For New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, it appears to be a case of go big or go home.
Sure, the Twitter trolls may have a field day about the seemingly impetuous decisions that led to an 11 percent roster turnover on Sunday. But as many of the NFL analysts concluded, there were still holes in the New York Giants roster after Saturday’s cuts. To address those areas, Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur rolled up their sleeves and brought in six reinforcements.
Most, if not all, of the previous barren areas, like offensive line and defensive backfield, have been addressed. Today, no one guarantees that the new imports will be better than the players who were released. Then again, the players who were released had a full training camp and preseason to prove their value and didn’t. So you can draw your own conclusion.
Undoubtedly this entire process can be considered a risk-versus-reward proposition, so hopefully, most New York Giants fans can apprecite the “go-for-it” mentality of this administration. It’s a stark departure from the previous administration’s hope and pray for improvement paradigm.
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Here are the roster additions, per the team’s official website:
"“The newest Giants are defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr., wide receiver Kaelin Clay, center Spencer Pulley, and defensive backs Antonio Hamilton, Mike Jordan and Kamrin Moore. They are expected to be on the field tomorrow, when the Giants will hold their first practice in preparation for their opener next Sunday at home vs. Jacksonville.”"
Franchise in transition
At least two of the moves of the moves on Sunday were not a strict position- for-position upgrade. By now, all New York Giants fans know that 2017 third-round selection Davis Webb was waived. Webb was one of four quarterbacks on the roster after Saturday’s cutdown period. The dynamics surrounding Webb made this the biggest roster move on the team, and around the NFL.
We’ll specifically delve into the particulars of the Webb decision at another time.
In addition, 2016 draft selection, Jerell Adams was released on Sunday. Tight end was a position that was, until recently, was routinely ignored by the franchise. The popular notion was that Adams did enough to secure another season on the roster. Obviously, team brass thought differently.
With the release of Adams and Webb, it seems that Jerry Reese draft picks have to prove their worth under the new regime. Previously, Reese draft picks were treated with kid gloves and had to play their way off the roster.
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Through these two cuts, the G-Men were able to bolster the cornerback ranks with Mike Jordan and Kamrin Moore. Even with these acquisitions, it still will be B.W. Webb or Donte Deayon who man the slot cornerback position, at least initially.
"“Moore is a rookie who was selected on the sixth-round (189th overall) of the NFL Draft this year by the New Orleans Saints, from Boston College. In the preseason, he was credited with five tackles (three solo), a half-sack, and one forced fumble.”"
Jordan is more of a journeyman pick-up. According to Pro Football Reference, he’s played in 20 NFL games with three starts for the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns. He’ll turn 25-years old on Oct. 21st and went to Missouri Western State University.
With Grant Haley on the practice squad, and supplemental draft pick, Sam Beal, returning next season after injury, Gettleman has built promise and depth at cornerback. The fruits of his labor may be more apparent next season.
In terms of side-by-side comparisons that could be made, it seems that Gettleman and company did very well. Waiving Josh Banks and replacing him with a bonafide NFL starter in Mario Edwards, Jr. appears to be a home run. According to Pro Football Reference, Edwards started 14 games for the Oakland Raiders last season.
In New York, he will not start and becomes a very solid rotational player behind defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson. Additionally, shifting out veteran guard John Jerry and replacing him with Spencer Pulley also raised some eyebrows.
Per the team’s official website:
"“Pulley, 6-4 and 308 pounds, started all 16 games last season at center for the Chargers, who signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2016. In his first season, he played in all 16 games without a start, dividing his time between center and both guard positions.”"
Without a doubt, this move turns the heat up on both center Jon Halapio and guard Patrick Omameh. Omameh, in particular, had a very erratic preseason. Pulley could easily be in the starting line-up if either guy falters.
Supplanting receiver Hunter Sharp with Kaelin Clay seems to be a much-needed upgrade at the return specialist position. Initially, the New York Giants kept Hunter Sharp as the fifth wideout and return man. But Sharp was unimpressive throughout the preseason, so it seemed that he could just be a roster place holder. As a return specialist the preseason, he fumbled several punts. As a wideout, Sharp dropped several passes when targeted by quarterback Eli Manning.
In terms of the “Carolina connection”, Gettleman originally signed Clay when he was GM with the Panthers in 2017. After Gettleman was fired in Charlotte, the team traded Clay to the Buffalo Bills.
Finally, veteran William Gay always seemed to have a tenuous hold on his roster spot. Signed as a cornerback, he was quieted shifted to safety during training camp. Of all the moves made on Sunday, this one appears more speculative. In other words, the G-Men went younger and cheaper by bringing in Antonio Hamilton.
Hamilton has limited NFL experience, with only 12 games over two seasons to his credit. He and undrafted free agent rookie Sean Chandler (Temple) are probably developmental players behind Landon Collins, Curtis Riley and Michael Thomas.