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Antoine Bethea

Julian Love
Julian Love

Julian Love's rookie season with the Giants was one big experiment. 

New York knew that Love was a great coverage player, but with the abundance of young cornerbacks on the roster, they had him transition into a safety. Antoine Bethea was starting next to Jabrill Peppers, so the Notre Dame product had time to work at his new position before injuries threw him into the mix. Five starts later, Love did pretty well. 

Now heading into the 2020 season, Bethea is gone and that spot next to Peppers is wide open. So his goal his quite clear for his sophomore campaign. 

Tags: Antoine Bethea, Jabril Peppers, Julian Love, Scott Thompson
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Sep 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants free safety Antoine Bethea (41) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Sep 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants free safety Antoine Bethea (41) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

In an expected move, the Giants decided not to exercise the 2020 club option for veteran S Antoine Bethea, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed on Wednesday. The Giants have until 4 p.m. when the new league year officially kicks off to do so. 

By declining the option, the Giants are adding $2.75 million to their cap space, which is sitting at just under $17 million right now after all the signings. 

Bethea had a solid season with 110 tackles, one interception, six passes defended and two fumble recoveries. However, at age 36 next season and being someone former defensive coordinator James Bettcher wanted after playing with the Cardinals, the Giants are moving in a different direction. 

Tags: Antoine Bethea, Scott Thompson
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Alec Ogletree/Antoine Bethea
Alec Ogletree/Antoine Bethea

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants are already projected to have about $60 million in salary cap space to spend in free agency, and the truth is they may not need it all. Giants co-owner John Mara seemed to indicate as much in a radio interview last month when he called free agency "a double-edged sword."

"If you think free agency is going to fix all your problems, you are going to be sadly disappointed," he said on WFAN. "We are not going to be hog wild in there and spend it all."

Given that, there doesn't seem to be a need for the Giants to add even more cap room over the next few months by cutting some of their more expensive, veteran players. There will undoubtedly be a few cap casualties, especially with a new coach taking over, but with no financial need for downsizing, a few of the players on the brink might be spared.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Antoine Bethea, Golden Tate, Kareem Martin, Nate Solder, Rhett Ellison, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants will have a ton of salary cap space this offseason to continue rebuilding their roster, but probably not many of their own players to spend it on. They are currently holding 15 players scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in March. Most of them aren't worth keeping.

Here's a look at those players, plus the Giants' three restricted free agents, and a few other players who could be - and perhaps should be - offseason salary cap cuts:

Tags: Aldrick Rosas, Antoine Bethea, Cody Latimer, Corey Coleman, Eli Manning, Eli Penny, Golden Tate, Leonard Williams, Markus Golden, Michael Thomas, Mike Remmers, Russell Shepard, Scott Simonson, Zak DeOssie, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) stiff arms Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Dec 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) stiff arms Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Do the Giants care about knocking the Eagles out of the playoffs? It depends on whom you ask.

After Thursday's practice, three days away from Sunday's 4:25 p.m. finale against NFC East-leading Philadelphia (8-7), several players acknowledged the possibility of playing the spoiler role.

"We want to play spoiler," said veteran safety Antoine Bethea. "We want to send them home. We're not going to the playoffs, so we definitely want to get this dub and knock them out."

Tags: Antoine Bethea, Daniel Jones, Markus Golden, Saquon Barkley
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If this really was the end for Eli Manning, at least it was a fitting finale.

And if this wasn't the end ... well, maybe it should be.

The Giants' icon got to go out a winner, and once again heard the cheers from the crowd, in what might easily was the best performance of his final season in New York. The 38-year-old quarterback completed 20 of his 28 passes for 283 yards and threw two touchdowns. Sure, he also threw three interceptions. But his performance was enough to snap the Giants' franchise-record-tying nine-game losing streak and to beat the Miami Dolphins 36-20.

Tags: Antoine Bethea, Cody Latimer, Corey Ballentine, Dalvin Tomlinson, Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton, DeAndre Baker, Dexter Lawrence, Eli Manning, Golden Tate, Julian Love, Sam Beal, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 1, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws a pass against Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander (23) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws a pass against Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander (23) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - John Mara is going to have to do something after this season is over, assuming it keeps heading in its current direction. But if he doesn't want to fire Pat Shurmur - and so far all indications are that's not a move he wants to make - an easy scapegoat is emerging.

So defensive coordinator James Bettcher shouldn't feel too comfortable right now.

His defense is atrocious and it wasn't all that better last year, and it was bad again on Sunday in the Giants' 31-13 loss to the Packers. The coach with the supposedly aggressive scheme can't seem to find a pass rush, and his secondary has become a mess of blown coverages. The defense is far from the sole reason why the Giants are 2-10 and riding a miserable streak of eight straight losses.

Tags: Aldrick Rosas, Antoine Bethea, Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton, Eli Manning, Jabril Peppers, Sam Beal, Saquon Barkley, Zak DeOssie, Ralph Vacchiano
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Julian Love (Brian Fluharty)
Julian Love (Brian Fluharty)

It's been well documented this season just how young this Giants defense is. They have the most amount of rookie snaps of any team in the NFL, and it's mainly because of their starters on defense. 

First-round cornerback DeAndre Baker has been starting since Day One, and so has DT Dexter Lawrence. Mix in players like LB Ryan Connelly (out for the season with torn ACL), OLB Oshane Ximines, and now CB Corey Ballentine and you can see why this unit has struggled facing top offenses this year. 

But this is what the Giants want: develop the young talent to set a foundation for next season and the foreseeable future. Rome wasn't built in a day, and GM Dave Gettleman and the rest of the front office realizes there is a process to this. 

Tags: Antoine Bethea, Corey Ballentine, DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Oshane Ximines, Ryan Connelly, Sam Beal, Scott Thompson
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The Giants got off to a fantastic start Monday night against the Cowboys, as Antoine Bethea intercepted Dak Prescott on the first play from scrimmage. He was tackled at the Cowboys' eight-yard line, giving the Giants about as short of a field as you can ask for on their opening drive of the game.

They came away with a field goal.

That was more or less the story of the night as Big Blue converted just one touchdown on five red zone attemps, was outscored 21-3 in the fourth quarter, and lost to the Cowboys, 37-18, dropping their record to 2-7.

Tags: Aldrick Rosas, Antoine Bethea, Daniel Jones, Evan Engram
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Sep 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a reception for a touchdown against New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)
Sep 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a reception for a touchdown against New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)

No matter how the Giants arrived at Sunday's 32-31 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York desperately needed its first victory of the 2019 regular season.

The Giants got the elusive triumph, receiving help from the football gods -- as wide receiver Sterling Shepard said after the game -- in the final seconds when kicker Matt Gay's straightaway attempt on the 34-yard field goal went wide right as time expired.

But before the Giants poured onto the grass and started the postgame celebration at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, the defense nearly dropped the team to 0-3.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Antoine Bethea, Janoris Jenkins, Sterling Shepard, Tae Davis
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Going into his 14th NFL season, Giants safety Antoine Bethea believes his new team has a chance to be one of the league's top defenses. Last season, the Giants gave up the 10th-most yards in the league and allowed an average of 252.8 passing yards per game.

Nonetheless, the three-time Pro Bowler is optimistic that he, along with a couple other new faces, can be a boost to help this team reverse tides in 2019.

"For the defense? I think we could be one of the tops in the league," Bethea said. "Obviously, the guys that have been here have been in their second year under the defense. Myself, along with some other guys, being the first year coming in, plugging in, and making it happen."

Tags: Antoine Bethea, Jabril Peppers
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