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The impetus for this post is that the NY Giants General Manager, Jerry Reese, spoke to the media this weekend at the NFL Combine. There were a couple of meaningful sound bites:
1) Reese commented on the injury status of Snee and Baas
2) Reese remarked about how the slow/no growth in the salary cap in recent years made it harder to manage personnel.
Let's talk about Snee first. Snee was an excellent draft pick by Ernie Accorsi in Round 2 of the 2004 draft, one round after Eli was taken. One of the things this website has preached is that getting interior OLmen VERY late in Round1 or in Round 2 is a great and safe way to build through the draft. Why? Because the rest of the league is (to a certain degree) correctly looking to find other positions of need. But the thing that is overlooked is that if there is OL talent that is available in this part of the draft, you will have made a correct TEN YEAR move for the franchise. There are many examples of these linemen who become fixtures for their team, starters who PROTECT THEIR QB for years to come. Snee is a big reason why the Giants have 2 titles. He was arguably the best lineman on the team throughout the run of competitiveness that the team experienced from 2007-2011. (Another thing that Pete Furman taught us is that when a draft is thin, if you pick late in Round 1, look for the Interior Line because at least there will be talent there, as the rest of the league is fighting for weaker talent and overdrafting at that level.)
Now, in 2014, Snee is physically not the same. He had a hip problem which derailed 2012 and another hip problem which derailed 2013. How many of you think it was a coincidence that the competitiveness of the OL dropped significantly when Snee's body gave way??! How many of you think it was a coincidence that Snee started having more meaningful injuries as his tenure in the NFL advanced??! 2013 was Snee's 10th season in the NFL. We are only too happy to laud the All Pro Guard for his incredibly significant contributions to the NY Giants all of these years. But with that said, unless a Doctor tells me this guy is going to get back to 100% (doubtful), you have to move on and make cap space for other YOUNGER players. "This is the business we have chosen." Speaking about business, Snee is due 11.3M in 2014. That is the #2 cap # on the team. Sorry, but a Guard who has seen his best days is no longer worth 11.3M (10% of the entire current allocation). If the Giants cut him they save $6.8M. Sorry, Chris, but it's a business, and the team can lose with less. THIS IS HOW YOU REBUILD. You get younger and you make room in the cap for other players. We will talk about which player we have in mind in particular in a little bit.
The next veteran OLman on the docket is David Baas. Baas will get none of the accolades that we showered on Snee. To put Baas in the same sentence with Snee is not fair to Snee. You see, we have been critics of the David Baas contract he signed with the Giants since DAY ONE. And we have been completely underwhelmed with his play for the team since he has suited up. He is a mediocre Center. Period. Why the Giants threw $28M on him for 5 years was madness. OR MORE LIKELY, the result of mismanaging the aging OL we have been yelling about for years. Reese probably had little choice but to pay up to get some semblance of 98.6 degree competence in there. That the guy is in his 30s, had a neck injury which wrecked his (and to another degree, the Giants) 2013 campaign, means it is time to part ways with him as well. Oh, but why does Baas actually have a shot at making the 2014 roster? That insane contract signed in 2011, the gift that keeps giving! You see, remarkably, David Baas, a mediocre Center, had the 4th largest cap number on the 2014 team. HEEEELLLLPPPP!!! Oh, it gets worse. Of his 8.2M #, 6.5M is "dead money," meaning if they cut the man, the Giants only free up 1.7M dollars. What a nightmare. I am not a cap expert, but I think that some of that dead money is 2015 dead money, so just take your losses, cut him and move on. This is how you rebuild. I would rather give younger players the snaps than pay this guy so that he can be ineffective in run blocking.
While we are talking about dead money, let's talk about Jerry Reese. Every time I hear "In Reese We Trust" I ask, are you paying attention? Reese has done some very good things, but (as we saw in the last paragraph) he is not God's gift to football management either. We did not like the bye week last season when Reese used the fantastic NFC Least as cover for somehow being in the race at 2-6. Is Reese rationalizing that the 2013 team at 7-9 was only 3 wins apart from the 10-6 team in 2007 that won a title? The reason why we bring up Reese is that he made a comment that was a little bothersome- according to NJ.com, he said that it was difficult to construct his roster due to a flat (non-growing) cap. While we do not ask Mr. Reese to follow GDP figures and forecast that the NFL was going to reduce its cap from 2009 to 2011, we do not like excuses either. EVERY TEAM IN THE NFL HAS THE SAME CAP TO MANAGE. This is what makes the NFL so competitive, that each GM has the same wallet size to build his team with.
I am reminded of Jack Nicklaus at the US Open. The US Open golf major has sometimes had brutally hard courses that are difficult for even the best of professionals to handle. Nicklaus would shake his head every time he overheard a player privately or publicly complain about the playing conditions. Scratch him off the list, he isn't winning this year, thought Nicklaus. Anyone that was busy complaining was already beaten by the course. EVERY PLAYER HAD THE SAME PLAYING CONDITIONS TO MANAGE. Play the game. Do your job. No excuses.
Two more brief comments from former Super Bowl-winning GMs. (1) Reese referred to the greater difficulty of meeting salary cap demands from players who commanded more as Super Bowl winners. (2) Newsome remarked that winning the Super Bowl shortens your offseason greatly, with less time to prepare for the following season. While both statements are true, I frankly don't want to hear about the challenges of a SB champion coming back to win the following season. Maybe we should listen to Reese and Newsome and let the Super Bowl champion have the following year off, since we "know" how hard it will be to repeat?! Bullbleep. The idea of a free pass the year after a title is frankly repugnant. In business, if a corporation or employee has a great year, that doesn't give them the right to coast the following year. Too busy celebrating or doing book signings? Seattle isn't taking 2014 off, and I suspect that they won't be laying down when they play the Giants this upcoming season. Jim Collins: Confront the brutal facts. Every season is an opportunity to win a title. Some of the Giants' best chances to win titles were in the year following their wins. I do not think that this franchise should need 2013 to recognize how 2008 and 2012 were squandered opportunities.
So the word is that Linval Joseph is going to fetch a very big free agent contract. We didn't come all this way to watch Joseph start 46 out of his last 48 games in the past 3 years, hit his peak as a DT the next ~3-4 years and just say goodbye. Joseph is not a phenomenal DT. But he is a very solid part of your defense. Barring someone like Snyder paying stupid $ for him, you must make the space for this guy and re-sign him. He's a Giant, he's in the system, and he is entering his prime. Don't go drafting all those DLmen and then not keep the guy who is playing every snap, and playing well.
I never have a problem trading down. Give me those multiple R2 draft picks in exchange for R1. Glad to see Snee taking a paycut- it was the only way it would make sense.
It will be very interesting to see what Ross and Reese do in FA leading up to the draft. They know the draft's very deep in O-linemen and WRs (Mayock said the deepest draft he has seen in 10 years), and with little CAP to throw around, I'd suspect they'll count on the draft being their for them. Along the O-line, the Guards and Center are a bigger issue than the Tackles, even with Beatty coming off a poor season. Beatty plays well when he's protected, and he lost every bit of his protection in 2013. Pugh will play well at RT, and continue to learn and perfect his technique... leave him be... don't screw with the only bright spot on the line when every other position has issues.
JR knows everyone knows he bet the house and rolled the dice with Baas and Snee in 2013 and came up craps, because behind them was a very steep drop down to mediocre projects in development. Mara will fire JR if he tries to go with Baas and Snee in 2014 with the same bench, regardless of the starters' pay cuts and player assertions that they feel good. As such, I'd expect Reese to resign Boothe, who PFF rated good when he stays stable at Left Tackle. Baas is an enigma... he was an iron man with San Fran, and then comes to the Giants and can't stay on the field. But JR must not try to convince himself that Baas has a full 16 game season ahead of him after multiple off season surgeries and treatments for his migraines, back, neck, leg, etc., and he must not think he can leave Beatty unprotected by moving Boothe to Center again. Cordle's a last resort option, but JR needs a starter like FA Center Evan Dietrich-Smith from the Packers. McAdoo knows he's very good, and the Packers might not lock him up... although chances are they will. One might suggest that there are a few very good starting caliber Centers to be had in the draft, but I don't see Eli regaining his confidence as he learns a new offense taking snaps from a rookie center. That's not to say JR shouldn't pick up Bryan Stork in the 4th round, because he certainly should start seeding the replacement for Dietrich-Smith now. Stork's the 2013 Remington Trophy winner as the nation's top Center, who according to NFL Draft Scout is "tenacious and technically-sound" but may need a year in the NFL weight room before his lower body's ready for full time action.
Snee isn't an enigma... he's just at the end of his very good career. There was a day when John Madden referred to Chris Snee as one of the very best Guards in the entire League. Sean O'Hara readily acknowledged that the entire line took their feed off of Snee. He was the man, and he dominated. Today his heart is willing, but the body has seen better days. When Chris takes a huge pay cut, and convinces JR that while he can no longer dominate, he can compete for one more season with any Guard, what will JR do for insurance? He has Guard depth on the bench, but they're not starters yet. Signing a starting caliber Guard to play behind Snee makes no sense, and I don't see Snee sticking around as a backup behind a veteran FA. I do see Snee working with a top rookie Guard as his replacement, like a Xavier Su'a-Filo, David Yankey, or Zack Martin. If Snee can't get it done, any of those three could start and do well between Dietrich-Smith and Justin Pugh. JR's problem is none of those guys will be there at 43rd, and they're not value at 12th. So he'd need to trade down for an extra 3rd rounder and a few more later picks. That extra 3rd round pick in this very deep draft could end up being a difference maker. JR did that once before, but his extra picks didn't work out so well. He and Ross must do much, much better if the Giants are to have a winning season in 2014.
just did a quick google search on alex mack and franchise tag. I come across an article that will just make you irate. Baas is the 2nd highest paid center in the league coming in at 2.2 mil less than RYAN KALIL and making 1 mil more than MANGOLD!?! WTF! Baas' agent is the greatest in the world, and Reese is the biggest sucker to pay a pumpkin head POS that much money when the guy never did anything in San Fran and has sucked here.
Signing Baas to that contract is maddening. Sums up Reese's moves as GM. I think the "In Reese We Trust" mantra went out the window a long time ago.
Baas, Canty, Beatty signing, etc... there's many more to list. Worst is the Martellus Bennett deal. Then you sign Myers for a 4 year deal that you probably could've pulled on Marty B the year before when his stock was rock bottom.
The guy doesn't know when to hold em and when to fold em. With Baas being dead money (what a horrific deal that was) I'd assume he will be on the roster in 14.
I'm hoping we draft Ebron or Amaro. We need tight ends. If Dennard is available at 12 I wouldn't mind us taking the best corner in the draft. Watkins won't be there but if he was that would be a steal.
What do you guys think of Mack his stock is through the roof. I think he's athletic as hell, but doesn't have many moves and gets tangled up by bigger OL pretty easily and has a hard time shaking them off. His main move is a bull rush or stutter step. I think he will be good but some people are praising him as possible first overall- Mayock to name a few.
Oh well too bad we're picking 12th when if the POS Lions could've F'en beat us and actually played in a game meaningful to them we'd be picking 8th. We sucked too bad this year to be all the way down at 12th. This team was not a 7-9 team. Thanks Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley, Matt McGloin!
Great post, Andy. Definitely agree with your comments on Baas and Reese. When you look at the past several drafts since 2007 and who is still on the team and how those drafted players have fared for the most part, I don't see how you can look at Reese as any more than a mediocre general manager. At least as far as the draft goes. And what are the Giants right now? Mediocre. Coincidence? Don't think so.
@ultimatenyg trading down could present itself if one of those QBs falls unexpectedly, but even if that happens and JR takes a later 1st round and an additional 3rd, 5th, whatever... that only works to his advantage if he can turn in results like the 2007 draft. His recent drafts have been unremarkable. Extra picks spent on QBs and 3-4 LBs who might make the conversion, and project TEs and such dooms Eli to another 2013 part deux. If he can't trade, and has to pull the trigger on 12th, he ought to either screw value and take Xavier Su'a-Filo or Zack Martin, or play it safe and go CB with Justin Gilbert, who's a better fit for the Giants opposite Prince than Dennard. None of the top Guards will be there at 43rd, and they need a top Guard in the draft. I am just not in favor of taking a top LT at 12th when we have Beatty and Pugh, both of whom need to remain exactly where they are in 2014. Arguments that Beatty can move to RT are off the mark, as he has few of the attributes of a RT. Pugh is a much better RT than Beatty, so moving Pugh inside sub-optimizes both players in my view. Drafting a LT at #12 and moving him to RT then moving Pugh inside is again forcing an early outside acquisition to solve an inside problem. I also don't believe Kony Ealy or Dee Ford, or Anthony Barr or Khalil Mack are good fits for the Giants... I'm glad neither LB will be there when JR picks. Barr isn't a natural 4-3 LB... he was a RB two seasons ago. Mack isn't excellent dropping into coverage and playing the run as a stay home defender, and with Beason in the middle the Giants need that from a #12 pick. I guess what I'm arguing myself into is if JR is stuck with 12th, take one of the great Guards who won't be there at 43rd. In a few seasons after that Guard's playing in the Pro Bowl nobody will give a damn that he wasn't value at 12th.
@the mayor I couldn't have said it better! Amazing that he is the 2nd highest paid center. That one move hurt the Giants in multiple ways. The really irritating thing is the financial situation will keep Baas around and the Giants will continue to have trouble at center.
@jfoster I think a lot of that perception (RE Reese) was on the back of the 2007 draft class. While it contained some guys that made nice contributions in 2007, and beyond in some cases, the draft doesn't look nearly as good now as it did then. Mostly flashes in the pan, washouts, injury risks, or combinations thereof.