The New York Giants may have ranked as the 10th-worst offense in all of football this past season. However, there is no denying the promise that the unit possesses due to the youthful and talented playmakers at their skill positions.
Daniel Jones led all rookie quarterbacks in passing touchdowns in 2019 with 24, tossing 4+ TDs in three of his final seven games. Darius Slayton emerged out of nowhere to tie all rookie receivers with the most receiving TDs (8) on the season. When healthy, Evan Engram is one of the most lethal mismatches in all of football, and Saquon Barkley is simply Saquon Barkley.
All those players mentioned above are currently just 25-years of age or younger. Yet, while there is certainly talent to work with in New York, some still question if the Giants offense can operate at elite levels while failing to truly replace Odell Beckham Jr. since trading him away last offseason.
ESPN believes they have a solution that can help take the Big Blue offense to new heights in 2020.
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ESPN Suggests Giants Sign Amari Cooper
ESPN’s Football Outsiders recently proposed 32-potential “daring moves” this free agency, one for each NFL team. They suggest that “a big, bold move always helps, by dramatically improving talent at an important position or changing the overall direction of the franchise.”
When it comes to the New York Giants, ESPN feels that snagging division rival Dallas Cowboys’ number one receiver, Amari Cooper, off the open market this offseason is the big, bold move that would help dramatically improve their roster.
The Giants’ trio of offensive playmakers — Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and Darius Slayton — will all be 23 years old at the start of the 2020 season. Jones might not be Patrick Mahomes, but his 53.9 QBR as a rookie is promising. And quarterbacks tend to make their biggest performance improvements between their rookie and second seasons. The Giants should spend to add talent around Jones now and make his window for rookie-contract success as long as possible.
Signing Cooper would hurt the division-rival Cowboys and reunite Cooper with the head coach for whom he had his greatest success: Former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is now the Giants’ offensive coordinator. Cooper also makes sense for the Giants’ roster. Slayton surprised during his rookie season but did most of his damage on deep passes thrown 20 or more yards in the air. Cooper thrived on both intermediate (10-19 air yards, 37.2% DVOA) and deep throws (20-plus air yards, 79.8% DVOA) and would give Jones a plus weapon for every area of the field. Cooper is young for a sixth-year player, turning 26 in June. He aligns well with the Giants’ likely trajectory with Jones under center and ability to cut veteran receiver Golden Tate after the 2020 season to save $6 million in cap space.
Will the Giants Pursue Cooper in Free Agency?
There are a few notable takeaways from ESPN’s suggestion. For starters, a talent such as Amari Cooper will always be a welcomed addition to any NFL franchise. He’s just 25-years old and fresh off a 1,100+ yard campaign.
Reuniting Cooper with newly-hired Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is also certainly intriguing. Yet, while I’m sure they could patch things up, Cooper did go on record this past season calling out Garrett for taking him out of the Cowboys lineup during key plays.
Lastly, the Giants are projected to have the sixth-most cap space this offseason, but the amount of money that Cooper will demand on the open market would certainly put a major dent in their potential spending money.
New York has play-making pass-catchers on their current roster, and would likely be best served to shore up their defense and offensive line before landing a star receiver.
Let’s also not forget who’s calling the shots in New York. Dave Gettleman is less than a year removed from trading away Odell Beckham, and a few years removed from making a Super Bowl appearance with Ted Ginn Jr. and Philly Brown as two of his top receivers.
Gettleman doesn’t appear to value the receiver position as much as his “hog mollies“, which is where the majority of the Giants’ spending money will likely go this offseason.