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Giants Ink Veteran Guard Zac Kerin, Waive Ethan Cooper

The Giants today added experience on their offensive line when they exchanged guards, signing veteran Zac Kerin and waiving first-year pro Ethan Cooper, Michael Eisen of Giants.com reports.

Kerin has played in 14 regular-season games with one start, and has played in a postseason game. Cooper has never appeared in a regular-season game.

The 6-4, 305-pound Kerin entered the NFL in 2014 as a rookie free agent with the Minnesota Vikings, from Toledo. He spent that entire season on the Vikings’ practice squad.

In 2015, Kerin played in four games for Minnesota, making his NFL debut on Nov. 8 vs. St. Louis. He played in nine games in 2016 for the Vikings, who waived him at the end of training camp last year. He was claimed by the Detroit Lions, for whom he played one game, making his first pro start at left guard vs. Atlanta on Sept. 24. Kerin was declared a free agent on March 14.

Cooper, a product of Indiana University (Pa.), was on the Giants’ practice squad from Oct. 11, 2016 to the end of the season.

Giants DL A.J. Francis Peeved About TSA Spilling His Mothers Ashes

Giants defensive lineman A.J. Francis went on a Twitter tirade Monday after claiming that the Transportation Security Administration went through his suitcase and left open the urn carrying his mother’s ashes, Jordan Raanan of NJ Advance Media reports.

Carrie Leanne Francis died on June 26 at 46 years old, according to a post on her son’s Instagram account. A.J. Francis posted a picture Monday of his clothes covered with what appeared to be ashes after his return from a week in Arkansas and California celebrating the life of his mother.

“Hey you pieces of s**** at @TSA next time you a******* feel the need to go thru my mother’s ashes for no reason, make sure you close it back so her remains aren’t spilled on all my clothes… the least you pieces of garbage can do is your f****** job,” he said in a tweet.

Francis, 28, played six games last season for the Washington Redskins and recorded 18 tackles. He previously spent time with the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks.

Can Jonathan Stewart Give the Giants Much at All to Help the Run Game in 2018?

Giants running back Jonathan Stewart “looked more like a plodding veteran running back trying to hang on” during offseason practices than someone who can contribute this season according to Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media.

While this seems like a harsh assessment, it is not particularly surprising considering the pedestrian 2017 Stewart posted in his last season with the Carolina Panthers.

Originally the Panthers’ first-round draft pick out of Oregon in 2008, Stewart had spent his entire NFL career with the Panthers before signing a two-year, $6.9 million contract which included an absurd $3.45 million in guaranteed money to join the Giants in March.

Now 31 years old, Stewart had some effective seasons in Carolina but struggled to stay healthy and had only one 1,000+ season there-way back in 2009. He has always been a bit of a plodder and seems to have little left at this point. Lombardo does not expect him to beat out Wayne Gallman for the backup job behind No.2-overall pick Saquon Barkley.

Can the Giants Still Win with Eli Manning? Co-Owner John Mara Thinks So

Giants co-owner John Mara reaffirmed his faith in Eli Manning, as well as his desire to move on from the Giants’ forgettable 2017 campaign on Tuesday night, Eric Barrow of the New York Daily News reports.

The Giants CEO expressed his thoughts on the state of the franchise, which is looking to improve from going 3-13, at a town hall event at the Upper West Side’s Beacon Theatre.

“We can win with him,” Mara told fans in the crowd regarding the team’s 37-year-old quarterback. “Objectively, Dave (Gettleman) and Pat (Shurmur) both said he can still play.”

While he gave the signal-caller a strong vote of confidence, fans clearly still aren’t over the Giants benching Manning last season in favor of Geno Smith, which broke Eli’s consecutive stars streak.

“He’s not missed a game due to injury,” Mara said, which was met with boos.

Later in the evening, Manning spoke, and was welcomed with a standing ovation.

“I’ve been throwing the ball down the field a lot more. Every quarterback loves that,” he said.

Giants Coach Pat Shurmur Says WR Odell Beckham Jr. is “Pretty Close” to Returning

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said Tuesday that star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is “pretty close” to being cleared according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

The Giants have taken an extremely cautious approach with OBJ as he recovers from a broken ankle. He was not at OTAs on Tuesday but has reportedly been “chomping on the bit” to do more in drills than the coaching and medical staff will allow at this juncture.

It would not be a surprise to see him on the field during minicamp in a couple weeks. At worst, Beckham should be a full-go for the start of training camp.

Can the Giants Go From Worst to First in 2018? Pro Football Weekly Discusses Their Chances

There’s been plenty of buzz around the Giants since the NFL Draft nearly two weeks ago, as many think that the turnaround for the team will be swift, and not the long drawn out process that it’s taken for the team to start winning.

Today Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm put out an article ranking all eight last place teams from the 2017 season, and if there’s a chance they can make it all the way to first place in 2018.

According to the article, the Giants have the Second Best shot to unseat the Super Bowl Champion Eagles for the Division title in 2018 – a feat that won’t come easy.

2. New York Giants (3-13)

Oh, the Philadelphia Eagles surely are laughing at the sight of this. And rightfully so in that the Eagles were a machine most of last season, and even the Carson Wentz injury couldn’t derail their run to the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl title. We understand the absurdity of suggesting that the bottom-barrel Giants are somehow on the Eagles’ level yet.

That said, there really wasn’t much separating these two teams when they went head to head last season — two narrow victories, each of which the Giants led in the final five minutes of play. A coaching change in New York certainly could change that dynamic just a bit, but it’s hard to imagine the Giants will be as sad offensively as they were a year ago.

As controversial as the Saquon Barkley pick might have been from a positional value standpoint, it’s not as if he can’t add a very vital element to this unit — as a runner, receiver and returner. Couple that with the return to health of Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, and you have the makings of a much better group. Eli Manning still must answer his critics, but he has a chance to have a twilight awakening if the offensive line holds up.

Defense is anyone’s guess. Coordinator James Bettcher might be the miracle worker he’s been hailed by some as, and maybe this underachieving secondary turns things around. The talent is there, and the front seven isn’t as bad as some people want to make it. If they can make modest improvements on special teams, too, you’re at least looking at a very solid football team — one that, don’t forget, went 11-5 in 2016.

Topping the Eagles and Cowboys will be tough, no denying that, and the Giants’ brutal early schedule is no joke. But we have a feeling they are going to be a lot more competitive by season’s end than their putrid record in 2017 suggests.

Giants Co-Owner John Mara Confident Odell Beckham Deal Will Get Done

Giants co-owner John Mara reiterated his stance on star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Tuesday night — he wants Beckham to be a Giant for a long time, Brian Costello of the New York Daily News reports.

“I hope so,” Mara told reporters at the Gridiron Gala held by the United Way of New York City.

The last time Mara faced microphones and tape recorders, in March at the owners’ meetings, he was being peppered with questions about whether the Giants wanted to trade Beckham. Six weeks later, Beckham is still a Giant, and Mara wants to keep it that way.

Beckham is looking for a new contract. The 25-year-old is scheduled to make $8.5 million this season on the final year of his rookie deal. Though the Giants want to get a new deal done to keep Beckham, they are not going to rush things.

“I wouldn’t say a sense of urgency,” Mara said. “The contract will get done when it’s supposed to get done. I think that’s the Dave Gettleman line. I’m gonna adopt that I think, all spring, all summer, as long as it takes.”

Beckham has shown up for voluntary offseason workouts, something that has everyone hopeful around the Giants.

“I was happy to see him,” Mara said.

Beckham is still recovering from a broken ankle suffered in an October loss to the Chargers. Mara indicated he is not all that worried about the contract negotiation becoming a distraction for his team.

“It’s not the first contract negotiation we’ve ever had,” Mara said. “It’ll get done when it’s supposed to get done.”

New Giants DT A.J. Francis Says Logo of His Old Team, The Redskins, is ‘Racist’

Defensive tackle A.J. Francis found a new job just days after being released by the Redskins and celebrated the moment by ripping his old team on Instagram, including calling out their “racist” logo, ESPN reports.

Francis signed with the New York Giants on Wednesday. He was one of three defensive tackles released by the Redskins on Monday after they selected two defensive tackles in the draft.

After signing with the Giants, Francis posted an Instagram picture of himself laughing. He wrote, “When the team you were on didn’t appreciate you but the team you played against actually pays attention to the film,” and added in the hashtags he was looking forward to playing the Redskins twice next season.

He then added, “#AndYourLogoIsRacist.”

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has remained firm in his desire to keep the team’s nickname and logo. Despite increasing pressure from Native American groups, led by the Change The Mascot campaign, Snyder hasn’t budged, once telling USA Today that he’ll never change the nickname and “you can use caps.”

How Popular is Saquon Barkley’s Jersey Sales Since Being the Giants First Pick?

The Giants jumped at the chance Thursday of taking Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and a lot of folks are jumping on the bandwagon and quickly ordering his jersey from anywhere fans can get it.

According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, the sales of Barkley’s jersey thus far five days after the draft are number one of any player drafted.

Here’s the tweet with the top draft picks jersey sales thus far.

Giants Tried to Move OT Ereck Flowers During the NFL Draft; Found No Takers

Reports says that the Giants shopped offensive tackle Ereck Flowers during the draft but found no takers at their asking price of a middle-round pick according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.

Apparently the only people in the NFL surprised at this news is the front office of the Giants. Originally the No.9 pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of Miami, Flowers’ play on the field has been poor and numerous reports indicate his attitude in the locker room is just as toxic.

One team told Raanan that the middle-round asking price was “significantly too steep.” It doesn’t help that Flowers’ $2.4 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed. Flowers did not report to the Giants’ pre-draft offseason workouts and the team is not expected to pick up his fifth-year option for 2019.