New York Giants: Buy or Sell?

The New York Giants find themselves in a rather cumbrous situation as the NFL trade deadline approaches.  They are 1-6 on the season and currently sit at the bottom of the lowly NFC East.  With the November 3rd deadline right around the corner, the team will have some decisions to make. Buy or sell? Who stays and who goes?

We will all know soon enough.

 

Buying vs Selling

The Giants currently find themselves in a unique position. An argument can be made for both buying and selling at this point. They possess one of the worst records in the entire league, but still find themselves within striking distance of the division lead.

Sure, it would be easy to buy into the hype of potentially coming out on top in a historically bad year. But sensibly speaking, even if the Giants were to sneak into the playoffs, one-and-done is the most realistic scenario.

The team should remain realistic with its goals.  Given the current state of the franchise, selling would be the best option moving forward.

The Giants becoming buyers at this point would be grossly irresponsible.  It would go down as yet another mismanaged opportunity to stockpile draft capital and accumulate resources.  Resources this team desperately needs- as they continue trying to regain prominence after a near decade long battle with enfeeblement.

Remember, this team is already down multiple picks heading into the 2021 draft. The Jets will be getting either their 4th or 5th rounder this year, depending on if/when the Giants sign Leonard Williams.  They also shipped their 7th round pick to Denver for Isaac Yiadom right before the season started.

While three division games still remain on the schedule, clashes with Tampa Bay, Seattle, Arizona, Cleveland, and Baltimore should be enough to bring even the most optimistic Giants fan back to reality.

Maintaining a big picture approach would prove to be beneficial for the franchise in the long run.

 

Should the Giants become sellers at this year’s deadline, here are 5 players who could likely be on the move:

 

          Golden Tate:

Tate has been underwhelming this season, to say the least. He is in his 11th season and has appeared in 6 games thus far in 2020- racking up 20 receptions for 195yds and 1 TD.  That comes out to just 32.5 yards per game, 9.5 yards per catch, 7.5 yards per target 2.3 yards after the catch, with 0 broken tackles.

This is a far cry from the Golden Tate who averaged 85 receptions and 987 yards and led the league in yards after the catch multiple times from 2013-18.

He appeared in 11 games in 2019, missing 4 due to his PED suspension. His 2019 stats pro-rated over a full 16-game schedule were on par with his numbers during the height of his career (71 catches 984 yards 9 TD).

Maybe a contending team will think that a change of scenery can rejuvenate him again. At the very least, he’s a Super Bowl Champion who can still provide a veteran presence with a reliable set of hands.

The challenging part will be finding a team with the positional need and cap space to take on the veteran receiver.

Tate’s contract coming off the books would save the Giants $3.3 million this season, $8.5 million in ’21, and $6 million in ’22.  The team would also eat $2.352 million in dead money each of the next two seasons.

It would be hard to see the Giants getting anything substantial in return for Tate. A late-round pick would be acceptable compensation at this stage.  Adding another draft pick while ridding themselves from his contract should be considered a great win for the franchise.

 

Likelihood of a trade:  5/10

 

2.        Dalvin Tomlinson:

The Giants have a tough decision to make here.  Tomlinson has been a mainstay of their defensive line for four years now.  Trading him at this point would do nothing for the team in terms of financial flexibility because he is in the final year of his rookie deal.  The only way this trade would make sense is if they knew they weren’t going to re-sign him. Getting something in return before letting him walk in free agency would be a smart decision.

Should the Giants pull the trigger on a Tomlinson trade, he would surely command the biggest return of any of the names on this list.

The Giants’ second-round pick from the 2017 draft has improved in each of his four seasons in the league.

In 2019, he was double-teamed on 68% of his snaps, 5th highest in the NFL.  While constantly facing double-teams, he managed the 10th highest run stop win rate percentage in the league. He also had a higher pass-rush win rate percentage than Pro Bowlers Fletcher Cox and Jurrell Casey.

It’s safe to say Tomlinson is a vastly underrated player.

The Giants will most likely re-sign him, as Tomlinson recently made a statement in the media saying he doesn’t want to play anywhere else.

 

Likelihood of a trade: 1/10

 

3.        Kevin Zeitler:

Zeitler is a former 2012 first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals and has graded 73.0 or above in every season of his career.  He ranked in the Top 15 of offensive guards in 7 of his 8 seasons, including 7th in 2019. In 2018, Zeitler also earned PFF’s highest pass-blocking grade ever for guards- recording a 91.7.

Many people believe Zeitler is having a down year in 2020.  Through 430 snaps, he has only committed 1 penalty and has yet to allow a sack.  Not bad for a down year.

Zeitler is the definition of steady.

As consistent as he’s been over his career, it’s hard to imagine the team picking up his $14 million option for next year.  Meaning, he will most likely wind up a free agent after the season.  If this is the case, trading him is a likely scenario.

The Giants would save $5 million this year while also taking a $5 million dead cap hit.  The big savings would come in 2021 when they can save $12million against the cap by only incurring a $2.5 million cap hit.

The team has highly touted rookie Shane Lemieux waiting in the wings.  Lemieux made a lot of noise during the Giants preseason scrimmages and has played well thus far in the limited snaps he has received.

Along with the cap space saved by dealing Zeitler, he will also likely command a mid-round pick.

This is a scenario that makes a lot of sense for the team.

 

Likelihood of a trade: 7/10

 

4.       Evan Engram:

This is the name everybody is talking about. Trading Engram has been a topic of discussion for well over a year now.  After dropping multiple passes last week vs Philadelphia, including a would-be game-sealing catch- most Giants fans have had their fill of Evan Engram.

New York picked up Engrams 5th year option this past spring, ensuring him a more than affordable $6 million for the 2021 season.  Should they decide to move on from him before the November 3rd deadline, the Giants will only incur a $1.483 million dead cap hit. There will be no dead cap hit for the 2021 season, and they will shave $6 million off their books.

At this point, a trade might be best for both parties.

Even though he is having a down year statistically, right now is still the best time to move on from him. Should a team acquire him now, they would attain his services for multiple postseason runs.

That is a negotiating chip the Giants should not let fall by the wayside.

 A team would acquire him for roughly $1 million for the remainder of this season and $6 million in 2021.  Pennies on the dollar in comparison to what he will most likely command on the open market after next season.

The Giants recently came out and acknowledged that teams have called about him.  Thus far, they’ve said they’re not interested in moving the speedy tight end.

We all know not to be fooled by that talk again.

Someone could be acquiring the most explosive tight end in the league on theoretically a 2-year $7 million deal. That would surely net the Giants another top 100 draft pick.

These are opportunities that should not be wasted.

Who knows, maybe they’re just waiting until the deadline to try and drive the price up as much as possible.  Or maybe they’ll sit on their hands again and lose another precious opportunity to stock up on draft capital that could severely help their rebuild.

 

Likelihood of a trade: 7/10

 

5.        Logan Ryan:

Ryan has been a tremendous asset to the defense this year.  While not necessarily playing at an All-Pro level, he has been a great addition.  It’s hard to picture what this secondary would have been without him.

While there hasn’t necessarily been much talk of moving Ryan, there are factors in play that do make sense.

It’s probably about a 50/50 chance at best that he’s back in blue next year. Getting something for a player instead of letting them walk is always the smart play. He would surely require decent draft pick compensation to acquire his services.

The Giants would also save $1.5 million in cap space that they could transfer over to next year’s cap.

 Let’s not forget about the highly anticipated return of Xavier McKinney either.

The Giants shouldn’t rush McKinney back under ANY circumstances.  But when is he back to 100%, he needs to play.

 

Likelihood of a trade: 2/10

 

Bonus Names:

There are three other names that have been connected to potential trades; Leonard Williams, BJ Hill, and Kyler Fackrell.

    Unless blown away by the offer, Fackrell is the only one who would make any sense to move.

 

Leonard Williams is not going anywhere. If the Giants do decide they’re not going to bring him back, they will simply let him leave via free agency.  Doing so will ensure they receive a 3rd round compensatory pick in return.

Likelihood of a trade: 2/1o

 

BJ Hill is here for the remainder of his rookie deal and possibly beyond.  The team thinks very highly of his skill set as he has carved out a nice niche for himself.  He is also under team control at a cheap price through the end of next season.

Likelihood of a trade: 2/10

 

Kyler Fackrell has a little potential to be moved.  The Giants are very high on the progression of Cam Brown.  The signing of Jabaal Sheard and the return of Oshane Ximines could make Fackrell expendable for the right price. They also have Carter Coughlin and have signed pass-rusher Trent Harris from the practice squad.

The Giants are said to be high on re-signing Fackrell in the offseason, but for the right price, he could be on the move.

Likelihood of a trade: 4/10

 

Time To Sell

The Giants wasted no time and came out the gates looking like sellers.  They traded veteran pass-rusher Markus Golden to Arizona in exchange for a 2021 6th round pick last weekend.  Since then, there has been a lot of smoke, but no fire.

We may not know whether the Giants will be buyers, sellers, or stand pat until the November 3rd trade deadline.

For a team who is self-admittedly in the middle of a rebuild, it would be wise to sell.

There are a handful of players on this roster that could be turned into draft capital.  Any of those players they deem not part of their future should be moved for something before they leave for nothing.

Stockpiling draft assets and cap space are two of the biggest fundamental ways to aid a rebuild.  The Giants are in a prime position to acquire a multitude of draft picks while also having one of the best cap situations in the league. It would be detrimental to the franchise to squander an opportunity such as this one.

 

Likelihood of the Giants selling: 6/10

 

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