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Keith Rivers’ Ability to Pass Physical Presents One Potential Roadblock for Trade to New York Giants

April 11th, 2012 at 9:54 AM
By Kyle Langan

Linebacker Keith Rivers, currently of the Cincinnati Bengals, was once the ninth overall pick in the draft in 2008, but injuries have slowed a promising career. Today, rumors are swirling that Rivers may be dealt to the New York Giants.

Just a few weeks ago, the Philadelphia Eagles traded a 4th round selection (and swapped 3rd rounders) for Houston Texans linebacker Demeco Ryans, who had played a full season coming off of an Achilles injury in 2010.

Rivers missed all of 2011 with a wrist injury and a large portion of 2008 with a broken jaw. The jaw is not a big deal, but Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Inquirer recently described Rivers wrist injury as degenerative.

"I have not been able to locate answer to: how did Rivers get hurt?>Degenerative wrist condition, not one thing"

This could prevent Rivers, who is set to make $2.15 million this coming season, from passing a physical. 

At his salary and for his price tag (less than Ryans in all likelihood) he would be a massive bargain for New York. But is he healthy enough?


Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Demeco Ryans, Football, Houston Texans, Keith Rivers, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles

50 Responses to “Keith Rivers’ Ability to Pass Physical Presents One Potential Roadblock for Trade to New York Giants”

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  1.  Krow says:

    I’ll say it again … for a #3 or a #4&6 … it makes total sense. Therefore it cannot happen.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I think a 3 is asking a lot for a player coming off of injury (assuming he’s medically cleared) What value does he have for Cincinati? They just re-signed last year’s starter so he’s a backup for them as of now. Isn’t he also in the last year of his rookie deal? I’m giving no more than a 4 and maybe less if I’m JR.

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    Interesting. But first I have to comment on Kyle’s mock. I just think position wise where we draft players is flawed because OT and LB to me are far from our biggest needs and are not position we invest heavily in. RB not being addressed period is shocking. I understand doing a mock is a difficult task but I thought sans the absence of RB the first mock was a lot more realistic.

    Now on to Rivers, very interesting. It makes me ponder various questions. We have Kiwi at the SLB position I’m assuming Rivers would start so why make this trade? I wonder if we make this trade does an Osi trade follow? I can’t see trading for Rivers to make him a backup and he’s not a MLB. I don’t see us replacing Kiwi as starter unless he’s on the field somewhere else. 4th DE is not signifcant enough to justify moving Kiwi but 3rd DE could be, especially with the heavy rotating and multitude of 3-4 DE packages. But Rivers as a player does make sense because I don’t see a true 4-3 SLB that has more upside than Rivers in this draft. This move would signal additional changes IMO.

  3. Mock draft I must have flip flopped the top picks 8 times. When it came time to put the money where the mouth is, thats what I went with.

  4.  Krow says:

    Rivers could definitely play MLB for us. In fact that’s almost certainly where they’re thinking of slotting him.

    I’m buying into the ‘LBs have to cover’ philosophy, and he’s all that. At USC he even lined up at safety some times. A natural to drop into the middle zone and cover TEs across that soft center area.

    Boley at WILL …. Kiwi at SAM … plenty of depth at both position too, but zero at MIKE … yeah, it works for me.

    •  Krow says:

      Of course the day he signs is Goff’s last day.

      •  Emperor Norton says:

        Sad to see him go, but he was probably going to carry a higher salary cap than Rivers, with a lower ceiling, and an unknown condition (he’d probably be at 85% this season after the ACL tear). If Rivers can pass his physical, I’d be thrilled to see him in blue this season–pass coverage over the middle has been the thorn in our side for three straight seasons.

      •  Levito says:

        Goff is a UFA with no offers elsewhere that I’m aware of. The Giants may be able to bring him back at the veteran minimum, which would be a very good deal and a solid backup.

  5.  fanfor55years says:

    As fans we sometimes don’t fully understand why certain players are allowed to walk or offered deals that make it very likely they will not return. But we have to remember that Reese and his personnel group always have a plan, that the plan is a multi-year plan, that it revolves around certain strategic assumptions, and that the coaches are weighing in heavily in regard to evaluations of both the players on the roster and others who are under consideration (either through the draft or free agency, or the very rare trade).

    Many of us think that the Giants must get a third receiver who is a significant target for Eli this season, and who would ideally protect us in case Reese cannot retain Cruz after 2013 (after which he would be an UFA). That player would come through the draft. But none of us know what the coaches think after watching Jernigan and DePalma last year, or what they really think about Barden. We all know that if he’s healthy Hixon can be a reasonably adequate “solution” as the #3 WR this season, because he has been that before. But for all we know Jernigan is thought by the staff and the front office to be a potential star, and Barden has proved by means of his off-season work that he is ready to mature into the match-up nightmare they thought they were drafting when they selected him. So Reese/Ross may not rank a WR nearly as high among team needs as most would assume.

    Take another example. It’s no secret that the Giants need a running back. We know it, they know it, the entire world knows it. But the names that get thrown around by the fans may have absolutely no relationship to the players that Reese and Ross have focused upon and where they might get them in April. They could have their eyes on a small college stud who they think will be available at the end of the fifth round. They could be thinking about trading Osi as the draft begins and moving all the way up to get Trent Richardson (and replacing Osi by moving Kiwi to DE after actually pulling the trigger on a trade to get Rivers whom they’d expect to play as the SAM). That wouldn’t be totally ridiculous as a possibility. We just can’t know.

    All I DO know is that Reese has a handle on this stuff and we should all look forward happily to the draft and the moves that are going to be made. You simply cannot argue with success and under Jerry Reese’s and Tom Coughlin’s leadership this team has two Super Bowl wins since 2007. That doesn’t mean these folks can do no wrong. But it does mean that we should trust them to get a lot more right than wrong.

    •  Chad Eldred says:

      Which is why my approach to watching the draft is to sit back and enjoy it secure in the knowledge that more of the picks that we make will be hits rather than misses. Naturally as fans we have the right to stomp around when the pick we want isn’t the one that is announced. But to me this is no way to enjoy the draft. The odds are stacked against any of the scenarios we have in our heads and it just leads to what should be an enjoyable day being one of misery.

  6.  rlhjr says:

    Keith Rivers: 6′ 2″ 242 LBS. 40 time: 4.58
    Zach Brown: 6′ 1″ 244 LBS. 40 time: 4.45

    So how is Brown too small to play while Rivers is “NO PROBLEM”?
    The fact is the only discernable advantage Rivers has over Brown is experience.

    I do not oppose the signing of Rivers. He supports what I’ve been (I know I’m nuts) saying over and over for five years now. He’s actually a guy who can play linebacker. He’s also versatile. And as much as I respect Kiwi, he’s not a every down linebacker.

    Rivers excelled in coverage, plain and simple. And in Fewell’s scheme, he is able to play at SAM or MIKE. And yes vice inserting a third safety, he’s able to move around in coverage, and confuse the offense.

    There are a number of backers available in this draft are as good or better.
    As stated, the only disadvantage the kids would have is inexperience.

    So which side of our collective necks are we speaking from today in terms of what the Giants require at linebacker? It seems to change weekly/monthly/daily.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Brown played at much smaller than what he weighed in as for the combine. Brown didn’t play the position and college and by the nature of his game doesn’t provide confidence with **** physical he is that SLB is a good NFL postion for him. Rivers played that position in college at the weight he was for the combine. Brown is not a 3rd of 4th round pick with great athletic ability he’s Brown is a 1st or mid 2nd round pick which you want some assurances about. Also Rivers would come as a much lower cost. A first or mid 2nd round pick for Brown given how we use LBs just doesn’t seem like the best value. With Boley and Williams with all the 3 WRs sets we face how much would Brown even play?

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Well, speaking for myself only, I’d be delighted to get Brown, with the #4 pick, which is where I’d expect any trade for Rivers to fall. Your problem is you want him when he’d have to be selected very early, which many of us don’t think is justified. And frankly, I’d have my doubts about Rivers as a SAM because of his size (and inability to fight off blocks) and would only be okay with that if the Giants were going with a three-safety set in the nickel because we would need plenty of run support.

      It isn’t that Brown CANNOT play SAM. It’s that he isn’t ideal there, and that the price paid to get him is too high. He’s a perfect WILL, but we don’t need one of those. No way I’d take him at #32 as you suggest. Reese will not do so either, at least IMO.

  7.  GOAT56 says:

    I’m surprised some see Rivers as a MLB. His frame doesn’t suggest that at all and he hasn’t played MLB in college or the NFL much if at all. While MLB could be a need of ours I don’t think the interest in Rivers is intended to fix MLB.

  8.  Chad Eldred says:

    This trade seems like an intriguing idea. However it seems to me that once trades become gossip fodder they have often already fizzled out. Most trades are simply announced without the prologue of fanfare. I’m not throwing that out there as a rule, but in terms of trades I think the rumors are usually focused on what almost happened rather than what will happen.

  9.  rlhjr says:

    I think Reese may have some intrest. Rivers fits the profile of the type of player Reese likes to sign.

    Not sure if DJD is restrected to his wrist. Usually means another joint/joints may be a problem.

  10.  GOAT56 says:

    Jake Ballard had microfracture surgery

    The timeline for Giants tight end Jake Ballard’s return to action is a little longer than originally expected.

    Ballard was already a good bet to start the year on the PUP list because of the torn ACL he suffered during the Super Bowl, but he also needs to recover from microfracture surgery performed to repair damaged cartilage in his left knee. Ballard told Jeff Roberts of the Bergen Record that he thinks the cartilage injury came when he tried to get back on the field after originally injuring the knee during the fourth quarter of the win over the Patriots.

    “I definitely felt it rip and heard it pop. I felt like I ripped everything and broke everything,” Ballard said of the on-field injury. “My knee just collapsed, I definitely tore [my ACL] on the field. I’d say [the cartilage damage] probably happened on the sideline from trying to run with no ACL. But I don’t regret trying to get back in the game. It’s the biggest game in any football player’s career.”

    Ballard was though to need eight to nine months to recover from the torn ACL and, per Roberts, the microfracture surgery adds another six weeks to the recovery time. That puts his ability to return at all during the 2012 season into doubt and the magnitude of the injury means it won’t be easy for Ballard to come all the way back in future seasons.

    The Giants are also dealing with Travis Beckum’s recovery from his own torn ACL. They signed Martellus Bennett as a free agent, but they will likely still be in the market for help at tight end before the start of training camp.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I think this means we draft a TE at some point. Ballard is very questionable for the future. With a one year deal so is Bennett.

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