New York Giants Rumors & News

Rashad Jennings To Tour With DWTS

Last night, Rashad Jennings was crowned the winner of this year’s “Dancing With The Stars.” The running back is still without an NFL team for 2017, but he has work to keep him busy in the meantime. Jennings will tour the country with DWTS, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. However, he has an out in his contract in the event that he gets an NFL opportunity that he wants to pursue. Rashad Jennings (vertical)

This year, Jennings became the latest active NFLer to participate in the show, joining notables such as Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown, and Von Miller. He win also marks the fourth time that a professional football player has won the sought after disco ball trophy, joining Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward, and Donald Driver. Reportedly, teams weren’t thrilled about his decision to dance on national television instead of focusing on football.

Jennings, 32, is coming off of an injury-riddled season in which he averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. He did, however, turn in a solid year in 2015 as he averaged 4.4 yards per carry and started in all 16 regular season games.

It remains to be seen how much interest he garners as a free agent this summer, particularly since his availability for workouts might be limited during the tour. At the same time, one has to wonder if Jennings could use his newfound stardom as a launching pad for a career in broadcasting. After all, former Giant Michael Strahan made that transition seamlessly and he now makes even more money than he did on the field.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Hosting LB Gerald Hodges

Free agent linebacker Gerald Hodges‘ free agent tour will continue, as he’s scheduled to meet with the Giants today, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link).Gerald Hodges (Vertical)

Hodges, 26, only visited with two clubs — the Chiefs and Seahawks — during the first month of free agency, as his market seemed to be extremely limited. The demand for the four-year pro has certainly picked up, however, as Hodges has been linked to the Jets, Bills, Patriots, Jaguars, and Colts over the past two weeks.

Hodges started 12 games in 2016, playing on roughly half of San Francisco’s defensive snaps while grading as the NFL’s No. 21 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus. In 15 total games, Hodges racked up 80 tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions. He also chipped in on special teams (73 snaps).

The Giants didn’t make many additions to their linebacking unit this offseason, as their only moves at the position involved re-signing veteran Keenan Robinson and bringing undrafted free agent Calvin Munson out of San Diego State. The rest of Big Blue’s ‘backer depth chart is comprised of Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas, J.T. Thomas, Deontae Skinner, Mark Herzlich, and B.J. Goodson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Odell Beckham Jr. Misses Giants' OTA

Odell Beckham Jr. did not report to Day 1 of Giants OTAs, Dan Duggan of NJ.com reports. The reason for the absence is not known, per Duggan. These are voluntary workouts, so Beckham cannot be fined for missing them. The Giants will convene again Tuesday, and Thursday’s session will be the first featuring media availability. Duggan reports Beckham being absent for this part of Big Blue’s calendar isn’t new; the superstar wideout was not a consistent presence at last year’s OTAs. The three-time Pro Bowl receiver is attached to a $1.8MM salary in 2017, but New York predictably picked up his $8.5MM fifth-year option. Beckham is now eligible for an extension that would stand to be in line with the top receivers in football, and while he’s displayed some mercurial tendencies, he’s already shown himself to be historically dominant Giants playmaker.

  • Justin Pugh signing an extension this offseason would come as a surprise to NJ.com’s James Kratch, who writes that it makes sense for neither side to rush this process. The Giants want to see Pugh make it through a season unscathed after he missed nine combined games between 2014-16. Pugh discussed being in a good spot regarding his second contract, seemingly content to reach free agency after noticing the guard deals of March.

Giants Meet With DE Devin Taylor

Former Lions defensive end Devin Taylor is visiting the Giants today, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. This marks Taylor’s first known visit since free agency kicked off more than two months ago. Devin Taylor (vertical)

Last year, Taylor started in all 16 regular season games for the first time in his career. The former fourth-round pick had 4.5 sacks and 28 total tackles on the year, but the advanced numbers at Pro Football Focus portrayed him as the second-worst qualified edge defender in the NFL. For what it’s worth, in the prior year, Taylor had 7.0 sacks and an overall score of 68.5 – a significantly better showing than his 39.1 mark in ’16.

Taylor is not a starting-caliber player at this point in his career and that suits the Giants just fine as they arguably have the league’s most fearsome DE duo in Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. There are a number of reserve DEs under contract behind them including Romeo Okwara, fifth-round rookie Avery Moss, and Owa Odighizuwa, but there has been some chatter this offseason about Odighizuwa stepping away from football. Right now, it seems like Odighizuwa will play, but if he has a change of heart, someone like Taylor could serve as an insurance policy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kratch On Pugh, Richburg, Other Pending UFAs

  • James Kratch of NJ.com looks at some of the Giants‘ high-profile players who are entering their contract years and what their long-term outlook with the club looks like. Kratch says an extension for Justin Pugh will not happen, and that Big Blue is either going to have to pony up big bucks for a multi-year deal next offseason or else slap Pugh with the franchise tag. Kratch believes an extension is slightly more likely for Weston Richburg, but that it is still a remote possibility, and if Richburg returns to form in 2017, he could set himself up for an Alex Mack-level payday.

Justin Pugh Discusses Contract Situation

The whopping dollars allocated to UFA guards this offseason stands to impact teams’ negotiations with impending free agents at a position that’s seen its value rise. Justin Pugh is entering his contract year and looks ready to cash in after seeing players with similar profiles do so in March.

The fifth-year Giants guard described himself as “in the driver’s seat” for a major payday.

Trust me, I noticed,’’ Pugh said of the contracts the high-end guard UFAs signed two months ago, via Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post. “Some of the guards are really good players who have not made Pro Bowls, guys that have missed significant time and have gotten paid a lot of money. I know where I sit in that hierarchy. I also know the Giants need to do right by me, too.

I’ve gone out there and done everything they’ve ever asked me to do. So I know my worth. I’m going to go out there and play my best season of football and hopefully the Giants say, ‘Let’s pay him what he deserves.‘”

Pugh made it clear he wants to stay in New York, but a second contract obviously will cost the Giants. There are now five guards whose deals average eight figures per year, with Kevin Zeitler and Joel Bitonio‘s Browns pacts moving that figure from three to five in March, and two other guards — T.J. Lang and Ronald Leary — signed for at least $9MM AAV this offseason. The 26-year-old Pugh has not made a Pro Bowl, but neither have the aforementioned four guards who signed high-value deals.

The Giants and Pugh have discussed an extension as far back as last summer, but the former right tackle upped his value with a season that saw him rank as Pro Football Focus’ No. 16 overall guard. Big Blue also has center Weston Richburg set to hit free agency, leaving a franchise that’s allocated most of its cash toward helping its defense over the past two offseasons with a potentially tough situation to navigate.

A one-time first-round pick out of Syracuse, Pugh stands to play on a fifth-year option worth $8.8MM in 2017. He joins the likes of Gabe Jackson, Andrew Norwell and Jack Mewhort as the next group of guards who stand to be paid big dollars in a league that’s seen developing offensive linemen become much tougher due to the increase of spread offenses in college and the current CBA limit practice time.

That is the goal,’’ Pugh said, via Cannizzaro, of signing a long-term Giants contract. “I never want to leave New York City. I started something here, and I want to finish it. We started 0-6 my first season. From where we started to where we’re at now, I feel like I have something to prove in New York City. I have a lot left to show. I have a ring I have to win. I have to get Eli [Manning] his third, and I have to get my first. That’s all I’m thinking about.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants To Give Bobby Hart Every Shot To Keep RT Job

  • The Giants did not allocate many resources to bolstering a middling offensive line, pointing to the incumbents being given another chance. Although the team added guard/tackle D.J. Fluker on a lower-level deal, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post believes Bobby Hart will still be given every chance to keep the right tackle job. This arrangement could potentially pit Fluker against recently re-signed right guard John Jerry, whom Pro Football Focus assessed as enjoying a bounce-back season in 2016. The 22-year-old Hart being a priority over putting Fluker and Jerry in the lineup together would be interesting given his history as a former seventh-round pick and a player whom PFF graded as the No. 67 full-time tackle last season.

Giants Sign Sixth-Rounder Adam Bisnowaty

  • One of Johnson’s college teammates at Pitt, offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty, officially became a member of the Giants on Friday. The 200th overall pick started at left tackle in each of his four years at Pitt, where he earned a first-team all-ACC nod last season. Bisnowaty is likely to end up on the right side in the pros, per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who notes that he has the ceiling of a low-end starter.

Giants Lowballed LeGarrette Blount

  • The Giants are all-in on Paul Perkins after their lowball offer to LeGarrette Blount, ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan writes. There was mutual interest between the Giants and Blount, but Raanan hears that the G-Men only came to the table with a minimum-salary offer. Ultimately, it seems that the Giants were only willing to add a power back if one would come to them on an exceptionally cheap deal. That didn’t materialize, so Perkins now projects as the starter with Orleans Darkwa and rookie Wayne Gallman as insurance. Shane Vereen, meanwhile, figues to be the passing-down back with Shaun Draughn as a potential failsafe in that facet of the game.

Minor NFC Transactions: 5/15/17

Earlier today, we rounded up some minor moves out of the AFC. In the interest of equal time, we turn our attention to the NFC:

  • The Rams signed two Northwestern State alums in wide receiver Shakeir Ryan and running back De’Mard Llorens, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports. In addition to the skill-position talents from the Natchitoches, Louisiana-based program, the Rams added another small-school product in Mary Hardin-Baylor linebacker Teidrick Smith. The two Division I-FCS talents and Division III defender will displace two Rams in defensive back Jared Collins and offensive lineman Shaq McMeans, per Gonzalez. Their roster currently houses 89 players.
  • Former Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas signed with the Saints, who also added guard Josh LeRibeus and running back Trey Edmunds, Nick Underhill of The Advocate reports. The 5-foot-11 Thomas operated as a dual-threat quarterback with the Yellowjackets and probably would convert positions for an NFL opportunity. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore in the program’s run-centric offense and threw for 18 touchdown passes that season. In the two subsequent slates, Thomas combined to throw 21 TDs. The son of former Dolphins Pro Bowl tight end Ferrell Edmunds, Trey Edmunds served as a reserve at Virginia Tech and Maryland.
  • On a busy Monday, the Saints signed Drew Iddings, a source tells Underhill (on Twitter). Iddings, a former defensive lineman, will be trying to stick as an offensive guard. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound athlete has no significant experience on offense, but New Orleans believes that the powerful lineman can make a smooth transition. In college at South Dakota, Iddings appeared in 46 games and totaled 149 tackles and eight sacks.
  • The Seahawks cut quarterback Skyler Howard and fullback Brandon Cottom and signed fullback Kyle Coleman and wide receiver Speedy Noil, per a team announcement. Noil entered the draft early out of Texas A&M. He caught just 42 passes combined the past two seasons.
  • Giants signed wide receiver Kevin Snead, a Carson-Newman product, after his tryout. Snead, a former track star, reportedly ran a sub-4.3-second 40-yard-dash. To make room, the team waived offensive lineman Martin Wallace.
  • The Lions have signed free agent offensive tackle Arturo Uzdavinis and waived tackle Pierce Burton.
  • The Vikings signed guard Freddie Tagaloa after a successful rookie minicamp tryout, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • The Cardinals signed wide receiver Larry Clark.