For the past two seasons, the New York Giants have operated as buyers at the trade deadline — or at least a team who believed their arrow was pointing up. In 2019, despite being 2-6 at the time, general manager Dave Gettleman pulled the trigger on a deal to acquire impending free agent Leonard Williams from the New York Jets. In 2020, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Giants turned down a trade offer from the Green Bay Packers for defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson. This, despite the fact that he was in the final year of his contract at the time. Fast forward a few months and Tomlinson walked in free agency, inking a deal with the Minnesota Vikings this past offseason.
Now in 2021, with the November 2nd NFL trade deadline looming and the Giants once again in the midst of a lost season, trade chatter has begun to ramp up in East Rutherford. The difference this time around is the team is expected to be sellers — likely to the disdain of Gettleman (who is in win-now mode for his job’s sake). One player, in particular, engulfed in trade chatter is captain Jabrill Peppers.
ESPN Proposal Ships Peppers to Arizona
Designated as New York’s “starting” safety, Peppers has seen sporadic usage in Big Blue’s crowded secondary this season (averaging 20 fewer snaps per game when compared to 2020) — not ideal for a player in a contract year. The writing looks to be on the wall, and Peppers isn’t numb to it. Asked by reporters on Monday, October 20th if he believed he would remain a Giant past the deadline, Peppers did little to silence the speculation.
“I just want to win, baby,” he said. “I want to make plays, go out there and win ball games.”
In that case, Peppers would almost certainly sign off on Bill Barnwell’s trade proposal. The ESPN NFL insider has the Giants sending the former first-rounder to the desert, where he’d join a Cardinals team that has done more winning than any other team in the NFL this season. Here’s how the proposal shapes up:
- Arizona Cardinals receive:
- S Jabrill Peppers
- New York Giants receive:
- 2022 sixth-round pick
As the only undefeated team left, the Cardinals will be looking to supplement their roster with a piece or two at the deadline. We know both general manager Steve Keim and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph love adding great athletes on defense and relying on them to fly around the football field, independent of position. Peppers has seen his role reduced for the Giants this season, and he’s probably best used as a hybrid linebacker/safety. The former Michigan star is in the final year of his deal, so he’s probably not in their long-term plans.
Peppers could also figure into Arizona’s plans as a return man. The Cardinals have used Rondale Moore as their primary return man, and while the rookie second-round pick is a threat to make a house call whenever he touches the football, he had a significant track record of injuries in college at Purdue. The Cards have only used Moore on 42.9% of their offensive snaps so far. Giving Peppers some of the return duties might make them more comfortable with giving Moore a larger offensive role.
Is Peppers the Next Piece to Fizzle Out from the Odell Beckham Deal?
In the 2019 offseason, the Giants shocked the world when they traded star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. When all was said and done, the deal was combined with another Giants-Browns trade which also shipped Olivier Vernon to Cleveland, forming one massive blockbuster.
While hobbled throughout much of his Browns tenure, Beckham does have a 1,000-plus yard receiving season under his belt in Ohio. As for Vernon, he finished 2020 with 9.0 sacks over 14 games. In comparison, since this trade has gone down no Giants wide receiver has eclipsed 751 receiving yards in a single season and only two Giants defenders have eclipsed 4.5 sacks in a single year.
Big Blue’s haul in the trade went as followed; guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers, the Browns’ 2019 first-round pick (Dexter Lawrence) and the 2019 third-round pick the Browns acquired from New England (Oshane Ximines).
Zeitler was above average during his two seasons with the Giants but was a cap casualty this offseason. He now helps anchor a top-four rush offense in Baltimore. Peppers looks to be on his way out the door, whether in a few weeks or after his contract expires. Lawrence has been the cream of the crop from New York’s perspective and possesses top-10 talent at his position. With that said, he’s taken a slight step back this season according to Pro Football Focus metrics, earning an overall mark of 67.0 — 10.95 less than his career average. Ximines showed promise as a rookie, finishing second on the team with 4.5 sacks. However, he’s since gone sack-less in each of his past 12 games and has been leapfrogged by rookie Azeez Ojulari in the pecking order at outside linebacker.
Arguably the biggest kicker of all, the Giants are currently paying big-ticket signee Kenny Golladay $18 million per year on average — the same exact annual pay that Beckham receives in Cleveland — to theoretically fill the void left behind by Beckham. The 27-year-old Golladay, who is just one year younger than Beckham, has appeared in five games with the Giants thus far, averaging 3.4 receptions and 56.4 receiving yards per contest. He’s yet to find the end zone and continues to be hobbled with lower-body ailments dating back to training camp.
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