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Michael Thomas

 (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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Sep 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants punter Riley Dixon (9) punts the ball during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Sep 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants punter Riley Dixon (9) punts the ball during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

For the first time in over 23 years, the Giants will not have a player represent them in the 2020 Pro Bowl, as zero members of Big Blue were given the invite to go down to Orlando this season.

The last time the Giants didn't send anyone to the Pro Bowl was back in 1996--Saquon Barkley, who was named a fourth alternate at running back for the NFC, wasn't even born yet when that happened.

In addition to Barkley, Riley Dixon was named a fourth alternate at punter for the NFC.

Tags: Landon Collins, Michael Thomas, Olivier Vernon, Riley Dixon, Saquon Barkley
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Oct 10, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur watches a play against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Oct 10, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur watches a play against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

If the Giants are without strong safety Jabrill Peppers, head coach Pat Shurmur has an idea of how the defense will look Sunday when New York (2-9) hosts the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers (8-3).

Ahead of Sunday's 1 p.m. kickoff at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Shurmur said Wednesday that the Giants are prepared to enter rookie Julian Love and veteran Michael Thomas into the safety rotation.

"We'll have a combination with Love back there and Michael Thomas, so we'll fill in," Shurmur said. "I thought Love did a good job, first extended action last week and so he displayed a lot of the things that we thought he might have. So we'll just try to build on that if, for some reason, Jabrill can't make it."

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Jabril Peppers, Julian Love, Michael Thomas, Sam Beal
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Nov 10, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) avoids the tackle of New York Jets linebacker Frankie Luvu (50) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 10, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) avoids the tackle of New York Jets linebacker Frankie Luvu (50) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Coming into the season, sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine became a quick favorite, someone whom the fans wanted to see make an impact in his rookie year. Most of that stemmed from the tragedy he endured just after getting drafted, when he and his best friend Dwane Simmons were shot with Simmons' wound unfortunately becoming fatal. 

But there is also the fact that Ballentine was a Division II prospect that became the first player ever from Washburn University to be drafted into the NFL. He has had to battle many ups and downs to get to this point in the season, and the Giants are beginning to reward that hard work. 

On Monday Night Football against the Cowboys, Ballentine was placed in as slot corner for Grant Haley. They felt a switch was needed and Ballentine has been doing everything asked of him, going all the way back to the preseason where he was making plays at practice left and right. And that switch stayed the same against the Jets two weeks ago, where he played 44 defensive snaps compared to 53 against Dallas. 

Tags: Corey Ballentine, Michael Thomas, Scott Thompson
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The 2019 New York Giants' defense will look a lot like the 2015-2017 Arizona Cardinals' defense.

Second-year Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher oversaw the Cardinals' defense for three years, which included two seasons of top-10 finishes in yards and points against. When the unit was at its best in 2015, a year that saw the Cardinals make the NFC Championship Game, it was known for being an attacking group that blitzed from all angles and stopped the run.

Although Bettcher did not see the same success in his first year as Giants' defensive coordinator, he has brought over a healthy amount of ex-Cardinals he coached in Arizona. After signing Kareem Martin and Josh Mauro last year, the Giants added three more Redbirds this spring: linebacker Markus Golden, safety Antoine Bethea and defensive lineman Olsen Pierre. Although Mauro has moved on, Martin is still around, giving the Giants' defense a distinct Arizona feel.

Tags: Michael Thomas
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May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants corner back Sam Beal answers questions from media during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants corner back Sam Beal answers questions from media during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Of the many position battles at Giants training camp, the cornerbacks competition may be the most intriguing to watch this season. 

Giants GM Dave Gettleman brought in three rookies in the 2019 NFL Draft, all of which will be vying for a starting role opposite veteran incumbent Janoris Jenkins.

The biggest spotlight will shine on Georgia product Deandre Baker, who the Giants traded back into the first round to snag. There is also Notre Dame's Julian Love -- arguably one of the top steals in the Draft -- and Washburn's Corey Ballentine, who will certainly be a fan favorite to make the team after the unfortunate events that saw his best friend shot and killed, while he was left in the hospital as well. 

Tags: Janoris Jenkins, Michael Thomas, Scott Thompson
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New York Giants quarterback draft pick Daniel Jones looks to pass during a drill during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Sarah Stier/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants quarterback draft pick Daniel Jones looks to pass during a drill during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Sarah Stier/USA TODAY Sports)

For as many headlines as the Giants' pick of quarterback Daniel Jones made on draft night, he's just one of the players now.

"You don't say anything. He doesn't say anything. He comes into work every single day," safety Michael Thomas said, according to ESPN's Jordan Raanan, about how the team is accepting him. "So, nah, Daniel Jones is one of our teammates now. If he can help us win, he'll help us win like every other draft pick."

Tags: Eli Manning, Kyle Lauletta, Michael Thomas
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Nov 18, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Corey Coleman (19) is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis (33) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 18, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Corey Coleman (19) is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis (33) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The 2019 NFL Draft is over, and the Giants have made all of their picks to bring in prospects they believe can impact them for years to come. It will be fun to watch as these rookies join the veterans at camp this preseason to see who will earn a spot on the 53-man roster, and who will be starting at the end of the day. 

Between the new rookies and veterans, here are some position battles to watch in the new year...

DEPTH RECEIVERS

Tags: Cody Latimer, Corey Coleman, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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New York Giants cornerback Curtis Riley intercepts a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants cornerback Curtis Riley intercepts a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants lost another safety on Friday when Curtis Riley tweeted he was joining the Raiders.

While the Giants acquired Jabrill Peppers in the blockbuster Odell Beckham Jr. trade earlier this month, their secondary took a massive hit after infamously not placing the franchise tag on Landon Collins, letting him walk and eventually sign a six-year deal with the Washington Redskins.

Tags: Curtis Riley, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, Michael Thomas
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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Fitzgerald Toussaint is tackled by New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon and safety Landon Collins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Fitzgerald Toussaint is tackled by New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon and safety Landon Collins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

INDIANAPOLIS -- If there's one thing that everyone in the Giants organization seems to agree on, it's that they lack playmakers on defense. With a few more, they've reasoned, they could've held on to win a few more games and their offseason conversation would be much different.

So why, then, do they seem like they're about to let their two best defensive playmakers walk away?

Tags: Curtis Riley, Landon Collins, Lorenzo Carter, Michael Thomas, Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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