Giants Rumors

Giants Host OL Stefen Wisniewski

The Giants met with free agent offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski on Tuesday, according to NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link).

Wisniewski, who turns 30 years old later this week, hit the open market after the Eagles declined his option earlier this month. Although he wasn’t a full-time starter in 2018, Wisniewski has already generated a market. In addition to the Giants, both the Jets and Vikings have expressed interest in the veteran offensive lineman.

New York has already made an effort to improve its offensive line this season, acquiring right guard Kevin Zeitler from the Browns as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade and handing restricted free agent Spencer Pulley a multi-year deal. With Zeitler, Will Hernandez, and Jon Halapio set to start on the interior of the Giants’ front five, and Pulley in reserve, New York doesn’t have an obvious slot for Wisniewski.

Wisniewski was benched by the Eagles in Week 5 after a lackluster performance at left guard. Although he hasn’t played center since the 2015 campaign, it was Wisniewski’s primary position from 2011-15 when he made 77 starts for the Raiders, so he can be a backup at all three interior line positions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/20/19

Today’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

  • Waived: WR Jimmy Williams

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

New York Jets

Dwayne Haskins To Meet With Five Teams

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins will work out for the Raiders and Dolphins in the coming days, and also plans to meet with the Redskins, Broncos, and Giants, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Fully expected to become a top-10 pick in next month’s draft, Haskins will likely embark on a busy schedule over the next several weeks. Haskins performed at OSU’s Pro Day earlier today, giving NFL clubs an up-close look at his abilities, and he’ll surely meet with a number of other teams — in addition to those listed above — in the weeks leading up to the draft.

New York will meet with Haskins despite conflicting reports about its potential interest in the Buckeye signal-caller. While some reports have indicated Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is “all over” Haskins, others have said Haskins isn’t likely to be a target for Big Blue.

Washington is another logical candidate to land Haskins, as the Redskins need a cheap quarterback given that Alex Smith is expensive and unlikely to play any time soon. Given that need, Washington has already begun “sniffing around” about a possible trade up from No. 15 overall, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. The Jets, who are looking to recoup draft capital after moving up for Sam Darnold in 2018, might be a trade partner for Washington at No. 3.

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Giants Re-Sign WR Bennie Fowler

The Giants have re-signed wide receiver Bennie Fowler, according to a press release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s likely an inexpensive short-term deal. 

[RELATED – Giants GM: “We Were Not Actively Shopping” OBJ]

Fowler, a Michigan State product, joined the Giants in October after fellow receiver Cody Latimer was placed on IR. After that point, Fowler appeared in ten games and caught 16 passes for 199 yards, including a touchdown against Washington on Dec. 9. Before joining the Giants, Fowler had 56 receptions and five touchdowns in three seasons with the Broncos. He also spent time with the Bears and Patriots last year, but did not appear in games for either club.

Fowler is a part of the Giants’ new Odell Beckham-less depth chart at WR, which also includes Golden TateSterling Shepard, Corey Coleman, and Latimer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants GM: “We Were Not Actively Shopping” OBJ

The Giants may have talked to several teams about Odell Beckham Jr. before pulling off a trade with the Browns, but general manager Dave Gettleman said he was “not actively shopping” the star wideout. Speaking to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, the executive discussed how the trade ultimately developed, noting that the receiver’s distractions (along with a hefty offer from Cleveland) made a trade more palatable.

“Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that factors in, but at the end of the day, in order for us to move Odell, the other team was going to have to knock it out of the park,’’ Gettleman said. “We were not actively shopping him.’’

The Browns apparently made an offer that grabbed the attention of the Giants, with New York receiving Cleveland’s first-round pick (No. 17 overall), third-round pick (95th overall), and young safety Jabrill Peppers. While the Giants never intended to trade Beckham when they signed him to a lucrative five-year, $95MM contract last August, the Browns’ offer was ultimately too good to refuse.

“Some have questioned why we signed Odell [last August] and then traded him,’’ Gettleman said. “We didn’t sign him to trade him but obviously things changed. Frankly, what changed is another team made an offer we couldn’t refuse. As it turned out, the fact he was signed for five more years made him very attractive and allowed us to get legitimate value.’’

Gettleman did acknowledge that he made one phone call regarding Beckham. Following the Bills’ failed pursuit of former Steelers wideout Antonio Brown, the Giants contacted Buffalo about a trade. The general managed said he also had “numerous conversations’’ with 49ers general manager John Lynch. Based on Gettleman’s assertions, we can only assume it was Lynch who contacted the Giants’ front office.

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Giants Interested In Vinny Curry

The Giants are on the lookout for defensive line help after losing Josh Mauro to the Raiders. With that in mind, the Giants are in the mix for defensive end Vinny Curry (Twitter link via Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com). 

Curry, a pass-rushing veteran, hit the open market in February when he was released by the Buccaneers. Last year, Curry tallied 21 tackles, 2.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, and five tackles for a loss, numbers that don’t exactly jump off of the page. However, pass rushers are continually in demand, and his 2017 season with the Eagles showed promise, so Curry could still be in line for a nice payday from the G-Men or another club.

Recently, Curry took his first visit of this free agent cycle when he met with the Bengals. The Bengals have Carlos Dunlap and Sam Hubbard slotted in as starters, but Curry could compete with Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis for reserve time. There’s also opportunity in New York for Curry after the trade of Olivier Vernon to the Browns.

The Giants still have interest in bringing back Kerry Wynn, though Raanan notes that Wynn also has some other options.

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Giants To Re-Sign WR Cody Latimer

The Giants’ receiving corps will look quite different in 2019, but part of the previous group looks to be staying in the fold.

Cody Latimer revealed (via Instagram) he will be back with the Giants next season. Residing as a free agent after inking a one-year deal to join the Giants last season, Latimer is now in line to be part of the post-Odell Beckham Jr. Giants receiving corps.

This is likely another low-cost agreement for the Giants, who are thin on answers beyond Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate. Both Russell Shepard and Bennie Fowler previously joined Latimer as free agents. The Giants are bringing back RFA Corey Coleman, however. Latimer figures to join Coleman as depth.

A hamstring injury limited Latimer to six games last season, but despite the Giants being out of playoff contention during the season’s second half, they made him an IR-return candidate. Primarily known for his special teams work with the Broncos, the physically imposing target caught 11 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown during his Giants debut — which also came under former Broncos wideouts coach Tyke Tolbert.

A former second-round pick, Latimer has not panned out as a pass-catcher, having hauled in just 46 receptions for 635 yards in five seasons. This deal may not guarantee he makes the Giants’ roster, but it’s clear the organization likes what it saw during a limited sample last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Prioritized Jabrill Peppers In Deal

Still unsigned, Darqueze Dennard remains an option for the Bengals. But the franchise looks to have given the cornerback a price point. The Bengals have not closed the door on a reunion with the sixth-year cornerback, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, but they have since signed B.W. Webb and retained some of their own free agents. The most recent negotiations between Dennard and the Bengals revealed a disconnect, with the team viewing him as strictly a slot cornerback — and one they may not consider paying at the top-market slot price Justin Coleman just reset with the Lions. Dennard’s camp came in with an offer north of what Coleman just signed, proposing a deal north of $10MM per year with the Bengals, Dehner reports, adding the corner’s representation never came back to the table with the Bengals. The team was willing to keep Dennard at around $8.5MM AAV, but that was before reaching a deal with Webb. The new Bengal corner played for first-year DC Lou Anarumo with the Giants.

  • John Dorsey called Dave Gettleman on Monday to ask if Odell Beckham Jr. was indeed available. The Giants’ GM had twice said in 2019 he did not extend the wideout to trade him, but Gettleman told Dorsey he was, in fact, willing to move Beckham, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. Dorsey had several Beckham trades planned, but Cabot adds the talks never included Emmanuel Ogbah or Duke Johnson. Both of those pre-Dorsey Browns investments are now on the trade block.
  • As for the player the Giants did obtain for Beckham, Jabrill Peppers profiled as one the Browns did not want to let go. Despite being a Sashi Brown-era draft choice, Dorsey wanted to keep the improving safety, per Cabot. But Cleveland’s second-year GM was not going to let Peppers stand in the way of acquiring Beckham. Gettleman was “adamant” about Peppers’ inclusion in this trade because of the Giants’ recent decision to let Landon Collins walk in free agency, Cabot adds. The Giants are planning a versatile role for the third-year safety. Peppers can be under Giants control through 2021 via the fifth-year option.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets

Having ended their veteran quarterback search with a Ryan Fitzpatrick agreement, after pursuing Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor, the Dolphins continue to embark on a rebuilding track. In fact, the word “tanking” came up during one of the team’s head coach interviews, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. Chris Grier, as could be expected, denied the team will use 2019 to tank.

Often one of the most active teams during free agency, the Dolphins this year have parted ways with starters Ryan Tannehill, Josh Sitton, Ted Larsen, Andre Branch and Danny Amendola. They let Ja’Wuan James and Cameron Wake walk. This leads Salguero to the notion the Dolphins are indeed tanking with the prospect of being in best position to land a high 2020 draft pick and have cap space when that league year begins. As of now, early projections have the Dolphins at $107MM in 2020 cap space — second in the league behind the Cowboys. And with Dallas set to extend several young talents, Miami looks poised to lead that pack. Fitzpatrick has made at least eight starts in a season nine times; his teams finished with a winning record in one of those seasons. Sunday’s move lends further credence the Dolphins are targeting the 2020 quarterback class.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Rob Gronkowski has not given the Patriots his decision on if he will continue his career in 2019, but if the future Hall of Famer wants an extension, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes this cannot happen until August 30 — a year after his previous contract adjustment, per an NFL rule. Long dissatisfied with a contract he agreed to in 2012, Gronkowski would be entering the final year of that deal if he returned for 2019. The Patriots could approach Gronk about a pay cut, however, at any point this offseason, per Volin. Gronkowski is due a $10MM salary and to count $11.86MM on the Patriots’ cap. The latest word on Gronk’s status is a return for a 10th season is more likely than a retirement.
  • Conversely, a Tom Brady extension can happen at any point this offseason. Since the Patriots did not adjust their quarterback’s cap number via the unmet incentives last year, Volin notes they can extend his contract before the 12-month mark from when the team included those incentives. Brady’s deal appears likely to be adjusted, with the 41-year-old passer’s contract-year cap figure sitting at $27MM.
  • Dialogue about the trade that moved the Jets up to last year’s No. 3 overall pick began at the 2018 Senior Bowl, with Jets VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger approaching Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds that January about a possible trade, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Christopher Johnson emphasized the Jets focus on quarterback scouting in 2017, primarily Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. The Jets targeted No. 3 overall because their sources indicated to them the Giants were zeroing in on Saquon Barkley, Cimini adds. Gang Green put its plan B into action a year ago today after Kirk Cousins spurned them.
  • The Dolphins are interested in acquiring a fullback, which marks a change from recent years. Specifically, they are exploring the addition of Michael Burton, per Salguero. Burton was Pro Football Focus’ No. 2-rated fullback last season but only played 49 snaps, not enough to qualify for full-time status. Only five fullbacks did meet those standards, illustrating this position’s scarcity on most teams. If not Burton, a four-year veteran who has played in Detroit and Chicago, Miami may target another UFA blocking back.
  • Prior to LaAdrian Waddle signing with the Bills, the Patriots conveyed interest in bringing him back, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. The Pats kept an open dialogue with their swing tackle but were not willing to match the Bills’ offer, Reiss adds.

Latest On Eli Manning, Jabrill Peppers

  • Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes that the Giants are very excited about the acquisition of Jabrill Peppers, part of New York’s return in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. Per Schwartz, Big Blue sees Peppers as a classic strong safety, but the club will take full advantage of his versatility. Peppers will not line up in the same position from snap to snap and will be asked to line up deep, up near the line, at slot cornerback, and at nickel linebacker. New York brass has been heavily criticized for the OBJ deal, but if Peppers can live up to his draft pedigree, that will go a long way towards the Giants’ rebuild.
  • Eli Manning will not collect his $5MM roster bonus until tomorrow, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv (via Twitter). It had previously been reported that Manning earned his bonus yesterday, all but ensuring that he will remain with the Giants in 2019. But Vacchiano says Manning is still expected to return next season and that he will not be cut within the next 24 hours.
  • Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes that the Giants are very excited about the acquisition of Jabrill Peppers, part of New York’s return in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. Per Schwartz, Big Blue sees Peppers as a classic strong safety, but the club will take full advantage of his versatility. Peppers will not line up in the same position from snap to snap and will be asked to line up deep, up near the line, at slot cornerback, and at nickel linebacker. New York brass has been heavily criticized for the OBJ deal, but if Peppers can live up to his draft pedigree, that will go a long way towards the Giants’ rebuild.