The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

5 lessons the Giants can learn from Eagles, Chiefs

- By Pat Leonard

Giants GM Joe Schoen and the personnel and scouting staff are hitting the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., this week, while other members of the front office continue free agent meetings up in East Rutherford, N.J.

As Schoen deliberate­s how to use nine draft picks and spend approximat­ely $44.7 million in salary cap space this offseason, here are five lessons the Giants can learn and apply from this year’s Super Bowl LVII participan­ts, the Philadelph­ia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.


Alex Smith was playing at a high level when the Chiefs traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes 10th overall in 2017. Carson Wentz was 10 months into a fouryear, $128 million extension when the Eagles picked Jalen Hurts 53rd overall in 2020. An NFL front office must constantly evaluate its own quarterbac­k and study all available options in the draft, in free agency and on the trade market. And a GM can’t be afraid to make a move if he’s confident it will upgrade his roster at the most important position in the sport.

The Giants are expected to pay Daniel Jones like a franchise quarterbac­k soon because he showed them in 2022 that he can lead them to the playoffs and win once he’s there. And they only hold the 25th pick in April’s draft. But the evaluation should never stop. The Chiefs and Eagles are proof of why.


The Eagles’ domination of the Giants, the NFC East and the entire conference occurred in large part due to their superior talent and depth on the offensive and defensive lines. All five of their starting O-linemen were Philly draft picks from center Jason Kelce (sixth round, 2011) to left guard Landon Dickerson (second round, 2021). Persistent D-line acquisitio­ns in free agency (edge Haason Reddick), the draft (DT Jordan Davis) and midseason signings and trades (DT Linval Joseph, DT Ndamukong Suh, edge Robert Quinn) improved an already imposing pass rush and front into a QB’s worst nightmare.

The Chiefs’ extended stay at the top of the AFC, meanwhile, featured a 2021 offensive line rebuild on the fly with a combinatio­n of draft picks (center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith) and signings/trades (left tackle Orlando Brown, left guard Joe Thuney). And they have supplement­ed Steve Spagnuolo’s Chris Jones-led pass rush with free agents (Frank Clark, Carlos Dunlap) and rookie first round pick George Karlaftis. The lesson for the Giants: the blossoming of LT Andrew Thomas and DT Dexter Lawrence is a good start, but it’s only the start.


Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, and Eagles wideouts A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, are the kinds of receivers that alter defenses’ game plans and make a quarterbac­k’s life easier. Kelce and Smith are homegrown draft picks. Brown was acquired by Eagles GM Howie Roseman from the Tennessee Titans in a trade last offseason.

The Giants’ Isaiah Hodgins, Richie James and Darius Slayton all stepped up to help Jones and the offense exceed expectatio­ns in 2022, but Schoen needs to

find a bonafide stud target who will open up the field for everyone, especially Jones.

The GM said recently that it’s more important to build the entire team than to acquire a No. 1 receiver at any cost. He’s a big believer in value. Continuing Jones’ ascension and raising the offense’s floor, though, requires a go-to target who puts defenses on their heels.


The Chiefs’ Isaih Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon, and the Eagles’ Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell, cost a grand total of $4.386 million in salary cap space in 2022. Sanders had the highest cap hit of all four at $1.7 million. The Giants, on the other hand, reportedly offered Saquon Barkley between $12 million and $12.5 million a year during midseason negotiatio­ns and still weren’t close to a deal.

The running back franchise tag salary for the upcoming 2023 NFL season will be $10.1 million, per Schoen so far has stood his ground on not compromisi­ng his overall roster plans to break the bank for a running back.

Would Barkley be willing to play on the tag if the Giants used it? This won’t be an easy negotiatio­n, but the Giants should feel more confident in their position after seeing the Eagles and Chiefs advance. Not only is it prudent to limit financial resources at running back; Schoen needs that cash to upgrade more critical positions such as corner, offensive line and wide receiver.


The Eagles’ Roseman and Chiefs GM Brett Veach both correctly assessed that their teams were still in a window that warranted aggressive, short-term moves to upgrade the roster in hopes of winning another Super Bowl. Roseman simultaneo­usly planned for the future by trading two of his three 2022 first-round picks to New Orleans a year ago for an extra first-rounder this April that now sits at 10th overall. Any GM can make a move. Some work out; some don’t.

But the best executives are the ones who chart the course correctly in the first place: they are realistic about when it’s time to act and when it’s time to be patient. Schoen smartly understand­s that the Giants remain much further away from sustainabi­lity than their playoff berth and victory might otherwise indicate. That doesn’t mean he won’t act.

It’s simply reinforcem­ent that Schoen and ownership should not overextend in the short term with win-now moves. If the Giants know who they are (1-5-1 in division), they will continue charting a course for a sound, long-term rebuild.

 ?? Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press ?? New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton runs up field after catching a pass during the first half of an NFC wild-card playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 15.
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton runs up field after catching a pass during the first half of an NFC wild-card playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 15.

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