Mar 072017
 
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Anthony Fasano, Tennessee Titans (September 1, 2016)

Anthony Fasano – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MARCH 7, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
The negotiating period of NFL free agency began today. Teams can officially sign free agents from other teams at 4:00PM ET on Thursday, March 9th. Here are some of the latest rumors:

  • The New York Post is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent tight end Anthony Fasano (Tennessee Titans). The 32-year old Fasano was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He has spent time with the Cowboys (2006-2007), Miami Dolphins (2008-2012), Kansas City Chiefs (2013-2014), and Titans (2015-2016). Fasano is a better blocker than receiver, but he does have 287 career regular-season catches for 3,171 yards and 35 touchdowns.
  • ESPN is reporting that the Giants are “monitoring the top of the tight end market,” including unrestricted free agents Martellus Bennett (New England Patriots), Jared Cook (Green Bay Packers), and Jack Doyle (Indianapolis Colts). (Late Note: Doyle re-signed with the Colts).
  • ESPN is reporting that the Giants may be one of several teams interested in offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, who was released today by the Los Angeles Chargers.
  • The Bergen Record is reporting that the Giants have some interest in unrestricted free agent running backs Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers) and Latavius Murray (Oakland Raiders).
Mar 072017
 
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Kerry Wynn, New York Giants (August 27, 2016)

Kerry Wynn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS DEFENSIVE END KERRY WYNN TENDERED…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants have tendered restricted free agent defensive end Kerry Wynn at the original-round, $1.797 million level. The tender allows the Giants to match any offer from another team to retain his services. But since Wynn was not drafted, the Giants would not receive any draft pick compensation.

Wynn saw his playing time decrease in 2016 (11 percent of defensive snaps). He played in 14 regular-season games with no starts and finished the year with 12 tackles and 0.5 sacks. Wynn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has played in 34 regular-season games, with seven starts, for the Giants in his three years with the team.

For a full list of the team’s free agents, see the New York Giants 2017 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

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Mar 062017
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (October 3, 2016)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – NEW YORK GIANTS WILL NOT TENDER ORLEANS DARKWA…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants will not tender restricted free agent running back Orleans Darkwa, effectively making him an unrestricted free agent. Darkwa could re-sign with the Giants but the team was not willing to pay the required $1.797 million for an original-round one-year tender.

Darkwa was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2016 with a lower leg injury. Darkwa played in 10 games with two starts for the Giants in 2016. He carries the ball 30 times for 111 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 12 yards.

Darkwa was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him off of Miami’s Practice Squad in November 2014.

The only other potential restricted free agent on the team is defensive end Kerry Wynn, who has not been tendered yet. For a complete listing of Giants free agents, see the 2017 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

REPORT – NEW YORK GIANTS INTERESTED IN TERRELLE PRYOR…
Cleveland.com is reporting that the New York Giants are one of several teams to have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (Cleveland Browns). The Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, and Philadelphia Eagles are also said to be interested. Teams are not allowed to begin talking to players from other teams until noon on Tuesday.

The 27-year old Pryor is a converted quarterback who had a breakout season in 2016 with 77 catches for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. Before 2016, he only had two career receptions. Pryor was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He has spent time with the Raiders (2011-2013), Seattle Seahawks (2014), Kansas City Chiefs (2015), Cincinnati Bengals (2015), and Browns (2015-2016). Pryor has excellent size (6’4”, 223 pounds) and is a good athlete with fine hands.

Mar 062017
 
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Robbie Gould, New York Giants (November 6, 2016)

Robbie Gould – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – ROBBIE GOULD WILL HIT FREE AGENT MARKET…
ESPN is reporting that New York Giants unrestricted free agent place kicker Robbie Gould will test the free agent market. Other teams can begin talking to free agents on March 7th and signing them on March 9th.

The Giants signed Gould in October 2016 after the team parted ways with Josh Brown. Gould played in 10 regular-season games and finished the year a perfect 10-for-10 on field goal attempts, with a long kick of 47 yards. Forty-four percent of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

Gould was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2005 NFL Draft. After brief stints with the Patriots and Ravens, Gould signed with the Chicago Bears in October 2005. He played 11 seasons with the Bears (2005-2015).

NEW YORK GIANTS SALARY CAP SPACE…
According to the NFL Players Association website, the New York Giants currently are $13,120,005 under the $167 million 2017 salary cap.

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Mar 042017
 
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Russell Okung, Seattle Seahawks (October 22, 2015)

Russell Okung – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – GIANTS INTERESTED IN RUSSELL OKUNG AGAIN…
The Washington Post is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent Russell Okung (Denver Broncos), along with the New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, and Minnesota Vikings. The Giants also pursued Okung last year in free agency.

The 29-year old Okung was originally drafted in the 1st round (6th overall pick) of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks and signed by the Broncos as a free agent last year to a 5-year contract. Denver chose not to pick up his option after an inconsistent season.

In seven NFL seasons, Okung has started all 88 regular-season games that he played in. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012. However, 2016 was the first year he played a full 16-game schedule, having missed 24 regular-season games due to injuries: high ankle sprains in both ankles in 2010, a torn right pectoral muscle in 2011, a toe injury that caused him to miss half of the 2013 season, a bruised lung in 2014, and ankle and calf injuries in 2015. Okung also needed left shoulder surgery to repair a dislocation suffered in the 2015 playoffs. Okung combines excellent size and overall athleticism. Although, he really has not played at an elite level since the 2012 season, Okung is still considered one of the more solid all-around tackles in the game as both a run and pass blocker.

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Mar 032017
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul and Johnathan Hankins, New York Giants (November 20, 2016)

Jason Pierre-Paul and Johnathan Hankins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MARCH 3, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
The negotiating period of NFL free agency begins on March 7th. ESPN is reporting the following:

  • The Giants are not interested in unrestricted free agent running back Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings).
  • Not only is the team interested in retaining defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (franchise player), but it is working hard to re-sign unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.
  • The Giants have also had talks to re-sign unrestricted free agents linebacker Keenan Robinson, right guard John Jerry, quarterback Josh Johnson, and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh.

NJ.com is reporting:

  • The Giants are pushing for a long-term deal with Pierre-Paul before free agency begins in order to reduce Pierre-Paul’s current $16.9 million 2017 franchise-player cap hit.
  • The Giants are unlikely to match the $10 million-per-year contract that Hankins is expected to receive on the open market.
  • The Giants are expected to tender restricted free agent defensive end Kerry Wynn at the lowest tender level, which will allow the team to match any offer from another team if they choose to do so.

For a listing of the team’s free agents, see the 2017 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

NEW YORK GIANTS COACHING STAFF CHANGES…
The New York Giants officially announced on Friday that they have promoted Rob Leonard to assistant defensive line coach. That position had been held by Jeff Zgonina, who was hired by the San Francisco 49ers as their new defensive line coach last month. Leonard has served as a defensive assistant with the Giants since 2013.

To fill Leonard’s old coaching position, the Giants hired Bobby Blick to be the team’s new defensive assistant. The Giants also have hired Pratik Patel as Director of Performance Nutrition/Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. Blick served as Army’s director of player personnel in 2016. Patel was the University of Oregon’s sports nutrition coach since October 2014. Fuller information on their bios is available in the Coaching Staff section of the website.

GIANTS INSIDER WITH MARC ROSS…
The video of a Giants Insider Q&A with Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross is available at Giants.com.

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Mar 022017
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (October 23, 2016)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JOHN MARA COMMENTS ON FREE AGENCY…
New York Giants President and CEO John Mara weighed in on the following subjects with Newsday on Wednesday:

  • On franchise-player defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul: “I heard him say (he won’t play on a 1-year contract), yes, and we’re trying to get a (long-term) deal done. We want to get him signed long-term, but we had to do that to protect ourselves. Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach an agreement, but I can’t say it’s imminent…(His franchise-tag contract is) a high number, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the average going forward. It ain’t gonna be that going forward…He’s an important part of our team. He played at a high level last year. He gave us a huge boost. Having him on one side and (Olivier) Vernon on the other gives us a nice pair of bookend pass rushers, so yeah, we’d like to have him back. Plus, he’s a positive influence. He’s a good young man, very popular (in the locker room). He’s the type of guy you want on your team.”
  • On the Giants approach to free agency this offseason: “We’re obviously not going to be as aggressive as we were (last year). We just don’t have the salary-cap room, and you can’t do that every year. Putting the franchise tag on Jason takes a lot of our room away, but there’s still enough room for us to do some things if we want…We struggled on offense last year, but when you go into free agency, there has to be the right guys. I’m not sure the offensive line is the strongest group this year, so I don’t know.”

REPORT – GIANTS WON’T PURSUE ADRIAN PETERSON…
NJ.com is reporting that the New York Giants will not pursue unrestricted free agent running back Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings) when free agency begins on March 7th. Peterson has expressed interest in the Giants but the 31-year old running back is on the downside of his career and has had off-the-field issues involving domestic abuse of a child.

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Mar 012017
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (March 1, 2017)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BEN MCADOO ADDRESSES THE MEDIA AT THE NFL COMBINE…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo addressed the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana on Tuesday. The video of the press conference is available at Giants.com.

Some key points addressed by McAdoo:

  • On whether the Giants need to sign a veteran running back: “If it fits and if it is clean. Paul (Perkins) is a guy that we have confidence in. He missed all offseason last year because of the rules that are in place with rookies and he came into training camp and really had to catch up in a hurry. He had some success with special teams early and ended up being a nice ball carrier for us and grew in protection, as well. But he needs to come back, he needs to get better and he can get better, and I know that he is working to get better right now. Paul is a lot like the rest of the rookies. I think it is important when these rookies get back to New York that they understand that they don’t have everything figured out, that we need to keep our thumb on those guys and they need to grow and they need to get better. We need to make gains; our rookie class needs to make gains. We have a nice class there and Paul is one of those players, but he needs to get better like the rest of them. Even if it is marginally in each area of his game, but we need to make gains there.”
  • On whether the Giants are interested in free agent running back Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings): “We will go take a look at him, we will evaluate him. We will get a grade on anyone that is available, and we will make those decisions in terms of what is best for the Giants moving forward.”
  • On left tackle Ereck Flowers: “I have a ton of confidence in Ereck. He is a guy that is all in. He is working at it. You can make a case that he could be here right now preparing to go out there and run in the combine. He is a young player that has a lot of room to grow and we expect him to grow, and I have confidence that he is going to grow. Where he ends up is where he ends up. Right now, he is playing left tackle like he has always played for us and we will go from there.”
  • On franchised-player defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul: “It is great to have JPP around. We think highly of him. Obviously, that is the business part of the equation and I try to stay out of that as much as I can.  But Jason is a great part of the team, someone who made some progress last year, and it will be good to have him back.”
  • On linebacker B.J. Goodson: “We feel B.J. is going to develop and play more for us on the defensive side of the ball, regardless of what position it’s going to be. There are a bunch of a different linebacker spots that he can go in there and fight for. But he did a nice job for us as a special teams role player. He needs to improve there, which he will. But we feel that he has a lot of upside as a linebacker.”
  • On whether the Giants will add a true fullback: “It just really depends on how things shake out. Whether it is the free agent market or the draft class, it depends on what you have to choose from. The guys on your roster – going into the season we had two players (Will Johnson and Nikita Whitlock) that we felt pretty good about playing fullback for us and neither of them stayed healthy. That was part of it. For one reason or another, they were not a part of the team. So we had to go in another direction and we had to use what we had. We will continue to evaluate and if we feel that there is someone out there that can help us, then we will use them.”
  • On the offense’s struggles in 2016: “I will say this, right now we are in the middle of (evaluating) third down. We are not finished with third down yet as far as our scheme evaluation. But we all know that turning the ball over 27 times isn’t acceptable. We are fortunate to have the wins that we had turning the ball over the way that we turned the ball over, so we can’t turn the ball over that way. We need to handle the ball better, so we need to catch it better than we have caught it and we need to handle it in the pocket better. We can’t have it come out. Way too many fumbles – 16 interceptions and 11 fumbles, way too many fumbles.”
  • On the offensive line and Eli Manning: “The offensive line, they need to play better. I agree with that. I think Eli needs to do a better job playing with fast feet, and I think he needs to sit on that back foot in the pocket. We’re seeing a lot of man coverage, so the receivers, it’s gonna take a little time for them to get open, so everything may not be rhythmical. So he’s got to play with fast feet, he’s got to sit on his back foot and be ready to hitch into a throw. Things aren’t always clean in this league, you watch film of the end zones throughout the league and you’re seeing a lot of dirty pockets.”
  • On if he will continue to call the offensive plays: “You can keep asking the question and I enjoy when you ask the question, but I am not going to answer that question.”
  • On the Giants defense: “We added some guys to the mix (on defense) who were talented men of integrity, tremendous character, they played hard, it was important for them to see each other have success. That was a big part of things. But at the same point in time, we’re not looking to play defense the way we played defense last year. We’re looking to get better. We can’t show up thinking we have everything figured out on the defensive side of the ball. We need make gains, marginal gains, maybe 1% gains, but we need to generate those. We can’t be too big to do the little things. And that needs to show up the first day we get together in April.”

REPORT – ROB LEONARD BEING PROMOTED TO ASSISTANT DL COACH…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants will promote Rob Leonard to assistant defensive line coach. That position had been held by Jeff Zgonina, who was hired by the San Francisco 49ers as their new defensive line coach last month. Leonard has served as a defensive assistant with the Giants since 2013.

GIANTS INSIDER WITH CB ELI APPLE…
The video of a Giants Insider Q&A with cornerback Eli Apple is available at Giants.com.

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Feb 272017
 
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Jason PIerre-Paul, New York Giants (November 6, 2016)

Jason PIerre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS PLACE FRANCHISE TAG ON JASON PIERRE-PAUL…
The New York Giants have placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The Franchise tag tender guarantees Pierre-Paul a 1-year contract worth approximately $17 million. But Pierre-Paul may not agree to sign for those terms and hold out. On the other hand, the Giants and Pierre-Paul may still agree to a different multi-year contract. Pierre-Paul has made it clear he is seeking the latter.

If Pierre-Paul does not sign the tender, he will be able to negotiate a long-term contract with the Giants until July 15. After that date, Pierre-Paul will only be allowed to sign a 1-year contract with the Giants. The Giants can rescind the tag at any time. The downside of the tender for the Giants is it ties up $17 million of the team’s estimated $30 million in 2017 salary-cap space. The 2017 NFL salary cap is expected to be around $168 million.

A non-exclusive franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for the average of the five largest prior year salaries for players at the position or 120 percent of his prior year salary, whichever is greater. A non-exclusive franchise player may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if he signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has a right to match the terms of that offer, or if it does not match the offer and thus loses the player, is entitled to receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.

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Feb 242017
 
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Zak DeOssie, New York Giants (August 12, 2016)

Zak DeOssie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN ZAK DEOSSIE…
The New York Giants have re-signed long-snapper Zak DeOssie to a 2-year contract. DeOssie was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent when free agency begins on March 7th. DeOssie is the team’s second longest-tenured player behind quarterback Eli Manning. He also has been voted Giants special teams captain for each of the last six seasons.

“In theory, you could be a free agent, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather play,” DeOssie said. “I knew that from day one when I stepped in here after I got drafted (in 2007). I’m very fortunate to still be here and contribute in any way possible.”

The 32-year old DeOssie is one of the NFL’s most consistent long snappers, being voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2010. DeOssie was drafted as a linebacker by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He is now strictly a special teams player. In his 10 NFL seasons, DeOssie has only missed four games (all in 2015 with a wrist injury). Aside from his long snapping duties, DeOssie also excels in punt coverage.

Manning and DeOssie are the only two Giants under contract remaining from each of the last two Super Bowl teams. “It’s certainly weird,” DeOssie said. “The last few years I’ve been going through that transformation. There’s no denying I’m one of the oldest on the team. It was weird at first, but now I absolutely love it. I enjoy being with these young men and watching them grow, and also learning from them and growing myself.

“(2016) was one of the most enjoyable years. Obviously, the Super Bowl years were fantastic. But having accumulated so many years, and coming back off that injury and enjoying a little bit of success, it allowed me to truly appreciate the opportunity I have to play for such an incredible organization, and also with such incredible teammates.

“It means the world to me to have played here this long. When you’re young you can hope and dream. Now I’ll take whatever I can get and enjoy the ride while it lasts. My dad played for 12 years for four different teams. So hopefully, I can get to 12 someday, and hopefully beat him.”

For a complete list of Giants free agents, see the New York Giants 2017 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

NO COMPENSATORY PICKS FOR NEW YORK GIANTS…
As expected, the New York Giants did not receive any compensatory draft picks for 2016 free agent losses. Under league rules, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

NEW YORK GIANTS PICK 10 SPOTS LOWER IN 4TH ROUND…
As reported in December, the NFL penalized the New York Giants for “illegally” using walkie-talkies during the December 11th game against the Dallas Cowboys. Head Coach Ben McAdoo used a walkie-talkie to communicate with quarterback Eli Manning for five plays when the regular head-set communication system broke down.

At that time in December, as a penalty, the NFL decided to move the Giants 4th-round pick to the end of the round, following any compensatory picks (but no more than 12 spots below where their pick would have been). The Giants were also fined $150,000 and Ben McAdoo was personally fined $50,000.

With the announcement of the compensatory picks, the Giants will now pick 10 spots lower in the 4th round, moving from 130 overall to 140.

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