Free-agent Ross Cockrell appeared to be the New York Giants’ answer to former first-rounder DeAndre Baker’s potential prison sentence and teammate Sam Beal’s decision to opt-out, that is until he wasn’t.
The six-year pro would have allowed Big Blue to plug in a viable starting option opposite big-ticket offseason addition, James Bradberry. However, contract negotiations between the Giants and Cockrell ultimately fell through at the last minute, reverting New York back to the drawing board.
With Cockrell out of the picture and top free-agent Logan Ryan eyeing a position switch to safety, the number of available cornerbacks with starting potential is wearing thin. Yet, with that said, The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia believes he has the perfect answer to New York’s cornerback woes, one that would fetch them an All-Pro player in exchange for a meager fourth-round selection.
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Giants Primed to Trade for Chargers’ Desmond King?
Desmond King is just one season removed from a first-team All-Pro nod and an absurd 90.4 overall Pro Football Focus grade, the second-highest among all cornerbacks in 2018. However, the addition of four-time Pro Bowler, Chris Harris, this offseason has left the Los Angeles Chargers with an embarrassment of riches in their secondary, firmly placing King in a whirlwind of trade talks.
Yet, Kapadia believes there’s no better landing place for the former Jim Thorpe Award winner than with the Giants, as he highlighted amongst his “6 NFL trades that should happen before Week 1” column.
Why it makes sense for the Giants: They are likely to be without cornerback DeAndre Baker and Sam Beal opted out. The Giants signed James Bradberry to a big contract and reportedly plan to add Ross Cockrell. But they are still thin at cornerback. King is a 25-year-old slot corner on the final year of his rookie deal. He was an All-Pro selection in 2018, but his play slipped last year. The Giants’ defense is in dire need of impact players. King can give them immediate help in the secondary and on special teams. If they like what they see, they can try to sign him to a long-term extension.
Why it makes sense for the Chargers: They signed veteran slot corner Chris Harris Jr. in free agency, indicating they were not satisfied with King’s play last season. If King remains on the team, his most likely role is as the Chargers’ sixth defensive back in their dime packages. Last year, they played dime just 18 percent of the time. In other words, barring an injury, King is not positioned to play a significant role on defense. Given their quarterback situation, the Chargers are not Super Bowl contenders this season. They can move King, still field a really good defense and add a midround draft pick.
What Could Give Giants Pause About Acquiring King
There are two reasons to be wary of a potential King-Giants marriage. For starters, he’s played predominately out of the slot over his first three seasons in Los Angeles. The Giants’ biggest question mark in their secondary remains on the boundary, as they have a slew of youngsters ready to battle for the starting gig inside (i.e. Darnay Holmes and Julian Love). This is a key reason why Giants fans were quite pessimistic about bringing in Logan Ryan earlier this offseason.
The second reason, as Kapadia touched on above, revolves around King’s drop in play one season ago. King’s PFF rating dropped to a 70.9 in 2019, this on the heels of posting overall grades of at least 85.7 in each of his previous two seasons.
Why the Giants Should Pull the Trigger
Despite the potential drawbacks, King is just 25-years-old and won’t turn 26 until after Week 14 of this coming season. As he’s shown in the past, he has All-Pro upside and has a long history of dominating opposing wide receivers, including outside wideouts during his Iowa days.
Trading for King, especially at Kapadia’s suggested price of a meager fourth-round pick, is a no brainer for the Giants if they can swing it. In reality, acquiring King would put New York’s secondary in a better place than it had been even before Baker’s legal issues arose and Beal’s decision to sit out this coming season.