Rams Defensive Back Terminates Own Contract to Sign With Giants

Giants sign JR Reed

Getty Former Rams DB J.R. Reed.

Jabrill Peppers has played his last down of the regular season, and likely his last down in a Giants uniform. The team’s starting safety was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, October 28th with two injuries to his right leg — a rupture to his ACL as well as a high ankle sprain. The injury was originally sustained in the third quarter of Big Blue’s 25-3 Week 7 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

In a corresponding move to Peppers’ injury, the team has poached defensive back J.R. Reed from the Los Angeles Rams. Per the Giants’ official team website, Reed terminated his practice squad contract with the Rams and is set to join the Giants’ active roster on Wednesday, October 29th. The 6-foot-1-inch, 194-pound safety appeared in one regular-season game for the Rams this season. In total, Reed has appeared in 10 games (postseason included) since entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020.

Other roster moves include the Giants waiving both cornerback Josh Jackson and wide receiver David Sills. Defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton was released from the practice squad.

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Giants Lose 3rd Captain to Injury

With Peppers done for the year, the former first-rounder becomes the third Giants captain to sustain a season-ending injury.

Starting center/guard Nick Gates suffered a fractured lower left leg at Washington in Week 2. He’s since undergone five surgeries and is scheduled for a sixth. Head coach Joe Judge initially publicized his concern on whether Gates’ injury could put his playing career in jeopardy. However, Gates and his agent were quick to shoot down those thoughts.

In Week 3, the team lost their reigning tackle leader and quarterback of their defense, Blake Martinez, to a torn ACL. Entering the year, Martinez was riding a four-year streak with at least 144 tackles — making him the only player in NFL history to finish top-three in tackles league-wide for four consecutive seasons. In his absence, the team has leaned on the duo of Tae Crowder and Reggie Ragland on the inside. The two have combined for an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 48.85.

Has Peppers Played His Last Snap for the Giants?

It certainly feels that way. The Michigan product had been floated as a trade chip dating all the way back to the offseason and the rumblings of Big Blue looking to unload Peppers had only strengthened in recent weeks with the November 2nd deadline on the horizon. Of course, his injury now eliminates any possibility of the Giants yielding a return for Peppers’ services on the trade market.

While questionable in coverage, Peppers has proven to be a highly versatile player over his NFL career, able to play near the line of scrimmage as well as line up on the slot. Unfortunately, the team has struggled to make proper use of his skill set this season — which is unfortunate considering their holes at linebacker.

In six games this season, Peppers averaged 38.1 snaps per game. For reference, he averaged 60.7 snaps per game in 2020. It’s become fairly evident over the first seven weeks of 2021 that Xavier McKinney is clearly the Giants’ preferred answer opposite Logan Ryan. With Peppers’ contract expiring at the end of the season and no defined role waiting for him when healthy, it’s likely that the New Jersey native will be playing for his third NFL team come this time next season.


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