By John Schmeelk
Johnson has played in the league a long time and provides a known quantity behind Eli Manning. Having another veteran in the room to compete in the spring and summer is never a bad idea.
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John Jerry was an unsung member of the Giants offense last year. He hasn’t missed a game in three seasons with the Giants and started all 16 last year at right guard. With his size and length he is an excellent pass protector that provides a lot of consistency on the offensive line.
As for getting JPP signed long term, it guarantees that four of the stars of the Giants defense, Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins are all under contract for the next few years. The Giants strength last year was their defense and keeping that unit in place was an offseason priority and the JPP signing is a step in the right direction.
The contract also gives the Giants more flexibility with the salary cap given they are not locked into a one year deal on the franchise tag. Perhaps it could give them more freedom in filling some more holes on the roster.
All in all, the Giants moves were wise in that they kept good pieces from last year’s 11-5 team in place. In a league where there is so much turnover year to year, consistency is a great thing and the Giants achieved a bit with their moves over the weekend.
CONTINUITY IS KING
By Lance Medow
Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon and Damon "Snacks" Harrison are now all under contract for the long haul. Continuity at any position is crucial and the fact the Giants will now have at least three-quarters of their defensive line together for the next few seasons will help both financially and scheme wise. Locking up JPP long term wasn’t just about 2017. It was more about giving the Giants the flexibility to operate beyond this upcoming season in terms of cap space and focusing more on how they want to build the team around their core group of players. In today’s NFL, there’s a premium on pass rushers. The elite players at that position, especially ones who can stop the run as effectively as they can get to the quarterback, rarely hit the market. They’re either given extensions or the franchise/transition tags and when you have one in-house, it has to be a priority to retain that player because it’s very difficult to simply replace him in the draft. JPP fell under that umbrella. With him, Vernon and Snacks all on the line together, similar to 2016, opposing offenses will have to pick their poison.
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With respect to the offensive line, the Giants are looking for competition this offseason and with John Jerry re-signing, it appears he, Bobby Hart and D.J. Fluker will be fighting for two spots on the right side of the line. Like Eli Manning, Jerry doesn’t get enough credit for his durability. Since he joined the Giants in 2014, he hasn’t missed a game. He’s actually played in all 16 games in each of the last five seasons going back to his days with the Miami Dolphins, including all 17 next to Weston Richburg last season. Similar to the defensive line, continuity is especially important on the offensive line and Jerry’s presence helps continue that theme.
Josh Johnson joined the Giants last September to provide more competition at the backup quarterback position and that’s exactly what he’ll do again in 2017. Fortunately, for the Giants, their starting quarterback hasn’t missed a game since he took over as the starter in 2004 but it never hurts to have a veteran behind him which has been a theme during Manning’s tenure.
PLAYOFF CALIBER UNIT
By Paul Dottino
The Giants' signing of Jason Pierre-Paul to a long-term deal helps solidify their defense for the foreseeable future - and that is important because you do not know how many more years starting quarterback Eli Manning will go. If last season’s level of play is any indication (and it should be based on the ages of the defensive starters) they actually should have a bonafide playoff-caliber unit - based on continuity along the line and in the secondary.
Of course, they will have to evolve a bit over time, but this move should allow them to be no less than competitive on a weekly basis. The return of veteran guard John Jerry ensures some stability to the offensive line, as well, while allowing for competition on the right side and veteran quarterback Josh Johnson gives the staff a comfortable option to compete for the backup quarterback role.