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Carolina Panthers May Target New York Giants Safety Kenny Phillips in Free Agency

February 10th, 2013 at 3:30 PM
By Paul Tierney

The New York Giants are not going to be able to bring back all their free-agents this offseason. It's a harsh reality that fans are going to have to come to grips with as the start of the league year approaches on March 12th. Even after cutting Michael Boley, Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty, Big Blue is still reported to be over the salary cap. That means that not only are more moves coming, but there are going to be players that Jerry Reese will not be able to compete for on the open market.

'Aaron Ross and Kenny Phillips' photo (c) 2010, Marianne O'Leary - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Safety Kenny Phillips will likely to fall into that category. Today, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer speculated on the Carolina Panthers potential interest in signing  Phillips. Although the Panthers are facing salary cap issues of their own, their new general manager Dave Gettleman has spent the last 15 seasons as a senior analyst inside Big Blue's pro personnel office. Gettleman surely knows how much value Phillips can bring to a defense, which may peak the Panthers interest this March.

The Giants have depth at safety. With the emergence of Stevie Brown and Will Hill, Big Blue could still have three legitimate safeties on the roster even without re-signing Phillips. However, Phillips' physical stature, along with his ability to play over-the-top of receivers would be a devastating loss to the Giants defense. Phillips presence coincided with the Giants most successful defensive efforts this season. In the seven games Phillips was able to get on the field for, Big Blue gave up an average of just 16.9 points.

Without Phillips, the Giants will lack the experience necessary to have a stalwart defensive backfield. With a full season under their belts, Hill and Brown will undoubtedly begin to further grasp defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's scheme. Brown made a name for himself with eight interceptions this season, but he also had his fair share of blunders on the field. In particular, Brown was responsible for Cincinnati Bengals wideout AJ Green's 56-yard touchdown in a week eight blowout loss.

The Giants are likely going to have to choose between signing Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, Kenny Phillips and Martellus Bennett.  At best the team will be able to keep two of the four aforementioned players.

As we highlighted last week at Giants 101, the team can not afford to let Will Beatty go in free agency. Left tackles do not come around often, and barring another team grossly overpaying for Beatty's services, the Giants need to find a way to get him back in Blue in 2013. With the returning talent at safety, it's likely the team decided to pursue either Boothe or Bennett before Phillips comes into the equation.

Also…

Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, Carolina, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Football, Kenny Phillips, Martellus Bennett, Michael Boley, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Perry Fewell, Stevie Brown, Will Beatty, Will Hill

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63 Responses to “Carolina Panthers May Target New York Giants Safety Kenny Phillips in Free Agency”

  1.  Krow says:

    Reese don’t do bidding wars. He figures the market value … lays out a solid offer … maybe negotiates a bit … but that’s basically it. If a player finds a chump with deep pockets then he may as well pack his bags that same day. Any team willing to over-pay for one of our guys gets them … and we move on.

  2.  Dirt says:

    Y’all can dismiss it all you want, but if Beatty snags a big offer, Super Bowl XLVI starting left tackle David Diehl will be the starting left tackle of the 2013 New York Giants, as much as I and you all hate the thought of it. And I really hate the thought of it. But for some reasons I outlined yesterday, I don’t think it’s unlikely.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    •  demo3356 says:

      Yeah we’ll see. I see no way in hell that happens. I see Eli personally paying Beatty’s salary before that happens. Beatty is signed or tagged, book it

      •  Dirt says:

        Here are a few things I think I think:

        - You are G101′s annual reminderer of “When was the last time Jerry Reese let a young star/playmaker go?”. While I think we can all agree the cap will force his hand this year, I still think Reese is that guy at his core, and resigning Beatty very likely means the end for guys like Phillips, Cruz and Bennett.

        - The offensive line isn’t statistically as bad as we all think (statistically top third of the league according to PFF, which supplies advanced stats to the Giants), so I can’t see Reese pumping even *more* money into this already expensive unit.

        - Reese also believes in “the guy you need is probably already on your roster.” Diehl has played snaps at LT the last two years (one good enough for a championship, including a 6 game, 27 points/game stretch to win it) and he’s also gotta have faith that his system has produced someone already on the roster who can play RT.

        - This is gonna sound crazy, but the offensive system doesn’t require superb pass protection (within the context of a salary cap). Eli’s smart enough to keep enough guys in to block as necessary, and takes a lot less hits than anyone else in the league, despite being the least athletic. He got tore up that one game against SF, but otherwise he’s stayed clean forever. Diehl or Beatty.

        Just a couple thoughts. I went into this thinking resigning Beatty was a no brainer, but I at least now see a path away from that. Again, I hope I’m wrong.

        •  Dirt says:

          - And with respect to those stars/playmakers, those are Reese’s guys to invest in – RB, CB, DE, WR – that’s the kind of guy he’s targeted in the first round in the draft to build around. He’s then generally backfilled linemen, linebackers and tight ends.

          Maybe I’m completely off, but with the current deals of Baas and Snee, I can’t see him also locking up $8M-$10M on another lineman.

  3.  demo3356 says:

    Yeah with Gettleman down their in Carolina, we will now have 2 NFC south teams fighting to add every ex Giant imaginable.. Not sure Carolina wil have the cap room to add Phillips. They have like a billion dollars invested in the RB position with Wiliams, Tolbert and Stewart along with a lot tied into LB and OL

  4.  KingAndrewXXIII says:

    I saw somewhere that Jon Beason could become expendable/a cap casualty as a result of the emergence of Kuechley. As much as I love Phillips as a player – followed him his entire career with The U and have loved his performance in Blue – with his health concerns, his malcontent with the training staff and the contract he is likely to command, I would sacrifice his services if it meant we could somehow wind up with Beason. With Beason still under contract, I wonder if he could be had for a mid-round pick? Plugging Beason in the middle and going with a combination of Rolle, Brown, Hill and possibly TT (at a vet minimum, one-year prove it type deal) at safety, for me, is greater than Rolle, KP, Brown, Hill and whoever at MLB.

    It’s no surprise though that teams like the Bucs and Panthers are targeting our guys. I read that the Panthers are likely to make a push for Canty as well.

  5.  Krow says:

    I think KP is a solid safety. But with that chronic knee I’m not sure he’s getting a mega-contract. At least not one with a lot of guaranteed dollars. He’s quite the gamble … healthwise.

    •  GmenMania says:

      Don’t forget that there are at least 5 free agent safeties this year who are as good or better than Phillips. . . and healthier.

      •  Krow says:

        We tend to be a bit myopic and paranoid here … as if the entire NFL is licking their collective chops over the prospect of signing someone from our 9-7 non-playoff team.

        •  GmenMania says:

          Exactly. The mindset that some of our players like Beatty or Phillips are going to get mega-contracts in free agency is quite crazy. Nobody’s gonna give Beatty or Phillips a mega-contract when there are better options from playoff teams available in free agency.

          •  Dirt says:

            Haha I think anything over the veteran minimum qualifies as mega for this cap-strapped team!

          •  KingAndrewXXIII says:

            I agree with this to a degree…but at the same time, with the new CBA in the cap era…a LOT of other teams are strapped for cash too. Thus, a player like Beatty or Phillips…who may very well have 5-6 other guys ahead of them talent-wise who will command more money…might come as more of an option to teams a little more strapped for cash than others, but that can still offer a little bit more money than Reese can. Will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I still don’t think we’ve seen the end of our own roster shake ups.

            •  Krow says:

              Success in the NFL is fleeting and often situational. If there isn’t a lot of money involved then the player is taking a hell of a risk. They might not fit into the scheme. And the team will expect them to hit the ground running. Deliver on that big contract or hit the road.

              That’s why it amazes me to see guys move for small differences. Or my fav, the back-loaded sucker contract. “Why yes … we’ll give you $50,000,000 my boy … $1,000,000 each of the first 4 years … but just think of that 5th year when you get $46,000,000. Yes … how wonderful that will be. Sign here.”

  6.  fanfor55years says:

    I think some still don’t understand the Beatty situation.

    No one except an abject moron is going to offer him a “mega-deal”. But Beatty and his agent may insist on a long-term contract that is higher than what Reese will allocate, even if he hasn’t yet received those kinds of offers, or Reese might decide he won’t even let Beatty test the market.

    In the latter case that means they franchise him, overpay him in 2013 (probably at the cost of losing Phillips and Bennett, and perhaps Boothe as well) and wait and see if they can then get Beatty to sign at their price or see what he does in 2013 before even thinking about 2014. By then they could feel that one of the young tackles can handle the left side and won’t want Beatty and a big contract. They’d certainly have another year of evaluating him and would feel more certain about his value going forward. Let’s suppose they are prepared to offer him 5 years at $40MM+ (including a signing bonus of $8MM and around $7MM per annum after a smaller 2013 salary of $4MM to help with the cap) with $30MM guaranteed, and the franchise number is $13-14MM. If that’s the case they’d only be paying about an extra few million in 2013 to have a year of evaluation of Beatty and their roster. Worth the flexibility.

    If they allow Beatty to field offers he may get something like $48MM for 5 years (I don’t see anyone giving him $10MM per annum for his quality of play, but that’s just a guess on my part) and we could make that a close call with the dollars Reese would pony up, close enough that Beatty would (probably should) stay put rather than squeeze the last $5MM out of the contract (thanks to our wonderful Federal government and new tax rates, and agents’ fees, he only winds up with about 55% of the dollars before state taxes anyway).

    Frankly, if I’m Reese I’m going to pay a bit more to have another year to evaluate my options, and I’m going to draft a quality tackle in April. I’d franchise Beatty. I like the chances of one of Brewer, a draftee, Mosley or McCants being an option at least equal to Beatty in 2014 at significantly lower cost.

    I’m cold. I’d franchise Beatty and tag Cruz. That way we keep both of them (or get a first-round pick for Cruz) and can probably keep one of Boothe, Phillips and Bennett while renegotiating with Nicks and tying him up for 4-5 years. I’d worry about 2014 in 2014. An NFL season holds plenty of surprises, both unpleasant and pleasant. Reese will have plenty of options in 2014 and I’m not at all convinced he should make his long-term commitments now when he can wait to do so.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      That “probably” in the last paragraph was supposed to be “possibly”, as in “possibly keep”…. Sorry.

      •  GmenMania says:

        Good post. However, no GM is gonna pay Beatty $48MM for 5 years. That’s crazy, what with the deep free agent tackle class and a deep draft tackle class. A better tackle than Beatty may get that, but there’s NO way that Beatty will get that. I don’t think it’s worth it to tag Beatty and have an extra year of evaluation if it means losing two of Boothe, KP, and Bennett. I think franchising Beatty is too costly to happen, as we just don’t have $9.6MM cap space. Therefore, I think we either reach a deal with Beatty or he’s gone.

    •  Dirt says:

      $8M, $10M, that’s a sh|t ton of money for this team this offseason no matter how you slice it. On top of Baas and Snee.

      This is why I always usually steer clear of these debates this time of year. You suggest franchising him, demo says they’re still over the cap. I struggle to corroborate it all with no clarity at all into the numbers so I usually sit back and watch.

    •  sonnymooks says:

      There are alot of morons with big checkbooks out there, lol.

      All it takes is one dumb owner, BUT, I no longer think Beatty is necessarily a goner, I think the one dumb owner/moron who overpays big time, will overpay one of these other tackles before Beatty, so beatty might have just picked the wrong year to hit the market.

      With a glut of tackles and a tackle rich draft, even a couple of dumb owners might not give him that offer, someone will get a stupid contract, but he may not be the guy who gets it this year.

      •  jb322 says:

        Your numbers are a little off for figuring the cap hit. And no way Beatty gets 9 Mil per. You can get a premier tackle for that. I would bet that we get him for $7.5 mil with a 2013 cap hit of $5 mil. Anything higher and I would go get Clady or Vollmer or Smith. All are better than Beatty. For that matter you can get 2 serviceable tackles for $9 mil of cap hit.

  7.  Krow says:

    If they’re going to tag someone it may as well be KP. Safeties get $6.8 m … OL $9.7. Then use the extra $3 mil to sign an OT. I’d rather do that then pay for a year of Beatty AND lose KP too.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      You’re not just paying “for a year of Beatty”. You are setting yourself up to make a long-term decision about left tackle before the 2014 season instead of right now. We dump at least Webster and Snee by then, which frees up about $14MM of cap space, and we gain about $7MM of new cap space from the annual increase.

      So before the 2014 season starts, by tagging Beatty and tendering Cruz we’d be able to wait to decide about both of them until after seeing both what they do this season and what their potential replacements look like. A year of carefully observing Brewer (and a rookie, and McCants and Mosley) and Jernigan could give Reese a lot of much cheaper options going into next season than he has right now.

      I’d pay for that flexibility, unless I got what I thought were reasonable, affordable, deals on both players. In other words, I’d do what I assume they are going to do: name a number, and then only come up a very little bit to close a deal or decide they’re not going to do it.

      Believe me, I do NOT want David Diehl at LT, and I think our LT is going to be Beatty, but the former COULD happen (as you, too, have mentioned), and the latter could happen against Beatty’s wishes.

  8.  KingAndrewXXIII says:

    Who was the young DT out of Denver that we had brought in last year and what ever happened to him? I remember many on here being very high on him…and liking what limited film I had seen and read about him. Might be a good, below the radar, high-upside depth signing if he is healthy and available…

  9.  shmitty013 says:

    Panthers were further over the cap than we were before we cut guys. They were about $14 million over I think. Maybe they got moves coming to get down to where they can sign KP, but I’ll believe it if and when it happens.

  10.  fanfor55years says:

    Okay, on to Kenny Phillips. VERY much under-appreciated at Giants 101. One of the critical pieces of the puzzle. Better at his position than Beatty, Boothe and Bennett are at theirs, and his position is more important than many realize. Yes, he’s a health risk, but the Giants know better than we to what extent that’s true.

    I think many are getting ahead of themselves on Brown and Hill. I like ‘em both, especially Hill (he’s my guy), but neither is Kenny Phillips’ peer at this point. Phillips makes the deep pass into the middle a VERY dangerous decision for the QB and his receivers. He forces QBs to look to throw to the sideline on deep patterns where corners can use that sideline as an extra defender. It is NOT KP’s fault that Webster was so frequently burned on those plays in 2012. It’s the corner’s job to make those plays, especially when he knows he can cheat that way because only rarely will a receiver cut inside into Phillips’ territory.

    I would really love to see Phillips back if he wants to be here despite some pique at the training staff. I’d give up Bennett and Boothe without a thought in order to retain KP. I’d have to think long and hard about a choice between KP and Beatty. I know most will consider that nuts because LT is more valuable than deep safety, and because they think the drop-off from KP to Brown or Hill is way less than that from Beatty to Diehl (or Brewer or a Locklear-like veteran). I’m not so sure about either of those statements.

    •  kujo says:

      Totally agree with your take on Beatty and Phillips. It’s like people are trying to convince themselves that it’s not a big deal that we are likely to lose at least one of these excellent players in the next few weeks by diminishing their talents. Yes, both have legitimate question marks–the knee for Phillips, the overall quality for Beatty. But they’re both excellent and losing them will very likely result in a noticeable drop off in production, provided no huge acquisitions are made to replace them.

    •  sonnymooks says:

      I love K.P., he’s my kind of safety, BUT I don’t think he can play 16, let alone 19 games. I just do not think its going to happen.

      Thats the problem, as good as he is, with his blend of special talents (speed, hitting ability, smarts, etc), he is a difference maker when he plays, but the problem is he does not play enough and can’t play enough.

      I liked him back when he was a hurricain and always liked him, and was thrilled when the Giants drafted him, but I can’t see us giving him good money when he know he isn’t going to be there every game.

      I wish he could stay healthy, I wish he could play a full season, but he can’t, and its not going to happen. Not much we can do about that, we have to be realistic over how much we would pay him and for how many games.

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