Eight players. That’s the 2018 NFL record for number of players picked up from other teams after September waivers. I can’t tell you all their names because I don’t know them and didn’t bother to ask our analyst Wonder about them either. Maybe that’s because both of us are still a little stunned about what happened to Webb, one of the eight players on the original roster that was replaced. That it happened eight times is more noteworthy, if not alarming.
Injuries happen in the NFL. No one knows that more than the followers of this NY Giants blog. The point is that your depth matters in the NFL because “next man up” is a reality in professional football. These 8 players WILL PLAY at some point.
A positive that I take from this is that Shurmur is not bashful about leading this team. I don’t think he would have put his first head-coached team through this kind of wholesale change (I don’t have the data from his first preseason with Cleveland to confirm this or not). It’s pretty unusual to rid your roster of ~15% of its contents only a week from the start of the season. I think Shurmur’s experience is a plus here, having the willingness to be his own man and do it the way he believes it needs to get done. I respect that. It reminds me a little of Parcells in 1984, when he lost a season abysmally at 3-12-1 as a rookie head coach and then said to himself, if I’m going down, I’m going down with my players, not someone else’s. He circled the wagons. They went to the playoffs.
The negative is that a team with this much deadwood & turnover feels like one that is rebuilding. This has been Wonder’s contention all along, that the Giants are pretending to believe they can rush back to the playoffs and vie for a title in 2018. He felt that paying Solder $62M for 4 years was the move of someone who was a couple of players away from the prize. Rebuild, he said. Even for a single year. Cutting and picking up 8 brand new players at this juncture sure feels like a team that is rebuilding. It feels like the Giants are at risk of being an incomplete team due to a very tight salary cap with enormous strains on maintaining the frontline names. Collins needs an extension. Vernon would appear to be a cap casualty. What about Jenkins? These are the pressures the Giants will have because they went full on for 2018. Yes, I know Solder was an acute need for a team without ANY credible Offensive Tackle. But his cap hit in the next 3 years will be $17M per, compared to $10M this year in a tight year. It was great to take the hit on JPP now but the point is that 2019 and 2020’s decisions are harder because of the effort to win it all right now. Is this merely a bridge, that we’ll be very competitive AND not hamper ourselves going forward? That’s certainly Gettleman’s line. But Shurmur’s actions imply otherwise.