Just three weeks left of the NFL season and the playoff picture in the NFC is still very much in flux. Both the Seahawks and the Panthers suffered losses this past week, but which hurts more than the other? In a battle in the blizzard, the Eagles were able to secure a huge win against the Lions, and coupled with a Cowboys loss, Philly is in the driver seat in the NFC East. Speaking of the NFC East, the Giants and the Redskins embarrassed themselves over this past week with blowout losses, while the cross-country Niners are inching closer to becoming the best of the best in the conference. Here are my NFC Power Rankings for week 14...

 1. Seattle Seahawks (11-2): Say what you want about the Seahawks. Yes, they lost to the Niners this past week. Yes, they are still at the top of my list in the NFC. Yes, they are still the BEST team in the NFC right now, and if Seattle can clinch home-field advantage this weekend, the odds of them booking a flight to New Jersey for the Super Bowl are very high. If not for a busted defensive play that setup the Niners in FG range late in the game, Seattle might be singing a different tune, but nonetheless they are still the team to beat in the NFC. Believe me, the Seahawks will learn from this road loss and only get better, because that is the type of team that they are. Ranking last week: 1

2. New Orleans Saints (10-3): It was an equal mix of offense and defense for the Saints on Sunday night as they routed the Panthers and took sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Drew Brees racked up 313 yards through the air with four touchdowns, while the Saints defense led by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, put a stranglehold on the Panthers offense, giving up just 239 yards and sending Carolina home with their first loss in eight games. Brees became the fifth quarterback to eclipse 50,000 career passing yards and the Saints look unstoppable at home, but it looks like they will be on the road if they make it to the NFC Championship game with Seattle having home-field advantage as the standings are right now. New Orleans will take on the Panthers one more time on the road in week 16, which could be a huge game if the Seahawks falter down the stretch. Rankings last week: 3

 

3. San Francisco 49ers (9-4): A huge win for the Niners at home as they kept their playoff hopes alive in the NFC by handing the Seahawks just their second loss of the season. It looks like the NFC playoffs will run through Seattle, but the Niners are doing everything they can to change that. Frank Gore had another big week, rushing for 110 yards on 17 carries, including a 51-yarder that set the Niners up in FG territory to drive home the game winner with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter. Colin Kaepernick didn't have perfect day, but he didn't have to; San Francisco was able to find a gritty win that was well deserved in my book. This group of guys is starting to look like the team that went to the Super Bowl last year....watch out NFC, the Niners might have your number. Ranking last week: 4

 

4. Carolina Panthers (9-4): An unfamiliar feeling for the Panthers as they were destroyed by the Saints on Sunday night by a final score of 31-13. Cam Newton and the Carolina offense stumbled all game against a stingy Saints defense, with Newton finishing the day with just 160 yards and a single touchdown. The defense has no answer for Drew Brees and the Saints attack, since not many teams do, but the 31 points allowed were the most all season, and a team that allows under 220 yards passing, gave up over 300 to the future Hall of Famer Brees. Can Carolina hang with the big boys in the NFC? A win against the Niners tells me yes, but the demolishing by the Saints, tells me no. Ranking last week: 2

 

5. Philadelphia Eagles (8-5): It was easily the most interesting game of the week due to the snowy weather conditions in Philly, the Eagles came away with a big win against the Lions to give them sole possession of first place in the NFC East. With poor visibility conditions and the field being covered in inches of snow, LeSean McCoy had himself a day running the ball, rushing for a franchise-record 217 yards on 29 carries with two critical touchdowns, one that tied the game and the other that put the Eagles in the lead. Nick Foles threw his first interception of the season after throwing 19 consecutive touchdowns, and the weather was easily to blame for his sloppiness. While neither team expected that much snow, it was the Eagles who were more prepared to deal with the wintery conditions and McCoy running was the only thing pretty about the game. Ranking last week: 6

 

 6. Chicago Bears (7-6): The Bears offense looked unstoppable against the Cowboys on Monday night, which isn't really saying much. Josh McCown had his best game of the season, throwing for 348 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions, while Matt Forte supplied a strong running game, racking up 102 yards on 20 carries in the cold tundra that is Chicago. With the combination of McCown, Forte, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffrey, this Bears team won't have a problem scoring; it is the defense we have to worry about. Ranking last week: 9

 

 7. Detroit Lions (7-6): The Lions have dealt with their fair share of snow in Detroit, but they were definitely not ready for the weather conditions they faced in Philly. With snow falling fast, the Lions were down even before the game started, as Reggie Bush re-aggravated a calf injury during warm-ups when he slipped on the field; and the day would only get worse for the Lions. While they had the lead with less than a quarter to go, the Lions couldn't find a way to stop LeSean McCoy and by the time the final whistle had blown, the Eagles had blown the doors off the game. It was a tough due for Matthew Stafford and the offense as they had a difficult time finding any momentum with such bad playing conditions. Stafford finished the game with just 148 yards, completing 10-of-25 passing with no touchdowns and no interceptions, but fumbled the ball a whopping FIVE times, coupled with backup Joique Bell's two fumbles; the offense was really fighting themselves for most of the game. Ranking last week: 5

 

8. Arizona Cardinals (8-5):  Carson Palmer picked apart the Rams defense and led his team to their eighth victory of the season, throwing for 269 yards with one touchdown, while completing 84% of his passes. The Cardinals defense, which has been a strong point all season, picked off Clemens twice, returning one for a touchdown, and held the Rams to just a single touchdown until a meaningless TD late in the fourth quarter. I said it a couple of weeks ago, this team is not going to be an easy out, come playoff time. Ranking last week: 8

 

9. Dallas Cowboys (7-6): Everyone knew how bad Dallas' defense is, but are they really THAT terrible? In the Monday night football game against the Bears, the Cowboys defensive unit allowed 490 yards, 45 points and didn't force a punt from Chicago the entire game. While everyone can blame Tony Romo, as they usually do, this one isn't on him; their offense had one heck of a game. The Cowboys find themselves in a tough spot as they are one game behind the NFC East leading Eagles with three games left. Looking at the schedule, games against the Packers and Redskins shouldn't be as difficult as once imagined; which would cue an division title matchup against Philly in the last week of the season. Ranking last week: 7

 

  10. Green Bay Packers (6-6-1): Matt Flynn heard a serious case of the boo-birds raining down from Lambeau Field at halftime as the Packers trailed by double-digits, but found a way to lead his team to victory against the lowly Falcons. Flynn was able to connect with eight different receivers, finishing with 248 yards and went 24-for-32 passing with one touchdown and one interception on the day, while the defense did a good job of holding Matt Ryan and Atlanta scoreless in the second half. Will Aaron Rodgers come back and somehow find a way to get the Pack into the playoffs? If anyone can do it, it's him. Ranking last week: 11

 

  11. New York Giants (5-8): The team that started the season with six straight losses has finally returned. Eli Manning and the Giants couldn't find the endzone until the third quarter, while their defense couldn't put a lid on Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense in a game that was over by halftime with San Diego up 24-0. Do the changes start at the top with GM Jerry Reese? Will Tom Coughlin be around next season? Has DC Perry Fewell and OC Kevin Gilbride sealed their fate? Sounds like it might be a fire-sale for Big Blue in the offseason. Ranking last week: 10

 

12. St. Louis Rams (5-8): Another blowout for the Rams as Kellen Clemens two interceptions (one returned for a TD) and 25 yards on 14 carries by Zac Stacy was about the only offensive contribution by St. Louis in their loss against Arizona. Questions exists on both sides of the ball, and even with Sam Bradford healthy behind center, this team needs some more weapons. Ranking last week: 12

 

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9): Mike Glennon and the Buccaneers only needed 90 yards through the air to seal a victory against the Bills on Sunday. Bobby Rainey had another stellar game on the ground, rushing for 127 yards on 22 carries; and racked up most of the yards on an 80-yard carry on the first drive of the game. The Tampa Bay defense was able to pick off E.J. Manual four times and held Buffalo to just two FG's. Ranking last week: 13

 

 14. Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1): The NFL world held their collective breathe as Adrian Peterson went down holding his leg late in the game, but to the hopes of many, an MRI the next day showed no ligament damage. AP might call it a day (see what I did there) and sit out the next couple of games since the Vikings season is down the drain anyway. Minnesota is another team in the race for the #1 draft pick in the draft and a chance at a top QB could be all but signed as of right now. Ranking last week: 14

 

15. Atlanta Falcons (3-10): The Falcons are poised for a very high draft pick this offseason and tanking the final three games might be useful to them. Their loss to the Packers this past weekend showed faults on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. It is tough to tell how the Falcons will rebuild once all of their players become healthy, while uncertainty definitely exists with the future of Hall-of-Famer Tony Gonzalez.  Ranking last week: 16

 

16. Washington Redskins (3-9): It doesn't get much worse for the Redskins as they were blown out by the Chiefs at home by a final score of 45-10. It is doubtful that head coach Mike Shanahan will be around next season, especially if he is thinking about shutting down RGIII for the remainder of the season. About 25 fans stuck around after halftime, I wonder how many will be around next season. Ranking last week: 15

 

Where do you think these teams rank?

Tags: New York Giants, nfc power rankings, panthers, saints, seahawks

New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) during the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Kevin Hoffman)
New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) during the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Kevin Hoffman)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

There was a time when the Giants didn't value defensive tackles nearly as much as they do defensive ends. They wanted a rotation of outside pass rushers and they were willing to spend money and picks to get it. Inside, they were content with a bunch of big bodies clogging up the running lanes - preferably players they developed themselves.

Of course, that hasn't been the same since Jerry Reese took over as general manager. He once made a big offer to Albert Haynesworth in 2009 and he pondered a big-money run at Ndamukong Suh in 2015. Five times in his 10 drafts he's taken a defensive tackle in the first three rounds. And last March he gave Damon Harrison a five-year, $46.25 million contract with $24 million guaranteed.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jay Bromley, Johnathan Hankins, Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 29, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes offensive lineman Garett Bolles (72) celebrates a touchdown by Utah Utes tight end Evan Moeai (not pictured) during the second half against the Washington Huskies at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Washington won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)
Oct 29, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes offensive lineman Garett Bolles (72) celebrates a touchdown by Utah Utes tight end Evan Moeai (not pictured) during the second half against the Washington Huskies at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Washington won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

SNY's weekly look at the top players on board for the Giants as they prepare to make the 23rd overall pick of the NFL draft on April 27, complete with who's rising and who's falling throughout the process and as the Jets' potential needs change:

1. OT Garett Bolles, Utah - The only consensus right now on the top offensive linemen in the draft is that there's probably not a Top 10-worthy pick. Otherwise there's no consensus on either which ones are the best and where the run might begin. It seems that many people believe Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk is the top talent, but the 6-5, 300-pound Bolles is the one more likely to still be around at 23. The scouting combine next week will help to sort out the O-line class. (Last week: 2)

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Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

There is no doubt about what the Giants' biggest offseason need is. They need to figure out a way to fix their offensive line.

With right tackle Marshall Newhouse heading to free agency (and not likely to return -- at least not as a starter) and left tackle Ereck Flowers having struggled so much the Giants are pondering their options with him, they could be in the market for two tackles. It seems a lock that they will try to go after at least one.

But which one? That's the problem. Neither the free agent market nor the top of the NFL draft are loaded with promising tackles. The best ones in free agency are either older, damaged, or play predominantly on the right side.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Marshall Newhouse, Ryan Clady, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Victor Cruz 00:00:17
Free agent WR Victor Cruz reportedly met with the Carolina Panthers only a week after his release from the New York Giants.

Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz had a meeting with the Carolina Panthers on Monday that "went well," according to USA Today's Art Stapleton.

The Giants released Cruz, 30, last week to save $7.5 million in salary. 

In his first season since missing 26 games due to two season-ending leg injuries, Cruz had 39 catches for 586 yards and one touchdown in 15 games.

He had been a Giants receiver since he joined the Giants in 2010 after he went undrafted.

Tags: Carolina Panthers, Victor Cruz
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 (Bruce Kluckhohn)
(Bruce Kluckhohn)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Adrian Peterson sent the hearts of Giants fans fluttering Wednesday night when he sent out the Tweet heard 'round the tri-state area. "The Giants been making some interesting moves," he wrote. And all of a sudden, many pictured him running through the Meadowlands, wearing blue.

But aside from the fact that the Giants haven't made many moves and that none of them have really been that interesting, there is the reality that Peterson -- a Hall of Fame-bound running back -- isn't a free agent. At least at the moment. Maybe he will be in the coming weeks, but even that is far from a guarantee.

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Paul Perkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants tight end Will Tye (45) runs the ball against Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis (28) during the first half at Heinz Field. (Jason Bridge)
New York Giants tight end Will Tye (45) runs the ball against Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis (28) during the first half at Heinz Field. (Jason Bridge)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Each week, SNY will put a current player, a position, or perhaps a draft or free agent target of the Giants in the spotlight as part of our regular offseason coverage. Last week we looked at DE Jason Pierre-Paul. This week we move on to a position of need for the Giants:

The tight ends.

It's been a long time since the Giants traded up a spot in the 2002 draft to take Jeremy Shockey, a player then-general manager Ernie Accorsi hailed as more of a "weapon" than just a tight end. He was a controversial person to be sure and probably hindered the early development of Eli Manning. But he was a dynamic player for the Giants - maybe the last truly dynamic tight end the Giants had.

Tags: Jerell Adams, Larry Donnell, Will Tye, Ralph Vacchiano
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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Brad Rempel)
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Brad Rempel)

Latest Update

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson sent out a cryptic tweet about the Giants on Wednesday.

The tweet is likely in reference to the release of veteran RB Rashad Jennings and WR Victor Cruz, moves that freed up $10 million in cap space for New York.

Peterson is set to receive a base salary of $11.75 million for the 2017 season. The running back's roster bonus of $6 million kicks in on March 11, meaning the Vikings have until then to make a decision on the 31-year old back. In addition to the base salary and roster bonus, Peterson will also earn a $250,000 workout bonus for participating in OTA practices and mandatory minicamps. If Minnesota keeps Peterson on his current contract, it would result in an $18 million cap hit.

Tags: Paul Perkins, Rashad Jennings, Victor Cruz
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 (Jeff Hanisch)
(Jeff Hanisch)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

SNY's weekly look at the top players on board for the Giants as they prepare to make the 23rd overall pick of the NFL draft on April 27, complete with who's rising and who's falling throughout the process and as the Giants' potential needs change:

1.) OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin - The Giants' need along the offensive line is obvious, and they are likely to pursue both a tackle and a guard this offseason as they attempt to upgrade the right side of their line. Going young and through the draft is always a good idea, and this 6-6, 314-pound left tackle gives them options. He could play left or right, which means they could move their incumbent (and struggling) left tackle Ereck Flowers. They could even move Flowers inside if they decide to add a free agent (like, perhaps, Andrew Whitworth), too. Scouts in general are not high on this class of offensive linemen, so the Giants could have their pick of several at their spot in the first round. (Last week: 2)

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Oct 8, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) in action during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. The Aggies defeat the Volunteers 45-38 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Oct 8, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) in action during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. The Aggies defeat the Volunteers 45-38 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

University of Tennessee DE Derek Barnett will be the Giants' pick in this year's NFL draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said in his second mock draft. Kiper had New York selecting Wisconsin T Ryan Ramczyk with the 23rd pick in his first mock draft.

"If you're shocked this isn't an offensive tackle, I don't think you'll be surprised by the end of April when you've heard plenty about the blocking talent in this class," Kiper said. "Barnett has been tremendously productive as a pass-rusher, and even if Jason Pierre-Paul is back, the Giants could use the help. If he's not, then a pass-rusher is a must."

Barnett had a school-record 32 sacks during his three years at Tennessee, including a career-high 13 this past season.

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New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates after recovering a fumble during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates after recovering a fumble during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Two years ago the Giants hit Jason Pierre-Paul with the "franchise tag" with the hopes that it would only be a place-holder until he agreed to a long-term deal. It almost happened, too, with talks that continued well into the summer - right up until his infamous fireworks accident on the 4th of July.

Then last year the Giants didn't use the tag on him when he was still recovering from his hand injuries and his value was obviously low, and it worked out when they lured him back for just $10 million and one year.

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul
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New York Giants tight end Will Tye (45) catches a pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn)
New York Giants tight end Will Tye (45) catches a pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Will Tye, the Giants starting tight end at the end of last season, will be returning for 2017 to at least compete for the job again.

Tye has re-signed with the Giants for one year and a salary of $615,000, NFL Players Association records show. He is one of three "exclusive rights" free agents re-signed by the Giants, joining the two whose deals were reported Tuesday -- tight end Matt LaCosse and defensive tackle Robert Thomas.

The Giants have declined to make the ERFA qualifying offer of a one-year, minimum-salary deal to two other ERFAs - receiver Ben Edwards (as reported by SNY on Tuesday) and fullback Nikita Whitlock.

Tags: Jerell Adams, Larry Donnell, Nikita Whitlock, Will Tye, Ralph Vacchiano
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Matt LaCosse had made a good impression as an undrafted rookie free agent. (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)
Matt LaCosse had made a good impression as an undrafted rookie free agent. (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants will undoubtedly be looking for help at tight end this offseason and they may need reinforcements at defensive tackle, too. But they've decided to bring back a couple of their own players at those positions to see if they can get any help from within.

Both tight end Matt LaCosse and defensive tackle Robert Thomas have re-signed with the Giants, according to NFL sources. Both were "exclusive rights" free agents, meaning all it took for the Giants to bring them back was to offer a minimum salary and a one-year deal.

For LaCosse, who spent all of last season on injured reserve, that's worth a 2017 salary of $465,000. For Thomas, his salary will be $540,000.

Meanwhile, the Giants have decided not to tender receiver Ben Edwards, another of their ERFAs, according to another NFL source. The 24-year-old missed all of last season with a torn ACL, after playing two games (and catching one pass) for them in 2015. The Giants have not ruled out inviting him to training camp or even mini-camp later in the spring if he hasn't signed elsewhere by then.

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 (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Giants cleared some cap room when they released veteran receiver Victor Cruz on Monday, but they also created a hole -- and not just in fans' hearts.

Even with diminished skills and production, Cruz was the Giants' third-best receiver last season and with him gone they need a replacement on the outside. They may give unreliable rookie Roger Lewis a shot to compete after his seven-catch, 97-yard, two-touchdown season. Or they could give an actual shot to veteran Tavarres King, who had two catches for 50 yards in the regular season before his 3-73-1 explosion in the Giants' playoff game.

But really, they can probably do better on the market if they're willing to pay the price. There are some good, young, and -- perhaps most importantly -- tall receivers available. Here's a look at some of the ones the Giants could turn to when the market opens to fill Cruz's shoes on Odell Beckham, Jr.'s other side...

Tags: Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Andrew Weber)
(Andrew Weber)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Victor Cruz will surely retire as a Giant someday, probably right before he's inducted into the team's Ring of Honor. It will be a very emotional moment and a celebration of his legacy. The Giants will be thrilled to welcome him back home.

But not today.

For now, the 30-year-old Cruz is intent on continuing his career, even though he knows the checkered history of former Giants trying to prolong their careers elsewhere. From Cruz's perspective he's just not done. In fact, since he's healthy for the first offseason in three years, he believes last season could turn out to be just the beginning of a late career revival...

Tags: Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz walks off the field after the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz walks off the field after the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

It was always impossible to root against Victor Cruz, right from the very beginning, when he was an NFL nobody in the summer of 2010, an undrafted longshot trying to make the New York Giants. His out-of-nowhere rocket to stardom has been one of the best Giants stories of the last seven years.

It was easy to root for him to succeed, whether he was a budding star or making it all the way back from injuries that ruined two years of his career. He was a great guy, always the pleasant, smiling kid out of Paterson, New Jersey, even as he starred in commercials, hit the fashion shows and traded texts with Jay Z. Even now, it was hard not to hold out hope the Giants would find a way to bring him back for one more season.

Tags: Paul Perkins, Rashad Jennings, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The NFL offseason may be off to a slow start, but things are surely about to pick up with cuts and contract restructures on their way, and with the scouting combine just two weeks away.

With that in mind, here is our weekly look at some of the biggest questions facing the Giants, what's new about them, where they stand on finding an answer, and if any of the issues have changed.

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Paul Perkins, Rashad Jennings, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

It has been a remarkable, hard-to-believe, storybook ride for Victor Cruz and the Giants since he burst onto the scene seven years ago. And no, it wasn't exactly a happy ending when he and running back Rashad Jennings were released by the Giants on Monday.

But most of the memories are happy. And, as Cruz said, those can never be taken away.

"It's been an amazing journey," Cruz said in a release from the Giants. "I pretty much grew up in front of this entire organization. The Giants fan base, the community, my hometown, my family. I grew up there. It's very much a family atmosphere and it's very much like leaving your family. That's what it feels like...

Tags: Paul Perkins, Rashad Jennings, Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) reacts after stopping the Philadelphia Eagles on fourth down during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) reacts after stopping the Philadelphia Eagles on fourth down during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

CB Eli Apple has been named to the NFL.com All-Rookie Team after his performance in the 2016 season.

Apple recorded 51 combined tackles with seven passes defended and an interception in 14 games during his rookie campaign. 

"Some thought the Giants reached for Apple in the draft, but I think he outplayed expectations, posting 51 tackles, a pick and a forced fumble. Apple looks like he'll be a cornerback in the NFL for a long time; he can play inside or outside," wrote NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt

Tags: Eli Apple, Landon Collins
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Nov 27, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) almost intercepts a pass intended for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman (19) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) almost intercepts a pass intended for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman (19) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

After the success of this past season, cornerback Janoris Jenkins would like to see the Giants keep the defense together for another season, he told The Record. 

In 2016, the Giants allowed the second fewest points per game (17.8) in the league and were third best in rushing yards allowed a contest (88.6). With this in mind, Jenkins would like to see the same group return. 

Tags: Janoris Jenkins
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New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) during game 16 of the NFL International Series against the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Statdium. (Kirby Lee)
New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) during game 16 of the NFL International Series against the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Statdium. (Kirby Lee)

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and safety Landon Collins were two of the six Giants listed among Pro Football Focus' top 101 players of 2016, NJ.com reported on Wednesday. Cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (30th) and Janoris Jenkins (40th), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (44th) and defensive end Olivier Vernon (71st) were also included on the list.

Collins (eighth) was the top-ranked Giant while Beckham was deemed to be the 51st best player this past season. Collins, Beckham and Jenkins were three of the four Giants selected to this year's Pro Bowl.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon
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Aug 14, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A detailed view of a New York Giants logo on the helmet during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Aug 14, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A detailed view of a New York Giants logo on the helmet during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

As John Lynch, the new GM of the San Francisco 49ers, and his new coach, Kyle Shanahan begin assembling their staffs, they have plucked two pieces off of the Giants.

Martin Mayhew will be leaving the Giants' front office to become a senior personnel executive in San Francisco, Lynch announced on Thursday. And Jeff Zgonina, who spent last year as the Giants' assistant defensive line coach, reportedly is leaving to become the defensive line coach on Shanahan's staff.

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Each week, SNY will put a current player, a position, or perhaps a draft or free agent target of the Giants in the spotlight as part of our regular offseason coverage. This week we begin with the intriguing figure that may hold the key to all of the Giants' offseason plans:

DE Jason Pierre-Paul.

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Loud Mouths on Victor Cruz 00:01:08
Loud Mouths weighs the pros and cons of bringing back the Giants' injury-plagued wideout.

The Loud Mouths crew discusses the pros and cons of the Giants bringing back WR Victor Cruz.

Tags: Victor Cruz
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Sep 3, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Eric Martin (53) and New York Giants linebacker Uani' Unga (47) exchange words during the second half at Gillette Stadium. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)
Sep 3, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Eric Martin (53) and New York Giants linebacker Uani' Unga (47) exchange words during the second half at Gillette Stadium. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

Uani 'Unga, who came out of nowhere to briefly become the Giants starting middle linebacker in 2015, officially became an ex-Giant on Wednesday when he was waived after a lost year.

The 29-year-old 'Unga was waived with a "failed physical" designation after spending the entire 2016 season on injured reserve. He was placed on the list after he was waived/injured in May following the team's rookie mini-camp. His injury was never disclosed.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Giants didn't just rebuild their team last season, they also helped rebuild Steve Spagnuolo's career.

The popular defensive coordinator, whose prior two years on the job were historically bad (with the Giants in 2015 and the Saints in 2012), earned rave reviews for the way he helped revive the Giants' defense last season. And as a result, the Giants gave him a two-year contract extension, according to a league source, to ensure he'd be back for more.

That move -- first reported by ESPN -- was really a foregone conclusion. "Spags" didn't even receive a nibble in the latest round of head coaching searches, so his job options were limited even though his defense went from 32nd in the league last season to 10th overall this season as the Giants allowed the second-fewest points in the league.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Alabama's O.J. Howard tries to get past Clemson's T.J. Green after a catch during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)  (David J. Phillip/AP)
Alabama's O.J. Howard tries to get past Clemson's T.J. Green after a catch during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

For the first time in three years the Giants will be picking outside the Top 10 of the NFL draft. In fact, they'll be in the bottom half of the first round for the first time since 2013. They're glad to be there, of course, picking 23rd thanks to their 11-5 record.

It just makes it a little more difficult to figure out who they're going to take.

It's early, of course - very early - and a lot can change during free agency. But here's a look at five players the Giants might have their eyes on in the first round of the NFL draft, which takes place on April 27. SNY will be taking a weekly look at this board and charting who is rising and falling throughout the combine and Pro Day season, and as the Giants' potential needs change:

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GEICO SportsNite: Victor Cruz 00:01:23
Victor Cruz speaks about his future with the Giants at the Thurman Munson Awards Dinner in New York.

Victor Cruz hasn't had any contact with the Giants in the month since their season ended. He didn't even have the standard exit interview with coach Ben McAdoo the day after the playoff loss.

Yet even though his future in New York hangs in the balance, Cruz has no plans to force the issue and start the conversation about whether they want him back next season. And if and when they do talk, he doesn't feel the need to pitch the Giants about his worth.

"There's no grand pitch," Cruz said Tuesday evening before he was honored at the 37th annual Thurman Munson Awards dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. "I mean they've known me for seven years. They know what I bring to the table. They know what type of person I am.

Tags: Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Scott Galvin)
(Scott Galvin)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Giants were huge spenders in free agency last March, doling out more than $200 million worth of contracts to defensive players alone. They have money to spend again this offseason, though not nearly as much.

How active will they be? That will be determined by what cuts they make (Victor Cruz, perhaps) and which of their own free agents they choose to re-sign (like Jason Pierre-Paul and/or Johnathan Hankins). They probably will have in the neighborhood of $35 million in cap room for both their own free agents and ones from other teams.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., Paul Perkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Super Bowl is over and the offseason has begun, meaning the Giants can start reshaping their roster in the hopes they can make a run at Super Bowl LII. And even though they went 11-5 and returned to the playoffs last season, there's a lot of work to be done.

So here are some of the biggest questions the Giants must answer this offseason. We'll check back in each week to see how the Giants are doing, whether any of the questions have been answered, and whether any have changed:

1.) How are they going to fix their offensive line?

Considering how their poor offense dragged them down this season, this is the Giants' most important question. They have a franchise quarterback in Eli Manning and one of the biggest weapons in the game in Odell Beckham, Jr.. If Manning could get better protection and a few holes could be open in the running game, maybe the offense could live up to the expectations.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Pugh, Larry Donnell, Marshall Newhouse, Olivier Vernon, Paul Perkins, Rashad Jennings, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Weston Richburg, Will Tye
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Licata vents after Falcons' loss 00:06:16
Falcons fan Sal Licata vents his frustrations after the Falcons' loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell of the Seahawks may forever be known for the single dumbest play call in Super Bowl history, when they called for a pass instead of a run from the 1 yard line at the end of Super Bowl XLIX, leading to a Malcolm Butler interception and handing the Patriots a championship.

But Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan of the Falcons gave that inexplicable decision a run for its money on Sunday night.

Their brain-frozen play calling with four minutes left in Super Bowl LI snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and gift-wrapped a championship opportunity to the Patriots again. In a span of three mind-boggling plays, they went from being well within range of a game-sealing field goal to punting the ball away and putting it back in Tom Brady's hands...

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 (Matt Rourke/AP)
(Matt Rourke/AP)

The Giants have opened at 25/1 odds to win Super Bowl LII, according to a list released by Bovada sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Among the Giants' NFC East rivals, the Cowboys have 9/1 odds (the second-best in the NFL), while the Redskins and Eagles are both 50/1.

The Patriots have the best odds at 5/1, with the Browns and 49ers (both 150/1) having the worst.

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 (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports Images)
(Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports Images)

Many current and former Giants -- including members of the teams that beat the Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI -- took to Twitter to react to the Patriots' 34-28 overtime win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI...

Click below to see the tweets

Tags: Damon Harrison, Eli Apple, Rashad Jennings
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GEICO SportsNite: FNNY on SB51 00:04:53
The guys on FNNY discuss what went wrong for the Falcons in the second half of the Super Bowl, as well as Tom Brady's place in NFL history.

What went wrong for the Falcons in the second half of the Super Bowl, and what is Tom Brady's place in NFL history?

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GEICO SportsNite: Super Bowl 00:01:31
Former Jet Chad Cascadden joins GEICO SportsNite to discuss the Patriots' exhilarating comeback Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Despite trailing 28-3 in the third quarter, Tom Brady and the Patriots scored 31 unanswered points, ending with James White's 2-yard touchdown rush in overtime as New England beat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28, to win Super Bowl LI.

Tags: Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots
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 (Don Wright)
(Don Wright)

Speaking publicly for the first time in a month, Odell Beckham Jr. said Sunday on ESPN he might have "regrets" about the day trip Giants receivers took to Miami the Monday before they lost to the Packers in the playoffs.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Here's a look at Super Bowl LI …

NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons (13-5) vs. AFC Champion New England Patriots (16-2)

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Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald speak to the media after being named co-winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award Saturday. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald speak to the media after being named co-winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award Saturday. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY: Eli Manning's value to the Giants has always gone beyond just football. It's also been about his leadership, his professionalism, and all his charity work behind the scenes.

On Saturday night, Manning was finally honored for all his good off-field work when he was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. He actually shared the award with Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, became the first Giants player in the 47-year history of the award to win it. 

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (David J. Phillip/AP)
(David J. Phillip/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

It was eight years ago today, Friday, that the Giants pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history and knocked off the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Then, four years and two days later in Super Bowl XLVI, the Giants did it to the Patriots again.

The Patriots are now in their seventh Super Bowl in the 16 seasons of the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady Era of dominance. They've won four of their first six. Their only two losses have come to the Giants. And while those two Giants teams were very different, despite having the same coach (Tom Coughlin) and quarterback (Eli Manning) the gameplan they used each time was largely the same.

Equally important was this: Both times the Giants went in completely unafraid...

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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Kurt Warner spent the 2004 season with the Giants. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Kurt Warner spent the 2004 season with the Giants. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Kurt Warner and Morten Andersen, who both spent a brief time of their NFL careers with the Giants, were named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday night, along with running backs LaDanian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis, defensive end Jason Taylor, safety Kenny Easley and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

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New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) during game 16 of the NFL International Series against the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Statdium. (Kirby Lee)
New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) during game 16 of the NFL International Series against the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Statdium. (Kirby Lee)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:  Landon Collins' second season in the NFL vaulted him to a status among the league's elite defenders. But he fell just short of winning the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award.

Collins, 23, was a finalist for the award that went to Khalil Mack, the linebacker/defensive end for the Oakland Raiders, at the NFL Honors ceremony in Houston on Saturday night. Mack had 11 sacks, an interception, three passes defensed and five forced fumbles during the season. He was also credited with 26 quarterback hits, which the NFL said was second in the league.

Of course, Collins had some outstanding numbers too. He had five interceptions - including one returned for a touchdown -- 13 passes defensed and four sacks as he helped the Giants go from the NFL's worst defense a year ago to one of the best in the league.

Tags: Landon Collins, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (AP)
(AP)

Jason Pierre-Paul has settled the lawsuit he filed against ESPN for posting his medical records, according to the NY Post.

Pierre-Paul "amicably resolved the pending litigation," his attorney, Mitchell Schuster, said.

A Miami federal judge had refused in August to dismiss the case, which stemmed from Pierre-Paul's 2015 fireworks accident.

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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) defends Washington Redskins corner back Josh Norman (24) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) defends Washington Redskins corner back Josh Norman (24) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Redskins CB Josh Norman continued his trash talking of Giants WR Odell Beckham prior to Super Bowl LI.

"S--t, when I'm going against an Odell Beckham, hell, I'm just trying to stay alive and not have this guy do some crazy s--t," Norman told Bleacher Report's Tyler Dunne in an interview about Falcons WR Julio Jones. "I'm looking over my shoulder like, 'What the f--k are you doing?'"

In their Week 17 matchup, Beckham caught 5 receptions for 44 yards while sitting out most of the second half as the Giants had already clinched the 5-seed.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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 (Vincent Carchietta (USA Today))
(Vincent Carchietta (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Victor Cruz reiterated Thursday that he wants to return to the Giants and even sounded like he understood he might need to take another pay cut to make it happen. But he also hinted that his willingness to reduce his salary might have limits this time around.

"Last year, coming off two injury-riddled seasons, I know that (a pay cut) was coming," Cruz told reporters at a Nickelodeon event in Houston. "Even this year I understand the business side of it and I understand what my numbers are, what I'm due to make next year. I understand all that stuff."

Tags: Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ben Mcadoo (Andy Clayton-King)
Ben Mcadoo (Andy Clayton-King)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY: The Giants undoubtedly underwent a remarkable turnaround this season, from 6-10 last year (and coming off three straight losing season) to 11-5. It was about as good a debut as anyone could have expected from rookie head coach Ben McAdoo.

And that's why, in an interview on WFAN on Wednesday, Giants running back Rashad Jennings said "When people talk about the Coach of the Year award, I'm wondering why nobody mentions my coach."

It's true, almost no one mentions McAdoo in connection with the NFL Coach of the Year award, which will be handed out Saturday night in Houston during the NFL Honors awards show. The reality is he's not going to win it and that's probably fair. There are several candidates with stronger cases to make for the awards.

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 (Brett Davis)
(Brett Davis)

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff thinks the Giants can be a Super Bowl contender next season.

"I always think Seattle. I like what Jerry Reese has done there in New York," Dimitroff told the NY Post about which teams could threaten the Falcons in the NFC next season. "We all have to go through those recovery times, right? There's been some rocky roads, and if you can pull through that, usually those organizations have a really good view of what was happening during those tough times."

The Giants finished 10-6 this season, losing to the Packers in the wild-card round in Green Bay...

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New York Giants kicker Josh Brown (3) watches his field goal during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Danny Wild)
New York Giants kicker Josh Brown (3) watches his field goal during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Danny Wild)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Josh Brown insisted the NFL "has known everything" about his domestic violence history, and he's upset that his own admissions in his private journals were "used against me" as the Giants and the NFL pushed him out of the league.

In his first interview since last August, just after the NFL announced his one-game suspension stemming from a year-old domestic violence arrest, the 37-year-old kicker seemed most upset that his journals - first released by SNY.tv in October - became public and are now evidence in the NFL's investigation. Despite admitting to physically abusing his now ex-wife Molly in those journals, he insisted to ABC's Good Morning America that he never actually hit her.

Those journals, he said, were his attempt to "heal".

Tags: Josh Brown, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) during warm ups before a game against Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) during warm ups before a game against Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray)

Giants WR Odell Beckham finished fourth in the NFL's list of top merchandise sellers from March through November 2016, the NFL Players Association announced on Thursday.

Patriots QB Tom Brady was the top player in all merchandise sales among NFL players, followed by Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot and WR Dez Bryant.

Beckham ranked fourth overall in merchandise thanks to the strong sales precense in numerous categories, including jerseys for pets.

The star wide receiver trailed only Brady in overall jersey sales. 

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.

GEICO SportsNite: Josh Brown 00:00:25
Former Giants kicker Josh Brown will address domestic abuse allegations against him on Good Morning America.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

Josh Brown, the disgraced ex-Giants kicker, is looking to get back into the NFL, and he began his campaign by insisting that he "never" hit his wife.

"The world now thinks that I beat my wife," Brown said. "I never hit her. Never once."

That is a stunning claim that would seem to run counter to Brown's own words that he wrote in his own personal journals, which SNY.TV and other outlets published in October. In those journals, the kicker wrote that "I have physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally been a repulsive man" and he circled the words "I have abused my wife."

Tags: Josh Brown, Ralph Vacchiano
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NFC wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants and AFC running back Melvin Gordon of the San Diego Chargers talk prior to the game at Citrus Bowl. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)
NFC wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants and AFC running back Melvin Gordon of the San Diego Chargers talk prior to the game at Citrus Bowl. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)

Odell Beckham Jr.'s behavior during Pro Bowl week was praised by NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, ESPN reported on Wednesday.

"I would be remiss not to acknowledge how engaging and professional Odell Beckham Jr. was during the entire week of the Pro Bowl," Vincent wrote in a letter obtained by ESPN. "By far and away, he represented the New York Football Giants and the NFL with great poise, congeniality, and professionalism."

The letter was sent to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Giants owner John Mara, general manager Jerry Reese, coach Ben McAdoo, director of player development David Tyree and Beckham's agent, Zeke Sandhu.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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