Archive for February, 2008

Torbor signs with Dolphins

February 29, 2008
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Bills sign Kawika Mitchell 5yrs $17.5M

February 29, 2008

Raiders going after Wilson

February 29, 2008

1) The Raiders are looking to sign Wilson for $6M-$6.5M/yr.
2) League Source: There is “a possibility” NYG can retain Mitchell.
3) Looking doubtful NYG will re-sign LB Reggie Torbor.
4) They might lose free-agent RB Derrick Ward.

The Gibril Wilson Squeeze

February 29, 2008


Short version: we are not going to re-sign Gibril Wilson.

The explanation: Fact #4 below-Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo called the class of safeties in the draft “anemic.” Fact #1-With Wilson entering free agency, Dahl cut, and Butler (too slow) a liability, one would think the Giants would desperately need to hold onto the services of Wilson. But not when the price elevates. When was the last time you saw the Giants “pay up” for anything?

More than a few people still hold out hope that Gibril Wilson can somehow sign with the Giants in an 11th hour move (i.e. like O’Hara last year) if the Giants would come close to the kind of numbers he would get as a free agent. Fact #2- The talk out of the combine had more than a few (3, to be exact) unnamed teams interested in Wilson beyond the rumored teams of the Broncos and Eagles. Hmmm, let’s get this straight:

1) your own team wants you back
2) as many as FIVE other teams are interested in you once you hit free agency
3) you are considered the best safety out there in this crop of free agents
4) there is a dearth of skill coming through at the Draft in April
5) the ever-expanding salary cap has plenty of teams with plenty of money to spend

If I was Wilson’s agent, I would be telling him to go to free agency too. He is making the right move. The Giants organization does not chase players, and this is a chase all right. Wilson got his ring, and we return to the scene of the George B. Young crime: it is all about the money. The Giants never truly succumbed to the economic reality of last year’s jump in the cap from the Collective Bargaining Agreement. And they are not willing to swallow that medicine again this year (not yet at least) when free agency begins at the stroke of midnight. By winning the Super Bowl, why should they? They view themselves as right for not going wild in free agency last year. The only problem with this logic is that Wilson is a good ‘team’ player who will get paid. And if the Giants make a mistake of not paying “enough” to keep him… WHERE ENOUGH=FAIR, then that is a mistake. My read on the situation is simply that what the market ends up going to will be determined by the Giants as mildly extreme.

The Giants are a conservative organization. They do not set prices, they join the price when it is set. As an example of this, the Giants always like to wait until the 16th or 17th pick in the draft has done his contract, as well as the 20th pick, so that they can THEN set the contract for their 19th pick. One of these other alleged five teams with interest in Wilson will go after him, the Giants will watch, and Wilson will get his money elsewhere.

Free Agency Eve

February 28, 2008

Free agency begins tonight. Do not try to predict what Reese will do. If one uses last year as a single datapoint, he will be quieter than we would like. But drawing conclusions from one datapoint is ridiculous. There could be one particular player who the Giants rate much higher than others, in which case Reese gets active in a hurry. We’ll put it another way- the over/under number for high ticket free agents the Giants entertain will be 1, and the over/under number for high ticket free agents the Giants sign will be 0.5. Here is a quick summary of excerpted positions from packersnews.com which are more relevant to the Giants-

Linebackers: Lance Briggs has been linked to San Francisco and Washington after spending a season wallowing under the franchise tag in Chicago. He seems best suited to play outside linebacker in a 4-3 defensive scheme, and at 27, he will strike it rich. … Terrell Suggs (Baltimore), a hybrid linebacker/end, and Karlos Dansby (Arizona) have been franchised. … The price for converted end Calvin Pace (Arizona) jumped after his breakout season in 2007, but the Cardinals reportedly want to retain the five-year veteran. Bargain basement: Boss Bailey (Detroit), Kawika Mitchell (N.Y. Giants), Brandon Chillar (St. Louis), DeMorrio Williams (Atlanta), Rosevelt Colvin (New England, released).

Cornerbacks: New Orleans reportedly is the front-runner to land Asante Samuel (New England), the 27-year-old cover king who is considered the top free agent in this year’s class. The Jets, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia also have been linked to Samuel, who is expected to get a contract averaging $10 million or more per year. … Nnamdi Asomugha (Oakland) and Marcus Trufant (Seattle) were franchised, leaving Drayton Florence — who lost his starting job in San Diego last season to Antonio Cromartie — as the next best option. Question mark: Will Brian Kelly (Tampa Bay) regret paying $435,000 to buy out the final year of a contract that would have paid him $3.2 million in base salary next season? Bargain basement: Ty Law (Kansas City, reportedly to be released), Randall Gay (New England), Travis Fisher (Detroit), Jacques Reeves (Dallas).

Safeties: Gibril Wilson will test the market. Philadelphia and Denver have been reported as possible destinations. Dallas placed the franchise tag on Ken Hamlin. Question mark: How will season-ending injuries to Yeremiah Bell (Miami) and Madieu Williams (Cincinnati) affect their value? Bargain basement: Eugene Wilson (New England), Will Demps (Houston), Marquand Manuel (Carolina), Chris Crocker (Atlanta).

I was going to include a recap of Left Tackle, but when I read it, it made me wince. They had Flozell Adams at 32 leading the parade… between his age and his stature as a penalty offender on the order of Luke Petitgout, I would be surprised to see Reese go for him.. and any other high priced name in this category. This leaves us with Safety, CB, and LB as the only places where we might be active. The only other item of note will be Derrick Ward, who is expected to hit the free agent market tomorrow.

Marc Ross

February 27, 2008

The new Director of Player Personnel is Marc Ross. While working for the Eagles, Ross was responsible for bringing in players such as Brian Westbrook, Lito Sheppard and Derrick Burgess. Some excerpts of what he had to say about the draft:

“You never want to pass up good players. If you have players of similar talent, similar value – their value is close – then you should push it toward the need end, I think, but if there is a huge discrepancy and you have somebody on the board that just has so much more value than the guy you have at the position of need, then you have to go with the guy who you have the higher value on. No doubt about it.

“Good players are going to end up playing and if you force a bad player into a position of need, then they may not end up playing anyway. I have had that happen in drafts (for the Eagles), where we try to force players just because we needed them or you thought you needed them. You end up with a position of strength at this time in the year to maybe a position of weakness where if you would have drafted the best player then that wouldn’t have been an issue. It seems like here they have done a great job in doing that. Taking the best players and they have found a way to get them on the field with (Justin) Tuck and Kiwi (Mathias Kiwanuka). Good players are going to play. They will find a way to get on the field.

“I am glad they cut the time down on the draft this year so it won’t be as long as some other years (the time between first round picks has been reduced from 15 to 10 minutes). This is my first time picking this low. We picked low a lot in Philadelphia, so I am used to waiting for a while, but this is the first time picking this low.

“I think we are in a good situation to take the best player, because in the first round a lot of teams do take for need. I think there will be some players sitting and waiting for us with that last player who probably should have been drafted higher. That is my thought going into it. My thought is that we can find just as good a player at 31 as we can at 10.

“You never know where those players are going to come from. Ahmad Bradshaw would have been (the 250th player taken last year), but if you stack the board again this year and he might have been in the first round. You just never know where those guys are going to come from. I am not discouraged. People have been saying that every time we won a playoff game, ‘Oh, it is messing up your draft pick.’ But I look at it as a challenge. I have total confidence that we are going to get a good player where we are picking.

Reese is a scout. Ross is a scout. The scout mantra is pick’em and play’em. I like the 31st pick in the draft, and his remarks make me feel that much more confident. (See previous post for more color on why- it is like a second rounder.) Reese and Ross know very well that if they give up the pick for Hall, they could be giving up a lot. For all we know, both clubs go into the draft w/o a deal and may make one after the first 30 players have been chosen when NY is on the clock. But either way, it is very interesting to see the scouting culture well entrenched at the Giants front office.

Believe in Second Round Draft Picks

February 26, 2008

Many years ago (pre blog, when this started as email chat amongst ~15-20 Giants fan), I went through the numbers on the Giants’ success in the first round vs the second round. It was staggering. The bottomline conclusion at the time was that the Giants were much more capable of finding the second round talent than the first round player. This was a GEORGE YOUNG conclusion. What about Accorsi and Reese? Let’s look.

Key dates: 1979 George Young’s first draft. 1994 Jerry Reese joins as junior scout. 1998 Ernie Accorsi hired as GM. May 2002 (2003) Jerry Reese promoted to Head of Player Personnel in charge of the draft. 2007 Reese’s first draft as GM.

Using a completely subjective rating system where a player who is making/made meaningful contributions = 1, and a player who faded out of the picture gets a 0, we add up the total from each Executive’s meaningful years. Young (1979-1997), Accorsi (1998-2006) and Reese (2003-2007).

Exec, # Yrs, Rd1 score, Rd2 Score
Young 19 9 12
Accorsi 9 4 5
Reese 5 3 4

Table explained- as an example, in 19 years, Young had 9 solid contributors from first round picks and 12 from the second round.

One would logically think that it would be easier to pick first rounders which could contribute to the team, but therein lies the enigma. There is slightly more impact from second round picks than first round picks. (Considering that Reese has only 5 years of data and that Accorsi was in charge for four of them, it is too little information to really draw any conclusions about his work.) The point is clear- second round picks are where this organization seems to thrive. Until we get much stronger hit percentages on the 1st rounders as compared to second rounders, it makes sense to get more volume of second rounders when given value on a trade down. The 1st rounder is the sizzle, the lure of the dominant player, but the Toomers-Strahans-Barbers of the world get plenty done without being the once in a generation Lawrence Taylor (… and how many OTHER times have we picked #2 in the entire draft?- none with the exception of a trade up for Manning).

SECOND ROUND DRAFT PEDIGREE GETS IT DONE OVER AND OVER.

Given this conclusion, what are the takeaways for this upcoming draft?
1) Sit tight with your #31 (really like a high second round pick) and #64 picks, pick up quality additions and do not worry about them not being super impact players. For the Giants this draft will not be sizzle, it will be steak.
2) Do not go chasing DeAngelo Hall. If you have to pay more than a #31 pick and you cannot extend his contract before he gets here, it does not feel like it is worth it. (I personally feel the #1 pick is not worth it either, but respect the value of a good corner enough to understand why the Giants would consider it. He has enough baggage. The most exciting thing about him is his age (24)… that is why the Giants are attracted to him. This is why you MUST extend that contract before making the trade. And therein lies the rub- you have to extend the contract, pay him plenty up front, all for him to be potentially volatile and blow up in your face if he is a malcontent in waiting.)
3) Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing. Reese did not go wild last year, so he has cap room this year as a result. “Folding” your hand and simply using your draft picks is not dereliction of duty if being proactive means going 1 step forward and 2 steps back. See Snyder for myriad examples of that.

Free Agency approaches

February 26, 2008

and word is Gibril will likely get ‘overpaid’ by one of ‘many’ suitors. Translated, the Giants will likely get outbid. Strahan will take more time to make his decision on whether to come back.

I would love Wilson to come back a NY Giant. But Reese has to do what he has to do, and that means letting him walk. Safeties are NOT a skill position in the NFL. These are the stresses of holding the team together. A team like the Eagles knows that they win twice if they drive up the cost enough to make us drop out of the arms race for his services. Losing a safety is not as critical as losing a CB or Lineman.

Draft Value Chart

February 25, 2008

The following is a draft value chart obtained by a writer for nfl.com a few years ago. It attempts to numerically value every pick in the draft. (The writer obtained it from an NFL team.)

If a team picking second in the draft every round was to trade up from #2 to #1 in the first round of the draft, it would
have to give up (3000-2600=) 400 points, or something close to their 3rd round + 4th round + 6th round pick.

P# Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4 Rnd5 Rnd6 Rnd7
01 3000 0580 0265 0112 0043 0027 0014
02 2600 0560 0260 0108 0042 0027 0014
03 2200 0550 0255 0104 0041 0026 0013
04 1800 0540 0250 0100 0040 0026 0013
05 1700 0530 0245 0096 0040 0025 0013
06 1600 0520 0240 0092 0039 0025 0012
07 1500 0510 0235 0088 0039 0025 0012
08 1400 0500 0230 0086 0038 0024 0011
09 1350 0490 0225 0084 0038 0024 0011
10 1300 0480 0220 0082 0037 0023 0011
11 1250 0470 0215 0080 0037 0023 0010
12 1200 0460 0210 0078 0036 0023 0010
13 1150 0450 0205 0076 0036 0022 0009
14 1100 0440 0200 0074 0035 0022 0009
15 1050 0430 0195 0072 0035 0021 0009
16 1000 0420 0190 0070 0034 0021 0008
17 0950 0410 0180 0066 0033 0020 0007
19 0875 0390 0175 0064 0033 0020 0007
20 0850 0380 0170 0062 0032 0019 0007
21 0800 0370 0165 0060 0032 0019 0006
22 0780 0360 0160 0058 0031 0019 0006
23 0760 0350 0155 0056 0031 0018 0005
24 0740 0340 0150 0054 0031 0018 0005
25 0720 0330 0145 0052 0030 0017 0005
26 0700 0320 0140 0050 0020 0017 0004
27 0680 0310 0136 0049 0029 0017 0004
28 0660 0300 0132 0048 0029 0016 0003
29 0640 0292 0128 0047 0029 0016 0003
30 0620 0284 0124 0046 0028 0015 0003
31 0600 0276 0120 0045 0028 0015 0002
32 0590 0270 0116 0044 0027 0015 0002

Burress et al

February 24, 2008

The stresses of keeping together a Super Bowl winner are immense. Reese has the cap room. The players know this. Reese cuts players he does not feel are worth it, so now that he has a bunch of players that are all (on the surface) worth it as ‘champions,’ he will have to sort through the ones he thinks want to be champions AGAIN.

Between UFA’s like Wilson and Mitchell, and guys under contract like Strahan, Umenyiora, and Burress, you have to know Reese is juggling a lot of issues. He’ll figure it out and make work whatever needs to be done. At this point he certainly has earned himself the benefit of the doubt on his decisions.