Written by: Glenn Warciski, Andy Furman, Paul Burke
Wag the Dog! After the Giants allowed former safety Landon Collins to become an unrestricted free agent, Giants GM Dave Gettleman was facing a firestorm of criticism. Outcry from many fans, How can you let go of your best defensive player? What is wrong with Gettleman? Well, ahead of the new league year which begins on March 13, the Giants leaked the trade of embattled defensive end Olivier Vernon to the Browns in exchange for guard Kevin Zeitler. For now, the Collins story has shifted to good news about getting rid of Vernon. In addition, in this trade the Giants and Browns swapped draft picks. The Giants will send a fourth-round pick (No. 132) in exchange for a fifth-round pick (No. 155) from the Browns to complete the deal.
When Vernon was signed in 2016, our Peter Furman stated:
The “Fins” removed the tag on Vernon so the Giants can make another guy from another piss poor defense rich!
Canty all over again!
Paul Burke on the Vernon trade: Browns taking a risk. Olivier Vernon has history of injuries. The Giants filled a glaring need. Vernon is not a 3-4 linebacker. With this trade, the Giants saved 1.5 million in cap space. Zeitler is zero dead cap after this season. A good trade as Zeitler is a top guard in the NFL. Although Zeitler is top-notch, without question he is overpaid around 10 million per year. Their offensive line is so bad this is the position they have been forced into. Same situation as they were in last year when they inked Solder.
As for Landon Collins: I was not saddened when he was not tagged or resigned to a new contract. He is a good player. At this point, we do not know if it is the injuries or the fact he does not fit James Bettcher’s defensive scheme. The market will dictate his worth. Other point I want to make here. Gettleman has gotten rid of a lot of players on the defensive side of the ball. Harrison and Apple were traded in October. What do all these guys have in problem? They were all locker room problems. In 2017, Landon Collins went public and assailed teammate Eli Apple. Recall, he referred to Apple as a Cancer. What was Collins motive? It is my belief, a true leader does not broadcast in-house problems. My take on this situation, Gettleman wanted to rid the Giants of another head case.
Collins is also shaky in coverage.
On the other hand, Andy Furman wanted to opine on this topic. He has a different take.
Ever see the family whose teenager refuses to speak to the parents? It’s likely that there is some kind of hypocrisy going on. Rifts are created when there are different rules for different members of the family. Teenagers can smell the hypocrisy. If they feel that they are being fed bullsh*t, they get angry and act out.
So it was with Giants fans this week. If we took Gettleman at his word that Collins was recovering nicely with no issues, then any decision to let him enter Free Agency without good faith negotiations was either about money, ego or both. If we gave Gettleman the benefit of the doubt on the franchise tag + ego angle, all we were left with was money.
Giants fans understand the reality of the cap. We know it is strictly business when some people can’t get re/signed. The hypocrisy comes when we see Eli Manning set to get $23M this season. We know that Strong Safety and Quarterback are two different positions, but the Salary cap is ONE number which ties the two players together. Giants fans appreciate Eli Manning’s service for 14 years and 2 titles. What they do not accept is how the future (Collins, 25) can be blocked by the past (Eli, 38). Collins was not brought back because it’s a business. Eli is paid egregiously because it’s a charity? Fans are smart enough to recognize the hypocrisy. Hence the anger and disgust.
Collins was a gamer, a playmaker, and now he is gone. The Giants have to rebuild. Fans believe that Collins was part of the rebuild. What kind of culture does it enforce in the locker room when one of your leaders is not paid? I know that Glenn has been sore about the Apple/Cancer comments, but that was one incident in 4 years where a player was calling out a second year malcontent who was more trouble than effort. It was Apple who was the aberration, not Collins.
There is still time to set things straight. If Eli Manning does not take a pay cut, or is not cut altogether, then how is this team rebuilding? Some things don’t add up.