximines

The Giants have an agreement in place with 2019 third-round linebacker Oshane Ximines, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The Old Dominion product is expected to sign his rookie deal Monday morning, when rookies report for training camp.

Big Blue is in dire need of pass rush help, having jettisoned Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon over the past two years. To that end, the club signed Markus Golden to a low-risk, high-reward free agent contract this offseason, and they drafted Ximines, whose sack production steadily increased throughout his collegiate career.

Ximines posted 11.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss for Old Dominion in 2018, and while it’s difficult to read too much into raw numbers for players at smaller programs, he does have a fairly complete repertoire of pass rushing techniques. He will need to improve his run defense to become an every-down force, but he should at least get plenty of burn on passing downs as he works to refine the rest of his game.

With Ximines about to be under contract, only No. 6 overall pick Daniel Jones remains unsigned. Ximines’ contract will be a four-year deal worth $3.56MM and will feature an $833K signing bonus.

Looking Ahead To The Giants’ 2020 Offseason

As Dan Duggan of The Athletic observes, the Giants are projected to have at least $55MM in cap space to work with during the 2020 offseason, and they could easily create another $20MM or so of room by cutting veterans like Janoris Jenkins and Alec Ogletree. New York GM Dave Gettleman has never really had that type of cap space to work with, and his time as the Panthers’ top exec was generally marked by free agent frugality.

Gettleman did have $50MM to spend during the 2017 offseason with Carolina, and he used a lot of that money on a five-year, $55.5MM contract for free agent OT Matt Kalil and a five-year, $80.5MM extension for homegrown DT Kawann Short. Indeed, Gettleman’s track record show that he prefers to focus most of his expenditures on extending his own players rather than splurging on outside free agents, and he said at the end of this year’s draft, “[i]f you have confidence in your drafting skills, you know that in two, three years you’re going to be able to start extending, and you always want to be in a position to extend. Shame on you if you can’t keep your good young players home.”

That leads Duggan and Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com, whom Duggan cites in his piece, to predict that Gettleman will use his 2020 riches on perhaps one big-ticket item while filling in the gaps with several mid-level signings (Fitzgerald also suggests that Gettleman could explore a trade or two). The hope, of course, is that Daniel Jones will be prepared to lead the club’s offense by that time, and having the starting quarterback playing on a rookie contract is one reason why Big Blue is projected to have so much cap space. Gettleman may be tempted to try to accelerate his club’s return to contention by using that money on multiple top-tier FAs, but as the Giants’ prior regime learned in 2016, such a strategy is rarely successful. Theoretically, the team could roll over some of its cap room to 2021 and beyond to make sure there are enough reserves to extend young talent, but Fitzgerald does not believe Gettleman, with a second-year QB at the helm, will sit on his money.

So assuming the Giants do make at least one big splash, what will they spend on? Duggan examines each position group and assesses the likelihood that Gettleman will make a major FA investment in that position, and he believes that a high-end offensive lineman and/or pass rusher are the most likely targets. Assuming they actually become free agents, Duggan suggests Bryan Bulaga and Daryl Williams could be on Gettleman’s short list of O-lineman, while Jadeveon Clowney would be at the top of his edge rusher priorities.

Regardless, 2020 will be a pivotal offseason for Gettleman and the Giants, and a strong performance in free agency could have the team competing for the NFC East crown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Corey Coleman Giants' WR3 Favorite?

Giants To Try All-American Shot Putter At G

  • The Giants will join the Eagles in having a project offensive lineman in camp. After Philly drafted tackle Jordan Mailata in last year’s seventh round, the Giants signed college shot putter Austin Droogsma. The Giants signed Droogsma, who last played football as a high-schooler 2012, in May and will try the 6-4, 345-pound track convert as a guard, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes. While at Florida State, Droogsma won the 2018 ACC indoor and outdoor titles and finished both seasons as an All-American. Mailata, a rugby standout, spent most of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad; the Giants’ P-squad would seem like the best-case scenario for Droogsma in 2019.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Lawrence, Giants

Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence is expected to start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, though he hopes to be “ready by Week One,” as Mike Florio of PFT writes.

The Cowboys certainly hope that’s the case, though recovery from labrum surgery can be tricky. Lawrence was playing through the injury in 2017 and 2018 and didn’t miss any time due to the injury, so he could bounce back quicker than most from the operation.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Giants tight end Rhett Ellison may be a candidate for release, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com opines. Ellison’s contract puts him in some jeopardy – he’s set to count for a $5.75MM hit with a potential for $3.25MM in savings if he’s cut. However, the Giants tend to rely on two tight end sets and No. 1 TE Evan Engram has suffered four injuries in the last eleven months. Dunleavy also listed outside linebacker Kareem Martin as a potential cut since he was signed to be a starter last year and now profiles as a backup. However, releasing him would save just $1.1MM against $4.83MM in dead money.
  • Melvin Gordon‘s threat to hold out from the Chargers could be a canary in the coal mine for the Giants and Saquon Barkley, Dunleavy writes. Barkley is still on his rookie contract, but when that deal draws to a close, he could very easily stare down the G-Men the way that Gordon is doing to the Bolts. Other teams have downplayed the value of RBs, but GM Dave Gettleman has publicly lavished Barkley with effusive praise, which may impact future negotiations. The GM has said that Barkley has been “touched by the hand of G-d” and has also routinely shrugged off anti-RB analytics.

Kamrin Moore Charged With Assault

Giants safety Kamrin Moore has been charged with third-degree aggravated assault, as Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com writes. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office alleges that Moore punched a woman, stepped on her neck, and knocked her unconscious in a domestic violence incident. In response to the charges, the Giants have suspended Moore, pending further investigation.

On Thursday night, police say Moore caused the woman to suffer “bruising, swelling, and abrasions” in a brutal assault. The filing states that the woman in question got into a fight with another female at Moore’s residence. When Moore’s alleged victim fell to the ground, cops say he attacked her.

In a separate piece, Dunleavy passes along the following statement from Moore’s attorney, Alex Spiro:

“The claimant in this matter showed up unannounced and unsolicited at Mr. Moore’s home to begin an altercation with Mr. Moore’s girlfriend and invent these accusations. He will be fully cleared of all charges.”

Moore went undrafted out of Boston College in 2018 and signed with the Giants after he was released by the New Orleans Saints. Even before the incident, Moore was on the roster bubble as a reserve safety and special teams player.

Players involved in a domestic violence incident are subject to a six-game suspension for their first offense and a theoretical lifetime ban for a subsequent offense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Supplemental Draft Order

The NFL’s Supplemental Draft order does not go by the inverted win/loss records of clubs. Instead, the order is dictated by a weighted lottery that uses a team’s win percentage as just part of the equation. Here, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) is the complete order of the supplemental draft:

1. Lions
2. Broncos
3. Jets
4. Cardinals
5. Giants
6. Bills
7. Raiders
8. 49ers
9. Jaguars
10. Packers
11. Bengals
12. Bucs
13. Falcons
14. Vikings
15. Redskins
16. Titans
17. Dolphins
18. Steelers
19. Panthers
20. Browns
21. Ravens
22. Patriots
23.Cowboys
24. Seahawks
25. Eagles
26. Texans
27. Bears
28. Colts
29. Saints
30. Chiefs
31. Chargers
32. Rams

The supplemental draft is conducted via email. If multiple teams submit a pick for the same player in the same round, this order dictates which club gets the player. Of course, any team picking a player in the supplemental draft will sacrifice the corresponding pick in the 2020 draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Giants Extend Victor Cruz

On this date in 2013, Victor Cruz likely performed one of the most enthusiastic salsa dances of his career. Heading into a contract year worth $2.879MM, the Giants receiver inked a five-year extension worth up to $43MM. 

It was a substantial payout for Cruz, but one that reflected his value to the club as well as the league’s increased appreciation of the slot receiver position. Lining up mostly on the inside, Cruz broke out in 2011 with 82 catches, 1,536 yards, and nine touchdowns. His 2012 encore wasn’t quite as efficient (he posted an 86/1092/10 stat line), but he was still recognized as a vital part of the Giants’ passing attack and earned his first career Pro Bowl nod.

Not wanting to risk losing Cruz to free agency after his one-year restricted free agent tender – particularly after watching him carve up the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game – the Giants moved to lock down Cruz for the long term. Cruz could have gambled by staying on track for free agency after the 2013 season, but the added security of the deal, including nearly $16MM in guarantees, provided him with financial security.

In hindsight, it was the smart play for the former undrafted free agent. Initially slowed by a heel bruise, came two yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark in 2013, despite missing two games. Unfortunately, in 2014, the course of his career changed dramatically. A torn patellar tendon ended his campaign after just six games and a calf injury in the following season put him under the knife before he could take the field.

By the time Cruz returned to action in 2016, the Giants’ offense was fully focused on Odell Beckham Jr., who routinely toasted opposing defensive backs and gobbled up targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns. At this point, Cruz’s trademark speed was no longer there, and neither was his former Rabbi, Tom Coughlin. Cruz took a pay cut to stay in the fold, but registered just 39 catches for 586 yards. The two sides were expected to hammer out a similar arrangement for his 2017 season, but they released him instead.

Cruz moved on to the Bears, but a knee injury in the final preseason game torpedoed his comeback attempt. Later, he tried to lobby the Giants to sign him via the local press, but his request went unanswered. Finally, in August of 2018, Cruz announced his retirement and entry into the world of broadcasting with ESPN.

Although Cruz’s time on top was brief, he left the game with a tremendous highlight reel, multiple productive seasons, a Super Bowl ring, and an iconic touchdown celebration that will forever be remembered by Giants fans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eli Manning Isn’t “Rushing Into Retirement”

Eli Manning completed his 15th NFL season, and the Giants proceeded to use their sixth-overall pick on Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. The writing would seemingly be on the wall for the veteran signal-caller, but Manning recently told Rod Walker of NOLA.com that he won’t be joining Peyton Manning in retirement anytime soon.

“I’m not rushing into retirement, and Peyton’s not telling me to rush into it,” Eli said. “I still love being around the guys and the teammates and playing this game. I’m going to play it for as long as I think I can hang with these guys.

“You take it year by year. I’ve been blessed going into my 16th year. That’s been a blessing in itself. I love what I’m doing. I love the work that goes into it. You never know when it’s going to be your last year or when it’s going to be the end for you, so you try to take advantage of the years you’re here and enjoy every moment.”

The two-time Super Bowl MVP had plenty of success through the first nine years of his career, but the Giants have struggled mightily since 2013. Over the past six seasons, Manning’s team has only finished above .500 once, and the Giants have combined for only eight wins over the past two years. Despite that, Manning is still proving he can be productive in his late 30s; he finished last season with a career-high completion percentage and a career-low interception rate.

The Giants have moved on from all of their Super Bowl mainstays, and the Giants are seemingly starting to embrace a youth movement. However, that sentiment doesn’t seem to include Manning, who said his younger teammates are helping him stay fresh.

“In the locker room, I feel their age,” Manning said. “At 8 o’clock at night, I don’t feel their age. I’m ready to go to bed and they are just getting started rocking and rolling. I can’t hang and do everything they can do off the field. But on the field, I still feel like I can still run with them and they keep me young.”

Manning is naturally a great mentor for Jones, and it makes sense for the Giants to ease their rookie quarterback into the lineup. However, if the veteran wants to continue playing into his 40s, there’s a good chance he’ll eventually have to move on from New York.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Giants' DL, TE Depth Charts

  • There do not seem to be any starting jobs up for grabs along the Giants‘ defensive line, even though the presumptive starters are young and mostly unproven. However, with that youth comes a great deal of potential, and one of the keys to Big Blue’s immediate prospects is the realization of that potential. Third-year player Dalvin Tomlinson, second-year talent B.J. Hill, and rookie Dexter Lawrence are expected to open the season atop the Giants’ D-line depth chart, as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, and the addition of Lawrence allows Tomlinson to slide into a traditional nose tackle spot, to which he is better-suited.
  • There do not seem to be any starting jobs up for grabs along the Giants‘ defensive line, even though the presumptive starters are young and mostly unproven. However, with that youth comes a great deal of potential, and one of the keys to Big Blue’s immediate prospects is the realization of that potential. Third-year player Dalvin Tomlinson, second-year talent B.J. Hill, and rookie Dexter Lawrence are expected to open the season atop the Giants’ D-line depth chart, as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, and the addition of Lawrence allows Tomlinson to slide into a traditional nose tackle spot, to which he is better-suited.
  • In a separate 2019 positional preview piece, Schwartz examines the Giants‘ tight end group, which is headed by Evan Engram. Engram had a disappointing start to 2018, his second professional season, but when Odell Beckham missed the final four games of the season, Engram excelled and finished with some positive momentum. Now that OBJ is in Cleveland, New York will need Engram to show more of the same in a crucial year for his development. The club’s second TE, Rhett Ellison, is a favorite of HC Pat Shurmur, while returnee Scott Simonson will have to hold off C.J. Conrad — a UDFA who impressed this spring — and former Syracuse QB Eric Dungey, another UDFA who is trying to make the club as a TE/gadget player.
  • Also from this morning: the Giants may deploy safety Jabrill Peppers as their primary punt returner.