Xavier McKinney

Giants Activate S Xavier McKinney From IR

Second-round rookie Xavier McKinney looks set to make his Giants debut Sunday. The Alabama product is now on New York’s active roster after a Saturday activation from IR.

McKinney suffered a broken foot in August, and the Giants ended Logan Ryan‘s lengthy free agency stay soon after. Both should be in uniform Sunday. The Giants also activated linebacker Tae Crowder from IR.

The Giants have McKinney lined up as a presumptive long-term replacement for Landon Collins, another second-round pick out of Alabama. Ryan is on a one-year contract, and Jabrill Peppers is signed through 2021 on a guaranteed-for-injury-only fifth-year option. Saturday’s move could allow Ryan to play more at cornerback, though McKinney will likely be eased into action.

Despite the Giants cutting 2019 first-round cornerback DeAndre Baker and doing little to address their edge-rushing need this offseason — a deficiency compounded by the team trading Markus Golden in October — Patrick Graham‘s defense has played well, all things considered. The Giants, who remain in playoff contention despite having the NFC’s second-worst record, rank 12th in points allowed this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Cowboys, Parks

The Giants are planning for Logan Ryan to help at cornerback and safety. Joe Judge confirmed Ryan will play multiple spots, and Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes the former Patriots and Titans cornerback is expected to work in a hybrid safety-slot corner capacity (subscription required). Ryan played just 22 snaps at safety — as opposed to 855 in the slot — last season, but late in his free agency stay he began to market himself as a safety. Ryan’s 113 tackles last year led all cornerbacks and would have ranked fifth among safeties. Giants DC Patrick Graham was with the Patriots during three of Ryan’s four New England seasons. Second-round pick Xavier McKinney was set to play this role, but the Alabama product suffered a broken foot. McKinney had surgery late last month and is expected to miss at least two months. But he may well return to team with Ryan later this season.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Shifting to another team’s safety situation, the Cowboys did not view Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as a starter, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Instead of keeping the seventh-year veteran around as a backup, Dallas cut baitDarian Thompson is expected to start alongside Xavier Woods, but Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie, Daryl Worley and rookie Reggie Robinson could see time there if necessary. The Cowboys could recoup $1MM if Clinton-Dix signs elsewhere via the offset language in his contract, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Players like Josh McCown, Johnathan Cyprien, Dion Jordan and Matt Moore accepted jobs on teams’ practice squads in recent days. But Jon Halapio did not want to play such a role. The veteran center declined a spot on the Giants‘ P-squad, Duggan tweets. The Giants brought Halapio back last week but cut him Saturday. Halapio, who worked out for the Texans last month, is healthy after suffering an Achilles tear in Week 17. Halapio began the past two seasons as the Giants’ first-string center; he started 15 games last season.
  • Aldon Smith collected a $100K bonus from the Cowboys, per Archer. That brings his total in 2020 roster bonuses to $440K. Smith, who has not played since the 2015 season, agreed to a $910K base salary that pays out just more than $40K in per-game roster bonuses. If Smith were to reach eight sacks, he would collect $500K, Archer adds. For 10 sacks, the former All-Pro would receive a $1MM bump. In the event of a less likely 14-sack season, that total rises to $2MM.
  • The Eagles placed Will Parks on IR on Sunday. The veteran safety suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him out up to six weeks, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets. This year, teams can activate players off IR after just three missed games. Though, Parks’ timetable may run into October. The Eagles signed the former Bronco in March.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/6/20

Here are Sunday’s minor moves. The players who landed on injured reserve are eligible to come off teams’ respective lists after three weeks. For 2020, teams can also activate an unlimited number of IR players — as opposed to the two-man max of 2019.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Claimed (from Washington): T Timon Paris

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Claimed (from Dolphins): G Deion Calhoun
  • Signed: CB Torry McTyer

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Giants’ Xavier McKinney Suffers Broken Foot

Giants rookie safety Xavier McKinney fractured the fifth metatarsal on his left foot, per a club announcement. The second-round pick out of Alabama will undergo surgery on Wednesday afternoon and he’s likely to miss at least a couple months of action. 

McKinney was expected to be a contributor in the Giants’ secondary, serving as the understudy to Julian Love at free safety. Instead, he’ll likely start the year on injured reserve before, hopefully, rejoining the club down the stretch.

Like Landon Collins in 2016, the Giants used an early second-round pick to draft McKinney out of Alabama. The standout Crimson Tide safety was on the first-round radar, starting for the past two seasons and registering 95 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions in 2019. He represents a key long-term piece alongside contract-year safety Jabrill Peppers.

This represents another major blow to a Giants secondary already without 2019 first-round pick DeAndre Baker, who currently resides on the commissioner’s exempt list. The Giants ranked 31st in pass-defense DVOA last season and did not make a concerted effort to upgrade their edge rush. These setbacks will make it difficult for the team to excel in this department, even considering the team’s pricey James Bradberry addition.

Several experienced veteran safeties are on the market, though the Giants do not profile as the kind of team who would win an Earl Thomas pursuit at this juncture. In addition to the recently released All-Pro, Eric Reid, Tony Jefferson, Reshad Jones and Clayton Geathers are available. The Giants did not re-sign 36-year-old Antoine Bethea, who started 16 games for them last season.

The Giants also lost linebacker David Mayo, who will go under the knife following a meniscus tear in his left knee. Luckily, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Mayo will just need a meniscus trim rather than a full repair, so he should be able to return in about three weeks (Twitter link). The sixth-year defender started a career-high 13 games for the Giants last season, making 82 tackles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.