Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 03-09-19

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
So the Giants have unloaded another horrifically expensive commodity, linebacker Olivier Vernon, and obtained a useable, productive right guard from the Cleveland Browns, Kevin Zeitler.

The trade, which includes a fifth-round draft pick going to the Giants and a fourth to the Browns, was unofficially announced Friday, but since the NFL's trading period doesn't start until next Wednesday, it couldn't be termed official.

After all, what would happen if Vernon fell on a chunk of Kryptonite, or if Zeitler decided to take up spelunking?

But Zeitler, who graded out as the best pass-blocking guard in the NFL last season (he allowed just three sacks over the last two years) should automatically become a fixture at right guard, and along with last year's rookie, Will Hernandez, provide quarterback Eli Manning with some long-needed relief from the demons of defense.

It would surprise no one if we heard that Eli bought him a car or a house or something of significant value to welcome him to the team. He might even be able to acquire cheaper health insurance, you know?

Zeitler is 29 years old, was an All-American selection at the University of Wisconsin, drafted in the first round by Cincinnati, where he spent five seasons, and then signed with Cleveland, where he started immediately and stayed the last two years, after he signed a contract worth $60 million over five years, making him the highest-paid guard in the NFL.

Are the Giants finished? By no means, and when the time period during which teams can sign Unrestricted Free Agents begins next week, they are likely to attempt the first step toward the rebuilding project promised by general manager Dave Gettleman.

Like where? Well, they need a safety and a linebacker, for instance, and a few of those are available in free agency. If they do go through with the ill-advised but growing in possibility trade of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (again Cleveland appears to be the leading candidate), it would be the very definition of blockbuster and would provide a harvest of draft choices, including a first-rounder and probably for 2020 as well. Would the Giants miss him? Yeah, on the field for sure.

More importantly, would they do it? Yeah, probably.

EXTRA POINTS - The Giants made a few in-house moves as well as the Zeitler trade. ... They resigned placekicker Aldrick Rosas whose sensational statistics included 32 field goals in 33 tries, with a long of 57 yards, and 31 of 32 PATs, for a total of 127 points ... The 57-yard missile was the longest in Giants' history. ... Rosas was named to the Pro Bowl following the dreadful 5-11 season.

Also signed were fullback Elijhaa Penny and center Jon Halapio, who has a chance to regain his starting job after playing well but landing on the Injured Reserve list early in the season. ... Finally, a restricted free agent tender was extended to wide receiver-kick returner Corey Coleman, 5-11, 195, who was a first-round draft choice in 2016 by - guess who? - the Browns.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
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