The NFL trade deadline generally produces little in terms of excitement. Whether it be the value of draft picks, the structure of contracts or the timing of the deadline, moves are few and far between, especially with the New York Giants.
General manager Jerry Reese has never made a deal at the deadline in his 11 years on the job. He’s barely made an in-season deal (just once for linebacker Jon Beason in 2013).
This year, the Giants (1-6) are in a different situation, with their season having already slipped away. There is no need for Reese to hold steady at this year’s deadline in hope of a miracle. For the betterment of the Giants' future, he should be trying to obtain assets for players who have value to contending teams.
There are many factors (age, salaries, contracts, no-trade clauses) that come into play when determining whether a player can realistically be traded. For instance, quarterback Eli Manning counts almost $20 million against the salary cap, has a no-trade clause and little desire to move elsewhere with two Super Bowl rings and a new house in New Jersey. It’s hard to imagine him agreeing to go elsewhere, given those circumstances.
So Manning is not an option. Neither are any of the Giants’ recent free-agent acquisitions, due to financial considerations. The dead money in their deals would be substantial, which makes them unreasonable to trade.
Instead, these are the players the Giants should be attempting to move:
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: This makes too much sense, especially considering his suspension several weeks back. Rodgers-Cromartie can start for almost any contending team on the outside -- where he’s more comfortable than playing the slot -- and comes with a reasonable price tag ($3.7 million for the remainder of this season and $6.5 million for 2018). It has been clear for a while that Rodgers-Cromartie is not part of the Giants’ long-term future. They drafted Eli Apple in the first round last season and immediately gave him a starting spot in place of the proven Rodgers-Cromartie, who has been to multiple Pro Bowls. There should be a market (a mid-to-late-round pick) for Rodgers-Cromartie’s services. The Chiefs, Lions, Packers or Panthers would make sense as landing spots.
RB Shane Vereen: The veteran running back is in the final year of his deal with the Giants. He’s still a reliable option catching the ball out of the backfield who can help a team. Vereen’s expendable as his role with the Giants decreases in favor of the younger backs on the roster. He’s on pace for more than 100 fewer snaps than in 2015, the last time he was healthy for a full 16 games. The Giants should move Vereen if they can get a late-round draft pick in return. The Ravens could use his services.
LB Jonathan Casillas: He’s the Giants’ defensive captain and has little desire to leave his hometown of New Jersey. It would be a hard sell to the locker room if he's moved. But if the Patriots, with Dont'a Hightower out for the season, came calling, it would be a win-win for the Giants and Casillas. He’s in the final year of his deal and could return as a free agent in the offseason if both sides desired. The Patriots would be receiving a familiar face who knows their scheme, coach Bill Belichick’s program and what it takes to win a Super Bowl. The Giants would be receiving draft capital to help them moving forward, even if it’s a sixth or seventh-round pick.
S Nat Berhe: The hard-hitting strong safety is lost in the mix on the Giants' defense. He’s in the final year of his rookie deal and would benefit from a new home with increased opportunity. The Chiefs or Cowboys could find a way to utilize his ability near the line of scrimmage, and it wouldn’t cost them much. The Giants would at least get something in return for a player who is likely to leave as a free agent this offseason.