Giants Rumors

QB Davis Webb Been Standout At OTAs

  • After having seen several Giants practices, Matt Lombardo of NJ.com opines that 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb has been the team’s most impressive signal-caller. However, the writer emphasizes that there isn’t a quarterback controversy, noting that the team’s offseason moves indicate that the front office wants to make a playoff push with Eli Manning. Still, since the Giants weren’t sold on any of the top quarterback prospects in the draft, Webb has been doing a nice job of making his case to be Manning’s heir apparent.

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This Date In Transactions History: Ryan Clark

14 years ago today, a former undrafted free agent’s future was in question. Fast forward to now, and he’s one of the most beloved players in Steelers history.

After going undrafted out of LSU in 2002, safety Ryan Clark spent two forgettable seasons with the Giants. The defensive back was relatively productive during his sophomore campaign (21 tackles, one sack, two passes defended in 16 games (four starts)), but he seemingly didn’t do enough to earn a longer look from the organization. On May 27th, 2004, the Giants let go of the young safety.

This ended up being a blessing in disguise for the Steelers, but it’d take several years to translate. After all, Clark initially caught on with the Redskins, who he’d play with for two seasons. Thanks to injuries to Matt Bowen and Andre Lott, Clark got an opportunity to start, and he ended up starting 24 games between 2004 and 2005. However, in a widely-panned moved, Washington ended up moving on from Clark after inking Adam Archuleta to a lucrative deal.

Clark then landed in Pittsburgh, where he’d spend the next eight years of his career. The safety started all but two of his games while he was with the Steelers, and he compiled at least 80 tackles for six straight seasons. Clark started all three postseason games for the Steelers en route to their Super Bowl XLIII victory, and he also helped guide the team to a Super Bowl loss during the 2010 campaign. He even made a Pro Bowl in 2011 after finishing with 100 tackles, one sack, five passed defended, and one interception.

By the time Clark ended up returning to Washington in 2014, he had earned a spot on a couple of the Steelers all-time top-1o lists, including tackles (10th – 448) and passes defended (8th – 44). Still, if the Giants had decided to give the safety a longer look, who knows if Clark would have ever found his way to Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pat Shurmur Giving Eli Apple Clean Slate

  • Speaking of wideouts, the Giants may not be necessarily done adding talent at that position. When asked earlier this month if the Giants had their No. 3 wide receiver on their roster, Pat Shurmur said, via Tom Rock of Newsday, “I don’t know.” This was before New York added Russell Shepard in the latter stages of free agency. But Big Blue signed Cody Latimer, and he’s been playing on the outside in that No. 3 role during OTAs, per Rock. Shepard likely represents Latimer’s top competition for this job, barring another outside hire. The Giants cut Brandon Marshall, and Dez Bryant‘s been mentioned as wanting to join this receiving contingent. They have $8.3MM in cap space.
  • Speaking of wideouts, the Giants may not be necessarily done adding talent at that position. When asked earlier this month if the Giants had their No. 3 wide receiver on their roster, Pat Shurmur said, via Tom Rock of Newsday, “I don’t know.” This was before New York added Russell Shepard in the latter stages of free agency. But Big Blue signed Cody Latimer, and he’s been playing on the outside in that No. 3 role during OTAs, per Rock. Shepard likely represents Latimer’s top competition for this job, barring another outside hire. The Giants cut Brandon Marshall, and Dez Bryant‘s been mentioned as wanting to join this receiving contingent. They have $8.3MM in cap space.
  • Shurmur is hoping Eli Apple can rebound from what’s been a rough start to his career, and he’s not going to hold what the 2016 first-rounder did during the previous regime against him. “You hear things,” Shurmur said (via Rock) regarding Apple’s past behavior, “but I’m sure glad that I truly believe in a clean slate. He’s been nothing but professional; he’s been out here competing. He’s one of the guys that has been here almost every single day, and I haven’t seen anything that somebody might have thought I heard. He’s been greatIn terms of his stature, his skill set, yeah, he’s what you’re looking for.” The Giants cut Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and did not use a draft pick on a corner. They signed William Gay, Teddy Williams and B.W. Webb, however. But Apple could well have a promising route to a starting job despite the tumultuous 2017.

Landon Collins Had Another Arm Surgery

Landon Collins has yet to practice with the Giants this offseason. He underwent a second surgery on the forearm he broke late last season. The latest operation delayed the fourth-year safety’s timetable, but he’s hoping to be back on the field in time for Giants minicamp next month, Tom Rock of Newsday notes. Collins expects to be cleared in a few weeks, per Rock. It’s possible the Giants could hold him out until training camp, with the standout defender having essentially nothing to prove in June workouts, but the holdover Giant defenders are adjusting to James Bettcher‘s new scheme. That makes OTAs and minicamp more important than they were a year ago. However, Collins said he’s running currently and will push the new coaching staff to let him work with his teammates in a few weeks.

DRC Hopes To Continue Playing

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is still without a team, but he hopes to continue his NFL career. The former Giants cornerback also says that he has drawn interest from clubs, though we haven’t heard much about DRC since the Redskins and Saints kicked the tires on him in March. 

I’m good, ya dig? Yeah [I’m going to] play,” DRC told ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). “Teams told me to wait ’til training camp. I can sign, but I will wait. No rush.”

Last year, Rodgers-Cromartie turned in what was arguably the worst season of his career to date. He also clashed with Giants coaches, which probably isn’t helping his market. He was handed an indefinite suspension after an argument with then-head coach Ben McAdoo in 2017, though he wound up missing only one game after a quick reinstatement.

Rodgers-Cromartie earned a 77.2 overall score from Pro Football Focus last year, which was his lowest since 2012. He graded out the No. 58 cornerback in the league, which indicates he’s on the fringe of starter value.

It’s not clear which teams have reached out to DRC, but the Broncos were not interested in a reunion at the time of his release in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Notes: Beckham, Apple, D-Line

Now that Odell Beckham Jr. has reported to the team, it’s time for the Giants to pay the star wide receiver, Steve Serby of the New York Post opines. Ultimately, he thinks that they’ll get a deal done, even though they do not want to give the impression that they are fearful of a potential Beckham holdout.

For now, Beckham is under contract for one more season at a rate of $8.5MM. A new deal would cost the Giants significantly more and could eclipse Antonio Brown‘s position-leading $17MM/year average. If Beckham shows that he’s on the same page with the Giants’ new regime, it’s hard to see a scenario where they do not get a deal done, even if it costs nearly $100MM in total.

Here’s more on the G-Men:

  • The Giants upgraded several position groups this offseason, including quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and offensive line. However, they have yet to improve at tight end, defensive line, cornerback, and safety, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes. The absence of Jason Pierre-Paul on the defensive line is particularly glaring after the Giants shipped him to the Bucs without an obvious replacement, though Damon Harrison will return to anchor the three-man front.
  • Last year was rocky, to say the least, for former first-round pick Eli Apple. However, the cornerback says that he has been assured by GM Dave Gettleman & Co. that he has a “clean slate” with the team (via John Healy of the New York Daily News). Apple has two years to go on his rookie contract with cap numbers of $4.132MM and $4.821MM. If Apple plays up to par in 2018, the Giants may consider exercising his fifth-year option, which would keep him under team control through the 2020 season.

Russell Shepard To Sign With Giants

After being released by the Panthers early last week, Russell Shepard didn’t need long to find a new home. The wide receiver took to Instagram on Monday and announced he is signing with the Giants. It’s a one-year deal worth $1.3M that can be worth up to $2M with incentives, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Shepard joins a loaded offense that includes Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Evan Ingram and first-round pick Saquon Barkley. The fourth-year pass catcher likely slots in as the team’s No. 3 or 4 receiver with the newly signed Cody Latimer.

Shepard signed a three-year deal with the Panthers last year, but his time in Carolina came to an end after just one season. The Panthers approached him about a pay cut, but he refused, leading to his release. Shepard never found a groove with the team in 2017, logging just 17 receptions for 202 yards and one touchdown.

He now catches on in New York, whose new general manager Dave Gettleman was the one who inked the receiver to the deal in Carolina. The Giants will need to make a corresponding move once they make the move official. No financial terms have been made available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Examining Giants' Top Positional Battles

  • Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com evaluates the Giants‘ top positional battles going into OTAs, and he believes the fight for the backup QB job is the most intriguing. Second-year pro Davis Webb has a stronger arm than rookie Kyle Lauletta, but Lauletta receives high marks for his intelligence and accuracy, plus he was drafted by Big Blue’s new regime. Whoever wins the job will be the favorite to ultimately succeed Eli Manning.

Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. To Attend OTAs

The Giants and Odell Beckham Jr. still have some work to do when it comes to his contractual situation, but the impending talks won’t keep him from the practice field. OBJ will be in attendance for the Giants’ offseason team activities on Monday, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

The 25-year-old is entering the final year of his rookie deal and earlier this year it was reported that he could consider a holdout if he did not get the pricey contract extension he was after. The big money deal has yet to arrive, but OBJ will arrive for Phase 3.

The news of OBJ’s participation in OTAs is not totally unexpected since he already took part in individual drills this offseason. Still, it’s a positive sign for Beckham’s mindset, even as the Giants say they won’t rush their way into a new deal.

I wouldn’t say a sense of urgency,” Giants co-owner John Mara said recently. “The contract will get done when it’s supposed to get done. I think that’s the Dave Gettleman line. I’m gonna adopt that I think, all spring, all summer, as long as it takes.”

Beckham is set to earn earn $8.5MM in 2018, per the terms of his fifth-year option. Before the 2017 season, it was said that he was seeking a deal in excess of $100MM. That may be a lofty goal, but a $90MM pact certainly seems within reach after Mike Evans secured a new $82.5MM deal from the Bucs earlier this year.

Last year, Beckham was one of several jinxed Giants receivers to succumb to the injury bug. This year, the WR group has received a face lift following the release of Brandon Marshall and addition of former Broncos receiver Cody LatimerSterling Shepard, who had 59 catches for 731 yards and two scores in eleven games last year, will start alongside Beckham.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.