The New York Giants received a C- grade for their offseason by ESPN writer Bill Barnwell.
Offseason grades are entirely subjective. The moves made by each NFL franchise realistically can’t be graded until the season plays out. In the case of draft picks, it could be years before it is known whether a pick is a bust or on their way to having a bust in Canton, Ohio.
The Giants received the lowest grade in the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles getting a B-, the division champion Dallas Cowboys receiving a C+, and the Washington Redskins getting a C. While it was previously stated offseason grades are entirely subjective, the Giants do not deserve a C- for their offseason.
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Barnwell liked the signing of Brandon Marshall and the selection of Evan Engram in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He correctly surmised that “the Giants were Odell Beckham-or-bust-on-offense” last season. The Giants can only benefit from adding pieces that will make it extremely difficult for opposing defenses to focus on any individual player.
The team didn’t address the offensive line the way Barnwell thought they should.
“New York lost another regular in Marshall Newhouse and the reinforcements (general manager Jerry) Reese brought in are underwhelming. Free-agent signee D.J. Fluker failed at tackle before settling in as a mediocre guard in San Diego, and the first and only draft selection Reese used was a sixth-round pick in Adam Bisnowaty,” Barnwell wrote.
Newhouse, who signed a free agent deal with the Oakland Raiders, missed six games last season due to injury. His spot as the starting right tackle was taken by Bobby Hart. Newhouse did get time at the guard spot when Justin Pugh injured his MCL. It was financially prudent of the Giants to not re-sign Newhouse.
It is true that the offensive line needs an upgrade but adding players like Fluker and Bisnowaty who can play multiple positions is a good move.
Barnwell also had a problem with Jason Pierre-Paul’s deal and the departure of Johnathan Hankins to the Indianapolis Colts.
“Pierre-Paul is now 28 years old and already has back surgery and the effects of that traumatic fireworks disaster on his medical history. It’s reasonable for the Giants to want him (Pierre-Paul) around, but it seemed irresponsible to throw a staggering $40 million in guarantees at a player with two double-digit sack campaigns as a pro, especially in a year when the draft was full of edge rushers and defensive lineman,” Barnwell wrote.
Pierre-Paul would have certainly had double-digit sacks had he not missed the final four regular season games and playoff game. Barnwell’s concern about the surgery is reasonable. Pierre-Paul was given a one-year, show-and-prove deal in 2016 and he did just that. He is seventh all-time on the Giants’ career sacks list with 50 (Michael Strahan, Lawrence Taylor, Leonard Marshall, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck). Pierre-Paul earned his money, plain and simple.
The Giants will replace Hankins with Dalvin Tomlinson, who drew comparisons to Hankins in the draft process. Barnwell thinks that Tomlinson favors Damon Harrison.
“It was surprising, though, to see the Giants nominally replace Hankins by drafting Alabama nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in the second round. He profiles, essentially, as Harrison: a two-down, interior run-stopper who is limited as a pass rusher. Having one of those guys is good. But two? Not so much,” Barnwell wrote.
Tomlinson will have to get acclimated to the NFL game, that’s a given. Replacing Hankins with a player that brings the same things to the table means there should be no falloff. There is absolutely nothing wrong with acquiring a player like him who will have three very good, experienced mentors in Pierre-Paul, Harrison, and Olivier Vernon. Tomlinson is smart, skilled, and wants to learn. How can that be considered not so good regardless of who is on the offensive line?
Barnwell also talked about the possibility of Pugh and Weston Richburg leaving in free agency after the 2017 season. What exactly does that have to do with the moves the Giants made this offseason? He also spoke of the need to lock up Beckham who will be a free agent in 2019. Again, that has nothing to do with what the team did this offseason.
The selections of Davis Webb, Wayne Gallman, and Avery Moss in the draft didn’t register a mention by Barnwell. The free agent signing of Rhett Ellison also wasn’t worth his opinion.
Offseason grades are entirely subjective. There is no way to look at the choices the Giants or any other team makes in the spring and give them a letter grade. The only way to tell whether or not a deal was good or bad is on the field of play
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