Giants reach NFL's new 80-man roster limit
The Giants made a series of roster moves over the last week to reach the NFL's newly-significant roster limit of 80 players.
Free Agent Signing:
Claimed off Waivers:
Declared Non-Football Injury:
Placed on Commissioner Exempt List by NFL
Each team was permitted to begin training camp last week with a traditional 90-man roster. But any team remaining at that number would have to split its squad for all activities, with only half its players allowed in that team's facility at a time. The Giants have split into three workout groups for weightlifting and conditioning but most days end with full-squad walk-throughs, which would be prohibited with a 90-man roster. Any team with the larger group of players could not bring them all into its building at one time until Aug. 17, the first day of full-pads practice and when all teams must have no more than 80 players.
The Giants' roster count is currently 81, which includes running back Sandro Platzgummer of Austria, who does not count against the roster as an international pathway exemption.
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.
OL Nick Gates signs two-year contract extension
The exact position has yet to be determined but it seems likely that Nick Gates will be part of the Giants' new-look offensive line.
That point became clearer today when the Giants signed Gates to a two-year contract extension.
A 6-6, 318-pounder, Gates is arguably the team's most versatile lineman. He started games at right guard and right tackle last season, started 25 consecutive games at left tackle at Nebraska.
When he was asked about the Giants' tackle situation prior to the NFL Draft, general manager Dave Gettleman said, "We have faith in Nick Gates…Last year he made a lot of progress. We are excited about him."
The Giants currently have openings at left tackle (where incumbent Nate Solder has elected to opt out of the 2020 season), right tackle (Mike Remmers, last year's starter, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason) and center (Jon Halapio tore his Achilles tendon in the 2019 season finale and remains unsigned).
Gates joined the Giants as a rookie free agent in 2018 and spent that entire season on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury in the preseason.
Last year, he played in all 16 games with three starts. Gates made his debut at Dallas on Sept. 8. He started at right tackle at the Jets on Nov. 10 and vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 29 and at right guard vs. Miami on Dec. 15.
View photos of offensive lineman Nick Gates.
Joe Judge adjusts to new norms at training camp
Joe Judge will try to make this football season as normal as possible, knowing it is likely improbable.
"There are unknowns in every season going in," the Giants' first-year coach said on a Zoom call with reporters today. "This year is no different, it just has a different element that we haven't dealt with before. As we go, we'll see how things change and how they shake out. Right now, we are looking to go ahead and build the strongest team we can."
That element is the elephant in the room. The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has created new norms in countless ways throughout the world. The NFL isn't immune, of course. It held its annual draft virtually, conducted offseason programs in which players learned remotely and has opened training camps in a summer that will not include preseason games. But the league is hopeful of playing a full 17-week season, which means coaches like Judge have the same goals they normally do as July flips to August – identify the best players and get them ready to play as well as they can.
Beyond that, Judge and all coaches want and urge their players to make smart decisions away from the field and locker room. Those conversations are held with a heightened poignancy this year.
"The first thing we have to all understand is, everyone at this level has sacrificed to get here," Judge said. "We're going to have to make some more sacrifices, whether that's socially away from the game, how we interact with friends and family members throughout this season. But we have to make the right decisions. The biggest thing is everyone has to understand that all of our decisions directly impact each other. It's not fair for me to go out and do something and put myself at risk and come in here and get players sick. That's not my right. I'm not entitled to do that. We have to all make the right decisions, both in the building following the protocols and away from the building. I think ultimately as a league, we just need to trust that the plan in place that the league put, make sure we adhere to the protocols, make sure we wear the PPEs. Let's be careful, let's be cautious, but we can operate aggressively if we just follow the plan in place.
"I have a lot of trust in the plan put forth by the league. We spent a lot of time on this. When these players left, we signed off and took vacations. As coaches, we took a little bit of a break for about a month. It was 24/7 around the clock really working on making sure we got the facilities in order that we can bring our players in and have them work safely. We are doing everything we can, not just to be compliant but making sure we are staying ahead of issues that may arise. We are trying to educate our players on a daily basis. We have to enforce the rules as coaches. We have to rely on the leadership on the team to build the culture in the locker room. Right now, we have 16 games on the schedule and I'm looking forward to playing every one of them."