Giants Mailbag: Who might shine at rookie camp? Can Giants make playoffs? And more
The Giants’ schedule is out, the roster is turned over, and rookie minicamp starts Friday.
Fans are buzzing with hope for a winning team. That means plenty of questions in this week’s Giants Mailbag.
Remember, you can submit via Twitter (@PLeonardNYDN), Instagram (@patleonard_nfl) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Click Here: River Plate soccer tracksuit
“Which player are you most looking forward to seeing in minicamp?” — Question from @ajteak23 on Twitter
Third-round pick Aaron Robinson. I’m excited to see speedy first-round receiver Kadarius Toney, obviously, but Robinson intrigues me because I think the UCF corner has a chance to play a lot in his rookie season. The Giants did pay big money to Adoree Jackson to play opposite James Bradberry, but Jackson is coming off an injury, and even if he’s healthy, that signing doesn’t automatically turn this secondary into a lockdown unit on the outside. It would not shock me if Robinson started in the slot and maybe even pushed for playing time on the outside if Jackson isn’t playing at an elite level. That’s assuming the Alabama transfer is as physical and capable as advertised. We’ll see. But trust me: the Giants traded up for the 6-0, 190-pound Robinson for a reason.
“Pat, do you feel the Giants are in a good position to make the playoffs this year and [in the future]? Do you think Danny Dimes takes the next step this year?” — Question from @GMEN10 on Twitter
The Giants are a better team now than they were last season on paper. Their sudden all-in approach to 2021 is still giving me a bit of whiplash, though, and contracts like Kenny Golladay’s, Jackson’s, Kyle Rudolph’s and Leonard Williams’ all will look a lot worse if the Giants have a bad 2021 season. They will be cap-strapped in 2022 to some extent regardless, and that’s a terrible place to be especially when the team has undelivered. The bright side is they have a lot of assets in next year’s draft, and they do seem to have a more consistent long-term approach to their organization and roster-building, which provides hope they will stay the course in building towards a better long-term product. Are they a playoff product this season? I don’t think so. Can they be in the near future? It really depends on how Jason Garrett’s Daniel Jones-led offense fares this fall. They have to score like a modern offense.
“Do you think the Giants could target anyone in free agency still like Trai Turner?” — Question from GiantsVidal1027 on Twitter
The Giants got Logan Ryan cheap last August, and they’ll continue to be on the lookout for summer upgrades in the bargain bin. There should be some post-June 1 cuts or trades by teams looking to push a portion of players’ dead salary cap charges to 2022. That could create opportunities. Or a player like Turner could agree simply to take a lower market deal that aligns more with what the Giants can handle. The Giants have about $5 million in salary cap space at the moment, per both the NFL Players’ Association and overthecap.com. But that doesn’t account for a large part of almost $7 million in rookie draft pick salaries yet to be locked in. So the Giants can’t spend much. Do I think they still need to upgrade their O-line? Yes. Turner had a rough 2020, so it doesn’t have to be him. They’ll make a move if it makes sense. But they can’t afford any blockbusters. I know Patriots free agent Jermaine Eluemunor has played every position but center, most recently tackle.
“Is there a chance Gettleman goes for Rodgers. I think he got asked this and danced around an answer. Your thoughts?” — Question from @bobbypictures15 on Twitter
You’re right, he has danced around it. I asked Gettleman that question the first night of the draft. He said he wasn’t even calling the Packers, it wasn’t his business and he believes in Jones. But the following week he backtracked a bit. While still professing confidence in Jones, he told Moose & Maggie on WFAN that “you explore everything” and he wouldn’t rule anything out. What I think is that it’s silly not to make a phone call to possibly upgrade your team. However, I also understand that once the Giants inquired and word got out, it would completely undermine their public shows of confidence in Jones. If they make that call, they have to be ready to trade for Rodgers. With the draft capital they have now, the Giants certainly are in position to make an attractive offer. And if they wanted to keep going all-in in 2021, they would throw their chips down. But I think Gettleman, Judge and the Giants really do think they can win with Jones. They recognize the organization hasn’t given him a sufficient offensive line and skill position group to show his stuff yet. And they much prefer to build long-term sustainability and depth than to shoot the moon for short-term gratification. That said, they now are under pressure to win immediately. Wouldn’t pursuing Rodgers be in line with that priority? One would think. Long story short, though, I don’t think Gettleman pursues it.
“Record prediction?” — Question from kilo_brav0 on Instagram
I picked the Giants to go 8-9 in the new 17-game format (it’s strange to even type these records). That would be a disappointment, but I think it’s fair to project improvement in the win column while remaining in wait-and-see mode on this team becoming a contender. Frankly, Jones hasn’t proven he can win games consistently yet. The Giants got wiped off the face of the Earth by the Ravens in Week 16 last season. And Washington should be better than they were last season, which will threaten the Giants’ annual season sweep there. The Giants’ roster is much better on paper, but they need to show everyone they’re good before I can confidently predict they will be. I think they know that, too. Uncertainty about other teams’ quarterbacks could swing the Giants’ record either way, too. It wouldn’t shock me if the Giants beat Teddy Bridgewater’s Broncos and Tua Tagovailoa’s Dolphins, for example. But it would surprise me if the Giants beat those teams with Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson at the helm, respectively. The offseason isn’t over. For now, I see the Giants improving on last year’s 6-10 record but still wanting for more. If you forced me to go either way off my current record, I’d slide it to 7-10, not 9-8. That said, I hope they prove my prediction wrong. I want to cover a playoff game!