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New York Giants Passed on Michael Johnson, Other Pass Rushers Due to “Economics”

May 27th, 2014 at 9:00 AM
By Dan Benton

The New York Giants may have signed Robert Ayers as a replacement for Justin Tuck (Oakland Raiders), but the team apparently passed on some of the more elite pass rushers (such as Michael Johnson) due to "economic" issues, reports ESPN's Dan Graziano.

Despite what many believed was a solid amount of cap space — which was primarily used on the offensive line and secondary — the Giants reportedly steered clear of high-priced pass rushers because Jason Pierre-Paul will soon command a large deal himself, while their roster also houses Mathias Kiwanuka (who took a pay cut) and second-year player Damontre Moore.

Economics, basically. In the salary-cap era, the key concept in roster-building is allocation of resources. And while pass-rusher is a position to which the New York Giants have historically been willing to commit major resources, they entered the offseason fairly well committed there already, with a first-round pick sunk into Jason Pierre-Paul, a third-rounder in Damontre Moore and a still-decent-sized contract for Mathias Kiwanuka.

Obviously, based on the work they did, you know they had a lot of people to sign and a lot of holes to fill. They weren't going to be able to spend big to fill them all. They ended up spending big on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback, another position on which they like to commit major resources but where former high picks Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster were on their way out. They believe they'll be spending big money next offseason on a long-term deal for Pierre-Paul. So a five-year, $43.75 million deal for a pass-rusher (which is what Johnson got) would have left them over-committed at that position and, by virtue of the tough cap decisions that would have resulted, under-committed at other important positions.

Given the investment in Moore and the upcoming contract likely to be received by JPP, it's of no real surprise that General Manager Jerry Reese & Co. chose not to over-commit to a massive contract for another pass rusher. And despite the mantra "you can never have too many pass rushers," the Giants currently find themselves somewhat well-equipped in that area if they can remain healthy.

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Tags: Damontre Moore, Football, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Michael Johnson, New York, New York Giants, NFL

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11 Responses to “New York Giants Passed on Michael Johnson, Other Pass Rushers Due to “Economics””

  1.  JT Jumbo says:

    DEs literally grow on trees. It would be a huge waste of money to sign someone like Johnson anyway. Look at how many guys get big contracts at DE? Hardy comes out of nowhere, Houston, Johnson, Everson Giffen?? A rotation of what we have now is plenty of good DEs

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    This was the only intelligent approach, and it will be “supplemented” by using a draft pick on a pass-rusher next spring.

    I don’t know why so many fans, and I include those on this site, are convinced that the defensive line is a potential problem. That is only true if injuries occur. We’re four-deep in pretty good players at both defensive end and defensive tackle. I just don’t see the weakness that others do.

    And I’ll say again what I’ve said before: Ernie Accorsi’s dictum is a bit less relevant today than it was when it was uttered because the 2007 Giants’ destruction of the “Greatest Team Ever” Patriots (the media designation was a bad joke, but that’s another story) induced many NFL teams to move toward either quicker-release offenses or mobile quarterbacks, both intended pretty strictly to offset great pass rushes. A strong pass rush can still make a difference. It just won’t be quite as big a difference as was once the case. Unless you also have top cornerbacks in press coverage, something the Giants just might have this season. If the corners can make the QB delay his release then the quick-release antidote to a great pass rush disappears and the offense is in big trouble. If you then add big-hitting safeties who make receivers hesitate to go over the middle so they cannot easily beat pressing corners by taking an inside cut, THEN you have created a problem that is hard for a team to solve.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Seattle Seahawks versus the Denver Broncos. It wasn’t nearly as much the “great” pass rush that the pundits claimed destroyed Peyton’s offense. It was a good pass rush combined with really good press corners and safeties who intimidated the Bronco receivers. Add Peyton’s unwillingness to take too many hits out of a sense of self-preservation and you get releases that are too early to be accurate and effective and a total disruption of the offensive rhythm. If Fewell, who can now play similarly with our personnel (particularly if Hill is available), doesn’t learn from that then he should be fired as quickly as possible.

  3.  rlhjr says:

    I think it’s down to something kujo mentioned last week. “Play with what you have” There comes a time when you have to go with what you got.

    The Giants have to see if Moore/Hankins/Robinson and their young offensive linemen are worth having on the roster. This year is the time to find out.
    The have to decide if 2015 number one pick is for a left offensive tackle, or a defensive end.

    I’d like to see Moore come on because he has the ability to get around the corner. His only liability is strength. Hopefully he’s gone a long way toward fixing that during the off season.

    The same things goes for Hankins. He’s the traffic cop. So he has to stout and able to draw the attention of two offensive linemen. That means he has to be strong as hell. I don’t suspect the defense will miss Landfill too much.
    But don’t get it twisted, Joseph was stronger or at least as strong as any center/guard he came up against. He man handled them for the most part and kept them off the linebackers. The same will be expected of Hankins.

    The job done with the remainder of the defense is admirable. But it is clear that the Giants live off their defensive line. When they only need four to generate an effective pass rush this team wins football games. In a perfect world, the team needs this front four to get after it every Sunday.
    They also need situational pass rush players from both the secondary and the linebacking corps. And before anyone mentions Kiwi, please don’t.

    Offensively it’s really simple. The left tackle, and right guard need to be solid run/pass blocking positions. With the incumbent players at those positions, the prospect of solidity is tenuous at best. Nothing in the recent history of the incumbent left tackle and right guard answers any concerns about the positions. And the young players are hardly awe inspiring. Bottom line is the Giants won’t spend anymore until those questions are answered.
    And you can’t really blame them.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I’ll mention Kiwi despite your admonition. I think he will have a good season, and that he came on strong the last few games of 2013. You, along with most others, are underestimating him.

      And while Richburg may not be “awe-inspiring” I think it’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t become a very good NFL player who can contribute THIS season at center or guard and will be a long-term answer at one of those positions. I’m still hoping for Mosley to take a leap this season too (it will really only be his second year since he missed his entire rookie year on IR), but that’s speculative.

      •  William says:

        This article is another that needs to be part of any thoughts on the “draft” and what players teams will covet in the first round. The cost to replace a position in free agency now is as an important variable as a players talent. In this era of the “passing game” defensive ends will be a premium position. This last free agency period bore this out as all the vet DE talent found new homes at above average deals. JPP if he is healthy and plays to his potential will be an expensive hit on our cap.
        As far as this coming year I think the key player on the teams success or failure falls right on the shoulders of Will Beatty. JR’s off-season moves plugged a lot of holes on the team and on the o-line but he has to have Beatty play at at least at a David Deihl (in his prime at LT) level. We do not have a fall back position for a repeat of last year at LT. The one thing I would hope this year is that whoever replaces Brandon Myers at TE is capable of blocking well. In this league there are few guys who can play on an island against every opponent, there are always going to be a few games that a tackle needs help and Brandon Myers was not only not a help but in some ways he actually made the situation worse. Maybe if Beatty knows that he can get TE help against certain opponents, plus having better talent at LG and better blocking RB’s he will be more confident and disciplined. We all need to cross our fingers.

  4.  rlhjr says:

    “And before anyone mentions Kiwi, please don’t.”

    As a pass rushing threat from the “Joker” linebacking position. I think he has a grand total of zero sacks from that position. Kiwi is not that type of player.
    Moore could be and perhaps the kid the picked up from USC. Kiwi is a defensive end who if allowed to play there is decent.

  5.  rlhjr says:

    “And while Richburg may not be “awe-inspiring” I think it’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t become a very good NFL player who can contribute THIS season at center or guard and will be a long-term answer at one of those positions.”

    I did not mean to include Richburg in my statement. I think he’s a wonderful pickup and a true center that is needed. I was speaking of the holdover offensive line players. Who if they were good could have made a name for themselves over the past two/years. So I was speaking more of guard/tackle.

    Richburg is a center who can play guard.

  6.  GIANTT says:

    One of the decisions a salary cap forces you to make is – What level of performance will our paying out extra money get us ? I was sad to see Tuck go but I cant see how the Giants could justify the salary necessary to keep him , whether he was going to play an average game or play above average and earn a higher salary which Oakland was willing to pay him may have seemed problematic for us sentimental fans but in reality was probably a no-brainer for management. In fact they were probably relieved they didnt have to make that decision – The same with Joseph . Last years rookies have to step up their game to a- help the team and b justify a big second contract . Thats what the Giants expect from Moore for example .It seems simplistic to say it but under the cap rules you absolutely NEED 35 regular players playing for rookie or vet minimums because you dont have the luxury of paying more than 3 or 4 Superstar contracts .
    Kiwi is a great player for the Giants to have b/c he has played several positions , – he plays at average or above average levels and while he gets more than a minimum contract , he does not rate superstar pay .This is very simply what would the Giants have to pay to replace him ? He is not an Allpro or a superstar but he gets the job done so unless some undrafted rookie comes and absolutely blows everyone away in camp , he and most of the other regular joes will keep their jobs .
    If you want a definition of a role player , take Zk Deossie .
    If I remember , there were several rookie LBers that year and he certainly wasnt the best but he heeded the advice of the old man and has made himself into a very much needed role player who plays above average as a Special teamer . He accepted this role from pretty much day one and I think he has lasted the longest.
    Hes even been to the Pro Bowl ! Does anyone think that he wasnt a successful draft pick for the team as far as his role and his longevity and the limited contract the Giants have to pay to keep him ?

  7.  GIANTT says:

    The only thing that puzzles me is something William said in bringing up Beatty
    There has been wholesale upgrades or at least visible signs of alternatives at every position except LT . So , do the Giants believe Beatty will revert to a better performance than last year ? if so , why ? Again the only thought to me was did he have some undisclosed injury which slowed his performance last year and has it been corrected for the Giants to say Beatty has recovered from whatever ails him and will play to his previous levels .

  8.  GOAT56 says:

    F55 – DL is concern IMO because we are relying on 3 players over 30 along with 3 players that are 22 and under. Players over 30 typically are more likely to get injured and/or become a less effective player due to father time. Players that young are some times not ready for heavy snaps. I think there’s a very reasonable change some of the players we are counting on will not perform as expected because they are not in their primes. Jenkins in particular expecting starter snaps for 16 games as a 33 year DT worries me a lot. While I think Patterson is perfectly fine in the 3rd DT role asking him to play starter snaps should injury arise also worries me. Kuhn could be the solution but I worry he’s just not good enough. And while I have high hopes for Bromley in 2015 and beyond, counting on him for much as a rookie given our past DT rookies seems like a big mistake.

    That being said I do see the upside of the DL because I really think both Hankins and Moore could emerge much like JPP, Joseph, Tuck or Osi in their second years. If Hankins and Jenkins stay healthy we should be good at DT. Ayers at DE gives us just enough that too much pressure isn’t on Moore and we are not counting too heavily on Kiwi.

    But or depth really does concern me. I don’t feel like we can survive a major injury to one of our DL starters If Moore starters at DE. When I don’t have concern about a position depth it’s because I feel like we can survive a major injury and still be good. Funny enough one of the reasons I look at depth this way is 2009 with our safety depth. I recall F55 saying he question our depth but like everyone else I though if KP stayed healthy we would be fine. He didn’t and we were in huge trouble. Though not to that extreme I have some of that fear about this year’s DL.

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