SNY NFL Insider

Ralph Vacchiano

Ralph Vacchiano, award-winning sports reporter and columnist, joined SNY in 2016 as its NFL Insider. Vacchiano will cover the Giants and Jets beats for SNY.tv and be a regular contributor to "Daily News Live" and "GEICO SportsNite." Vacchiano comes to SNY following 15 years as the New York Giants beat writer and columnist for the New York Daily News.

 

Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Vacchiano graduated from Syracuse University in 1991 and began his professional career covering the Buffalo Bills for the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and later covered the Giants and Jets for the North Jersey Herald & News in Passaic, N.J.. During his 19 years at the Daily News, he also covered the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils (1997-2001), and in 2008 he wrote his first book, Eli Manning: The Making of a Quarterback (Skyhorse Publishing).

 

Vacchiano lives with his wife, Kara, and his daughter, Alexandra, in West Caldwell, N.J.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets only started their rebuilding project during free agency, and it's clearly far from finished. There is work to be done in several key areas, including at cornerback, receiver, and along the offensive line.

New GM Joe Douglas has eight draft picks to finish that work, including four valuable selections in the first two days of the draft. There's still a month to go before the first pick is made on April 23, but here's one look at how Douglas' selections could go in SNY's first Jets 7-round Mock Draft:

First round (11th overall) - Alabama OT Jedrick Wills

There is a very good argument for taking a receiver here, especially since it's possible no receiver will come off the board in the Top 10 picks. Taking the top-rated prospect at a position of need will be enticing.

Tags: Chris Herndon, Jordan Jenkins, Le'Veon Bell, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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It's been more than two weeks since the free-agent market opened, and Jadeveon Clowney is still unsigned. That's why the top defensive player available has reportedly already dropped his asking price significantly. And some think he may do it again.

But the reality is he's going to have to drop that price a heck of a lot more if he's going to really draw the interest of the Giants or the Jets.

Tags: Avery Williamson, Brian Winters, Jordan Jenkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When Joe Douglas first met Sam Darnold's parents at a preseason game last August, he did his best to reassure them that their son was in good hands. He knew Darnold was the Jets' most precious commodity. So he vowed their kid would be treated that way, too.

"I promised them I was going to do everything in my power to take care of Sam with protection and playmakers," Douglas said in a conference call on Wednesday. "I think we still have a lot to do in both those regards."

Yes they do -- especially when it comes to finding playmakers to help make the Darnold-run offense go.

Tags: Chris Herndon, Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Douglas DeFelice)
(Douglas DeFelice)

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Yannick Ngakoue clearly doesn't want to be a Jacksonville Jaguar, nor does he want to play under the $19.3 million franchise tag. He even scolded his team on Twitter on Tuesday for preventing him from "taking care of his family" and begged them "Let's move on."

So yes, teams are circling to see if the Jags have had enough and are willing to trade their 25-year-old pass-rushing star. At the moment, there's no indication that they are, but things could always change. And if it does, one thing is clear about this situation:

Trading for Ngakoue is going to cost a lot.

Tags: Avery Williamson, Brian Winters, Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 16, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) takes the field for warmups before a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 16, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) takes the field for warmups before a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets haven't had a true, No. 1 receiver since 2015, when Brandon Marshall had his last dominant season. He was the last Jets receiver to have 1,000 yards, and it's not clear they have one that's even capable of doing that now.

That's a problem, especially in this pass-happy era. Because while it's important that GM Joe Douglas is rebuilding the offensive line, quarterback Sam Darnold still needs weapons to make the Jets' offense run. He does still have Jamison Crowder, but his most dangerous receiver was Robby Anderson, and he's now in Carolina. And Anderson's replacement, Breshad Perriman, hasn't even combined for 1,000 yards in the last two years.

So while Crowder and Perriman are a good start, the Jets are still lacking a game-breaker -- a dynamic playmaker who can change defensive strategy and become Darnold's go-to guy. With none left in the free-agent pool, though, and the Jets still likely to take an offensive lineman in the first round of the draft, Douglas may have to get creative to find the No. 1 that Darnold needs.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) warms up before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) warms up before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

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Dave Gettleman stunned the NFL back on April 20, 2016 when he did what many thought was unthinkable. He had an All-Pro cornerback, generally considered one of the best in the NFL, on an ascending team coming off a loss in Super Bowl 50. And he had him locked up for the next season with the franchise tag.

Then, he pulled that tag right out from under Josh Norman's feet.

Gettleman's decision to rescind the franchise tag that day was bold, bizarre, and almost universally criticized. But from Gettleman's view, as the Carolina Panthers general manager, it was a responsible and necessary thing to do.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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Here's a player-by-player report card for the Giants' free agent signings so far


CB James Bradberry (three years, $45 million, $31.8 million guaranteed)

The Giants needed big-time help at this spot after dumping Janoris Jenkins in December, and they got arguably the second-best corner on the market at a somewhat reasonable price.

Bradberry is big (6-foot-1, 212 pounds), fast (4.45 40-yard dash), and he'll be a big help for an otherwise young secondary that includes last year's first-rounder DeAndre Baker and Sam Beal. If they were going to spend "big" money, it had to be either at corner or pass-rusher, and once most of the top pass-rushers were tagged, they wisely got aggressive here.

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Janoris Jenkins, Leonard Williams, Sam Beal, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Joe Douglas/Justin Jefferson
Joe Douglas/Justin Jefferson

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The Jets have eight draft picks, including four in the first two days of the draft. That, of course, includes the third-rounder they got from the Giants in the Leonard Williams trade.

Considering how many holes they have to fill after their slow trip through the free agent market, they certainly can put those picks to good use. Exactly how they'll do that is hard to know with one month still to go until the draft starts.

But here's an early projection, based on the team's needs, what sources have said about players they might like, and what scouts have said about the value of certain players in the draft...

Tags: Bless Austin , Brian Poole, Jamison Crowder, Leonard Williams, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dave Gettleman/Cesar Ruiz
Dave Gettleman/Cesar Ruiz

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The Giants have 10 draft picks, thanks to the three compensatory picks they earned, but only three of those will come in the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft. For a team with many needs still to fill, it puts a premium on those selections in the first three rounds.

With a month until the draft, it's still hard to know exactly what the Giants will do and how the draft will shake out. But here's an early projection, based on the team's needs, what sources have said about players they might like, and what scouts have said about the value of certain players in the draft.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Jon Halapio, Julian Love, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Here's a player-by-player report card for the Jets' free agent signings so far:


OT George Fant (three years, $23.7 million, $13.7 million guaranteed)

Joe Douglas' first free-agent signing as Jets GM was a bit of a shocker, giving a huge pay day to Seattle's backup tackle. It's a gamble, for sure, but Fant is huge (6-foot-5, 322 pounds), powerful, and he has started 24 games over the last four seasons (He missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL).

Tags: Brian Poole, Jonotthon Harrison, Jordan Jenkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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Robby Anderson always considered himself a No. 1 receiver, even if few others did. The Jets certainly valued his speed and his potential, and they seemed pleased with the improvement they saw towards the end of last season.

But they never viewed him as their No. 1 in the past or for the future. So losing him to the Carolina Panthers isn't necessarily a big deal.

The real big deal is the problem they're going to have replacing him.

Tags: Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets GM Joe Douglas and Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)
Jets GM Joe Douglas and Giants GM Dave Gettleman (Treated Image by SNY)

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The good teams use free agency to fill needs, which theoretically frees them up to take the best available player in the draft. It doesn't always work that way, of course, because teams tend to have plenty of needs.

But what they do in free agency definitely impacts their choices in the draft a month later. So now that free agency is one-week old, and most of the top players have signed, here's a look at where the Top 11 picks in the NFL Draft are likely to stand:

1. Cincinnati Bengals - LSU QB Joe Burrow

Absolutely nothing has changed. They avoided the Quarterback Carousel, as expected, despite the plethora of big names spinning around. And even though players like Jameis Winston and Cam Newton are still available, they continue to resist temptation. That's because they are laser-focused on the best quarterback in the draft. They may get a few offers from teams looking to move up and grab him, but it's almost a lock that the Bengals will stay right where they are and pick the man everyone knows they're going to take.

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Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman uring the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman uring the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Quarterbacks have always been the key to whether the Giants will be able to trade down in the first round of the NFL Draft, and whether any offers will even be tempting. Teams without a franchise quarterback can get desperate. That's why quarterbacks always make the prices go way up.

This year, there are three generally considered to be at the top of the class, but only one team ahead of the Giants -- the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 1 -- seeming like a lock to take one. And with the quarterback-needy Miami Dolphins positioned right behind the Giants at No. 5, it puts Big Blue in the sweet spot for teams looking to move up.

Or so it seems.

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Robby Anderson
Robby Anderson

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The more people around the NFL fell in love with the large group of receivers in the draft, the more they warned about what might happen in free agency. They knew Robby Anderson was looking for a big payday, but they increasingly doubted it was going to happen.

So far, it appears they're right.

Tags: Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Joe Douglas
Joe Douglas

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Jets general manager Joe Douglas told anyone who would listen that he was going to focus on rebuilding the offensive line this offseason -- and boy, did he ever. Four of the six free agents he signed from other teams were offensive linemen, and he brought back one from last year's Jets, too.

And that's great. The Jets' line should be better and stronger and deeper in 2020, which means more protection for quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Le'Veon Bell. The Jets' offense will be better, and obviously that's important.

But what about everything else Douglas still has to do?

Tags: Brian Poole, Jamison Crowder, Jordan Jenkins, Josh McCown, Le'Veon Bell, Markus Golden, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian, Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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In some ways, Dave Gettleman went for quantity over quality during his free-agent shopping spree last week. For the most part, instead of getting the most expensive players on the market, he spread his money out so he could fill some of the Giants' many needs.

And he certainly did. He filled a big hole at cornerback, two at linebacker, and added a right tackle, all while also finding a backup quarterback, a special teams ace, and a blocking tight end. He also re-signed his kicker, the Giants' best special teamer, and -- though not everyone loves this move -- insured the Giants will get at least a full year out of Leonard Williams after his controversial trade.

In the process, Gettleman has used almost all of the Giants' $72.7 million in cap space. The exact number is hard to figure until the details of all the contracts are known, but he seems to have only about $7 million left based on the contracts and contract numbers SNY has obtained. He'll actually need to create some more space with either cuts or contract restructures to sign the Giants' draft picks and keep enough money as an in-season reserve.

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Janoris Jenkins, Leonard Williams, Sam Beal, Ralph Vacchiano
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The start of free agency has been a bit quieter than many expected it would be for the Jets. They took the important first steps towards rebuilding their offensive line, and brought back slot cornerback Brian Poole, too.

So far, though, that's it.

The official numbers aren't in on all of their new contracts yet, but it's believed the Jets have about $25 million or so left to spend under the NFL's $198.2 million salary cap. And there are several veterans they could easily cut to create another $20 million in room.

Tags: Brian Winters, Jordan Jenkins, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 15, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Jets helmet on the sideline against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  (Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 15, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Jets helmet on the sideline against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets will be allowing their season ticket holders to defer payment on their season tickets due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a team source.

Though the details have not been announced, the Jets have been planning to do this for several days, due to the seriousness of the pandemic. A letter is expected to go out to ticket holders soon. The Jets have a rolling installment plan, and it wasn't immediately clear how long those payments could be delayed.

The Giants announced a similar deferral program earlier on Wednesday. It is expected that several other NFL teams, if not all of them, will soon follow suit.

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Jets GM Joe Douglas
Jets GM Joe Douglas

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From the first day he arrived at Jets headquarters, Joe Douglas made it clear his priority was fixing the Jets' offensive line. He inherited a mess, he could obviously see it, and he knew cleaning it up it was his most important job.

"You guys know how I feel about the offensive line," the Jets GM said at the scouting combine in February. "It's hard to have a good team without one."

The Jets' line isn't yet good enough to power their team, but as promised, Douglas certainly took steps in that direction during the opening days of free agency. He took a flier on tackle George Fant, re-signed the Jets' best lineman in guard Alex Lewis, and landed the best center on the market in ex-Bronco Connor McGovern.

Tags: Brian Winters, Jonotthon Harrison, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants GM Dave Gettleman
Giants GM Dave Gettleman

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When it comes to NFL free agency, $72 million sure ain't what it used to be.

All it took was 36 hours, a handful of players, and one moderate splash into the free-agent pool, and the Giants managed to use up just about all of their available space under the $198.2 million salary cap. They began with $72.7 million in room, according to OverTheCap.com. And based on contract figures provided to SNY by multiple NFL sources, the Giants have used approximately $62.6 million so far.

That leaves them with about $10 million left to spend. And considering GM Dave Gettleman had spoken of leaving a $20 million "cushion" for draft picks, mid-season replacements and possibly in-season contract extensions, it means the Giants' foray into free agency is basically done.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dave Gettleman hasn't done a cannonball into the free-agent pool. He hasn't thrown around the real big, headline-grabbing money (yet). He hasn't badly overspent to fill a need.

What he's done, in fact, is the opposite of how the Giants approached free agency in 2016, the last time they had tons of cap room to buy new players. He's spent sensibly, found bargains, and hasn't weighed the team down with long, expensive contracts.

And in free agency, that's what the real good teams do.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Tom Brady
Tom Brady

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On the first day of free agency, the Jets gave a $30 million contract to a reserve offensive lineman while some of the other top players they were eyeing signed elsewhere. They went to bed knowing they had a lot of work to do to emerge as winners in free agency.

Then they woke up and found out they had already won.

The news that Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots, which he announced on social media on Tuesday morning, did what no amount of free-agent money could possibly have done for the Jets, Dolphins and Bills. It opened a door that has been nailed shut for nearly two decades. It cleared a path for one of those three teams to win the AFC East.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Greg Van Roten (Bob Donnan)
Greg Van Roten (Bob Donnan)

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The Jets entered free agency figuring to be players for many of the top offensive linemen on the market. But just hours after the negotiating window opened, many of those linemen are gone.

That's not good news for the Jets, who were unable to sign any of the top tackles or guards on the board -- at least not yet. So with guards Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney franchise tagged, guard Graham Glasgow signing with the Denver Broncos and right tackle Jack Conklin signing with the Cleveland Browns, where will the Jets turn?

They do still intend to sign free agent offensive linemen, according to a source, and one of their new targets is Carolina guard Greg Van Roten. They also have an interest in Stefan Wisniewski, who played for the Chiefs last season, according to a report in The Athletic. Both are 30-year-old veterans and obviously aren't the young linemen Jets GM Joe Douglas was hoping to find. But both would provide an upgrade to an offensive line that was a mess last season.

Tags: Brian Winters, Ralph Vacchiano
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Packers LB Blake Martinez (Raj Mehta)
Packers LB Blake Martinez (Raj Mehta)

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For anyone old enough to remember the days of Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks, the Giants linebacking corps has been the source of great frustration in recent decades. It has ranged mostly from mediocre to awful, with only occasional interruptions.

It sounds like that may be about to change.

The Giants have made it known they are very serious about upgrading at linebacker, and they're willing to spend (to a point) to do it, multiple NFL sources told SNY on Monday. They had expressed some level of interest in many of the top linebackers on the free agent market -- particularly the inside linebackers. And they were shopping around outside linebackers, too.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 13, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) motions in the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High.  (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)
Oct 13, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) motions in the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Veteran cornerback Chris Harris said the door has been "pretty much" closed on his return to Denver.

That door could soon be opening for him with the Jets.

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Graham Glasgow
Graham Glasgow

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The Jets were planning to be big players in the free-agent guard market, and had New England's Joe Thuney high on their list.

On Monday, the Patriots surprised everyone by using the franchise tag on Thuney instead.

That shocking move essentially took one of the top two free agent guards off the market just hours before the NFL's free agent negotiating period began. It also had a huge ripple effect on the Jets, who were serious about signing Thuney. They now plan to focus their attention on free agent guard Graham Glasgow, according to a source.

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Dec 2, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas (2) celebrates a field goal against the Chicago Bears with New York Giants punter Riley Dixon (9) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 2, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas (2) celebrates a field goal against the Chicago Bears with New York Giants punter Riley Dixon (9) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

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Aldrick Rosas took a step back last year, following his first Pro Bowl season in 2018. But he's definitely still in the Giants' plans.

That's why the Giants have placed a second-round tender on the restricted free agent, according to an NFL source. The cost of that is approximately $3.3 million for the 2020 season. The 25-year-old Rosas can still solicit offers from other teams, but the Giants would have the right to match and would get a second-round pick as compensation if they don't.

Rosas was one of two remaining restricted free agents the Giants have to make decisions on by 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The other is center Jon Halapio, who appears unlikely to be tendered as he recovers from a torn Achilles he suffered in the season finale. The Giants like Halapio and it is likely they'll re-sign him to a one-year, minimum deal once he can pass a physical, which would allow him to come to camp to compete for the starting center job.

Tags: Aldrick Rosas, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dave Gettleman swore his "thick rhino hide" was tough enough to handle the criticism he'd get if he let Leonard Williams simply walk away for nothing.

But the world will never know.

The Giants, as expected, placed the franchise tag on the 25-year-old Williams on Monday, the team announced. That has long been the Giants' plan, multiple sources said, since the moment they acquired him from the Jets in October. They did try to sign him to a long-term contract, but sources said they were never close to making that a reality.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Tim Fuller)
(Tim Fuller)

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The NFL players narrowly voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement that guarantees them more revenue, more teams in the playoffs, and a 17-game regular season.

It also could guarantee the Jets a better receiving corps this year.

Now that the CBA has officially passed, NFL teams will no longer be able to use both the franchise and transition tag this offseason -- something they would've been able to do in the final year of the old CBA if the new one had been voted down. That's a particular problem for the Cowboys, who were reportedly considering tagging both quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper.

Tags: Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 27, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive lineman Joe Thuney (62) during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports (Stew Milne)
Oct 27, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive lineman Joe Thuney (62) during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports (Stew Milne)

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It has been nine months since the Jets hired Joe Douglas as their general manager, but he's yet to have a chance to really leave his mark on the team.

On Monday, that will finally begin to change.

Tags: Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 8, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Cory Littleton (58) lines up during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)
Sep 8, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Cory Littleton (58) lines up during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Giants GM Dave Gettleman has finally seemed to embrace the obvious, that the Giants are not contending right now. They are rebuilding. And coming off a 4-12 season - their third straight with double-digit losses - they have a lot of rebuilding to do.

For starters, their entire defense is a mess, though they do have plenty of young players with promise. They are also still trying to fix an offensive line that was supposed to be Gettleman's priority when he arrived two years ago.

The good news is they have nearly $80 million in salary cap space to use when free agency begins next week. The bad news is that free agents are often overpriced, and the Giants learned the hard way in 2016 that they have to be smart with their spending. They also do have the fourth overall pick in the draft and 10 picks to use overall. So they certainly have the ammunition to get things done.

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Ralph Vacchiano
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The NFL loves the spectacle, the crowds, the TV ratings and the money that are all associated with the NFL Draft. It loves the image of a wide-eyed, happy, young football player strutting across the stage and greeting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with a big hug.

 

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL loves the spectacle, the crowds, the TV ratings and the money that are all associated with the NFL Draft. It loves the image of a wide-eyed, happy, young football player strutting across the stage and greeting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with a big hug.

 

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Feb 1, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; General overall view of NFL golden shield logo at the NFL Honors show at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; General overall view of NFL golden shield logo at the NFL Honors show at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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The Giants and Jets are sitting on $150 million in salary cap space as they get ready to rebuild their struggling teams. And they will be free to start doing that on Monday afternoon.

Maybe.

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Feb 1, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; General overall view of NFL golden shield logo at the NFL Honors show at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; General overall view of NFL golden shield logo at the NFL Honors show at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants and Jets are sitting on $150 million in salary cap space as they get ready to rebuild their struggling teams. And they will be free to start doing that on Monday afternoon.

Maybe.

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The Giants and Jets both pulled their coaches and scouts off the road on Thursday, due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

And there are even bigger changes likely to come.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets and Giants both pulled their coaches and scouts off the road on Thursday, due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

And there are even bigger changes likely to come.

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It was Jan. 2, 2019, when Dave Gettleman uttered the phrase that became cemented in his legacy. He was asked about Odell Beckham Jr. and the rumors swirling that the Giants intended to trade him, just four months after giving him a $95 million deal.

"We didn't sign him to trade him," the Giants GM said, "if that's what you're asking."

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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In the span of one day, bouncing between two shows on the same network, Robby Anderson went from sounding like he expected to be back with the Jets, to sounding like he was already halfway out the door.

But the truth is that his situation, with just a week until the free-agent market opens, hasn't really changed much at all.

Anderson was right when he said on Tuesday that the Jets "definitely want me back," but they only want him back if the price is right. And Anderson knows that when free agency opens next Wednesday he could be the top receiver available, which could make his price very, very high.

Tags: Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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The Giants and Jets have both made big-money investments in cornerbacks over the last four years, only to get less than satisfying returns. Still, both may be poised to do it again next week.

And they seem to be targeting the same ones.

There could be a Giants vs. Jets showdown brewing for the services of the top corners since both local teams have expressed some level of interest in free agents Byron Jones and James Bradberry, according to NFL sources. They've both also signaled that their interest is real and that -- to a point -- they are willing to spend.

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Sam Beal, Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants and Jets have both made big-money investments in cornerbacks over the last four years, only to get less than satisfying returns. Still, both may be poised to do it again next week.

And they seem to be targeting the same ones.

There could be a Giants vs. Jets showdown brewing for the services of the top corners since both local teams have expressed some level of interest in free agents Byron Jones and James Bradberry, according to NFL sources. They've both also signaled that their interest is real and that -- to a point -- they are willing to spend.

Tags: DeAndre Baker, Sam Beal, Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 3, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Dec 3, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One day after the Washington Redskins told left tackle Trent Williams he could seek a trade, the Jets have joined the line of teams interested in making a deal.

According to an NFL source, they have informed Williams' camp of their interest in the 31-year-old seven-time Pro Bowler. That interest, the source said, is both in trading for Williams and at least talking to him about a new contract.

Whether it goes anywhere from there is up to the Redskins, because allowing Williams to seek a trade and actually making one are two vastly different things. Sources around the league believe the Redskins are serious about trading him, and that they'll even be willing to lower their asking price from last year when they wereseeking a first-round pick in return.

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Trent Williams (Treated Image by SNY)
Trent Williams (Treated Image by SNY)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Washington Redskins told Trent Williams, their unhappy left tackle, that he's free to call around the league and seek a trade. And he already knows the Jets are interested.

Just how interested Jets GM Joe Douglas will be, though, will depend on the Redskins' asking price.

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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL scouting combine may have solidified which players will go in the Top 11 of the NFL draft (mostly), just not necessarily in what order. One truth about this time of year is that everybody lies. And there seem to be more wild rumors about the top of this draft than there's been in recent years.

It's never too early to take a shot at separating fact from fiction, though, even though free agency in two weeks will change everything and teams are still about seven weeks from finalizing their draft board. So here's my second projection of how the first 11 picks of the 2020 NFL draft will go, including the picks for the Giants (at 4) and Jets (at 11) - assuming they decide to stay put.

1. Cincinnati Bengals - LSU QB Joe Burrow

Ignore everything else. This is happening. The moment he stepped to the combine podium and confirmed he'd play for the Bengals if they took him, they put his name in ink on their card. They need a quarterback badly, and he's overwhelmingly considered the best of this draft.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL Combine may have solidified which players will go in the Top 11 of the NFL draft (mostly), just not necessarily in what order. One truth about this time of year is that everybody lies. And there seem to be more wild rumors about the top of this draft than there's been in recent years.

It's never too early to take a shot at separating fact from fiction, though, even though free agency in two weeks will change everything and teams are still about seven weeks from finalizing their draft board. So here's my second projection of how the first 11 picks of the 2020 NFL draft will go, including the picks for the Giants (at 4) and Jets (at 11) -- assuming they decide to stay put.

1. Cincinnati Bengals - LSU QB Joe Burrow

Tags: Daniel Jones, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 8, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports (Steven Bisig)
Sep 8, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports (Steven Bisig)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

If Dave Gettleman is right, Jadeveon Clowney might be the only elite pass rusher available on the free agent market. And Clowney is interested in playing for the Giants.

But how much do the Giants want him?

That will be the question Gettleman has to answer when the free-agent market opens on March 18, because Clowney's price could be extraordinarily high. According to an NFL source, the Giants are one of the teams on the 27-year-old edge rusher's wish list as he heads to free agency. But according to another source, he could be looking at a contract worth $22-23 million per year, which will likely be out of the Giants' range.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Markus Golden, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Two years ago, the Jets gave Trumaine Johnson a five-year, $72.5 million contract that turned out to be one of the worst in franchise history.

And if they're feeling burned by that, it's definitely not showing.

Tags: Robby Anderson, Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New York Jets head coach Joe Douglas speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)
Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New York Jets head coach Joe Douglas speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The entire NFL knows that GM Joe Douglas is getting ready to overhaul the Jets' offensive line. The only question is how. They assume it'll be a mix of draft picks, big money free agents, and possibly a trade. And everyone has their theory on how he'll do it.

One consensus did emerge, though, at the NFL Scouting Combine last week. Multiple NFL sources said they'd be "shocked" or "surprised" or even "blown away" if Douglas didn't take an offensive lineman with the 11th pick in the NFL draft.

"How could he not?" said one NFL executive. "There are legitimately four starters that will go in the Top 15. They all have Pro Bowl potential. One, maybe even two of them, will be there for the Jets. He can't go wrong (picking a lineman). And he can get a receiver later.

Tags: Brian Winters, Jonotthon Harrison, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Feb 27, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons (LB34) speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)
Feb 27, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons (LB34) speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Dave Gettleman believes that teams picking at the top of the draft should expect to land a "gold jacket" player, with Hall of Fame potential. He said that two years ago when he took Saquon Barkley second, and he thinks it "should" be the case this year when the Giants pick at No. 4.

And if that's Gettleman's criteria heading into the draft, many people around the league believe Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons will be tough for him to pass up.

The do-it-all linebacker was one of the most dazzling prospects at the NFL scouting combine last week, and according to one AFC scout is not only a "future All-Pro", but he'd be a "perfect" fit for the scheme new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is expected to bring to the Giants. Gettleman has also made it clear that adding linebacker help is one of his top offseason priorities, according to multiple NFL sources, and the available free agents are an underwhelming and likely overpriced group.

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 (Douglas DeFelice)
(Douglas DeFelice)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Yannick Ngakoue would've been an interesting name to watch for the Giants if he had actually become a free agent. Of course they had interest in a dynamic, 24-year-old pass rusher. Who wouldn't?

But few around the NFL thought the Giants would be willing to spend the mega millions needed to land him.

And that's why a pricey trade for the budding star is unlikely, too.

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