Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 02-13-20

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
As the Giants continue to realign their payroll, decide on roster structure and search not only the available college athletes in preparation for the April draft, they are also attempting to "clean house," as it were, in terms of which players to whom they must bid farewell.

This will be determined by two factors - how did they play last season and how much money do they make?

With a current salary cap of $61.8 million, they do have plenty of cash to throw around, but throwing it without knowing where to aim it is usually fatal and has been part of the teamís problem for way too long now.

For instance, do you know that center Spencer Pulley, who was not going to attract the attention of any Pro Bowl voters, counts $2.7 million against the salary cap?

And no, heís not even a little bit embarrassed, nor did he offer to return some (or all) of it.

You should probably scratch his name off your projected 53-man roster, you know?

Another veteran currently on the roster (but not for long, one suspects) is backup tight end Rhett Ellison, who played a lot more than he should have because the projected starter, former first-round pick Evan Engram, canít seem to stay healthy and therefore on the field.

Ellison, in his backup role, is worth $5.0 million against the salary cap, and it is possible that both Ellison and Engram will be somewhere else in the 2020 season. In fact, a rumor has circulated that the Pittsburgh Steelers might have an interest in Engram, but it is NOT TRUE that the Giants have asked how much they want just to take him.

Then there is linebacker Alex Ogletree, who has seen far better days with the St Louis and then Los Angeles Rams. He spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Giants, didnít fare exceptionally well, and yet commands $8.2 million on the cap.

Yet another linebacker, Kareem Martin, is also a veteran free agent and will probably not be part of Joe Judgeís team. That might not be true if he earned a reasonable amount of money, but right now he counts for $4.8 million and, frankly, just isnít worth the price.

In any case, itís nice to pare down the roster and save a little money, but now the crucial subject becomes how to spend it. The Giants are a team that seemingly needs help everywhere (well, maybe not a running back if Saquon Barkley manages to stay healthy), and those needs will in no way be solved through the draft.

GM Dave Gettleman will have to dip into the veteran free agent market, and again, as before, itís not just how much you spend but how intelligently you spend it.

And letís not forget that the team needs a veteran quarterback to act as baby-sitter for second-year Daniel Jones, and if they donít land one, they might spend the 2020 season wondering why they didnít persuade Eli Manning to stick around for another season. However much money Eli might have wanted, the jettisoning of Ogletree and Pulley would have been of considerable financial help.

EXTRA POINTS - A long-time subscriber to E-GIANTS, Bob V., forwards this e-mail - and it makes sense on several levels.

Here it is:

"It has been a while since I sent you my two cents. Now that I am retired we are traveling a lot and I spend quality time with my grandson. You were right, having a grandchild is just incredible. Makes having kids in the first place so much more worthwhile.

"A few things. First, put me down for a two-year renewal for your newsletter. It is one of the few things that keeps me sane during these last few seasons.

"Second, I think the hyper-analysis that is going on about Eli Manning and the Hall of Fame is second only to the never-ending back and forth by politicians. I don't care which side you are on, until we can get a core of politicians who are truly looking at the greater good instead of just their own playbook, it is nonsense. Thomas Jefferson must be drinking heavily somewhere in the afterlife wondering how it has all gone so cockeyed.

"As for Eli, it gets kind of interesting. If he had 10 years of being surrounded by the best of the 1986 and 2007 teams I am betting this would be a whole different conversation. I am pretty sure His Highness, Tom Brady, would have been mediocre if he played with the Giants the last 4-5 years. Running for your life every time you drop back to pass could have a somewhat dampening effect on your performance.

"If you take the first 13 years of Eli's career (through 2016) his winning percentage goes from 50 percent to almost 56 percent. Not quite Joe Montana numbers but respectable. Add in over 48,000 yards passing, 320 touchdowns, 26 fourth-quarter comebacks plus 36 game-winning drives and when you add in two Super Bowls [including MVP each time] you clearly have a Hall of Fame QB -- absolutely! And donít forget the total class he has exhibited his entire career. He should be in on the first ballot. We'll see.

"Anyway, thanks for hanging in there. Between you, Aaron and Scott at least an honest perspective can be had every week. Keep up the great work."

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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