In less than a week the New York Giants will have to dump 37 players. Teams have to trim their rosters to 53 players by Saturday.
With the new rules, there is no first cut and final cut. There is only one cut. They will happen in one fell swoop, after the final preseason game, which for the Giants is Thursday night against the New England Patriots.
It’s coming. Players of all shapes, sizes and notoriety will learn their fates by Saturday. In the meantime, with rosters still at 90 players, the “bubble” is bigger than ever.
Let’s take a look at who is on the Giants bubble:
(Note: Defense and special teams will be analyzed Tuesday)
It’s coming down to the final preseason game. Neither Smith nor Johnson have seemingly done enough to separate themselves in the competition for the backup quarterback job behind Eli Manning.
“We’re still not in a position to say who the No. 2 [quarterback] is,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “Thursday night we’re hoping it cleans itself up.”
Smith is the more talented quarterback. He’s also proven to be more mistake-prone, with two interceptions (and a third negated by penalty) this preseason. At least he had a clean game on Saturday night.
Johnson has more experience and a better command of the offense with this being his second year with the team. He also hasn’t made any costly mistakes that resulted in turnovers this preseason.
It’s likely going to come down whether the Giants want Johnson as a better support system for the other quarterbacks on the roster or whether they’re willing to take the time to develop Smith even though he’s not signed past this season.
(Side note: Smith is slightly more expensive to keep. He has $200K available in per-game roster bonuses.)
Running back: Shaun Draughn
Draughn recently returned from an ankle injury and lasted three snaps before suffering a concussion and neck injury Saturday night against the Jets. It’s going to be hard for the Giants to make an evaluation when he hasn’t been on the field.
Will the Giants even keep a fullback? That’s an unknown. They didn’t have one on the roster last year. Smith appears to be the favorite if they do. He’s a more natural blocker than Huesman. Whether the Giants keep Smith could depend on what they decide to do with Draughn, or their tight ends.
All three have done good things this summer. They can all play. Adams was a draft pick and has performed best in the preseason. He’s likely the safest of the three, especially being a draft pick last year.
It could come down to Tye and LaCosse, unless the Giants decide to keep all five of their tight ends and no fullback.
King’s spot would be fully secure if he wasn’t dealing with an ankle injury that was aggravated last week. If he’s not ready for the first few weeks of the season it could change everything.
Harris has been dealing with an upper-body injury. His special-teams value likely will keep him safe.
Rudolph, meanwhile, has flashed this summer and preseason, but he still may be on the outside looking in unless he shows more potential as a returner to take Harris’ spot. Seems unlikely at this point. Rudolph could be destined for the practice squad.
Gettis likely would have been receiving an opportunity to unseat John Jerry along with Brett Jones and D.J. Fluker if he wasn’t dealing with a foot injury. His health could determine his fate. That and whether the Giants want to carry Bisnowaty, a sixth-round pick, on the active roster knowing he’s not ready to play this year. Maybe they can get him on their practice squad?