Tagged in: Giants

Ex-New York Giants CB James Bradberry reaches one-year deal with Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles took a big step in filling out their secondary, agreeing to a one-year contract with cornerback James Bradberry, the team revealed Wednesday.

The deal will pay him $7.5 million, including $7.25 million guaranteed, and has another $2.5 million in upside, bringing the total possible value of the deal to $10 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Eleven teams reached out about Bradberry after he was released by the New York Giants on May 9, with that number being whittled down to three before Bradberry chose the Eagles, according to Schefter.

He is anticipated to slide right into a starting role opposite Darius Slay, creating what on paper looks like a formidable cornerback trio with Bradberry, Slay and slot corner Avonte Maddox.

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The Eagles were in need of another starter after Steven Nelson signed with the Houston Texans this offseason. General manager Howie Roseman previously indicated such a move could come after the draft, when the team and veteran free agents had a clearer idea of what the roster would look like.

The Giants released Bradberry after not being able to find a trade partner for the veteran cornerback.

The move for the Giants was more about the money than an indictment of the player. Bradberry, 28, had been set to make $13.5 million this season and would have counted $21.9 million against the Giants’ cap.

Bradberry was one of just five players on the current Giants roster to make a Pro Bowl in their careers. He was their top cornerback last campaign and made the Pro Bowl in his first year with the Giants in 2020, when he had a career-best 79.8 Pro Football Focus grade. He has graded in the 60s all the remaining years of his career.

He had a career high with four interceptions and recovered a pair of fumbles this past season.

Bradberry spent the first four years of his career with the Carolina Panthers and has 15 interceptions and 82 passes defended in his six NFL seasons.

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New York Giants release James Bradberry after failing to find trade partner for CB

The New York Giants released cornerback James Bradberry on Monday to save about $10.1 million against the salary cap this season.

New general manager Joe Schoen was seeking to trade Bradberry since before free agency in March but couldn’t find anything that worked for all parties involved. Schoen acknowledged last week he was surprised there wasn’t more interest in the team’s No. 1 cornerback.

“Yeah, I was,” he stated Wednesday on WFAN Sports Radio. “I thought there would be more interest. There were some teams that showed interest pre-draft, and we had a couple different times there were compensation in place and the contract never worked out. Being the fact that we did have good talks with the other teams and their agents had good talks with teams, sometimes if you’re going to renegotiate a contract and couldn’t come to an agreement, it is what it is.”

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The move for the Giants was more about the money than an indictment on the player.

Bradberry, 28, was set to make $13.5 million this season and would have counted as $21.9 million on the team’s salary cap. His release leaves the Giants thin at cornerback, where the oft-injured Adoree’ Jackson is the only veteran with significant starting experience.

The Giants needed the savings to sign their draft class and operate throughout the season. They were just $6 million under the cap as of last week, according to the Roster Management System.

Bradberry had $2 million of his $13.4 million base salary guaranteed at the start of the league year.

“Listen, he’s a starting corner in the league,” Schoen told WFAN last week. “It’s just where we are financially. We still got to sign our draft picks, be able to sign our practice squad and have replacement costs for during the season.”

Despite the move, the Giants still have to eat almost $10 million in dead money against the cap. That leaves them with close to $30 million in dead money for this upcoming season, fifth-most in the NFL.

The Giants also lost one of their most productive players. Bradberry was one of just five players on the roster to make a Pro Bowl in their career. He was their top cornerback last season and made the Pro Bowl in his first year with the Giants in 2020, when he had a career-best 79.8 Pro Football Focus grade.

He has been in the 60s in every other year of his career. The veteran cornerback had a career high with four interceptions and recovered a pair of fumbles this past campaign.

Bradberry, who went to Samford, spent the first four years of his career with the Carolina Panthers. The Giants signed him as a free agent in the 2020 offseason to a deal worth $43.5 million over three years.

He was entering the final year of that deal, which made it more difficult to trade him as a one-year rental, unless there was a new deal worked out. He has played in 92 career games (91 starts) for the Giants and Panthers.

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New York Giants won’t exercise fifth-year option on QB Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have elected to decline the fifth-year option on quarterback Daniel Jones’ rookie contract, a source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini. It would have guaranteed the team’s starting quarterback $22.39 million next season.

The Giants did opt to pick up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, the team revealed. The 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft is now guaranteed $10.8 million for the 2023 season.

Jones, 24, was the sixth overall selection in the 2019 draft out of Duke. But while the Giants still think he can be their quarterback into the future, he hasn’t yet shown it consistently on the field. Jones has missed matches because of injury each of his first three professional seasons and has thrown just 21 touchdown passes in the past two seasons combined.

Jones’ 24 touchdown passes as a rookie remains a career high.

That made the decision on the young quarterback rather obvious. The Giants didn’t want to guarantee Jones more than $20 million before they saw him perform consistently at a level where there was no doubt that he was a franchise quarterback. They might have high hopes, but it hasn’t happened in the first three seasons playing under three different offensive coordinators.

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General manager Joe Schoen mentioned the cautionary tale of the Carolina Panthers and Sam Darnold not long after he was hired. Darnold is guaranteed $18.9 million this season after the Panthers traded for him and picked up his fifth-year option before he ever played a game for the team. Meanwhile, Carolina spent this offseason trying to land an upgrade at quarterback and are stuck with Darnold on their books.

Cleveland, which ultimately landed Deshaun Watson, is in an alike position with Baker Mayfield, who also had his fifth-year option picked up last year.

It’s not that the Giants don’t have confidence and high hopes for Jones; they do. But if he performs as they expect — under the new regime led by coach Brian Daboll — they can always use the franchise tag next year at around $30 million or sign Jones to a long-term deal. They don’t feel the need to make any commitments at this point.

Jones will remain the Giants’ starter to start this season, and the organization has high expectations despite signing veteran Tyrod Taylor to a two-year deal this offseason.

“We do feel Daniel can play,” co-owner John Mara said earlier this year. “We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that. But let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not.”

Mara added later this offseason that either you have your quarterback or you don’t, and he considered the Giants had theirs. In the meantime, Taylor is signed for $5.5 million next year and could potentially serve as a relatively inexpensive bridge option should Jones not pan out.

Lawrence, 24, has been a three-year starter in the middle of the Giants’ defense. He had 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.

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Carolina Panthers OC Ben McAdoo says QB Sam Darnold is the team’s starter

New Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo emphatically stated “yes” on Tuesday when asked whether Sam Darnold was his starting quarterback and added that the third pick of the 2018 draft was one reason he took this job.

Seconds later, the former New York Giants head coach tempered his yes by adding that coach Matt Rhule has a say over the decision but that “the way it is in the building right now, Sam is our starting quarterback.”

Darnold and P.J. Walker are the only quarterbacks under contract for 2022, and the Panthers are vetting quarterbacks as candidates for the No. 6 pick in the draft.

“One of the things I’ve been working on is being better talking to you people [media], so announcing the starting quarterback here I just put my foot in my mouth,” said McAdoo, who was fired by the Giants after the 2017 season.

“That wasn’t something I should have said.”

But McAdoo has liked parts of Darnold’s game since the New York Jets drafted him No. 3 out of USC.

He told the New York Post in 2018 that Darnold had a “lot of magic in his game,” although he wondered aloud whether Darnold ever would be the franchise-saver the Jets needed him to be. At the time, he couldn’t get past the flaws in Darnold’s throwing mechanics and ball security.

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“I think he’s special,” McAdoo told the Post. “He’s obviously a talented guy, he can make plays with his feet. I’d just have a hard time drafting a guy in the first round where you don’t necessarily like the way he throws.

“He can overcome it, guys have, but that’s something that’s a challenge for me. I’m gonna be looking at that, trying to fix it, because it’s a fundamental flaw, and I believe in the fundamentals. The quarterback, his No. 1 job is to pass the football. If I don’t like the way he throws the ball, I have a hard time picking him, right?”

But in a sense McAdoo picked Darnold when choosing to come to Carolina after spending last campaign as a consultant for the Dallas Cowboys.

“Sam does have some magic in his game,” McAdoo said in his first interview since being hired on Jan. 24. “He’s got some athleticism to him. I’m excited to work with Sam. We’ve been working the last few days here to get up to speed on offense, and he’s shown flashes of being a good player in this league.”

That doesn’t mean the Panthers are more likely to take a left tackle than a quarterback at No. 6. They’ve spent the past few months evaluating quarterbacks and used seven of their 30 official visits on the position.

The Panthers have had visits with — Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe and Nevada’s Carson Strong.

Willis, Pickett and Corral, according to draft analysts, are the most likely to go in the first round, with Pickett considered best prepared to be a Day 1 starter in the NFL.

McAdoo doesn’t put a lot of stock in being game ready.

McAdoo appears open to Darnold being his starter despite reports the Panthers are interested in trading for Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. League sources told ESPN that the team simply has been doing due diligence on the position and that if such a trade occurred, it would be after the draft.

McAdoo said in the 2018 Post article that Mayfield had an “edge” about him but that he didn’t see “a lot of pro-style football in his tape.”

McAdoo declined to talk about Mayfield on Tuesday. “I’d love to comment on your question, but this isn’t my first rodeo,” McAdoo said. “I’m going to keep the comments to players on our roster right now.”

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New York Giants release tight end Kyle Rudolph, running back Devontae Booker

The New York Giants have releasing veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Devontae Booker, the team revealed Wednesday.

“Certainly not the year any of us expected, but a year we will never forget,” Rudolph wrote earlier Wednesday in social media posts. “… Thanks to everyone in the building who took in and helped this old guy who needed to relearn everything about a new organization.”

Rudolph texted ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he is not retiring and intends to play next season. Rudolph, 32, had just 26 catches for 257 yards with a touchdown in his only year with the Giants.

It was one of the least productive seasons of an accomplished career in which he made two Pro Bowls with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012 and ’17.

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His release was a rather easy decision for the Giants and a new regime led by general manager Joe Schoen, who stated Tuesday the team would have to make “tough” decisions to reach his goal of cutting $40 million off the salary cap.

Rudolph was arranged to count $7.4 million against the cap this year. The Giants save $5 million with the move, even if it includes $2.4 million in dead money.

By releasing Booker, who averaged 4.1 yards per carry last season, the Giants will save an additional $2 million.

New York will need to address the tight end position in free agency and/or the draft. Starter Evan Engram also is scheduled to be a free agent.

The signing of Rudolph was questionable from the start by former general manager Dave Gettleman. After agreeing to terms on a two-year deal worth $12 million last offseason, it was discovered that Rudolph would need surgery on a foot injury that limited him the previous season.

The Giants, however, decided to honor the contract and Rudolph missed the entire spring and most of the summer. He never really hit his stride in New York as it appeared he lost a step while struggling to create separation — averaging just 2.9 yards per separation, per NextGen Stats. He averaged 4.0 yards and 3.4 yards of separation in the two previous seasons.

Rudolph, who went to Notre Dame, had spent the previous 10 seasons with the Vikings. Only his rookie season and 2014 — when he missed almost half the year with injuries — was he less productive than this past season.

He has 479 catches for 4,745 yards and 49 touchdowns in his professional career.

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Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores joins Pittsburgh Steelers as defensive assistant/LB coach

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has a new family.

The Pittsburgh Steelers revealed the hire of Flores, who is suing the NFL and three teams, as a defensive assistant and linebackers coach Saturday.

“I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a news release. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team.”

Flores’ hire significantly boosts a defensive unit that recently saw the promotion of Teryl Austin to defensive coordinator following the retirement of Keith Butler, who also coached the team’s outside linebackers.

Flores spent the past three campaigns as Miami’s head coach, compiling a 24-25 record before he was fired last month.

Prior to that, he was the defensive playcaller for the New England Patriots, including in Super Bowl LIII.

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Flores, 40, filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the Giants, Dolphins and Broncos this month, alleging discrimination in the interview process with New York and Denver and in his firing by Miami.

In the lawsuit, Flores alleged, among other things, that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for every loss in 2019 in an effort to tank for a top draft pick.

Flores also claimed the Giants only interviewed him for their head-coaching vacancy in January to comply with the Rooney Rule, and he stated a similar scenario played out in 2019 during an interview process with the Broncos.

The NFL has hired a law firm that includes former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to defend against Flores’ claims.

Despite the Steelers’ hiring of Flores, his lawyer, Douglas H. Wigdor, issued a statement Saturday indicating the lawsuit against the league would proceed. “While Coach Flores is now focused on his new position, he will continue with his race discrimination class action so that real change can be made in the NFL,” said Wigdor.

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Joe Judge returns to New England Patriots as offensive assistant

Former New England Patriots special-teams coordinator Joe Judge — who was fired after two seasons as head coach of the New York Giants — is returning to the franchise as an offensive assistant, it was revealed Tuesday.

Judge coached with New England from 2012 to 2019 before becoming the Giants’ head coach.

In his final season working under Bill Belichick, the 40-year-old Judge served as wide receivers coach in addition to his longtime role coordinating special teams.

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Judge was then hired for his first NFL head-coaching job, going 10-23 in two seasons with the Giants.

He had been set to become the head coach at Mississippi State, his alma mater, before the Giants offered him the job.

In Judge’s final season in New England, Belichick had said that he “could probably coach any position on the field,” crediting his teaching ability and knack for thinking quickly.

The Patriots are undergoing a significant change on their offensive coaching staff. They don’t have an offensive coordinator after Josh McDaniels was named head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree is joining McDaniels, and it’s possible other assistants could follow. In addition, veteran running backs coach Ivan Fears is anticipated to retire.

In past years, Belichick hasn’t always given out titles at the outset when filling out his coaching staff. Judge’s role, assuming there are no unexpected holdups, could depend on other additions to the staff.

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Las Vegas Raiders to hire New York Giants’ Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator

The Las Vegas Raiders are hiring New York Giants assistant head coach Patrick Graham as their defensive coordinator, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Graham, 43, joins newly hired head coach Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas after spending the past two seasons as the Giants’ defensive coordinator under Joe Judge.

Graham replaces Gus Bradley, who is heading to the Indianapolis Colts to be their defensive coordinator after one season with the Raiders.

The Raiders have also hired a new quarterbacks coach in former New England Patriots quality control/QB coach Bo Hardegree and are keeping receivers coach Edgar Bennett, sources told ESPN.

McDaniels, in his introductory news conference on Monday, was asked what defensive scheme he planned on using with the Raiders.

“Most of it today is actually built out of the nickel anyway,” he said. “We talk a lot about 4-3, 3-4, [but] 85 percent of the game is now ‘sub’ defense, so your decision-making process might be a little different than it was 15 years ago, when you were playing a lot more base defense.”

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Graham ran a 3-4 base with the Giants, while the Raiders have run a 4-3 scheme.

“We’ll make those considerations and determine how we want to go forward here as we kind of build the staff and move along with the team, but I think right now it’s built in that mode,” McDaniels said.

“But like I said, most of these games you’re playing a four-man line and nickel defense anyway, so that’s almost become your base.

“So, the vision for us is going to need to be — there’s five starting defensive backs now, and there’s two linebackers and so on and so forth. We’ll do the due diligence as we hire our staff and then evaluate our team and decide what’s best as we move forward.”

Graham was with the Patriots from 2009-2015, serving as a defensive assistant as well as the defensive line and linebackers coach in his time there, which coincided with McDaniels’ return to New England in 2012.

Under Bradley, the Raiders defense improved from the No. 25 overall defense in 2020 to No. 17 last season, but was last in the NFL in red-zone defense under Bradley (83.3% touchdowns and 6.29 points per red-zone-zone trip) and was next-to-last in red-zone takeaways per red-zone drive.

Raiders Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby was asked after the AFC’s practice on Thursday what he wanted to see in a defensive coordinator.

“I love Gus and I feel like he has us going in the right direction,” Crosby said. “Obviously, I don’t know, I don’t have any control of that, but we’ll see. We’ll have to see.”

Graham also worked with new Giants head coach Brian Daboll from their time together (2013-15) in New England. Daboll stated the team had hoped to keep Graham if he did not land a head-coaching job elsewhere.

“I’ve had a good relationship with Pat for some time in this league,” Daboll said at his introductory news conference earlier this week. “He’s very diligent. He’s smart. I think the players respect him. He understands different defenses and I have a good working relationship with him. I did when I was back at New England.

“Certainly, we hope that he has an opportunity to become a head coach. I think that’s everybody’s dream, but selfishly, I would love him to be here. He offers a lot to our program. I think he’d be a great support system for me and I’m hoping that that works out.”

The Giants’ defense was ranked 12th in the NFL in 2020 under Graham. It was 21st this past campaign. Graham is held in high regard by the Giants organization and had interviewed for its head-coaching position.

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New York Giants won’t trade for Deshaun Watson, seek to ‘build an offense around’ Daniel Jones

The New York Giants don’t appear likely to make major changes at quarterback in 2022, and they definitely won’t be in the market for Deshaun Watson.

“We’re not trading for Deshaun Watson,” Giants co-owner John Mara said Wednesday after introducing Joe Schoen as the team’s new general manager. “There are so many reasons why we wouldn’t do that. Cap-wise, we couldn’t afford [the acquisition], but more importantly, with the allegations that are out there right now, that is just not the right fit for us.”

Daniel Jones has been New York’s starting quarterback for the past three campaigns but has struggled with injuries and inconsistent play since being drafted No. 6 overall in 2019.

Watson wants to be traded from the Houston Texans but didn’t play this past season while facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior.

Schoen stated Watson wasn’t even a topic he addressed during the interview process, almost as if he viewed not having interest in Watson as common sense. Watson has a no-trade clause in the deal he signed with Houston in September 2020 and is set to make $35 million in base salary next season.

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“Where we are salary-cap-wise and the pending legal issues, I don’t know how you can go down that road right now,” Schoen said.

The Giants are projected to be about $5 million over the salary cap next season and have Jones on his rookie contract for at least another year.

Schoen and a new head coach who is expected to be hired by early next week will have to decide whether to exercise Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023. The Giants have until May before making that decision.

In the meantime, it appears the Giants are committed to moving forward with Jones, the No. 6 overall draft pick in 2019. Jones threw 10 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 11 starts this past year before missing the final six weeks with a neck injury.

Jones is expected to be medically cleared in plenty of time for the 2022 season, and Schoen sees enough potential to have him part of the Giants’ plans.

“The kid has physical ability. He’s got arm strength, he’s athletic, he can run,” Schoen said. “I’m really excited to work with Daniel.

“Again, when the new staff gets in here, we’ll build an offense around Daniel to accentuate what he does best.”

There are reasons for the Giants to build around the 24-year-old Jones, who has flashed potential despite playing with an insufficient supporting cast.

The Giants were 28th in the NFL in pass block win rate this season at 53.6%. Their starting running back, tight end and top four wide receivers all missed at least two matches as they finished with the 31st-ranked offense.

The Giants organization still trusts in its starting quarterback for most of the past three seasons.

“We do feel Daniel can play,” Mara said. “We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that. But let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not.

“I have a lot of hope in Daniel. I know how badly he wants it. I know how the players feel about him. We are certainly not giving up on him by any stretch of the imagination.”

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New York Giants fire coach Joe Judge after just two seasons

The New York Giants fired coach Joe Judge on Tuesday after his two losing seasons with the crew.

The move comes a day after general manager Dave Gettleman retired after four seasons on the job.

Judge, a first-time head coach, went 10-23 in his two years. He is the third consecutive Giants coach to be fired after two seasons or less, following Ben McAdoo (13-15) and Pat Shurmur (9-23), as the once-proud franchise stumbles through one of the worst 10-year stretches in its history.

The move comes after Judge was left dangling for most of the past two days. He operated Monday as if he would stay, holding a team meeting before speaking with ownership in the afternoon. But the Giants did not mention that Judge would return when they sent out a news release revealing Gettleman’s retirement.

Judge had more meetings scheduled with ownership on the direction of the team Tuesday. It was during one of those meetings that Judge was informed he would not return for a third season.

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Judge, 40, appeared safe until late in the season, when the Giants started spiraling out of control after losing quarterback Daniel Jones to injury. They couldn’t move the ball and scored more than 10 points once in those six games with Mike Glennon and then Jake Fromm, claimed off the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad, starting.

The Giants used three starting quarterbacks in a single season for the first time since 1992. That was in Ray Handley’s second season as head coach, and he too was fired after the season.

Giants ownership had wanted to keep Judge. Mara even gave Judge a vote of confidence earlier this campaign despite a slow start.

But an animated 11-minute ramble after a loss to the Chicago Bears two weeks ago rankled the organization, and running back-to-back quarterback sneaks from inside their own 5-yard line on second and third downs during Sunday’s 22-7 defeat to the Washington Football Team made Judge an easy target and the Giants a running joke.

The Giants were big spenders last offseason, and the expectation from ownership was that they would at least be playoff contenders.

But a slow start, 1-5 this season, doomed Judge. New York started 0-5 under him in 2020 and has missed the playoffs nine of the past 10 seasons.

Judge’s .303 winning percentage is third worst in Giants franchise history, just above Shurmur, the man he replaced.

The Giants were among the league leaders in games missed due to injury this season. All their key offensive players — Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, left tackle Andrew Thomas, and wide receivers Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney — missed at least two games.

Judge came to the Giants after eight seasons with the New England Patriots, mostly as the special-teams coordinator, and was highly recommended by Bill Belichick. Judge had previously worked under Nick Saban at Alabama.

New York lured Judge with a five-year contract. He was set to become the head coach at Mississippi State, his alma mater, before this opportunity arose. Two years and four days later, he’s out.

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