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Markus Golden, New York Giants (September 8, 2019)

Markus Golden – © USA TODAY Sports

MARKUS GOLDEN REPORTS TO NEW YORK GIANTS CAMP…
Although he has not yet been officially signed, free agent linebacker Markus Golden has reported to New York Giants training camp in East Rutherford, New Jersey. According to media reports, Golden is currently being tested for COVID-19 by the team. (He has to pass three tests over a 4-day period).

Back in late April, the New York Giants placed a seldom-used “May 5” tender on Golden, who had been an unrestricted free agent. Unless Golden signed with another team by July 22, the tender would enable the Giants to maintain exclusive signing rights until the 10th week of the 2020 NFL season. That deadline passed without Golden signing. Golden is expected to sign his 1-year, $4.125 million tender (which is 100 percent of his 2019 salary).

The Giants signed Golden as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2019. Golden had a strong debut season with the Giants in 2019, starting all 16 games, playing 83 percent of all defensive snaps, accruing a career-high 72 tackles, and team-high 10 sacks.

The 6’3”, 260-pound Golden was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. Golden’s break-out season was in 2016 at linebacker when he accrued 51 tackles and 12.5 sacks. He missed 12 games in 2017 with an ACL injury. While he returned in 2018, he missed five games and saw his production slip to 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN NICK GATES TO CONTRACT EXTENSION…
The New York Giants have signed offensive lineman Nick Gates to a contract extension. The deal is reportedly 2-contract, $6.825 million contract that could increase to $10.325 million and includes a $1.5 million signing bonus. The Giants originally signed Gates as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He missed all of 2018 with a foot injury that caused him to be placed on Injured Reserve before the season started. In 2019, Gates was active for all 16 games with three starts (two starts at right tackle and one start at right guard). Despite his inexperience, Gates played decently in those three games. He’s a versatile player with good size (6’6”, 318 pounds) and some athleticism. Gates may also be in the mix at center.

GIANTS CLAIM TONY BROWN OFF OF WAIVERS FROM CLEVELAND…
The New York Giants have claimed wide receiver Tony Brown off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns. The 22-year old, 6’1”, 192-pound Brown was signed as an unrestricted rookie free agent by the Browns after the 2020 NFL Draft.

CHANDLER CATANZARO OFFICIALLY SIGNED…
The Giants officially announced the previously-reported signing of place kicker Chandler Catanzaro on Saturday. Catanzaro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2014-2016), New York Jets (2017, 2019), and Carolina Panthers (2018). Catanzaro retired from football in August 2019 after struggling in the preseason against the Giants. In five NFL seasons (2014-2018), Catanzaro was 119-of-142 (83.8 percent) on field goal attempts and 182-of-196 (92.9 percent) extra point attempts. Sixty percent of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

Jul 272020
 
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Andrew Thomas, Georgia Bulldogs (November 23, 2019)

Andrew Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN CHANDLER CATANZARO…
Although not officially announced yet, the Giants have signed place kicker Chandler Catanzaro to replace place kicker Aldrick Rosas.

The 29-year old Catanzaro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2014-2016), New York Jets (2017, 2019), and Carolina Panthers (2018). Catanzaro retired from football in August 2019 after struggling in the preseason against the Giants. In five NFL seasons (2014-2018), Catanzaro was 119-of-142 (83.8 percent) on field goal attempts and 182-of-196  (92.9 percent) extra point attempts. Sixty percent of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

Earlier this month, Rosas was charged with three misdemeanors related to a hit-and-run traffic incident that occurred in California in mid-June. He was cited for reckless driving, hit-and-run property damage, and driving on a suspended license due to a previous DUI. Police also alleged that alcohol was a factor in the accident although no sobriety test was administered since Rosas had fled the scene.

The Giants re-signed Rosas as a restricted free agent to a 1-year, $3.259 million contract in April. None of that money was guaranteed so that full amount will now be credited against the team’s cap.

DEANDRE BAKER PLACED ON COMMISSIONER’S EXEMPT LIST…
The NFL has placed New York Giants cornerback Deandre Baker on the Commissioner’s Exempt List due to his ongoing legal issues in Florida. As long as he is on the list, Baker will continue to be paid but he cannot practice or attend games. If permitted by the team, Baker can participate in team workouts and meetings. However, SNY, ESPN, and The Bergen Record are reporting that the Giants have not given Baker permission to rejoin the team.

The New York Post is reporting that Baker will appeal the League’s decision.

Baker was charged in May with four counts of armed robbery and four counts of armed aggravated assault with a firearm from an incident that allegedly took place at a house party in Miramar, Florida. The incident was allegedly sparked by a game of dice that involved high-stakes gambling and allegedly resulted in Baker robbing party guests at gunpoint. Baker was released on bond after he turned himself into police authorities. Since the incident, the Giants told Baker to stay away from team offseason virtual meetings. Baker’s attorneys claim Baker was the victim of a shakedown.

The Giants drafted Baker in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Baker had an up-and-down rookie season for the Giants. He started 15 of the 16 games he played in, receiving 87 percent of defensive snaps, and finishing the year with 61 tackles and 8 pass defenses. He did not intercept a pass.

MOST OF GIANTS 2020 NFL DRAFT CLASS AGREES TO TERMS…
According to media reports, the New York Giants have agreed to terms with offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, the team’s 1st-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The contract is a fully-guaranteed 4-year, $32.345 million deal that includes a $21.1 million signing bonus.

Most, if not all, of the rest of the team’s 2020 NFL draft class is now believed to have agreed to terms or actually signed, including offensive tackle Matt Peart (3rd round), cornerback Darnay Holmes (4th round), offensive guard Shane Lemieux (5th round), linebacker Cam Brown (6th round), linebacker Carter Coughlin (7th round), linebacker T.J. Brunson (7th round), defensive back Chris Williamson (7th round), and linebacker Tae Crowder (7th round). There has not yet been any word on safety Xavier McKinney (2nd round).

GIANTS ROOKIES PASS INITIAL COVID TESTS, VETS ARRIVING…
It appears that all of the New York Giants’ quarterbacks, rookies, and rehabbing players who reported to summer training camp in East Rutherford, New Jersey on July 23 have passed their two initial COVID-19 tests, held on July 23 and July 26. The rest of the team is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, July 27.

Actual practices are not expected to be held until mid-August due to COVID-19 restrictions. All preseason games have been canceled. The Giants’ regular-season Monday night home opener is currently scheduled for September 14th. For the bulk of the players who report on July 28th, the current schedule looks like this:

  • July 28: Report and receive first test; participate in virtual meetings.
  • July 29-30: Return to home/hotel and only participate in virtual meetings.
  • July 31: Report and receive second test; participate in virtual meetings.
  • August 1-2: Players who test negative receive physicals and equipment fitting.
  • August 3-16: Strength and conditioning and on-field walk-throughs.
  • August 17: Helmet and shells practices begin, slowing being ramped up to full-padded work (14 padded practices maximum).

Teams have two options with respect to roster sizes:

(1)  Cut to 80 players by July 28.

or

(2) Stay at 90 players until August 16, but split the team into veteran and rookies/first-year players/rehabbing players/select quarterbacks contingents.

According to media reports, the Giants will conduct most training camp functions at MetLife Stadium in order to be better comply with COVID-19 restrictions. The home and away locker rooms at the stadium will allow for greater social distancing. The Giants will also have access to suites inside the stadium in order to hold team meetings. However, the Giants will still practice at nearby Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Practices will not be open to the public.