Apr 142015
 
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Josh Gordy and Corey Washington, New York Giants (November 3, 2014)

Josh Gordy and Corey Washington – © USA TODAY Sports Images

According to The New York Daily News, the New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent defensive back Josh Gordy to a 1-year, veteran minimum contract.

The 28-year old Gordy was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2010 NFL Draft. Since that time, he has spent time with the Jaguars (2010), Green Bay Packers (2010), St. Louis Rams (2011), and Indianapolis Colts (2012-14). In five NFL seasons, Gordy has played in 59 regular-season games with 11 starts.

In 2014 with the Colts, Gordy played in 16 regular-season games with one start, finishing the season with 24 tackles, 4 pass defenses, and 1 interception. Gordy’s best season was in 2011 with the Rams under Steve Spagnuolo when he started nine games and accrued 43 tackles and 3 interceptions. The Rams traded him to the Colts in August 2012.

Gordy, who is 5’11 and 196 pounds, has experience at both corner and safety. He started one game at safety for the Colts in 2014, but reportedly struggled as the team’s fourth corner.

For an overview of the teams’ offseason free agent activity, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Apr 132015
 
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Zack Bowman, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Zack Bowman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Cornerback Zack Bowman Signs With Miami Dolphins: The Miami Dolphins have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent cornerback Zack Bowman.

Bowman was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Bears. In six seasons with the Bears, Bowman played in 73 regular-season games with 23 starts. The Giants signed Bowman as an unrestricted free agent in March 2014. He played in all 16 games with five starts but saw his playing time decrease as the season progressed despite all of the injuries that hit the secondary. He finished the year with 24 tackles, two interceptions, and six pass defenses.

Bowman is the fifth unrestricted free agent to leave the Giants this offseason, joining linebacker Spencer Paysiner (Dolphins), tackle James Brewer (Jets), safety Antrel Rolle (Bears), and cornerback Walter Thurmond (Eagles). For an overview of the teams’ offseason free agent activity, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Article on Wide Receivers Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham: Giant receivers Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz planning TD celebration for next season by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: A pre-draft look at the Giants’ offensive line by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Apr 102015
 
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Victor Butler, Dallas Cowboys (November 17, 2011)

Victor Butler – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Linebacker Victor Butler Suspended by NFL: The NFL has suspended New York Giants linebacker Victor Butler for four games for violating the League’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Butler can participate in Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices, training camp, and the preseason before sitting out the first four games of the year. That is, if he makes the team.

Butler was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Since then, he has spent time with the Cowboys (2009-12), Saints (2013), Cardinals (2014), and Colts (2014). Butler missed the 2013 season with a torn ACL knee injury that he suffered during training camp that year. The Giants signed Butler to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2015.

Butler has played in 65 games with two starts with a total of 91 tackles, 11 sacks, four pass defenses, and four forced fumbles.

Victor Cruz Injury Update: New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was interviewed by by Complex.com and provided the following injury update:

“(The patella tendon knee injury suffered in October 2014 is) definitely is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to go through in my life,” said Cruz. “Still currently going through it. It’s not easy to come back from something like this and to work every day. I guess I’m in the parts right now when it’s more (physical). Physically getting it stronger, getting the muscle back. Literally when you have surgery on your knee, the muscles atrophy and just go (away). Your muscles just go (away). So physically is definitely the hardest part right now. I think the mental aspect was early and then it’ll be late. ‘Early’ meaning when it first happened, thinking you probably won’t be able to even run again; and ‘late’ when you are able to run and jump and mentally being able to connect to your knee, saying that you can do all these things and not being afraid to do it. I think that’s both sides of it.”

Cruz was asked if he has had to tell himself to slow down a bit on the rehab. “Yeah, I’m kinda there right now,” replied Cruz. “I’ve started to do some things and I’m starting to feel my knee getting better and responding better, but I understand there’s a long way to go and a process and I don’t wanna rush anything.”

Apr 092015
 
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New York Giants-New York Jets Preseason (August 24, 2013)

New York Giants vs. New York Jets – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2015 Preseason Opponents Announced: The New York Giants 2015 preseason opponents have been announced. The Giants will face four AFC teams. Specific dates and times will be finalized at a later date.

  • August 13-17: at Cincinnati Bengals
  • August 20-24: Jacksonville Jaguars
  • August 27-30: New York Jets
  • September 3-4: at New England Patriots

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: How aggressive is Tom Coughlin when the Giants are facing 4th and 1? by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul and DT Jay Bromley: Giants defensive tackle Jay Bromley working out with Jason Pierre-Paul in Florida by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on CB/S Bennett Jackson: Giants coaches aren’t the first to think Bennett Jackson could make a quality safety by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft:

Apr 032015
 
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (November 4, 2012)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Victor Cruz Begins Running: New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz posted a photo on his Instagram account yesterday showing him running inside the team’s indoor practice facility at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

This is the first public evidence that Cruz is running again since tearing the patella tendon in his right knee on October 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles and subsequent surgery. Team officials such as General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin have said a number of times this offseason while they remain optimistic that Cruz will return to full strength, there are no guarantees.

“When a guy has a big injury like Victor had, you can’t put all your eggs in his basket,” said Reese on February 21. “Our doctors said he looks good. I see him down in the training room working out with our trainers and doctors and he looks good. Until you get out there – his game is quickness. Until you get out there and move around, you never know how he is going to recover from that. We are hoping and praying that he comes back 100 percent and be the Victor Cruz that we know, but you can’t put 100 percent in that basket.”

“I think (Cruz) will be back to the player that he was and hopefully better,” said Coughin on March 25. “Victor looks really good, he’s starting to run, I was in the field house watching him rehab, he’s coming along well… I don’t know (when he will be able to fully practice). I shouldn’t say this, because medically I really do not have a definite answer, but by training camp, hopefully. He will work his way through.”

Good morning world! Not the greatest quality but I think the screen shot speaks for itself. #TheReturn

A photo posted by Victor Cruz (@teamvic) on

“Big Four” Together at Duke: New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz also posted a photo on his Instagram account showing fellow wide receivers Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle as well as quarterback Eli Manning hanging out with him at Duke University. The extent of their athletic interaction is not known.

Apr 022015
 
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Spencer Paysinger, New York Giants (September 29, 2013)

Spencer Paysinger – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Miami Dolphins have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent linebacker Spencer Paysinger. The contract is reportedly a 1-year deal.

Paysinger had also visited the New York Jets recently.

Paysinger was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Giants, Paysinger played in 62 regular-season games with 14 starts.

Paysinger saw his playing time on defense dramatically decrease in 2014. He played in 15 games with one start, but only had 15 tackles. The year before, in 2013, Paysinger started 10 games and finished with 74 tackles and one sack. He was a solid special teams player during his tenure with the team.

The Giants most likely had little interest in re-signing Paysinger. In March, the team added unrestricted free agent linebackers J.T. Thomas from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Jonathan Casillas from the New England Patriots. The team had also issued Paysinger’s #54 jersey number to Casillas.

For an overview of the teams’ offseason free agent activity, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Mar 312015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants.com senior writer Michael Eisen interviewed Eli Manning for a story on the quarterback’s thoughts on the upcoming season. The 34-year old Manning will be entering his 12th season, and second under Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo’s West Coast Offense-based system.

Manning finished the season with 4,410 yards (second-highest total in his career and in franchise history), 30 touchdowns (one shy of his career-high in 2011), and 14 interceptions (13 fewer than he threw in 2013). Manning’s completion percentage (63.1) was a career-high. His passer rating of 92.1 was the second-highest of highest of his career (93.1 in 2009).

“I’m excited about this upcoming season,” said Manning. “Last year during the offseason, I was coming off an injury and going into a situation with new coaches. And the way the (Collective Bargaining Agreement) works now, you don’t get much, if any, communication with the coaches. There were a lot of uncertainties and I didn’t know how quickly I would heal. I had to learn a new system and new mechanics. There was a lot of anxiousness.

“This year I feel great about the system. My body feels good. I am excited about coming in and knowing what I need to improve on and make strides in, rather than learning a complete new system. I have been working hard and looking at some stuff from last year and keeping the plays fresh and in my head. I’m trying to keep it all fresh in my mind and I am excited about getting back.

“This year will be a much easier transition, knowing that we have been through so much of it already. It’s definitely a different starting point. I feel good about it. I feel that I have a good understanding of it, but there is still room to grow and that is why I try to keep it as fresh in my mind as possible. Looking at old game-plan sheets and calling plays in my head – throwing routes with receivers trying to call out plays to myself, so you don’t let it slip away. It was new last year and it wasn’t something I have been doing for 10 years, so you want to keep it fresh and go through your reminders and all your checks. So when we come back I haven’t taken a step backwards and have to re-learn things. It is still all there. There will be new stuff and we will be taking it to another level.

“I’m not pleased with the amounts of wins (last year). That is the important thing. There are still some situations that we need to get better at and that I need to improve on and, as an offense, we need to improve on. (We need to make sure) we are taking care of what needs to be done during the course of the game to put us in a situation to win, or if we got opportunities in the fourth quarter, to be at our best and win our games in those situations. There is definitely still some room for improvement, but I feel good that I can play at a high level in this system and can definitely make improvements and we can win a lot of games and play a lot better this year.”

Manning also addressed the following topics:

  • How he physically approaches the offseason: “Your arm needs rest and your body needs rest. I didn’t start throwing again until mid-February. Just to keep the arm in shape and making sure it has all the strength and everything that it needs when we get back in April. As I get older, I take less time off, especially from my workouts and my conditioning (because) it is harder to get back into shape. It takes a little longer to get your strength back up. Take two weeks off, but even then I still enjoy the workout part of it. It is still exercising and moving around just to keep loose.”
  • How he reviews his play from the previous season: “I look at everything. I look at games to see situations we need to improve on, whether it is a two-minute before a half or it is a red-zone or try to analyze certain games (to see) if there is a common trend we need to improve on from aspects of circumstances of the game. Then look a lot of cut-ups of the same play. If it is a play you ran 20 times in a season, you’re seeing trends, what coverages it worked well against. Why it had success or why it didn’t have success. So you can learn from those and get a great feel for it going into the season.”
  • Wide Receivers Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz: “The good thing about having guys that are smart and versatile is that you can move them around in different positions. Victor and Odell can do a lot of the same things. The more guys you can have that are great athletes, the more you want to try to get the ball in their hands. You can change up formations, you can move them inside or outside. Victor can play outside, he can play in the slot. Odell can do both of those things, so I think that is an advantage to us. You can run similar plays or the same play, but having different guys do it disguises things.”
  • Running Back Shane Vereen: “I have talked to Shane a little bit and I have seen him play over the years in New England. He is very versatile. He can catch the ball well out of the backfield, run routes very well (when he is) split outside and he runs the ball well when you use him as a running back. I think it gets you excited because you can use him in a lot of different ways and move him around and create mismatches.”
Mar 312015
 
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Kerry Wynn, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

Kerry Wynn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants.com Player Q&As: Video clips of interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on New York Giants Chairman/Executive Vice President Steve Tisch: Giants co-owner Steve Tisch optimistic, but on board with the win-or-else mandate by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Offseason: Giants free agent takeaways: What to surmise from the 13 signings by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on RB Shane Vereen: How Tom Coughlin and the Giants envision Shane Vereen fitting into the offenses by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Uncertainty surrounds wide receiver Victor Cruz and the Giants by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on WR Dwayne Harris: Overpaid? Why Dwayne Harris may be worth every penny for the Giants by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on the 2015 NFL Draft:

Mar 252015
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tom Coughlin Addresses Media at League Meeting: New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday. Some of key points made by Coughlin included:

  • On WR Victor Cruz’s recovery from knee surgery: “I think he will be back to the player that he was and hopefully better. Victor looks really good, he’s starting to run, I was in the field house watching him rehab, he’s coming along well… I don’t know (when he will be able to fully practice). I shouldn’t say this, because medically I really do not have a definite answer, but by training camp, hopefully. He will work his way through.”
  • On QB Eli Manning’s contract situation: “Eli knows he’s our guy. (As for) when these things get done, well, I think John (Mara) last week expressed it as well as it can be said. Yeah, it’d be great if it was done. If it isn’t done going in (to the season), it’ll be done during or shortly after or whenever… It’ll get done, I’m fully confident of that, and I think so is Eli. Why would he have any concern about that?”
  • On the safety position: “That’s an issue, no doubt. We do have one more access to bringing in personnel, obviously, the draft. And we have a couple of guys in the program including (Nat) Berhe, who we really liked as a rookie and a special-teamer. We have injured players (Cooper Taylor and Bennett Jackson) coming back that can help. But there’s concern, no doubt… (Moving Jackson to safety) is a possibility… a kid none of us know much about. He’s rehabbing. He’s doing pretty well.”
  • In addition to Bennett Jackson, Coughlin also said cornerback Chykie Brown might be moved to safety.
  • On S Nat Berhe: “(He can play free safety and) I think he can come down in the box, too. His special-teams play would lead you to believe that. We threw him into a lot of responsibility on special teams and I thought he handled it well. So he’s adaptable, he’s smart, he’s anxious and he’s eager for the opportunity, for sure.”
  • On RB Shane Vereen: “As a pass receiver coming out of the backfield, pass-protector, a guy who runs the ball in the three wide offense, the defensive run game if you will. A lot of the (Tom) Brady hook up with Vereen, the ball was almost automatically going to him. You know there would be certain first downs, if there was zone coverage, they would drop the ball off and he would scoot. So, we know that. Will we open it up to other parts of it? Well, we would like to make sure he can. He does very well at that spot. I really like the young man, he adds an experienced playmaker out of the backfield.”
  • On WR/Special Teams Player Dwayne Harris: “The idea that you have a guy of that ability — and you’ve seen the way he carries himself on the field, he’s physical — to have a guy who can kick return, punt return, cover kicks, gunner. In this day and age to have a guy at gunner who’s consistent and good, let’s face it, it’s been a while since we’ve had that. That is a very attractive deal… (David) Tyree would come in (on offense), he’d be a blocker, that’s what Harris does, but you see him on the field, you start thinking that way. And that part of it alone opens up possibilities, maybe you get back to that old fake ghost screen stuff again, maybe that becomes a better opportunity for it. Whether he’s the third receiver or fourth receiver or a special situation kind of a player, offensively he wants to contribute.”
  • On linebackers J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas: “We think Thomas can be a WILL ‘backer. Casillas is basically the same kind of guy. Both are excellent special teamers. They’ll make contributions in both ways.”
  • On what he expects out of LB Devon Kennard: “A lot. If Jon (Beason) comes back and Jon is healthy and can play, then you have Kennard maybe in a stronger position and rushing the passer more, the whole deal that way. That is going to make you better.”
  • On DE Damontre Moore: “He has to make a contribution. He has the pass rush ability and special team play.”
  • On the defensive tackle position: “(Kenrick) Ellis is a big human. The young man on our practice squad, (Dominique) Hamilton, is a big human, so I am looking forward to seeing what they can do, too… We realized that big dominating guy in the middle is a good starting point for the D-Line.”

A video of Coughlin’s remarks is also available at Giants.com.

A video of an NFL Network interview is also available at Giants.com.

Giants Receive No Compensatory Draft Picks: As expected, the New York Giants will not receive any compensatory choices in the 2015 NFL Draft. Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The Giants were pretty aggressive in signing free agents for other teams in 2014. For a complete list of free agents signed and lost by Giants in 2014, see the 2014 Free Agency Scorecard.

Giants.com Q&A with OT Justin Pugh: A video of a Giants.com interview with OT Justin Pugh is available at Giants.com.

Article on RB Shane Vereen: Shane Vereen gives Tom Coughlin and Giants more options in passing game by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Jennings: Giants offense can be “dominant” by Arthur Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on the New York Giants Wide Receivers: Do the Giants have enough wide receiver depth to protect against Victor Cruz being healthy? by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on LB J.T. Thomas: Why didn’t Jacksonville Jaguars re-sign J.T. Thomas and what does he bring to Giants defense? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Mar 232015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Right now, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning ($19,750,000 in base salary and bonuses) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul ($14,813,000 franchise tag) take up over 24 percent of the team’s $143,411,883 adjusted 2015 salary cap. That’s two players taking up almost a quarter of the franchise’s cap space. Most teams facing such a situation would look to re-structure or extend the contracts of players placing so much pressure on the cap.

However, with the free agent market drying up and the Giants still roughly $9 million dollars under the 2015 salary cap, the team appears to have the option or “luxury” to carry these two huge cap numbers, allowing both Manning and Pierre-Paul to play out the final year of their contracts. Why would the Giants do this?

Both Manning and Pierre-Paul have proven to be inconsistent players. After having a career season in 2011, Manning was on a downward spiral for two years before bouncing back with a strong 2014 season. The 2013 season was particularly alarming as Manning arguably had his worst season as pro. Pierre-Paul also had his best year in 2011 and was also trending downward until bouncing back in 2014. And although Pierre-Paul had his second-best season as a pro last year, he did not make a big impact in games until the Giants’ post-season hopes were already dead.

Before the Giants extend or re-sign Manning and Pierre-Paul, they may want to see how both perform in 2015. The odds are Manning should do well as he will be in the second season of Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo’s quarterback-friendly offense. Odell Beckham is arguably the best wideout in the game. Victor Cruz may not be the same player after his October 2014 knee injury but he should be back. And most of the surrounding offensive talent base should be better, including the offensive line, a running back corps that now includes pass-catching back Shane Vereen, and a more mature Larry Donnell and Rueben Randle.

But what if the 34-year old Manning has a bad year in 2015? Signing him now to a contact similar to Ben Roethlisberger’s new 5-year, $99 million deal could sabotage any rebuilding process.

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (November 17, 2013)

Jason Pierre-Paul Returns an INT for a TD – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The same set of circumstances applies to Pierre-Paul, who is looking to become one of the highest paid defensive players in football despite only accruing a combined total of 8.5 sacks in 2012 and 2013. If the Giants pay Pierre-Paul a huge, long-term contract and he remains an inconsistent player, the team would be severely limited in what it could do to improve the overall state of the defense.

In short, and to be brutally frank, if the Giants extend Manning and Pierre-Paul with mega-contracts, and both do not perform like impact players, then the team’s future would be bleak. The contracts would prove to be an albatross, making it difficult to not only retain and pursue other talent, but probably even preclude the option of releasing either player in a worst case scenario.

Of course, there is a risk here for the Giants. If Manning and Pierre-Paul play extremely well in 2015, the Giants may be faced with the daunting prospect of their franchise quarterback and one of the league’s best pass rushers hitting the open market next offseason at the same time. The Giants can only use the franchise tag on one player per offseason. If the Giants cannot re-sign Manning before free agency begins, they would have to franchise him (over $23 million). Pierre-Paul would then likely hit the open market. And once a player hits the open market, it is a 50-50 proposition on whether he returns.

Nevertheless, right now, it appears this is a gamble the New York Giants are prepared to take.

“There are no guns to anyone’s head, no ticking clock (with respect to Manning),” said team Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch on Monday. “I have not heard he has been putting any pressure on us. So I think let’s just wait and see.”

As for Pierre-Paul, Tisch said, “A lot depends on how he performs this season.”

The New York Post is also reporting that team President and CEO John Mara said on Monday that an extension for Manning is “preferable” but the Giants are willing to let him play out his contract.

Of course, this could be all negotiation posturing, a way for the team to encourage Manning and Pierre-Paul to reduce their respective contract demands. Without new contracts, there would be a lot of unpleasant pressure on Manning and Pierre-Paul to play well in 2015 for their own financial welfare. Some players do not respond well to such pressure, as we saw with Hakeem Nicks in 2013 and Antrel Rolle in 2014. Both Manning and Pierre-Paul cannot discount the fact that the team appears to at least have the financial option to force them to play well in 2015 in order to get paid well.

For two players taking up nearly 25 percent of the 53-man roster’s cap space, this is indeed high-stakes poker.