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A little confused by the approach to free agency on defense

Vin_Cuccs : 3/13/2017 9:42 pm
Preface--this is a bit long, and just so everyone is aware, I am a Reese supporter.

So I think that we are lucky in that we have a great group of beat writers for this team. James Kratch, Dan Duggan, Art Stapleton and Jordan Raanan are all great at what they do. At the very least, we are no longer subject to the pessimistic Ralph Vacchiano and the talentless hack Dan Graziano.

For my money, Jorden Raanan is by far the best writer we have had covering this team since Mike Garafolo. I think Raanan is very knowledgeable and I think he has some strong connections to the team.

Anyways, prior to free agency, Raanan made it known that the main goal/objective of free agency was to keep the defense intact by signing Pierre-Paul, Jonathan Hankins and Keenan Robinson. Not only was that the primary goal, but it was also financially feasible. We assumed that there would be some additions on offense, but keeping the defense together was the focus.

Well, here we are almost a week into the start in free agency, and the defensive free agents are very much in flux. Don't get me wrong, I like the direction of the offensive additions (Marshall, Ellison, Fluker and re-signing of Jerry) but the status of the three key defensive free agents remains the same: unsigned. And although I know salary cap space can be made, the original space has been eaten up by those offensive additions. To be frank, I'm stunned that Hankins (and to a lesser extent Robinson) haven't been signed yet.

I know many were upset with the additions, or lack thereof, to the offensive line, but I think given the state of the contracts being doled out to offensive tackles, Reese did a pretty good job. I am also hoping that it clicks this year for Flowers and I am not ready to give up on him yet. And I do think that Jerry, although not an all-pro, is serviceable. Hopefully two of either Flowers, Fluker and Jerry will figure it out and gel cohesively into an effective unit.

So my question is, what are the answers at the positions on defense? I think we would all like to think that Pierre-Paul will be re-signed long term and that will open up cap space for Hankins and Robinson, but is that really feasible at this point? Is Pierre-Paul even willing to play on the 1-year franchise tender?

Maybe they think that JT Thomas is an equal player to Robinson. Some argue that Thomas can't stay healthy, but last season was the first time Robinson was able to stay healthy. Is Thomas worth the contract he has? Probably not, but perhaps a restructure is in the future. Some argue that Robinson is good in coverage, but Thomas is equally athletic and versatile; able to play all three spots. And Robinson only started about half the games and came off the field often so maybe the team feels that a part-time player is replaceable.

I think the hope/plan is that Pierre-Paul will eventually re-sign and if he doesn't he is still under team control this season. So I think that DE is more of a draftable need as opposed to an immediate need. With that said, it is really about time that Owa Odighizuwa lives up to his potential and hopefully Romeo Okwara continues to progress. I think Kerry Wynn and Stansly Maponga are not viable long-term options.

My major concern is Hankins. Prior to free agency, I thought it was near impossible to keep Hankins and Pierre-Paul, but Raanan said not only is it doable, but it was the plan. If Hankins walks, which seems like a real possibility at this point, then what? Bennie Logan just signed today. Dontari Poe seems to be out of the price range and unrealistic. Terrell McClain and Brandon Williams had ties to the team at the start of free agency, but they have since signed. At this point, we are looking at guys like Tyson Alualu, Roy Miller, Paul Soliai, Jonathan Babineux, Frostee, Rucker, Kedric Golston, Al Woods, and my preference, Sen'Derrick Marks. But at this point, they don't have the cap space to sign any of these guys. If Hankins leaves, that leaves only Harrison, the underachieving Jay Bromley and the unproven Robert Thomas. I don't know if a rookie DT is the way to go for a win-now team.

As I am writing this, I am noticing the need for a rock-solid draft to find and develop younger, cost effective defensive players.

So----if Jordan Raanan is lingering around the board, keep up the great work, but what is the "new" plan on the defensive side of the ball? If Jordan is not around, I pose the question to the board: what is the plan at DE, DT, and weakside/coverage LB? If Hankins walks, Robinson walks and Pierre-Paul is not extended?
I'm not going to shed a lot of tears if we lose Keenan Robinson.  
Mike from SI : 3/13/2017 9:48 pm : link
If that needed to be done to get Marshall, so be it. Does Hankins' wait indicate he wants JPP to be done to see how much Giants can offer him? I sure hope so.
If those guys mentioned walk and we can't lock up JPP long term...  
Giants_West : 3/13/2017 9:57 pm : link
This off-season is a failure on a magnitude close to last off-season's success.
JPP plays on the tag.... Motivated to build on last year rebound year.  
George from PA : 3/13/2017 10:25 pm : link
If we do not reach a long-term deal.

Hankins can only be re-signed if we get JPP a long-term deal.

Robinson was a "like to have" more then "have to have".

But the Giants plan to improve the defense...Not stand still.

Getting back last year's rookie FS should improve the backfield......

But you hit it on the head.....How important is the draft.

A 3rd DE, a 4th corner, a Hankins replacement and possibly a 3 down Lber.....To go with a TE and OL.

Reese pulling out another great draft.....Is soo important
Well, I think they will draft a DT  
allstarjim : 3/13/2017 10:56 pm : link
not necessarily early. Bromley will play a bigger role, and I think you will see what we have after the draft. If JPP is extending or otherwise the Giants can create some additional cap room, then we'll see what we have with what's still out there. Roy Miller has actually been a pretty good player in the past. Not sure how he did last year. I think they can get by with a draft pick in the middle rounds. Even a day 3 pick may be able to contribute early.

And of course, don't forget that the Giants have versatile DL... JPP and Okwara can likely slide inside, Kennard often drops down on the line to rush the passer, and all-in-all I don't think the situation is as dire as one might think. I think Robert Thomas can give quality reps in the run-stopping package. I think it's a wait and see approach with the draft and the rest of free agency, and I don't believe there is any reason to panic.

At Linebacker, while K-Rob had a great year, I think the Giants were looking for Goodson to be the starter of the future, and I don't think he will disappoint. I thought he was a great value pick in the 4th last year, I was VERY high on him, and to me he has all the traits to be a successful player in the NFL for a long time. I think the Giants would bring K-Rob back if the numbers and market for him was right, but I don't see that happening. Guys have to step up, and this is a good time to be a Giants fan... Jerry Reese I believe had a terrific draft last year and I think we'll see it really pay dividends this season.
I think we would like to bring back everyone from last year's defense.  
732NYG : 3/13/2017 11:45 pm : link
Anytime you lose a player that is a contributor, it's never a good thing. Still, it's not realistic to be able to keep 100% of the team together, especially if you are trying to make improvements in other areas. I do there are some factors I could see leading to an even more improved defense this season, though. Our defense was constantly put in tough spots due to the ineffectiveness of our offense, and the additions we've made on that side of the ball should ease the weight put on the D. I think our secondary will be improved with Darian Thompson coming back and Eli Apple hopefully progressing through his 2nd season. If we can add through the draft with some minor FA signings, we'll be fine.
To the OP  
Torrag : 3/14/2017 1:26 am : link
You wrote a lot but didn't say much besides fellating a bunch of mediocre writers(I do like Stapleton).
I'd be more confused by the approach if these guys  
jcn56 : 3/14/2017 1:37 am : link
had been signed away already. We're only a few days in, and some positions have not had a good baseline for salaries established yet, which is probably making it harder to gauge what a FA is worth.

Now - if you see both of them disappear for what seems like reasonable money, you can commence being confused. At this point, the only real question is what's holding up some of these guys (and not just our FAs).
It's very strange that we have heard nothing from or about  
SB 42 and 46 and ? : 3/14/2017 2:58 am : link
Hankins. A rumor that three named teams were interested in him. Or that he was going to visit a team. No confirmation that he has visited a team. No word about how much money he is looking for.

Jordan wrote about this in an article published around noon.

Johnathan Hankins is a 24-year-old defensive tackle. A solid run-stuffer for the New York Giants with some pass-rushing skills, his future as a free agent appeared bright.

After four days, Hankins is curiously one of five players in the top 25 of ESPNís top 150 free agents who remains unsigned. Three are defensive tackles.

Given the situation, itís fair to say at this point that the defensive tackle market did not materialize as some expected. A handful of sources thought Hankins would be paid handsomely as a free agent. To date, that hasn't happened, and prices don't normally rise as the market thins and teams find alternative solutions and drop out of the running.

Maybe he wants to leave the Giants to be a big fish in a small pond instead of just the Giants' fourth and most unknown defensive lineman. Maybe he hasn't gotten any offers near what he wanted from the Giants, but doesn't want to crawl back to them.

The Giants could easily free up cap space for him.

JPP made it clear at the start of free agency that he had earned the right to be well paid and would be a tough sign. But, although he might have hurt the Giants a little by not signing before the beginning of free agency, the Giants really have the power to stick it in him by making him play out another one year deal.

He could be hurt or could not put up the big numbers expected, and that would be the end of his getting a big multi-year deal from anyone.

Don't fret, Vin  
Milton : 3/14/2017 3:17 am : link
The Giants haven't re-signed Hankins and Robinson because they are replaceable role players. In the interest of continuity, it pays to put a price tag on their worth and make them an offer. But Spags isn't going to lose any sleep if they depart for better money. Robinson has a history of injuries and Hankins is not the ideal complement to Harrison in the interior DL.
p.s.-- I was kind of hoping that Hankins would sign some huge deal so that the Giants could get back a good comp pick in return for the loss, but that's not looking bloody likely at this point.
'Hankins is not the ideal complement to Harrison'...  
Torrag : 3/14/2017 7:00 am : link
I agree with this completely.
In all honesty, I did  
section125 : 3/14/2017 7:19 am : link
not see much drop off when Bromley or Thomas were in the game. 98 stood out, but meh, whatever DT was alongside of Snacks did their job. If they get him back, great; if they don't, then draft a DT or sign a vet minimum replacement.

I thought Robinson played better than most of BBI admits. He just might be a CAP casualty with Big Hank. I'd rather him to JT Thomas, but not losing sleep over it.
simple: the value is not there this year. to chase would be stupid.  
Victor in CT : 3/14/2017 8:49 am : link
Given the market for DTs, they have a real shot to keep Hankins at favorable $$.

I'm not going to have any sleepless nights if Keenan Robinson leaves. He's a ham and egger. Goodson can play 2 downs, with improvement he may become a 3 down MLB. If not, let the great Spags game plan around it with Safeties or CBs. They have Thompson and Thomson coming back, and they may get another S or CB in the draft. Or even, dare I say, an LB in round 1.
If we lose Robinson,  
Simms11 : 3/14/2017 9:22 am : link
a guy like Hassan Reddick could certainly fill that void very nicely and in fact would become the best LBer on the team from the start and he could be there at 23.
JonC : 3/14/2017 9:53 am : link
Let's not overrate KR and even Hank too much, even got to be careful regarding an extension for JPP. NYG waiting them out and letting them see their open market value set itself, which hopefully reinforces their offer and value stance.
I know the main  
the coffee man : 3/14/2017 10:56 am : link
point you were making was regarding the defense. But I strongly disagree with your thoughts about the o-line. It is as suited, arguably the worst line in football. It has one above average player, Pugh, and a solid center coming off of a below average year. The other three guys are have shown absolutely nothing so far to encourage confidence. Flowers might improve, I hope he does. But improvement might mean becoming the 20th best lt in football instead of arguably the worst.

The Giants cannot win a superbowl with him at LT barring an absurd leap for which there is no evidence. As I have stated, the Giants need to find a LT in fa, the draft, or move Pugh. IMO.
Eric doesn't have a great scouting report on KB.  
SB 42 and 46 and ? : 3/14/2017 11:17 am : link
Injury prone and doesn't make many impact plays. One career sack.

But he has a good motor and runs around and hits people and is decent at pass coverage.

I would want to have someone better before I let him go.

Eric is higher on Hankins. I can totally see the logic of not having a run-stuffer as your 2nd DT when your first DT is a 1st team All Pro run-stuffer and your two ends play the run very well. I wonder where the seven sacks came from in his 2nd year.

Still, Reese said like he meant it that he wanted both JPP and Hank back. Why tamper with something that was working so well?

Nothing new on Hankins this morning. SI says he should look for a nose tackle position as he plays better close to the ball. As time goes on, chances of signing him back improve.

Hope he doesn't take some incentive laden contract no better than what the Giants were offering.
annexOPR : 3/14/2017 11:35 am : link
the Giants with Vernon/Snacks already have a better DL then most teams. Hankins is a luxury, and 1 not worth overpaying for. I would love to keep the group together, but at some point you need to spread out your resources. I still think the Giants can extend JPP, free up a nice amount of room - and possibly bring back Hankins, but I will not be losing sleep over it.

* none of this is a knock on Hankins, it's a testament to just how dominant Snacks is. I almost couldn't care less who is lined up next to him - he really is that good.

And losing Hankins would be nothing like Griffin/Cofield/Joseph ... Giants did not have the best run defender in the NFL already at DT when they left. Snacks, JPP, Vernon, and a tackling dummy would still be a great DL.
RE: ...  
the coffee man : 3/14/2017 11:46 am : link
In comment 13392642 annexOPR said:
the Giants with Vernon/Snacks already have a better DL then most teams. Hankins is a luxury, and 1 not worth overpaying for. I would love to keep the group together, but at some point you need to spread out your resources. I still think the Giants can extend JPP, free up a nice amount of room - and possibly bring back Hankins, but I will not be losing sleep over it.

* none of this is a knock on Hankins, it's a testament to just how dominant Snacks is. I almost couldn't care less who is lined up next to him - he really is that good.

And losing Hankins would be nothing like Griffin/Cofield/Joseph ... Giants did not have the best run defender in the NFL already at DT when they left. Snacks, JPP, Vernon, and a tackling dummy would still be a great DL.
Solid points
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