The New York Giants appear to be getting rid of everything on their defense that has any semblance of value. In just the past 24 hours, general manager Dave Gettleman has traded former first-round cornerback Eli Apple and big-contract nose tackle Damon Harrison, the latter of whom is among the best players at his position in the NFL. Gettleman got back in return three draft picks: one in the fourth round and one in the fifth round, both in 2019, and a seventh-rounder in 2020.
That’s practically peanuts in exchange for an Apple and some snacks.
For Green Bay Packers fans, a logical series of questions to ask would be whether there are other Giants available for trade, and if any of those would help the Packers in 2018 and possibly beyond. One name in particular stands out as a possibility: safety Landon Collins.
After an up-and-down rookie season, Collins broke out in 2016, being named first-team All-Pro after recording five interceptions, 13 pass breakups, and 125 total tackles. He followed that up with another Pro Bowl season in 2017, recording a pair of picks and 99 tackles. So why would the Giants give up on a potential cornerstone defensive player?
Simple: he’s in the final year of his contract. Sportsnet New York’s Ralph Vacchiano explains:
Most interesting tradeable asset Giants have left: S Landon Collins.— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) October 24, 2018
They have to either give him the franchise tag or a lucrative contract to keep him next year. Does that make sense for a rebuilding team?
If they've decided it doesn't, they have to test the market for him.
As Vacchiano notes, the fact that Collins is in a contract year certainly makes it more sensible that the Giants could try to move him, particularly if they do not see him in their plans in the future.
Admittedly, Collins is best as a box safety, where he can use his size and physicality to help stop the run. Still, he’s at least acceptable as a coverage player, and overall he would certainly be an upgrade over Kentrell Brice. Teaming him up with former Alabama teammate Ha Ha Clinton-Dix could make for an exciting pair over the remainder of the 2018 season.
In the 2013 season, the one year when the two safeties started side-by-side, Alabama held opposing teams to just 286 yards and 13.9 points per game. Bama lost one regular-season game that year — the infamous “Kick-Six” game against Auburn, who went on to lose in the National Championship Game to Florida State.
Back to Collins, the question becomes what sort of compensation would make for a reasonable offer for both sides? If the Seattle Seahawks were indeed willing to accept a first-round draft pick for Earl Thomas earlier this season as was reported, it’s tough to imagine the Giants getting an equivalent pick for Collins, since Thomas is a superior player and also is in a contract year. That probably sets the ceiling for Collins in round two. Since the Giants traded Eli Apple, a malcontent who never fit in with the team, for a fourth and a future seventh, a higher pick seems necessary for Collins, who has been a far better player than Apple.
Ultimately, a second-round or third-round pick could get the job done, or perhaps a fourth with a higher and earlier pick than the future seventh in the Apple trade. With the Packers holding two firsts right now, parting with a day-two pick next year to upgrade the safety position might not be excessive.
What is the highest 2019 draft pick you would be comfortable trading away for Landon Collins?
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4th-round & 5th-round picks