The Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline is approaching, and the struggling Giants could be sellers and send away various players.
It’s that time of year again.
Struggling NFL teams could give up players prior to the trade deadline for draft capital while high-quality teams may look to add pieces to the roster to assist in potential playoff runs.
The 1-5 Giants find themselves in the former category. This current season is looking to be a wash and the focus should be on 2022 and beyond, which means they will need additional draft capital to help them undergo what might be another full rebuild.
Luckily, the Giants employ a number of players they could deal ahead of the Nov. 2 deadline — which individuals may be departing East Rutherford and what can the organization receive in return?
Yes, we have to include Saquon Barkley on this list.
Looking back on it, the Giants should’ve absolutely drafted a quarterback with their No. 2 overall pick in 2018. Using that selection on a running back (a position that’s decreased in value in recent years) isn’t a beneficial move for any organization, especially one that employs an aging quarterback (Eli Manning was entering his 15th season).
Now in his fourth year, Barkley doesn’t have much to brag about other than his dominant rookie season. He dealt with a high-ankle sprain in 2019 (three missed games), a torn ACL in 2020 (14 missed games), and is now suffering from a low-ankle sprain that’s kept him out since he sustained the injury in Week 5.
The Giants have a number of problems to address for the short- and long-term future. Opening up the wallet and extending Barkley won’t help them grow as a team, so they might as well look to earn some sort of return for him.
And no, he wouldn’t go for an early-round pick. Given his various injury-related issues, the Giants could potentially swing a fourth-round selection and maybe a player.
Evan Engram has missed at least one game in four of his five NFL seasons thus far. Throughout his first three years, he sat out 14 games combined.
Needless to say, he’s heavily injury-prone. And when he’s healthy, he hasn’t unlocked his full potential (he could be one of the more athletic and versatile tight ends in the league, but he’s yet to consistently show it).
Between the infuriating drops and missed blocks, Engram has solidified himself as a bust draft pick for the Giants.
There’s a slim chance Big Blue would extend him at the end of this season, so it should look to earn a fourth- or fifth-round pick for him.
Why do I think the Giants could swing a fourth-rounder despite all of the on-field issues Engram introduces?
Well, you need to understand two-thirds of the Pro Bowl vote are courtesy of coaches and players. Given Engram made last season’s Pro Bowl despite dropping 11 balls and being targeted on six of the Giants’ 11 total interceptions, it’s clear he has respect from a ton of individuals around the league.
This could lead to a tight end-needy team giving up that type of pick prior to the Nov. 2 deadline.
Darius Slayton is injury-prone (he’s missed three games already this year with a hamstring issue) and is descending the depth chart. He looked like he could be a long-term piece when he caught eight touchdown passes during his 2019 rookie campaign. But thanks to the signing of Kenny Golladay, the drafting of Kadarius Toney, and the staff’s general preference of Sterling Shepard over Slayton, Darius finds himself as the team’s fourth receiver.
Big Blue doesn’t entirely require his services, and trading him for a late-round pick would be beneficial.
Expect the Giants to earn back a sixth-rounder if they were to deal Slayton to a wide receiver-needy team.
If the Giants were to send Jabrill Peppers off to another team, the likely return would be a fifth-round draft pick at best.
There are a couple of reasons why.
First of all, Peppers has an expiring contract, so any team that trades for him may be putting themselves in the position where they’ll need to open the wallet to extend him following this season.
And second of all, Peppers is a limited player — simple as that.
He struggles in pass coverage and is only reliable up near the line of scrimmage, so there isn’t a great deal of upside present.
Yes, you could argue the Jets traded Jamal Adams to Seattle for safety Bradley McDougald and three draft picks, two of which were first-rounders. But there was also a fourth-rounder sent to the Seahawks, Adams is superior to Peppers in regard to talent, and Seattle totally botched that trade.
While the Jets received multiple first-round picks (among the other resources), the Seahawks collected a fourth-rounder and a box safety they eventually needed to sign to a $70 million extension, which Adams inked in August.
Addressing these positions via the draft
The Giants are set to have two first-round picks in 2022. If you can remember, the Bears sent New York their opening-round pick in order to move up and draft quarterback Justin Fields earlier this year.
What’s interesting, however, is that I don’t expect the Giants to target the aforementioned expendable positions (running back, tight end, safety, wide receiver) in the first round, with the exception of maybe tight end with the latter opening-round pick.
The Giants learned their lesson with taking a running back in the first round and they likely won’t need a top-tier collegiate receiver given the wideouts they already employ on the roster. They also won’t need to utilize a valuable pick on a safety considering Logan Ryan, Xavier McKinney, and Julian Love will likely still be on the roster following Peppers’ potential departure.
However, with Engram possibly gone either in the next few weeks or months and the uncertain future of veteran Kyle Rudolph, the Giants using their latter first-round pick on a tight end could be beneficial.
They may certainly utilize their earlier pick in the opening round on a dominant pass rusher considering how ineffective that unit has been this year. Or, if a new general manager is in East Rutherford and Daniel Jones struggles for much of the final 11 games, maybe Big Blue uses its top pick on a new quarterback?
As always, only time will tell what the Giants (or any team for that matter) decide to do during the annual event in late April.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY