Tough Decisions Loom for the Giants

Throughout the years, within the New York Giants organization, the brass has been very “forgiving” to players, coaches, and personnel. I don’t mean forgiving in the sense of these people hurting others feelings, the Giants are forgiving to people who do not perform.

Jerry Reese, New York’s General Manager, underperformed in his duties from 2012-2015, but he still has his job. Although he was eventually relieved of his duties last offseason, Tom Coughlin underperformed as the Giants head Coach in that same stretch. Many believe it was because of Reese’s poor player management as to why Coughlin wasn’t successful in those years. Either way, Coughlin was able to ride the system due to his previous success: two Super Bowl wins.

From a player standpoint, New York has held on way too long to some. Players like Ron Dayne, Sinorice Moss, Will Beatty, and Jayron Hosley were giving chance after chance but never performed. New York took too long to move on from those players and in hindsight, possibly put the franchise back a few years. Beatty, in particular, was cut after it seemed the Giants brass realized he was a liability because of his injury history, just to get signed back to the team a few months later.

This offseason, Big Blue has a plethora of decisions to make on their roster. Over the past few years, they’ve made a splash in free agency with signings of Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, and J.T. Thomas III. These guys have not played to the potential the Giants had in mind. In addition to the three players named, one guy who contributed in a big way early on in his career for New York, has not done so as of late. His name? Victor Cruz, the salsa dancer himself. Let’s look at key names who are facing uncertain futures with the Giants. 

Rashad Jennings

Jennings, as mentioned earlier, was signed back in 2014. In his tenure for the Giants, the nine-year veteran running back has not reached the 1,000-yard plateau. On top of his poor yardage for Big Blue, he has a 3.8 yard per carry in those three years. At a minimum, you want a running back to average four yards per carry. In his previous six seasons before joining the Giants, Jennings only fumbled the ball three times. Since joining New York, Jennings has fumbled four times.

Jennings is due a tick over $3 million in 2017. New York, if they chose to, can save around $2.5 million if they release Jennings this offseason.

Shane Vereen

Like Jennings, Vereen was signed in hopes to give the Giants one of the best backfields in the league. That is the furthest from the truth. Before making his way to New York, Vereen was a part of the New England Patriots running back carousel. While he didn’t get recognized much for his running ability, he was known for his presence in the passing game. Fast forward to his time in New York and that success has not been reached.

In his two years with the Giants, the six-year veteran has combined for 1,006 total scrimmage yards. All things considered statistically, Vereen still has one problem, he can’t stay healthy. Of the 33 possible games he could’ve played in for New York, Shane has only stepped on the field in 21 games. 12 games in two years have been missed. 

2017 is looking good for Vereen’s pockets if he is still on the team. He is due about $5 million which would make him the 13th highest paid running back in the league. Based off of his stats and injury history, New York may be looking to unload his contract. If released, the Giants will be able to save $3.75 million to use for any player they desire.

J.T. Thomas III

J.T. Thomas and Shane Vereen share some similarities. They were both signed in 2015 by New York and they are both injury prone. Thomas has only played in 13 of a possible 33 games for the Giants. In order to make an impact on the field, you have to actually step foot…..on the field.

Furthermore, Thomas is set to be the ninth highest paid player on the Giants in 2017. When you really dissect a roster, a great linebacker will probably be in the top ten of highest-paid players on a team. Thomas in terms is a “role” player for the Giants when on the field. The ninth highest contract on a team shouldn’t be for a player who isn’t even the best at his position on that same team. He is due $4 million this year, but if the Giants decide to move on, they will save 75% of that.

Victor Cruz

The Salsa King has been a staple for the New York Giants in his tenure. Well, he was a staple for quite a bit of time. Nobody knew of Cruz until a preseason game in 2010 where he caught three touchdowns for over 150 yards against the Jets. The next year, Cruz was a household name dancing his heart out after each touchdown scored. Number 80 was able to help Big Blue capture their second Super Bowl in four years when they defeated the Patriots in 2011.

2014 is where things took a turn for Cruz and his career. In a Week Six tilt against arch rival Philadelphia, Cruz tore his patella tendon and was lost for the rest of the season. Months and months of rehab and training seemed to put Cruz on target to return in 2015, but a calf injury held him out all year. Cruz was able to return to the field in 2016, but the speed and burst was not there for the once explosive receiver.

Overall, since 2014, Cruz has missed 27 of a possible 48 games. At full health this past year, his numbers were mediocre at best. “Cruuuuuuuuuuz “, as fans chant whenever the wideout catches the ball, is set to be the 15th highest paid receiver in the league in 2017. He is due a whopping $9.4 million this season. IF the Giants plan to move on from the seven-year veteran, they will save $7.5 million.

Will The Giants do it?

The New York Giants organization is a tight-knit family. It seems through the years, the decisions that are made, or lack thereof, is due to the second, third, or even fourth chances that are given to the personnel. At the end of the day, the goal is to win championships. If there are individuals on the team that can’t contribute to that, no matter how close you are to them or what they have done in the past, you have to move on and start fresh. That is exactly what the Giants should do with the aforementioned individuals. The question we will have to wait to be answered is “Will they?“

 

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