John Fennelly, Lead WriterThe Giants will be out on the practice field this morning to begin a short – and hectic – final week of the preseason. They will practice Monday and Tuesday and take Wednesday off before closing out the preseason against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium Thursday Night.
They must trim the roster down to 75 players by 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The final cuts are due by 4 p.m. next Sunday, August 31. Teams can also begin to assemble their ten-man practice squads at that time.
Injuries are playing a major role in the formation of the roster (we’ll have more on that tomorrow). Some tough cuts will be coming, but the Giants can keep up to ten players on the practice squad this year.
According to the NFL, the new practice squad criteria are as follows:
First, a player must have a minimum of six games – up from the current three games – on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player’s three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.
Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.
So, in short, all rookies – draftees, UDFAs and first-year players – are eligible, plus players that fit that very confusing standard of accrued seasons. The Giants can also go out and sign players that were released by other teams and, vis-a-vi other teams can sign their guys.
Once the practice squad is formed, teams can poach players from other practice squads, but only if they add them to their 53-man roster. This gives the Giants some leverage with players they want to keep that may not be ready for the season.
Currently, the Giants have 24 rookies and seven first-year players. There are also a few players with two years experience that could be eligible as well, such as WR Marcus Harris, but the league has yet to make that determination. From what I see, he’s eligible.
Harris has a shoulder injury that will keep him out until the third regular season game or so. The Giants would have to cut Harris, though. It’s doubtful he’ll sign with another team, so the risk of losing him is minimal. It’s also doubtful that a team will seek to grab him for their 53 before he’s healthy. By Week 3, the Giants will have more injuries, or roster openings and they can bring Harris back at that time. Risky, but it beats carrying him for a month with no production.
What good about the Giants this season is the amount of young players they have on their 90-man roster. Most of them have been here for the entire offseason program and training camp. The players they keep will likely know the Giant way of doing things and could seamlessly easily be activated if needed.
Right now, it’s tough to predict who will be cut and signed back. I will be back tomorrow with who I thinks these players will be.