Will Hernandez

NFC East Notes: Giants, Gregory, Fitzpatrick

Jabrill Peppers‘ torn ACL will keep him sidelined for the rest of the 2021 campaign, and considering his expiring contract, there’s a chance his stint with the Giants has effectively come to an end. However, head coach Joe Judge kept the door open when speaking with reporters on Wednesday.

“Look, this guy is in a contract year, it’s something I’ve talked to him about directly,” Judge said (h/t to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s a guy that I value a lot in this program. I’d love to have this guy going forward, I’ve told him that directly. He’s been a very good leader for us. You can talk about him being local, that the Giants mean something to him. I think that’s very important. He’s a guy that loves football, he loves this organization, he loves this area. Those are things we talk about building as cornerstones and pillars of this program and he’s a very important part of our program.”

The safety started five of his six games this season, compiling 29 tackles and one sack. Considering Peppers’ contract status, his reduced playing time, and continued trade rumblings, there was a chance the veteran would be traded prior to his injury. The ACL injury certainly changed things, and Peppers could pursue a comeback with his current team.

More notes out of the NFC East…

  • With the Giants sitting at 2-5, it wouldn’t be a surprise if several Giants veterans end up hitting the trade block. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv explored which players could be on the move, with tight end Evan Engram, cornerback James Bradberry, guard Will Hernandez, tight end Kyle Rudolph, and offensive tackle Nate Solder earning spots on the list. Vacchiano even goes as far as to list running back Saquon Barkley as a potential trade candidate, but he can’t envision the Giants receiving a haul that would convince them to bail on the former second-overall pick.
  • Randy Gregory has dealt with his fair share of suspensions, but the former Cowboys second-round pick followed an impressive 2020 campaign with an even better start to the 2021 season. In five games (four starts), Gregory has collected four sacks. The 28-year-old will hit free agency following the 2021 season, but David Moore, Calvin Watkins, and Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News all believe that the defensive end will be back next season. Moore notes that the team wouldn’t have held on to Gregory for all these years if they didn’t plan on a long-term pact, while Watkins cautions that the franchise tag could prove to be a risky move considering Gregory’s limited track record.
  • There was once some hope that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be back by now, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport writes that Washington Football Team will have to wait a bit longer. The 38-year-old is still weeks away from returning, with Week 10 being the earliest possible return for the starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation back in September, forcing Taylor Heinicke into the lineup.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/10/20

We’ve got a long list of all the minor transactions from the last day or so:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Waived: DL Ron’Dell Carter
  • Promoted: WR DeMichael Harris

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Football Team

Giants Place Will Hernandez On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Giants will face the red-hot Buccaneers without at least one starting offensive lineman. They are placing left guard Will Hernandez on their reserve/COVID-19 list, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

A positive coronavirus test prompted the Giants to then send all but four of their offensive linemen home from their facility Thursday, Pelissero and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport note (via Twitter). Two coaches — defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson and outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema — joined them, according to Rapoport and NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter).

None of the other O-linemen, however, are considered to be high-risk close contacts of Hernandez at this point. That status would allow them to return to the team’s facility by Friday, provided they submit two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests. As for Hernandez, he is believed to be asymptomatic, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post tweets.

Hernandez will be miss the Giants’ Monday tilt against the Bucs, but this situation looks to differ slightly from last week’s development in Las Vegas. The Raiders-Bucs game was rescheduled because the team quarantined its starting offensive line for five days, but Las Vegas placed all five blockers on its reserve/COVID list. As of now, Hernandez is the only Giants player to be placed on their respective list.

Additionally, a Bucs equipment staffer tested positive for COVID-19, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Bucs sent that staffer home, but The Athletic’s Greg Auman notes this has not yet affected players or coaches (Twitter link).

While both teams now have issues to monitor, Monday night’s game is not currently on the verge of being rescheduled. Monday will, however, be Hernandez’s first missed start as a pro. The former second-round pick has been a Giants starter since his debut in Week 1 of the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.