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Giants Sign TE Rhett Ellison

The Giants signed TE Rhett Ellison to a 4 year $18M contract. Pretty crazy number for a blocking TE. But this what Free Agency looks like these days. The skinny on FA: “B Players for A Prices.” In this case with Ellison, it is a C Player for B prices. Now that the money issue is very clear, understand this- Ellison is an excellent blocker. He averages about 1 pass reception per start. So this is not a receiving option. He is there as a cog in the Giants blocking scheme, which makes sense when you have OBJ, Marshall and Shepard to throw to. Ellison will help the OL.  We noted how poor the Giants TE’s were in pass & run blocking in 2016. Ellison addresses that need.

Right now the Giants are operating on a shoestring budget. Yes, the Giants struck gold last year when they blew out their wallet to get Harrison, Vernon and Jenkins. They went 3 for 3, so the crazy money paid off. But to all of the blind fans who yapped about “who cares how much they spend, because they have it to spend” the bill comes due in subsequent seasons like 2017 when you are trying to go All-In and there is little left but peanuts in your stack. The amount of money you spend in 2016 on these players matters. It always matters. If you spent less, you’d have more. Reese did score. He needed to score. His drafting has been weak, at best. So he has to pay up big time to cover up those deficiencies. And here we are again, needing yet more help, particularly at Offensive Line. There is simply not enough money. This is precisely why JPP, at $17M on the franchise tag, is a luxury the Giants cannot afford. That kind of money should be used on the OL to get help there. The dropoff to a guy like Wynn (whose contract is being renegotiated as we speak) and/or Okwara is not big enough to warrant 10% of your cap.

People who defend the decision to keep JPP claim that the Defense needs him. At what cost? They argue that the Giants were 8-3 with him, and 3-3 without him. That set of statistics is incredibly misleading. In those first 11 games, the Giants were in the weaker part of their schedule when they played a grand total of 2 playoff teams (1 of which had Dallas on opening day, in rookie Prescott’s and Elliott’s first games as a pro). In the last 6 games, 4 of them were against playoff teams.  In the first 11 games, the Giants gave up an average of 18.5 pts/game. In the last 6 games, they gave up 18 pts/game. What really was going on in those first 11 games and last 6 was the Offensive implosion. The Giants averaged 21 points versus weaker opponents overall in the first 11 games, and then averaged an anemic 15 points/game versus much better competition. So the Tale of Two Cities had little to do with JPP. It had everything to do with Offensive ineptitude. Hence the reason this NY Giants blogger would gladly shed JPP and that $17M noose for a solid OLman … OR TWO.

JPP is a very good player. He is excellent versus the run. He sporadically generates solid pressure and does create pressure/turnovers. I do not deny he will help the Giants or any NFL defense. But it is not 17M roses. His pathway to the QB is leaky, as he goes wide and enables the opposing QB to escape the pocket. He is on the downside of his career. He won’t play 16 games for you, as he is often hurt. He is far apart on money for a new contract, one which has the opportunity to enable some more cap space in 2017 for the Giants to win a title, IF it can be negotiated. I have doubts about the two parties getting a deal done. JPP wants a long term deal. But he is always bigger on what he is worth than the rest of the NFL. Will he play “happy” for the Giants under the tag? That is a big question mark.

Meanwhile the cupboard goes bare of OL while we wait for a cap saving deal.  This team needs to keep Eli Manning upright plus generate adequate run blocking. Ellison is a good move to assist the OL. The OL itself is where the need is most acute for the NY Giants.