New York Giants CB options after losing Sam Beal for season
By Henry Buggy
New York Giants rookie cornerback Sam Beal will miss the entire 2018 season.
The New York Giants‘ Supplemental Draft pick re-aggravated a shoulder injury in his first practice and requires season-ending surgery, general manager Dave Gettleman announced Friday.
"“We knew about the shoulder, there was no mystery there. It’s like drafting anybody that’s got an injury, we knew about the shoulder. We had MRI’s that Arizona had taken, he comes here, re-injures it, does what he does, and you know, it is what it is. Best case scenario, he’s on the field and we’re not talking about this. Really and truly, we felt we’re getting next year’s third round pick this year. So now with the shoulder, we get it fixed – it’s about a five-month procedure – and he’s ready to go in the spring. So, it is what it is. Anybody can get hurt.”"
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback out of Western Michigan was expected to immediately contribute. He will now have to wait till 2019 to make his professional debut.
New York Giants
The loss leaves the Giants shorthanded at the cornerback position. In truth, there were already concerns surrounding the position, even before Beal’s injury.
New York is already counting on Eli Apple to have a bounce-back season as the team’s No. 2 cornerback. They are also hoping William Gay can have a career resurgence in his 12th season.
Big Blue’s CB Options
The Giants only have four cornerbacks with starting experience, Janoris Jenkins, Apple, Gay, and B.W. Webb.
Curtis Riley might be Big Blue’s next best option. However, the 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back is making the transition to safety in his first season with the Giants.
While Webb has the experience to back up Jenkins and Apple, he has not taken a regular season snap since 2016.
That leaves Donte Deayon, Chris Lewis-Harris, Teddy Williams and Grant Haley at the cornerback position. Haley has a legitimate chance to make the 53-man roster and is already standing out in training camp.
He has been a name to watch since the Giants signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State. Haley is competing with Gay and Deayon for the starting nickel cornerback role, but at 5-foot-9, 190-pounds, he lacks the ideal size to play on the outside.
The Giants have few options to start on the outside should Apple or Jenkins miss any time. They also have limited cap space, especially after signing Connor Barwin.
According to Giants beat reporter Dan Duggan, Big Blue has just $950K in cap space after Barwin’s two-year deal.
Bringing back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or signing Bashaud Breeland would be ideal. It’s also likely not plausible, unless either is willing to sign a team-friendly contract.
The Giants could look to clear some cap space by cutting players like John Jerry, Russell Shepard, and Ray-Ray Armstong. However, all three have a good chance to make New York’s final 53-man roster.
Jerry may be on the roster bubble, but cutting him would only save $1.075 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap. He also provides depth at the guard position and was arguably Big Blue’s best offensive lineman last season.
Brett Jones could be another potential cap causality. Cutting the former CFL All-Star would save the Giants $2.9 million in cap space. But Jones proved himself a valuable asset last season filling in for Weston Richburg. He is currently competing with Jon Halapio for the starting center position.
The Giants likely don’t want to create depth issues at another position, especially just to fix a depth issue at cornerback. That means the G-Men will likely have to rely on the players currently on their 90-man roster or look to find a low-cost option on the free agent market.
Jeremy Lane, Kayvon Webster, and Alterraun Verner are three options with starting experience still available. They won’t come with the high price tag of a Rodgers-Cromartie or Breeland but would provide much-needed depth.
The Giants are likely to keep five-to-six cornerbacks on the 53-man roster. Gettleman, Shurmur, and Bettcher may already be satisfied with the eight players competing for spots. But it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see New York add another cornerback to the secondary in the coming weeks.