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March 24, 2019

Here’s what you need to know about Landon Collins and the options the Giants have this offseason with their defensive leader

February 16, 2019

The Giants could conduct their first major business of the offseason Tuesday concerning one of their best players: defensive co-captain Landon Collins.

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Tuesday is the first day NFL teams can place the franchise tag on one designated player. Collins, 25, a three-time Pro Bowler and 2016 first-team All Pro, is due to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13. But he never will get to that point.

For the Giants are expected to franchise tag Collins between Tuesday and the March 5 deadline if they do not agree to a long-term extension before then.

Collins will end up with a one-year contract offer of around $11.5-to-$11.75 million if he gets the tag, per overthecap.com. And it would protect the Giants’ rights to Collins as they continued to negotiate a potential long-term contract, though Collins also could sign the tag offer and play on the one-year deal.

A non-exclusive franchise tag would allow Collins to negotiate with other NFL teams but would force any team trying to sign Collins to pay the Giants two-first round picks in compensation. The Giants and Collins would have until July 15 to agree to a multi-year contract extension or else Collins would be required to play on the one-year tag.

Landon Collins sits and waits to find out how the Giants will handle his contract situation this offseason. (Bill Kostroun / AP)

Collins is coming off Dec. 11 surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. He said on breakup day that he is willing to play on the franchise tag if he has to.

“Would I play on it? I mean, I got no choice to play on it. It’s not a big concern of mine,” Collins said. “I know what I’m capable of. I think we’ll work something out before that. If not, franchise it is. Just got to continue proving myself as my worth.”

If the Giants do place the franchise tag on Collins, the salary would count immediately against the 2019 salary cap as the team approaches free agency. So while the Giants’ cap space shows at $28.2 million at the moment on overthecap.com, that number would shrink to $16.45-to-$16.7 million.

Two years ago, for reference, the Giants’ previous regime franchise-tagged Jason Pierre-Paul in late February and then agreed to a long-term contract extension in mid-March.

This year’s safety market began to develop this week when the Panthers’ Eric Reid, 27, a one-time Pro Bowler with six solid seasons under his belt, signed a three-year, $22.05 million deal with $9 million guaranteed at signing.

LUCKY ANDREW

Hypothetically, if Odell Beckham Jr. had gone snowboarding last winter and injured his left knee while rehabbing his broken left ankle, he would have been ridiculed and eviscerated as immature, right? Of course he would have.

Well, Colts QB Andrew Luck went snowboarding the winter after he sprained the AC joint in his throwing shoulder, despite having torn the labrum in his throwing shoulder and lacerated his kidney during the 2015 season.

But the media and general public barely reacted to the news of Luck’s snowboarding injury after it was reported by the NFL Network in September. And Luck, who also sat out the entire 2017 season after a second shoulder surgery, was just named the NFL’s 2018 Comeback Player of the Year.

I have nothing against Luck and wish him the best. However, I think the double standard here is shameful. There is absolutely no way Beckham would have received the same benefit of the doubt, or that award, if he’d been as reckless as Luck was.

Luck was adamant the snowboarding injury did not slow his rehab and that the labrum remained the real problem. And maybe that’s true. But I believe the Texans’ J.J. Watt was more deserving of the comeback award than Luck in part because Luck should not be rewarded for recklessness with his health as an NFL franchise quarterback. Beckham would have been held to that standard, so every player should be.

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FAVORABLE 2019 SCHEDULE FOR BIG BLUE?

The first half of the Giants’ 2018 schedule looked extremely difficult when it was first announced, and sure enough, Big Blue stumbled to a 1-7 start last fall before improving to 4-4 on the back end. It is still incredibly early to make 2019 predictions. We don’t even know the order of the games yet. But based on the Giants’ opponents, they could have more wins based simply on their competition.

The Giants will play only six games against 2018 playoff teams (Patriots, Bears, Philly twice and Dallas twice). Meanwhile, they will face nine teams who finished in the bottom half of the NFL in 2018, including five bottom-feeders picking in the top 10 of April’s draft along with Big Blue (5-11) at No. 6: the Cardinals (No. 1, 3-13), Jets (No. 3, 4-12), Bucs (No. 5, 5-11), Lions (No. 8, 6-10) and Bills (No. 9, 6-10).

They’ll also face five teams with first-year head coaches, including the Cardinals, Jets, Bucs, Packers (No. 12, 6-9-1) and Dolphins (No. 13, 7-9). Then there is quarterback desperate Washington (No. 15, 7-9) twice, and the Minnesota Vikings (No. 18, 8-7-1). More forgiving than 2018, it would seem.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR BIG BLUE?

The wacky Antonio Brown saga bears close watching for the Giants if they are considering trading Beckham. The Steelers receiver’s trade demands, initial refusal to meet with Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney II this week, and liking of tweets slamming QB Ben Roethlisberger are creating a confusing and increasingly risky market for Brown from any buyer’s point of view.

Brown has been thought as a likely trade acquisition for teams seeking a star receiver, including the Niners and Raiders. But if he damages his trade value beyond repair or decides to stay in Pitt, that could put the Giants in a better position to demand and acquire sky-high prices for Beckham in a sweepstakes that could also include a franchise like the Browns.

Whatever the result, we can promise: the next few weeks won’t be boring.

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