By 4:00 pm on September 5th, the Giants had pared the roster down to the NFL mandated 53 players.
By 5:00 pm on September 6th, they signed 14 players to the 16-player practice squad.
Here are the 2020 rules for the Practice Squad.
Before we get into the player details, it’s important to know that this year’s Practice Squad allows some really good flexibility to what Coach Judge calls “roster-building’.
With the impact of COVID-19, the NFL has set the following Practice Squad guidelines for the 2020 season:
- Teams can carry up to 16 players this year versus the usual 10.
- Teams can carry up to six (6) veteran players versus the usual three players with three-years or less experience. No years limit this year.
- During game weeks, each team can protect up to four (4) players on the practice squad from signing with other teams.
- Anyone left unprotected and signed by another team must be on that team’s roster. You cannot be signed to another practice squad.
- On any game day, the Giants can promote two players from the practice squad to the game roster, essentially allowing for 55 players versus 53.
- Any practice squad player promoted two times to the roster must clear waivers before being returned to the practice squad.
OK, is that clear as mud?
Well, let’s see how those rules have led to some shrewd decisions by GM Dave and Coach Joe.
The Giants cut both Alex Tanney and Cooper Rush yesterday. As expected, one of them was signed to the Practice Squad. Cooper knows Jason Garrett’s offense and has played it for three years.
If something crazy goes awry with Daniel Jones, Rush can be ‘rushed” up to the team with little loss of confidence in running the full offense. Rush will be a “Veteran” add.
It was a bit of a surprise the Giants let all three of the UDFA WRs (Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, Derrick Dillon) go yesterday. In addition, Johnny Holton and 2019 Giant, Alex Bachman, were also sent to waivers. This group all had bright spots during camp. The consensus was there might be an opportunity for the Giants to add 1-3 of these WRs to the practice squad. Today, all five cleared waivers and were back with the team as Practice Squad players. Holton has four years in the league and meets the “veteran” criteria.
In a separate move today, the Giants waived WR Corey Coleman and signed Browns WR Damion Ratley off waivers. Ratley will go to the active roster. Joe Judge stated this was a move to improve the speed of the WR corps. Coleman had a good camp but is injury-prone.
The Giants cut four linemen yesterday. Today, two return to the Practice Squad. Tyler Haycraft and Kyle Murphy, both UDFAs that played well in camp, return to the team and continue their development. Haycraft (a Tackle in college) spent nearly all of camp learning a new position, Center.
Today, the Giants claimed Tackle Jackson Barton off waivers from the Chiefs. To make room for Barton, OL Chad Slade was waived, then re-signed to the Practice Squad.
The Giants had a great opportunity to hold onto another lineman that is coming off a serious injury in 2019. Jon Halapio tried out last week in front of the coaches. Pio started 15 games at Center in 2019 before tearing his Achilles in the final game. He looked good enough to sign to the 80-man roster. His cut yesterday was a sign the Giants hoped to put him on the practice squad as a “veteran” to complete his comeback. Not so fast Joe. Halapio declined the Giants’ offer to sign to the Practice Squad. He will look to other teams for a chance to make an active roster. Good luck Pio! We wish you well.
In a surprise move yesterday, the kept all but two linebackers. Giants released 2019 special teams player, Josiah Tauaefa, and 2019 draft pick, LB Ryan Connelly. Ryan had made four starts at ILB last year before season-ending knee surgery. He didn’t spend much time on the practice field this camp. The Giants were hoping to sneak him through waivers and let him continue rehab on the Practice Squad. But, the Vikings claimed Connelly off waivers. Good luck Ryan! Clearly, the linebacker corps has been upgraded this season. Time will tell if Connelly will be missed by the team as much as the fan base.
Today, LB David Mayo was placed on IR recovering from knee surgery. Eric Tomlinson rejoins the Tight End corps after being waived yesterday.
I’ll add safeties and cornerbacks together for this report. With the versatility sought by the coaches, and their plan to play multiple schemes, it’s very likely there will be several players asked to play CB and S on this roster. Seven players were cut yesterday. Only three returned today. Brandon Williams was signed to the active roster today to replace Xavier McKinney who went to IR and is recovering from foot surgery. Chris Williamson and Jarren Williams were signed to the Practice Squad. No “veteran” status used here.
Today, the Giants waived DB Sean Chandler while claiming DB Adrian Colbert from the Chiefs. It looks like the Giants are still trying to tweak and improve the secondary.
Daylon Mack and Nick Lalos were released yesterday. Lalos, an UDFA from Dartmouth, was signed to the Practice Squad today. Again, the Giants keep a young player to develop.
Two players were signed to the Practice Squad as insurance for critical players on special teams. Punter/Kicker, Ryan Santoso, was signed to backup both P Riley Dixon and K Graham Gano. Long snapper, Carson Tinker was cut yesterday and returned to the team today.
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