Giants Rumors

Kyle Rudolph Battling Lisfranc Injury

Kyle Rudolph is expected to undergo foot surgery soon, and he may be in for extensive rehab. The new Giants tight end is believed to be dealing with a Lisfranc injury, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. The troublesome foot malady can be difficult to shake, but Rudolph expects to be ready for Week 1. This injury is similar to what Evan Engram dealt with in 2019. Engram underwent surgery to address his Lisfranc issue in December 2019 and was ready for training camp last year. Rudolph’s timetable is considerably more condensed, which likely led to the delay in the veteran tight end signing his Giants contract. Engram and Rudolph would give the Giants one of the NFL’s top tight end tandems, but the former’s injury history and the latter’s current issue cloud that situation to some degree.

Giants’ Isaac Yiadom Takes Pay Cut

Isaac Yiadom has accepted a pay cut in order to keep his place on the Giants’ roster (Twitter link via Dan Duggan of The Athletic). The cornerback was initially slated to earn a non-guaranteed $2.15MM in 2021. Instead, he’ll earn $1.07MM with $100K locked in.

After being traded by the Broncos, Yiadom appeared in every game for the Giants last year, including ten starts. He finished out with 46 tackles, one forced fumble, and a shared sack. With 45 career games to his credit, Yiadom hit a salary escalator for the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. The Giants were prepared to cut him loose, so the two sides worked out a different arrangement.

This year, the former third-round pick will support a revamped CB group that now includes newcomer Adoree’ Jackson. Jackson and James Bradberry will serve as the starting outside corners. Jackson’s three-year deal cost the Giants a whopping $39MM, which meant that cuts and restructures would be needed. Thanks to cooperation from Yiadom, the Giants have gone from about $4.5MM in cap room to approximately $5.6MM.

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Giants Owner John Mara On Expectations, Dave Gettleman

The Giants have lost double-digit games in four consecutive seasons. GM Dave Gettleman has presided over the last three of them. Although club co-owner John Mara did not explicitly say so, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv says it is inconceivable that Gettleman will be back in 2022 if Big Blue suffers through another losing season.

Of course, it was far from a sure thing that Gettleman would keep his job after the 2020 campaign. Even in late December, there were reports that ownership was more comfortable getting rid of Gettleman, who turned 70 in February, and bringing in a new top exec to work alongside head coach Joe Judge.

But the G-Men have traditionally given their GMs a long leash, and Gettleman has proven to be no exception. Several seasons ago, Mara knew that the team was embarking on a multi-year rebuild, and last season, he knew that a new HC with new systems and a new culture could delay that rebuild a bit. So it stands to reason that a team that favors continuity anyway would stay the course with a GM that was dealt a difficult hand.

That said, Gettleman’s personnel decisions have been a mixed bag at best. He did make some savvy pickups last offseason in cornerback James Bradberry, linebacker Blake Martinez, and defensive back Logan Ryan, and he was vindicated for his gamble on defensive lineman Leonard Williams. Those acquisitions were probably what saved his job, but like most GMs, Gettleman will ultimately be judged on if he made the right call at quarterback. And the jury is very much out on Daniel Jones, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2019 draft (though Mara did say that he thinks very highly of Jones).

Clearly, the team feels that it can compete this season, and it authorized a few significant contracts in free agency, the most notable of which was the four-year, $72MM whopper for WR Kenny Golladay. Mara admits that his hopes for his club this season are higher than they have been in recent seasons, and as a result of those expectations and the major financial commitments that were made in an effort to realize them, Gettleman is surely feeling the pressure.

When asked directly if Gettleman would be retained if 2021 turns into another disappointment, Mara said, “I’m not going to speculate that right now. Let’s just see how the season plays out.” But he also said, “I’m tired of the losing and of having the postseason press conference trying to explain what went wrong, why I think we’re making progress. It’s time for us to start winning some more.”

It would be surprising to see Judge ousted if the team struggles this year, given how much ownership and the locker room seems to like him, though Vacchino suggests it could be a possibility. But even if Judge could survive a sub-.500 finish, it seems clear that Gettleman will not.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants “Not In Any Hurry” To Extend RB Saquon Barkley

The Giants have eagerly dished out cash this offseason, but that doesn’t mean Saquon Barkley will benefit from the spending spree. Speaking to reporters, Giants owner John Mara said an extension for the running back isn’t coming any time soon.

[RELATED: Giants Undecided On Saquon Barkley’s Fifth-Year Option]

“We’re not in any hurry to do that,” Mara said (via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano on Twitter). “We fully expect him to be as good as new. … We hope he’s going to be a Giant for life. At the appropriate time, we’ll start those discussions.”

The former second-overall pick quickly established himself as one of the top running backs in the league, averaging 1,734.5 yards from scrimmage and 11.5 touchdowns per season through his first two years in the NFL. However, after missing a handful of games in 2019, Barkley was limited to only two games in 2020 before suffering a season-ending ACL injury.

The 24-year-old is about to enter the final year of his four-year rookie contract, but he has an affordable fifth-year option that’s valued at only $7.2MM. Barkley is also eligible to sign an extension after having spent three years in the league. Despite the modest fifth-year salary, it isn’t guaranteed that the running back has his option picked up. Earlier this month, GM Dave Gettleman didn’t seem to commit one way or the other, hinting that health could be a concern.

The Giants may be dragging their feet with the fifth-year option (and the subsequent extension), but Mara still made it clear that he wants Barkley to spend the rest of his career in New York. This Giants are likely doing their due diligence before committing to any future deals with the star running back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason McCourty On Giants’ Radar?

The Giants already gave Adoree’ Jackson a lucrative deal to join James Bradberry at cornerback. Joe Judge may be interested in bringing a more familiar cover man to New York as well.

Mutual interest is believed to exist between the Giants and Jason McCourty, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post (on Twitter). McCourty spent the past three seasons with the Patriots; Judge was on New England’s staff for two of those slates.

McCourty confirmed he will intend to play a 13th NFL season, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter). Considering twin brother Devin McCourty remains under contract with the Patriots, it would seem to keep them in the mix for the 33-year-old corner. But Jason McCourty, who has also played with the Titans and Browns, may be ready to move elsewhere again.

The 12-year defender is a New York native who played collegiately in New Jersey (Rutgers). He started 11 games for a deep Patriots cornerback corps last season, playing 65% of the Pats’ defensive snaps. The former sixth-round pick has made 137 NFL starts. He would certainly add experience to a Giants corner crew that has given Bradberry an experienced cover man in Jackson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/30/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Carolina Panthers

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Tennessee Titans

Giants To Sign Danny Shelton

We heard that Danny Shelton was visiting with the Giants on Monday, and that visit apparently went well. The veteran defensive tackle has agreed to terms on a deal with New York, his agent Drew Rosenhaus told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Financial terms weren’t immediately available, but it’s a one-year contract. Shelton had signed a two-year, $8MM pact with the Lions last offseason but made it only halfway through that before he was released. This will already be the fourth NFL team for the 12th overall pick of the 2015 draft. He was drafted by Cleveland, traded to New England, signed with Detroit, and is now on his way to New York.

He’s still only 27, and although he never unlocked the potential you’d hope for as a 12th overall pick, he’s been a solid clogger of running lanes in the middle. In 12 games for the Lions in 2020, all starts, he had 37 tackles as a sack.

He had three sacks in 2019 with the Patriots, showing at least a tiny bit of pass-rush upside. After losing Dalvin Tomlinson to a big deal from the Vikings in free agency, the Giants will be counting on Shelton to help replace him as a cheaper option in the middle of the defensive front.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Meet With Danny Shelton

The Giants will meet with Danny Shelton on Monday (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). This marks Shelton’s first known visit since he was released by the Lions earlier this month. 

Shelton was set to enter the back half of his two-year, $8MM deal. Instead, the Lions dropped the 28-year-old to save $4MM in cap room. Shelton — who entered the league as the No. 12 pick in 2015 — never lived up to his draft status, but he’s built a solid career as a run-stuffer. The 345-pounder played a key role with the Patriots in 2019 and found a home as the Lions starter this past season. Unfortunately, a knee injury capped his season at 12 games/starts.

Last year, Shelton notched 37 tackles and one sack in the Lions 3-4 scheme. The Giants can use someone like Shelton in the rotation they look to replace Dalvin Tomlinson. After a down year, he probably wouldn’t be too pricey, so the Giants could still entertain the likes of Geno Atkins and Kawann Short as they fill out the defensive line.

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Giants Sign Zach Fulton

The Giants have signed guard Zach Fulton, per a club announcement. Details of the deal were not disclosed. 

Fulton was cut by the Texans, just before he was set to collect a $1MM bonus on March 22. The veteran was in set to enter the final season of a four-year, $28MM deal. Before his release, Fulton started in at least 13 games across his three Texans seasons. This past year, he was first-string for all 16.

Fulton didn’t set the world on fire in Houston, but the Giants see him as an experienced hand who can help to fortify their offensive line. Last year, Pro Football Focus had him tied as the No. 42 guard in the NFL last year — good enough for a starter. And, in 2019, PFF ranked him as one of the best pass-blocking guards in the league, though his weak run-blocking marks brought down his overall score.

The former Chiefs sixth-round pick should have an opportunity to make an impact in New York that Kevin Zeitler is out the picture.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Re-Sign LB Devante Downs

Devante Downs will be back in New York for the 2021 season. The Giants announced today that they’ve re-signed the linebacker.

The former seventh-round pick played a limited role with the Vikings during his first season-plus in the NFL, and he only saw a handful of special teams snaps after joining the Giants during the 2019 season. However, he took on a significantly larger role in 2020. The 25-year-old ultimately saw time in 16 games (eight starts), compiling 33 tackles. He saw time on 21-percent of New York’s defensive snaps.

Downs was set to hit restricted free agency following the 2020 season, but he was non-tendered by the organization. These contract machinations didn’t end up meaning all that much, as Downs ultimately landed back in New York.

Downs will surely see a special teams role in 2021, and he’ll compete with the likes of Tae Crowder, Reggie Ragland, and T.J. Brunson for the playing time alongside starting linebacker Blake Martinez.