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.

 (Danny Wild/USA Today Sports Images)
(Danny Wild/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

As bad as Darrelle Revis was last season, he kept insisting he was far from finished. Several times he made it clear he wanted to keep playing and was even willing to see if that could happen with the Jets. He seemed to be embracing his role as a future elder statesman on the team. He hinted he might accept a pay cut to stay. He even admitted he was willing to switch positions.

None of that matters anymore.

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Scott Galvin)
(Scott Galvin)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The incident that has surely ended Darrelle Revis' Jets career, and could land him in jail, began with two star-struck men who seemingly couldn't believe they had run into the NFL player on the streets of Pittsburgh in the middle of the night. They asked if he was really Revis. They didn't believe his answer.

And everything escalated from there.

Much of the confrontation from early Sunday morning is on a cell phone video, too, according to the criminal complaint filed with the Pittsburgh Police and obtained by WTAE in Pittsburgh. The evidence was strong enough for Revis to be charged on Thursday with four felonies (two counts of aggravated assault and one each of criminal conspiracy and robbery) and one misdemeanor (making terroristic threats)...

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Ralph Vacchiano
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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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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Each week, SNY will put a current player, a position, or perhaps a draft or free agent target of the Jets in the spotlight as part of our regular offseason coverage. Last week we took a look at Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears quarterback who might hit the open market in the coming weeks. This week we turn inward and look at a proud Jet who is at the center of one of the team's biggest offseason decisions:

CB Darrelle Revis.

After a miserable season in which he was a shell of his former self it seems like a pretty simple decision for the Jets to let Darrelle Revis go -- especially since he's due $15 million in salary and bonuses in 2017 and his cap number is $15.3 million...

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Juston Burris, 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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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

The Jets had such high hopes for their offensive line when they acquired left tackle Ryan Clady from the Broncos last April. But the experiment is over after less than a year.

The Jets have informed Clady's agent that they do not intend to pick up his option for the 2017 season, according to an NFL source. New York had until Wednesday to make a decision before the team would owe him a $1 million roster bonus. Clady also was scheduled to make a non-guaranteed salary of $10 million this year.

Tags: Ryan Clady, Ralph Vacchiano
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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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 (AP)
(AP)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

SNY's weekly look at the top players on board for the Jets as they prepare to make the sixth 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. CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State - The Jets should soon have some clarity on the Darrelle Revis situation since cuts around the NFL have already begun and he's due a $2 million roster bonus on March 11. Assuming he's not coming back - and if he does, assuming he'll come back as a safety - this position remains one of the Jets' biggest needs. Perhaps offensive line is bigger, but at the moment few scouts seem to believe there's a tackle worthy of a Top 10 pick. The big question with Lattimore? Will he even make it out of the Top 5? A strong combine or Pro Day performance could push him out of the Jets' reach. (Last week: 1).

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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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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Giants will undoubtedly be looking for help at tight end this offseason, but they'll be bringing back at least one of their own players to see if they can get any help from within.

Matt LaCosse, who spent all of last season on injured reserve, has re-signed with the Giants, according to an NFL source. He was an "exclusive rights" free agent, which means all it took for the Giants to bring him back was a one-year contract with an NFL minimum salary of $465,000.

The signing, first reported by ESPN, leaves the Giants with four other ERFAs -- tight end Will Tye, defensive tackle Robert Thomas, fullback Nikita Whitlock, and receiver Ben Edwards. Tye, Thomas, and Whitlock all are expected to be tendered, given the low risk and low expense of ERFAs.

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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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New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is tackled by Buffalo Bills strong safety Aaron Williams after making a catch during the first half at New Era Field. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is tackled by Buffalo Bills strong safety Aaron Williams after making a catch during the first half at New Era Field. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)

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 Jets, what's new about them, where they stand on finding an answer, and if any of the issues have changed.

1. Who is their quarterback?

They of course haven't answered this yet, but they did answer who'll be coaching the quarterbacks: new offensive coordinator John Morton and new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates. Neither has an extensive resume at their current positions -- or really working with quarterbacks -- which is interesting if they're going to be entrusted with developing a young quarterback.

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Brandon Marshall, Breno Giacomini, Brian Winters, Bryce Petty, Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Darrelle Revis, Eric Decker, Geno Smith, James Carpenter, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Quincy Enunwa, Ryan Clady, Sheldon Richardson, Wesley Johnson, 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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Cleveland Browns free safety K'Waun Williams (36) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. (Aaron Doster)
Cleveland Browns free safety K'Waun Williams (36) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. (Aaron Doster)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

The Jets will get an early start on free agency and possibly on rebuilding their secondary when they visit with free agent cornerback K'Waun Williams on Wednesday, according to a league source

The 25-year-old former Cleveland Brown, and a native of Northern New Jersey, will arrive in town on Tuesday night, the source said, coming from Detroit where he is currently visiting the Detroit Lions. Williams also has several other teams hoping to line up visits with him in the next week or so, according to the source.

That make sense considering it wasn't that long ago that Williams was a promising young corner for the Browns who started 10 games as their nickel corner in 2014-15. But he sat out all of 2016 with an impingement caused by bone spurs in his ankle.

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darrelle Revis, Marcus Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) prepares to throw the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) prepares to throw the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

The Ryan Fitzpatrick Era was never supposed to happen for the Jets, and it certainly never was expected to last two roller-coaster seasons. In the end, though, it was a wild ride that rescued a franchise in one of its darkest moments before leading it back into the darkness again.

For better or for worse, the Fitzpatrick Era officially ended on Friday when the contract that the 34-year-old quarterback signed last summer automatically voided. All that's left is a $5 million cap hit the Jets must endure during the 2017 season. And memories - more than a few good ones, and plenty of bad.

So was it worth it? That all depends on your perspective, how much your sights are set on the Jets' long-term future, and how much you value all the fun that was had in 2015 during the Jets' near-playoff-miss.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Eric Decker, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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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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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Each week, SNY will put a current player, a position, or perhaps a draft or free agent target of the Jets in the spotlight as part of our regular offseason coverage. This week we begin with one of the potential quarterback options for the Jets -- and one with ties to their brand new quarterbacks coach:

QB Jay Cutler.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates a sack of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates a sack of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (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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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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North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) passes as Pittsburgh's Ejuan Price (5) rushes during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (Gerry Broome/AP)
North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) passes as Pittsburgh's Ejuan Price (5) rushes during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (Gerry Broome/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

As miserable as the Jets' 5-11 season was their consolation prize isn't bad. They stand to get a heck of a player with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 draft - perhaps a franchise-changing player, and maybe someone who can contribute right away.

That's no guarantee, of course, but it's a positive to focus on for a team that needs a lot of help in a lot of different areas. Maybe - just maybe - they could end up with the franchise quarterback they've been seeking for far too many years.

It's early, of course - very early - and a lot can change during free agency. But here's a look at five players the Jets 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 Jets' potential needs change:

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Matt Forte, Ralph Vacchiano
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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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 (Reinhold Matay (USA Today))
(Reinhold Matay (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

With one month to go until the NFL free-agent signing period opens on March 9, the Jets have some work to do. They have to make several cuts and restructure several contracts just to get under the 2017 salary cap, which figures to be somewhere around $168 million.

How active they'll be in free agency depends on how much cap room they're able to clear. It also depends on how much -- if anything -- they devote to finding a starting quarterback on the free-agent market.

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New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Darron Lee, the New York Jets' promising young linebacker and their first-round pick in last year's draft, says he is OK after being attacked in a bar in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old explained the incident in some detail on Monday in a video posted to his Twitter account, in which he showed off a bruise under his right eye and what he said were "bumps all around my head." He insisted he was attacked without provocation and he had no idea by whom.

Tags: Darron Lee, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Now that the Super Bowl is over, the New York Jets can begin cleaning up the wreckage from their 5-11 season and start yet another rebuilding project. Despite being on the cusp of the playoffs a year ago, they seem farther away than ever now.

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

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Brandon Marshall, Breno Giacomini, Brian Winters, Bryce Petty, Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Darrelle Revis, Eric Decker, Geno Smith, James Carpenter, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Quincy Enunwa, Ryan Clady, Sheldon Richardson, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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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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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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 (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Jets and their fans have endured 48 years of pain without a Super Bowl, made worse by 12 years without a division title and now six straight years without a trip to the playoffs. It has to hurt more that the dominant team of this era is from their own division, led by a coach (Bill Belichick) they once had for one day in 2000 and a quarterback (Tom Brady) they, like everyone else, passed over in the 2000 draft.

So watching the Patriots' epic comeback and 34-28 overtime win in Super Bowl LI on Sunday night had to be especially painful.

But don't worry: There's a good chance the pain is going to get much worse.

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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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 (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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LaDainian Tomlinson played the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Jets. (Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE)
LaDainian Tomlinson played the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Jets. (Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE)

Former Jets center Kevin Mawae is passed over in this year's vote for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but LaDanian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor, who played briefly with the Jets, made it in.

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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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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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 (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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Jets quarterbacks Bryce Petty (9) and Christian Hackenberg warm up before a preseason game. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Jets quarterbacks Bryce Petty (9) and Christian Hackenberg warm up before a preseason game. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

A year after lobbying the Jets to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall may be "retired" from offering his quarterback suggestions, but that doesn't mean he won't offer his thoughts on the Jets quarterbacks.

And when it comes to the two young ones on the current roster, the veteran receiver apparently likes what he's seen.

Marshall, speaking again on WFAN from the Super Bowl Media Center in Houston, Marshall had nothing but praise for second-year pro Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg. He stopped short of endorsing either as the Jets' starter in 2017, but he made it clear he believes the potential in both is there.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, 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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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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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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Marshall criticizes Jets 00:03:35
The Loud Mouths discuss recent comments made by Jets WR Brandon Marshall, declaring the locker room a "toxic environment" last season.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

\Brandon Marshall's numbers took a big dip last season and, at age 32, it looked like the beginning of a late-career decline. But the Jets receiver apparently doesn't agree with that sentiment.

In fact, he guarantees that next season, at age 33, he'll be right back up at the top of the charts.

Marshall vowed that he will be a "top-five" receiver again while making an appearance on ESPN's First Take during Super Bowl hype week in Houston on Wednesday. He acknowledged the misery of his 2016 season, in which he had just 59 catches for 788 yards. But to him, that was a blip on his radar, not a sign of diminishing skills...

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE)
(Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Head coach Todd Bowles turned to an old friend to help fill out his coaching staff when he hired former Arizona Cardinals assistant Stump Mitchell to be the Jets' new running backs coach on Wednesday.

Bowles and Mitchell worked together in 2013-14, when Bowles was the defensive coordinator on Bruce Arians' staff in Arizona. The 57-year-old Mitchell helped develop David Johnson into a dual-threat star in Arizona. He also had success earlier in his career as the Seattle running backs coach from 1999-2007, when he helped develop Shaun Alexander, and again In Washington (2008-09) with Clinton Portis...

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets new OC 00:01:46
Ralph Vacchiano discusses the Jets hiring John Morton as their new offensive coordinator.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

The New York Jets found a big piece to their offensive puzzle when they finally hired an offensive coordinator on Tuesday. But nothing they do really matters until they find a quarterback -- which remains the biggest piece of all.

That piece is going to be the real key to the success of John Morton, whom the Jets hired as offensive coordinator. Morton has never been a coordinator in the NFL, though he held that position at USC from 2009 to 2010. He was a wide receivers coach in San Francisco from 2011 to 2014 and again in New Orleans for the past two years.

It's somewhat alarming that he's never called plays in the NFL, but it's really surprising that the Jets had to go with an inexperienced coordinator to replace veteran Chan Gailey, who retired after two seasons on the job. The Jets' job wasn't exactly an attractive one, considering head coach Todd Bowles enters the 2017 season on the hot seat and the Jets don't have an obvious quarterback

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Bryce Petty, Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Eric Decker, Quincy Enunwa, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Bill Kostroun/AP)
(Bill Kostroun/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

It has only been five years since the Giants last played in (and won) a Super Bowl, even though to some it feels like a lot longer than that. The drought since then included three losing seasons and not a single playoff berth until they finally returned this year.

They are most certainly on the upswing coming off an 11-5 season and a wild-card berth in their first season under head coach Ben McAdoo. But with maybe three or so years left in the Eli Manning Era, how close are they really to making another Super Bowl run?

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 (William Hauser - USA Today)
(William Hauser - USA Today)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

It has been 48 years and two weeks since the Jets shook up the world and changed the NFL with their victory in Super Bowl III, and they have since taken their fans on a long, depressing and at times torturous run. It's been so painful at times that it's easy to forget the Jets went to back-to-back AFC championship games just six years ago.

Of course, since then they've brought the pain: Six straight seasons without a playoff berth, only one season with a winning record, and it was all capped off by a miserable 5-11 season that felt worse since the Jets had so much optimism after going 10-6 in 2015.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Brandon Marshall, Brian Winters, Buster Skrine, Calvin Pryor, Christian Hackenberg, Darrelle Revis, Darron Lee, Eric Decker, James Carpenter, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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