Tag Archives: Odell Beckham Jr.

Not Bending For Beckham

New York Giants star wide-receiver Odell Beckham Jr., said he would not step onto a football field without his contract issue being resolved.  The “issue” being that Beckham wants to be the highest paid wide-out in the NFL.  This is a problem for the NY Giants because they are not used to being threatened by a player and because they are generally not known as a team who will overpay for talent – no matter who it is.  But this problem might find a very satisfying remedy if the rumors coming out are true.  The rumor is that the NY Giants are indeed shopping Beckham around – and the price would include a first round pick for this year’s draft.

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

The New York Giants were 3-13 last season and find themselves with the number two overall pick in the draft.  The whole direction of the draft kinda-sorta depends on what the Giants want to do with that #2 overall pick.  Now, with the possibility of getting another first round pick – the Giants can try to revamp their roster the right way and look to a bright future that won’t be that distant.

The Giants have options here if they trade Beckham.  “Options” aren’t essentially granted to a team coming off of a three-win season.

The first team that comes up in trade talks with the Giants for Odell Beckham Jr. is – surprise, surprise – the Cleveland Browns.  The Browns have been very aggressive in the off-season and are making moves that actually “make sense” for a change.  The Browns have the money under the cap to pay Beckham what he wants, they already acquired Jarvis Landry (a close friend of Beckham’s), and they have more than enough “draft-pick-capital” to trade to the NY Giants.  The Browns have the 1st and 4th overall picks and also have three picks in the second round.

Source: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images North America

Depending on how the Giants wanted to play this, they could end up with the 2nd and 4th overall picks of this year’s draft, and in addition pick up maybe two more second round picks — if the Browns wanted to get really crazy they might throw in a first or second round pick in the 2019 draft – but that probably wouldn’t be necessary.

With those picks, the Giants could do literally whatever they wanted. They could draft a quarterback and maybe  Bradley Chubb, the pass rusher out of N.C. State.  They could take Quinton Nelson, the offensive lineman from Notre Dame and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley OR they could trade that number two overall pick to a team like Buffalo or Arizona who might trade their first round pick and some more goodies to the Giants so they can grab a quarterback.

The bottom line is, why WOULDN’T the Giants trade Beckham?  Although he is undeniably one of the most talented receivers in the league, he’s also a loud mouth, a self entitled diva -with a target on his back – and he is also coming off of an ankle injury that ended his 2017 campaign.  The Browns would and should do this deal because they can get their QB with the number one overall pick and have him set up with a pretty decent offense (better than what ANY of these top ranked quarterbacks had for themselves at college).

Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

The wide-receiver position is NOT the position you pay the big bucks to when you have other needs, and especially if you’re rebuilding.   The Giants have to think “big picture” here and right now they are the third (and maybe even) the fourth best team in their division.  Trading Beckham would help get things in the right direction for them, immediately.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

The Giants: In An Awkward Place

Last week, I spoke with Earnest Christian on his “EJ Talks Football” podcast and in our ramblings concerning NFL free agency, we discussed the current position of the New York Giants.  It was a difficult spot for me because I have a hatred for this franchise that goes longer than a quarter of a century. I will not get into why I loathe this franchise so much, but I will say, the reasons have scarred me since a young boy till now.

As a fan who roots against the Giants, last year was a great season.  The Giants looked pitiful, the fans were frustrated and the season was over from the start.  But if one is to really step back and analyze where the Giants are at right  now, it  is a really, really awkward place to be.

The Giants are a team that sit with the number two pick in the NFL draft.  The Giants also have a terrible offensive line (one of the NFL’s worse), an aging quarterback in Eli Manning (whose talents have been diminishing for years and may be at a “rock-bottom” point) and a contract negotiation with stud wide-receiver Odell Beckham.

Source: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

When it comes to the offensive line, there are already talks that free agent guard Andrew Norwell signing with the New York Giants is already a “done-deal.”  If this is so, this is the Giants moving in the right direction in the off-season, but it certainly cannot stop there.  Maybe the Giants look to free-agent tackle Nate Solder to help solidify a rebuild of the offensive line, or they look in the draft.  In this year’s draft, quite possibly the best player in it is Notre Dame guard Quentin Nelson.  The Giants taking Nelson number-two overall though would be doubtful, and if this was the course of action they’d want to take they would likely trade down a few spots. . .just a few.

When it comes to Eli Manning and the quarterback situation of the New York Giants, new general manager Dave Gettleman, has told the New York fans and media that Eli Manning will remain as the team’s quarterback.  This was unexpected by many considering how Eli Manning has played in the last few seasons, and also considering that this seemed like a good time to just break free, and draft a new quarterback for the future with the number-two overall pick.  Instead, the Giants have given the cringe-worthy statement of keeping the decrepit QB under-center.  If this is true this means the Giants have no interest in Josh Rosen, Josh Allen or Sam Darnold.  This doesn’t mean other teams don’t though.  The Giants can easily trade out of this spot for a mini-ransom of sorts, which is ideal for a team in their position.  Also, keeping Eli Manning in there for another year, really does no damage to the rebuilding model – if the model includes acquiring pieces to an offense that would be better for a new quarterback to control.

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

Finally, we come to the Odell Beckham drama.  With a heavy emphasis on the word “drama” because that’s all Odell is.  Well to be fair, he’s also a top five wide receiver in the league, and one of the two biggest play makers in football (next to Antonio Brown).  With that being said, Odell wants to be the highest paid receiver in the league.  Oh sorry, the highest paid player in the league.  Yeah, no thanks.  This comes at a terrible time for the Giants, but this is a business.  Odell is playing his hand correctly and you can’t blame him.  The truth is, Odell is a star.  A star in New York.  That equates to bigger things than just the football field.  But in the same breath, Odell is someone who came into the league with injury issues, and last year started the season missing week one with an ankle injury and then had his season cut off due to a left ankle fracture in week five.  Odell also has the reputation of being a petulant child and a general pest.  He has a huge target on him from defenders all over the league because he tends to show boat and talk trash — BUT he is the best player on this roster. . . by far.  The question here is, do you really pay a receiver that much (we’re talking in the ball park of ($17 million a year) while rebuilding?  Even if Odell signs a deal of a realistic $14-$15 million a year – where does the sense come in for all of this?  Teams that have the wide-outs with big contracts only make noise if the rest of the team is solid – like the Steelers or the Falcons — but even then – no championships.

This is a very awkward time indeed for the New York Giants.  If I said I feel bad for them, I’d be lying through my teeth.  The petty little demon inside of me is grinning ear to ear.

By the way, we only discussed their offense and how they should go about fixing that. . .this defense gave up the second most yards in the NFL last year as well. . .so uh. . .Good Luck out there with the rebuild G-Men.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

2016 NFC East Preview

  1. Washington Redskins – The “Washington Football Team” surprised some folks last  year, but if you look at their roster – it’s pretty legit.  Kirk Cousins is playing for a mega-contract this year, last year he showed the composure needed to run head-coach Jay Gruden’s offense.  Cousins isn’t great but the truth is, if you’re a quarterback that can master the system you’re in, that’s all that matters.  Cousins may not have much in the backfield this year, but the Redskins will probably work their offense in reverse.  What that means is, while most set up the pass with the running game, the Skins can open up the run game with the pass – get it?  The receiving core is a fantastic group.  Jordan Reed proved to be the the second best tight end in the league last year (behind New England’s Rob Gronkowski) when healthy and the receiving core goes four-deep with Desean Jackson, Jamison Crowder, Pierre Garcon and rookie Josh Doctson. This is a group that supplies a nice blend of size and speed that can and will wreck havoc on NFL secondaries.  Defensively, while everyone is high on the Josh Norman signing, the truth is, he isn’t even the best corner on his team.  Seriously.  Bashaud Breeland proved last year he can be a number one corner and now moving him to number two just means, the oppositions number two receiver becomes non-existent.   Second rounder Su’a Cravens out of USC is a defensive Swiss army-knife who can morph from safety to linebacker in a second and the Skins have already talked about exploiting his versatility.  Games against Dallas will determine this division – as they should.Prediction: 10-6

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  2. Dallas Cowboys –  This piece was originally written predicting Dallas to finish in first place.   Naturally, I jinxed things and Romo will miss a chunk to the start of the season.  It may be over for Romo as he just can’t take a hit anymore.  This makes way for rookie QB, Dak Prescott.   In front of him is arguably the best offensive line in football, although last year their pass-protection seemed a bit too relaxed, the unit still provided holes for the run game.   The additions of former Redskins running back Alfred Morris and first round rookie Ezekiel Elliot will make this a very aggressive and versatile back-field.  Dez Bryant is still one of the league’s premier playmakers at the wide receiver position and it’s because of his presence, things open up for the very average Terrence Williams on the other side of the field.  Cole Beasley is actually a better wide out but he can’t be moved out of the slot because of his miniature stature.  .  . The Cowboys didn’t do much to help themselves out on defense, but the fourth round pick out of Oklahoma, Charles Tapper is an interesting piece to keep an eye on.  He needs to get over his lower back issues in this pre-season though because the Cowboys need all the help they can get.  When you’re defense enters the season with three of it’s players serving a suspension, every little bit helps.   With Romo, the points come a bit easier – Prescott will have a leash on him but they should be able to control the line of scrimmage with their rush attack.

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Prediction: 9-7

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3. New York Giants – The Giants offensive line will hamper a lot of what this team can do.  There is not much of a rushing threat in the form of Rashard Jennings, and although Giants fans are excited about Odell Beckham Jr being joined in the receiving core by rookie Sterling Shepard – Eli may not have time to deliver the deep ball much.   General manager Jerry Reese is on the hot seat and the way he threw money around this off-season proves it.  Reese shelled out a five year eighty-five million dollar contract to ensure the services of defensive end Olivier Vernon.  Reese also tried to shore up the secondary by signing Janoris Jenkins to a five year, sixty-two million dollar contract.  The issue with Jenkins is that he is not as good as advertised and already has shown struggle in training camps.   The Giants always seem to have Lady-Luck on their side although last year she seemed to stray away a little.   The Giants need to do what they can to court that dame back into their lives if they want to compete for the NFC East.

Prediction: 8-8

4.  Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles wanted to rid themselves of anything having to do with the Chip Kelly era after ONE bad year and now they are primed to be a bottom feeder in the league.  The Eagles had a below average draft this year in which they selected quarterback Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State.  They hope that Wentz’ raw talents will carry him to become the franchise player this team needs at quarterback.  Hard to imagine a guy who’s toughest opponent in college was either Jacksonville State or Northern Iowa – to become some great quarterback in the NFL, but . . .whatever. . .  Jordan Matthews is the team’s best receiver option, but he isn’t the type of number-one option that secondary’s lose sleep over.   The tight end tandem of Zach Ertz and Brent Celek is pretty impressive but this isn’t exactly Rob Gronkowski and “he who shall not be named. . .”    Ryan Matthews was been a disappointment in San Diego, probably a disappointment to his parents and will continue this pattern here in Philly.

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Prediction: 3-13

 

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

NY Sports Today, Pt.2: The NFL

Can NGSCSports.Com be the first website that recognizes the Buffalo Bills as a New York sports franchise?  Why is it that the Bills, the only football team that actually plays football in the state of New York is forgotten, while the Giants and Jets play in New Jersey and that’s all one hears about?  New York is weird when it comes to football.  The Giants are the main attraction, the Jets are the freak show and the Bills are somewhere between forgotten and disrespected.  Here is a look at New York’s football squads right now.

The New  York Giants:

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Definitely a top five when in comes to spoiled and obnoxious fan bases.  They go toe to toe with their rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles fans and their feeling of self-entitlement is nauseating.   Currently the Giants are in a “flux” as they have parted ways with head coach Tom Coughlin who coached this franchise to two (ridiculously lucky) Super Bowl wins.  The Giants have a super star in Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver.  He is no doubt explosive and one of the best play-makers in the league, but he is also an overly emotional moron, who puts his “gimmick” ahead of the team more times than not.  With the emergence of Beckham, the Giants should and will probably cut ties with fan favorite Victor Cruz, who just can’t stay healthy anymore so it makes no sense to cut him a big check.  Eli Manning is entering his thirteenth season as quarterback of the New York Giants and his “mystique” in New York is greater than the actual performance.  He has a career touchdown to interception ratio of 3:2 but that stat seems to be ignored by the masses for whatever reason (that reason being his last name).  New Yorkers don’t want to acknowledge the truth which is the Giants are quietly rebuilding and a mediocre rate, which is a shame because as the NFC East has proven recently, it’s anybody’s division. . . minus the Giants.

The New York Jets:

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Just when you think the Jets got something cooking, they drop the frying pan.  On their foot.  If there is any team in the league with a small window and the “win now” mentality, it should be the New York Jets.  The Jets have a perfect blend of veterans, talent and youth to win games in this league.  Funny thing with the Jets is that they find themselves currently in a very “Jets-like, situation.”  Ryan Fitzpatrick quarterbacked the Jets last year over failed 2013 draft pick Geno Smith.  This was Fitzpatrick’s sixth team since 2005 and he excelled under rookie head coach Todd Bowles.  Fitzpatrick often was looked upon as a guy who can flash incredible consistency but then quickly turn into a “limited talent.”  With that being said, he broke the franchise record for most touchdowns in a season with 31.  So how is this situation “Jets-like,” you ask?  Because, Fitzy is turning 34 in November and because of the current quarterback market, his price range has gone from “bargain-basement” to somewhere in the $10 million a year ballpark.   The Jets are kind of hand-cuffed and need to figure out a way to make their cap space work but that’s because they are in “win-now” mode.  Did you catch that?  Ryan Fitzpatrick puts the Jets “back” in “win-now” mode.  Only the Jets, folks!

The Buffalo Bills:

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Speaking of the Jets, you had to love the narrative last season.  The Jets fire Rex Ryan as head coach, Ryan goes to Buffalo, Ryan beats the Jets twice by the same score of 22-17.  Ultimately destroying the Jets chances of a playoff birth.  But this is no longer about “Gang Green” this is about the only real New York NFL franchise, the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills were disappointed last year, but for a franchise that’s claim to fame is going to four straight Super Bowls and losing all four – it’s safe to say, being disappointed is the norm for upstate New York. The Bills are already making moves in the off-season and have released defensive end Mario Williams, which frees up about $13 million in cap space and they’ll be looking to spread that money around on the defense (expect Cromartie to get with Rex Ryan).  The Bills offense really isn’t too bad, and it’s safe to say Tyrod Taylor impressed some folks last year (albeit, expectations for him weren’t so great anyway).   The Bills are an average team, which their 8-8 record shows, but lost 5 of those eight by single digits, proving one less mistake here or an extra yard there, might have made a world of difference for this squad.  This is the NFL though, where nobody will cry for you if you lose, especially if your head coach is Rex Ryan, who most folks just don’t take serious anyway. . .

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

New York Giants 2015 Preview

The New York Giants finished 6-10 last season, but Giants fans will tell you it’s because of their slow start.  Quarterback Eli Manning seemed lost in a the new west-coast offense system implemented by offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and the offense’s timing seemed off on nearly every snap.  Also, the Giants were without their first round pick for the first four games of the season, O’Dell Beckham Jr (we’ll get to him in a few minutes).  This Giants team needs to be just as explosive on offense as their division rivals, the Eagles and the Cowboys – and also must find a way to stop those opposing offenses.

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Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul wanted a contract extension this season.  The Giants were cautious of doing so because J.P.P’s production has gone below expectations.  Good thing the Giants didn’t rush into things, because Pierre-Paul lost a finger while playing with fireworks on July 4th.  Pierre-Paul has been the butt of many jokes in the aftermath of that event, but in all seriousness nobody knows if he’ll be ready by week one, and even if he is, nobody knows how effective he will be.  The Giants still are willing to sign him to a franchise tag, but J.P.P – even in all of his nine fingered glory – isn’t thrilled about the franchise tag.   J.P.P’s former college teammate George Selvie, has been the lesser pro-player of the two, since they both came out of USF, while the Giants will depend on the likes of Kendrick Ellis to help out the middle of the defensive line.  The Giants used a third-round pick on UCLA defensive end, Owa Odighizuwa.  Odighizuwa has had some injuries including a hip surgery which has somewhat limited his side-to-side quickness.  He makes up for a lack of lateral movement with brute strength.  The Giants need somebody to be a pass rusher and it may fall on the rookie.

Veteran Jon Beason is the only linebacker worth talking about on the Giants, but has been struggling to stay healthy and there is no telling what kind of player he’ll be from snap-to-snap.  There is no speed at the line backer position from the Giants which will make it hard for them to cover the more athletic tight ends or add much to this pass-rush.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was brought back onto head coach Tom Coughlin’s staff trying to recreate the defenses that the Giants had in the late 2000’s.   He has his work cut out for him this year, with not much up front and at the moment, working with as little help from the safety position as possible.  The pre-season has not been kind to the Giant’s safeties as they keep dropping like flies, including second-round pick Landon Collins out of Alabama.   The Houston Texans have just released safety Stevie Brown, so it makes sense that Brown, the former Giant, finds himself back in New York in no-time.  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the often injured Prince Amukamara are a pretty solid corner combo that has nothing behind them in the depth chart.  Without a solid pass rush, these two will most likely find themselves in bad spots often.

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The Giants knew they needed to work on their offensive line this season and they did their best this off-season.  They signed former CFL star, Brett Jones, who played center (and at times played guard) for the Calgary Stampede.  Jones was the CFL’s best offensive lineman and his versatility on the line will help the Giants out.  It’s a step up in the level of competition for Jones, but it’s a step in the right direction for the Giants offensive line.   The Giants also used a first-round pick on Miami Hurricane  Ereck Flowers.  The tackle came into the draft with noted character issues, but unless he has a nervous breakdown before the start of the season – the Giants have no reason to keep him off the starting roster.

Running behind this offensive line is running back Rashad Jennings.  The former seventh-round pick has been a back up for most of his career and last year as a starter he seemed to flourish at times.  Jennings has an injury history which caught up with him last year and gave time to running back Andre Williams.  Williams was coming off of a monster year where he ran for over 2,000 yards at Boston College, but he could not get his legs going last season.   The Giants are hoping that it was just ‘runner’s fatigue’ and this season the sophomore back can show more promise.  The Giants are expecting former Patriots running back Shane Vereen to be the receiving back needed in this west-coast attack, but the success rate of running backs after leaving New England’s offense is very low.  .  .  Like most Patriot’s players, Vereen is more a product of that system than anything else.

Eli Manning still holds the reigns at the quarterback position and that won’t change anytime soon.  He cut his interceptions down last year (from twenty-seven in 2013, to fourteen in 2014) but still has an issue with fumbling (having seven last season).   He’s a perennial “over-thrower” but his confidence never leaves him.   He was having a miserable start to last season until Odell Beckham Jr. returned from injury, but for this offense to work, Eli is going to have to utilize everything around him.  The problem is, there really isn’t much.

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In the twelve games he played last season, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. recorded ninety-one receptions, twelve touchdowns, over 1,300 yards and at least one sports-show highlight a week.  Beckham’s small stature doesn’t help out much when he’s asked to block on the outside for running backs, but at least his intensity doesn’t let him quit at it.   Odell’s “over-the-top” enthusiasm keeps fans entertained, but has also made him a “marked man” of sorts throughout the league. . . The return of Victor Cruz is just about as exciting as the thought of “Pepsi Blue.”    Cruz seems to refuse to run routes over the middle and has a lost a step in the deep-attack.  His dancing days are behind him.  It would be nice if Rueben Randle would grow into his potential already.  Randle had his best season last year with 938 receiving yards and at this point, should be the number two receiver on the Giants roster.  If Cruz would be willing to accept his true role, which is a slot receiver, the Giants would have a formidable trio out there – but nobody has ever heard of a slot receiver who won’t run routes over the middle, so there goes that idea. . .

Projected Record: 7-9

Projected Pro Bowlers: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio