Giants mailbag: Sterling Shepard situation examined


You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Giants.

If Sterling Shepard has another season like last season where he was hurt half the time and didn’t live up to his $41M, four-year contract extension, is there any scenario next season we use a first- or second-round pick on a wide receiver? — Luis I. Cruz

Quick answer: Yes. I would not have been surprised if the Giants early on Day 3 of this year’s draft went for a wide receiver. The key with Sterling Shepard is health. He is pretty much a known commodity as a player — tough, reliable, a solid but not great No. 2 target. The concussion issues in 2019 were very alarming because they are cumulative. If he gets another one this season, it is troubling.

The Giants gave him a nice contract because they value him as a player and also as a person and teammate. He is the kind of guy they want in their locker room. The entire receiver situation bears watching. Golden Tate is entering his 11th NFL season and, though he did some good things in his first year with the Giants, he is not a game-changer by any means. Darius Slayton was great as a rookie but that does not guarantee he will take a quantum step forward in year No. 2. Maybe he does, maybe he does not.

Sterling Shepard
Sterling ShepardGetty Images

What is the possibility of Mark Bavaro going into the Hall of Fame? He was a role model for young people besides being a great tight end. No flash, just talent. — Vincent Sarno

All Giants fans know Mark Bavaro was a great player and the epitome of what those Super Bowl teams were all about. He is deservedly in the Giants Ring of Honor. Bill Belichick thinks Bavaro belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, noting Bavaro’s greatness as a blocker. That is high praise. Still, the numbers do not indicate Bavaro has a strong case for the Hall of Fame. In his best season, he caught 66 passes for 1,001 yards and four touchdowns. He has 39 career touchdown receptions and 351 career catches. Of course, he played for a team that was run-first on offense. He was a great player. That he was a role model is wonderful, but that does not put him in the Hall of Fame. Plenty of guys who are far from role models are in the Hall of Fame. Giants fans know how valuable and tough Bavaro was. That he is not enshrined in Canton does not diminish anything about Mark Bavaro.

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With all the uncertainty of the upcoming collegiate football season, don’t you think it is highly likely that droves of college players will declare for the NFL supplemental draft? — Gerome

Excellent question. It certainly appears it could make sense that the fear there is not a college football season prompts many players to declare for the NFL’s supplemental draft, which is held sometime in July (the date is not yet official). But this is not going to happen. The league limits how many are eligible for the supplemental draft to those players with failed drug tests or academic issues or suspensions. All indications are the league is not going to allow COVID-19 uncertainly as it pertains to college football to stand as a reason why a player can enter the supplemental draft. Even if the college season is canceled, that is not expected to qualify as a reason for players to be eligible for the supplemental draft. The players will have to wait until the 2021 primary draft. This year’s supplemental draft is expected to go off as usual with just 5-10 players involved.

How long a leash do you think Daniel Jones will have if he starts off the season poorly? — Bill Staropoli

What is the longest leash out there? That is how long a leash Daniel Jones has. No one is looking to replace him with Colt McCoy, a career backup with just five starts in his past five years. Now then, this is a new coaching staff, so the equity Jones built up with Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula is not there with Joe Judge and Jason Garrett. I have a strong feeling Judge and Garrett are going to love working with Jones. He is serious, professional and about the work and not the limelight.

This does not mean Jones is guaranteed to start every game, no matter what. Sometimes you can feel when a coach or organization is just waiting to make a move at quarterback and the move comes the moment an opening arises. That is not the case at all with the Giants and Jones. They are going to find every reason they can to keep him on the field, because of their investment in him. So, this will not be an issue, as far as after a couple of bad games Jones gets benched. His play would have to be truly terrible for that to happen.

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