Giants Rumors

Landon Collins May Hold Out If Franchised

Giants safety Landon Collins may or may not have cleaned out his locker earlier today, but the 25-year-old defensive back has already made it clear he doesn’t want to be franchise-tagged this offseason. Indeed, Collins may sit out spring and summer practice sessions if he is franchised, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (link via Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com).

The impact of Collins holding out for a long-term deal isn’t exactly clear. For one, many franchise players refuse participate in spring/summer workouts and practices as a way of expressing their frustration with the franchise tender, but few (Le’Veon Bell aside) actually sit out the season. Second, Collins is facing a four-to-six month recovery period after undergoing December surgery for a torn labrum, so he probably won’t be allowed to be on the field until the summer anyway.

The Giants seemingly have expressed no interest in working out a long-term agreement with Collins (reports as far back as November and as recently as this afternoon suggest as much). Therefore, New York has until March 5 to decide whether it wants to deploy the franchise tag — at a cost of around $11.2MM — on Collins.

Collins, a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, has been a full-time starter for the Giants since entering the league. A two-time Pro Bowler, Collins posted 96 tackles, four passes defensed, and a forced fumble in 2018 while grading as the NFL’s 39th-best safety, per Pro Football Focus.

If he does reach the open market, Collins will be among the most-coveted safeties in a crowded positional field. Among the other safeties scheduled to hit free agency are Earl ThomasHa Ha Clinton-DixLamarcus JoynerAdrian Amos, Tyrann Mathieu, and Tre Boston.

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Giants’ Landon Collins Packs Up Locker?

Giants safety Landon Collins cleaned out his locker at the team facility on Wednesday and said his goodbyes to teammates, coaches, and trainers, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com hears (on Twitter). From what sources tell her, it doesn’t seem like Collins expects to be a Giant for much longer. 

Meanwhile, Collins’ locker appears to be full, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY (Twitter link), and sources tell him Collins has not been informed of any decision on whether the team plans to franchise tag him. However, Collins personally took to Twitter and seemed to confirm Anderson’s report.

The stuff in that locker that I have left I do not need 💯,” Collins wrote.

Reading between the lines, it sounds as though Collins is not envisioning a future with the Giants. Still, the ball is really in the Giants’ court. The Giants can keep the safety away from the open market with the franchise tag and attempt to negotiate a long-term deal with him between now and the summer deadline. If no long-term deal is reached and Collins is unwilling to play out the season on the one-year tender, his only real recourse will be to threaten a holdout.

Collins’ 2018 season was cut short by injury and he wound up missing one-quarter of the regular season. All in all, he finished out with 96 tackles, four passes defensed, and a forced fumble.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Talks Between Giants, Landon Collins

The Giants and safety Landon Collins are not currently in active negotiations on a contract extension, sources tell Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). There’s still time for a deal to get done, but it sounds like there’s still a huge gap to bridge when it comes to a new long-term deal. 

It seems likely that the Giants will employ the franchise tag on Collins, which is expected to be worth approximately $11.2MM for safeties. For his part, Collins has expressed a desire to stay in New York. He’d probably like a long-term deal, but there’s no indication that he wouldn’t cooperate with a tag in the interim.

Collins leads all defensive backs in tackles since entering the league in 2015. The former second-round pick has made three Pro Bowls in the last four seasons, putting him in somewhat rarified air.

Collins’ 2018 season was cut short by injury, but he indicated that he would have played through the pain if the Giants were still in the playoff mix down the stretch. All in all, he finished out with 96 tackles, four passes defensed, and a forced fumble. Collins graded out as just the 39th best safety in the NFL last year, per Pro Football Focus, but he was a top 15 guy in the previous two seasons. When healthy, Collins is clearly among the best young safeties in the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Eyeing Lou Anarumo For DC

Giants defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo is set to interview with the Bengals on Thursday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) hears. At the moment, he is the frontrunner for their defensive coordinator job, according to Pelissero. 

Anarumo worked with new Bengals head coach Zac Taylor in Miami from 2012-15 and both men finished out the ’15 season as interim coordinators on opposite sides of the ball. After that, Anarumo reverted back to being Miami’s defensive backs coach under Adam Gase and hooked on with the Giants in January of 2018.

Outside of Anarumo’s interim DC stint in South Beach, he has exclusively served as a defensive backs coach for the last two decades. However, he’s a highly-respected coach and his history with Taylor may allow him to climb the ranks.

The Bengals have been left at the altar a few times in this cycle. Previously, they were close with coaches like Jack Del RioDom Capers, and Florida DC Todd Grantham, but they were unable to seal the deal.

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More Noise On Eli's-Coming-Back Front

  • More evidence for the Eli Manning-will-be-back noise: the 15-year Giants quarterback has been working out at the team facility throughout the offseason, Breer notes. While this is not unusual, as Manning does this annually, his conditioning headquarters may have shifted had the Giants given him an indication they were legitimately considering moving on from him. Although nothing concrete has emerged on this front yet, Manning remaining the starter is the expectation for 2019.

Giants Notes: OBJ, Collins, Trading Up

Now for more from the Big Blue and Gang Green:

Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. is once again being mentioned in trade rumors, with one prominent national writer expressing his belief that OBJ will be dealt this offseason. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv, though, believes the Giants would be foolish to pull the trigger. For all of his perceived character issues, Beckham is well-liked in the locker room, displays a strong work ethic, and generally holds himself accountable when things go badly. He has done and said things that the team would obviously prefer he didn’t, but on the balance, he is an irreplaceable talent, and Vacchiano believes the Giants would be well-served to simply deal with whatever distractions Beckham creates, as they have not been damaging to this point (at least not when compared to his on-field production).

  • Ryan Dunleavy and Matt Lombardo of NJ.com debated a few of the most pressing issues facing the Giants this offseason. Dunleavy believes that somehow taking care of Landon Collins should be the club’s top priority, and it still seems likely that the team will put the franchise tag on him. After Collins, Dunleavy believes the next unrestricted free agent that the Giants should prioritize is cornerback B.W. Webb, while Lombardo believes the club should focus on Russell Shepard, who should not be overly expensive to retain.
  • While Dunleavy and Lombardo agree that trading Beckham will hurt the Giants in the short-term, they both appear convinced that he will not see the end of his five-year contract with the team, and that trading him will be in the team’s best interest at some point in the near future.
  • The Jets hold the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019, and since they already have (they think) their franchise signal-caller, they could trade that pick to a QB-needy team for a bounty of draft capital. As Vacchiano suggests, the Giants are one team that could be giving the Jets a call.

Giants Leaning Toward Keeping Eli Manning As Starter?

In the six weeks since Dave Gettleman‘s “no holds barred” conversation with Eli Manning, not much has transpired on this front.

With one fewer starting quarterback available, after the Broncos’ Joe Flacco trade agreement, the Giants represent one of the few teams with an uncertain situation atop its signal-caller depth chart. However, signs appear to be pointing toward Manning returning for at least one more season as the Giants’ starter.

All indications lead to this process ending with that conclusion, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes, adding that the belief around the league is the Giants saw enough from their longtime quarterback in the second half of last season to run their 15-season situation back one more time. Several close to Manning have seen no sign the Giants are planning on parting ways with the longest-tenured starting quarterback in team history.

The Giants are doing extensive research on this year’s top quarterback prospects, per Raanan, and are more likely than not to select a passer with their first- or second-round pick.

Manning raised his completion rate (a career-high 66 percent) and yards-per-attempt figures (7.5) considerably from the past two seasons and dropped his interceptions (11) to the lowest total during his 14 seasons a full-time starter. The Giants won four of five during a midseason stretch but dropped their final three games — three of which without Odell Beckham Jr.

If Manning is on the Giants’ roster on March 15, he will receive a $5MM roster bonus. His 2019 cap figure is $23.2MM.

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Beckham Jr. Could Still Be Traded

Odell Beckham Jr. signed a mega-deal this past Summer that seemed to put all of the trade rumors surrounding the young wideout to rest. But the Giants’ superstar is starting to pop up in trade buzz yet again, after another drama-filled season. The team reiterated that they were committed to Beckham longterm at their year-end press conference, but Jay Glazer of The Athletic predicts that he’ll end up getting traded this offseason.

Beckham made headlines this past season for his thinly veiled criticism of Eli Manning, and yet again for his sideline antics during games. Beckham had health issues for the second straight season, missing four games with a quad injury. If the Giants were to put him on the trade block, there’d be no shortage of trade suitors. He’s still only 26, and would likely fetch multiple early draft picks if New York finally decided to pull the trigger.

Giants Not Interested In Kyler Murray?

With Eli Manning entering a contract year and his age-38 season, the Giants will be connected to a few quarterbacks this offseason. Now that Kyler Murray has spurned baseball for the NFL draft, he may be one of them. But Big Blue is not known for non-traditional quarterback types, and one Giants source told SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano that the 5-foot-10 Murray is “probably a little too small” for the team to consider. Murray’s suitor list will become clearer as pre-draft workouts commence, but the Giants are in the thick of the market in holding the No. 6 overall pick and needing a Manning heir apparent. They appear readier to select a passer with a high draft choice this year than they were a year ago, but the Giants have been a traditional quarterback franchise. Manning is 6-foot-3. The Giants deployed 6-5 Kerry Collins and 6-3 Phil Simms. The starting passers that filled the gaps in between the franchise’s three most prominent signal-callers were also north of 6-3. So are top 2019 passing prospects Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones. Pat Shurmur said last year he prefers taller quarterbacks.

  • The Giants made another addition to their coaching staff, hiring Mike Dawson to be their outside linebackers coach. Dawson spent most of his career, including the past three seasons, at the college level. He followed Scott Frost from Central Florida to Nebraska. His lone NFL coaching experience was a three-year stay on Chip Kelly‘s Eagles staffs earlier this decade.