Jabrill Peppers is out for the year, but the Giants could still deal others before the deadline.
The ever-important Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline is approaching. Well, it’s important if you’re a bottom-feeder team who must sell players for draft picks or a cream-of-the-crop squad who must carry out the opposite procedure.
The Giants find themselves in the former category, but injuries have made things a bit tricky.
Safety Jabrill Peppers would’ve been a legitimate trade piece given his diminishing role; the Giants could’ve earned back a fifth-round pick at best.
A ruptured ACL along with a high-ankle sprain said goodbye to any possible deal though. Peppers suffered the injuries during Sunday’s win over Carolina, is done for the year, and has an expiring contract.
The Giants must now focus on alternative routes they could take to enhance their draft capital collection. Who could they still send away?
The Usual Suspects
Like we’ve written various times before (I’ve basically drilled it into your heads at this point), the Giants could include running back Saquon Barkley, tight end Evan Engram, and wide receiver Darius Slayton in deadline trades.
No, I’m not saying Dave Gettleman will slam the iron fist and part ways with them all, but it would make sense for at least one of those individuals to pack their things.
The possible return for each player has remained the same.
The Giants might be able to earn back a fourth- and/or fifth-rounder for either Barkley or Engram while Slayton figures to be worth a sixth-rounder.
Any reasoning for why the Giants should make a move also remains the same. Engram has an expiring contract and is prone to on-field struggles, Barkley won’t be worth a new contract due to his injury-related issues, and Slayton has found himself way down the depth chart in year three.
But while the possibility of any of those departures lingers, the Giants could consider taking calls on another player now that the chance of earning draft capital for Peppers is out the window.
New Addition to the Conversation
There is indeed one other defensive player the Giants could include in a deal if they wish to be sellers at the deadline.
While having started all seven games thus far in 2021, edge rusher Lorenzo Carter is certainly a trade option given his inconsistent role. His playing time has been up and down and he was actually on the field for just 42% of the defensive snaps (a 2021 season-low) against the Panthers this past Sunday.
Not to mention, his rookie contract expires at the end of this season and he really hasn’t lived up to his expectations. It’s a passing league; getting pressure on the quarterback is crucial, and through seven games, Carter has zero sacks and just one quarterback hit.
Rookie Azeez Ojulari is much superior to him from a production standpoint and leads the team with 5.5 sacks.
If a buyer at the deadline needs pass-rushing depth, that team could give up a sixth- or seventh-round draft pick for Lorenzo. A seventh-rounder would seem more reasonable given Carter may just be a rental player (unless that team would plan to extend his contract at the end of the year).
What about buying?
Should the 2-5 Giants target players instead of draft capital at the deadline? Absolutely not.
I could’ve pulled a Jordan Belfort and added an f-bomb between “absolutely” and “not,” but I try to keep my humor rated PG here.
The Giants shouldn’t trade for player(s) because they’re among the worst teams in the league.
This season looks like a lost cause and the Giants shouldn’t feel they can turn it all around just because they defeated Sam Darnold by double digits.
New York still has the Chiefs, Raiders and Buccaneers on deck. In about a month, they could be 2-8.
They must set their sights on the future, which means earning as much draft capital as possible.
Their cap situation also isn’t ideal (they currently possess a little over $2.4 million in space, per Spotrac). Don’t expect the Giants to go on a shopping spree in free agency this coming offseason, so any beneficial addition to the roster may need to be made via the annual draft next April.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY