These Giants can determine their futures after bye week – New York Post

An NFL bye week serves two main purposes: Self-scouting and previewing future opponents. 

As the Giants take their week off at the midpoint of the season — with an 8 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight — the bye is a chance to reassess the roster. 

Here are five players whose futures with the Giants (and in the NFL) will be determined over the next eight games. All five were drafted by hot-seat general manager Dave Gettleman. 

OT Matt Peart 

Left tackle Andrew Thomas is expected to come off injured reserve and reclaim his job from Peart after the bye. At that point, the Giants should move Peart to right tackle and replace Nate Solder, who beat out Peart in training camp but likely is entering his final eight games before an offseason split. 

The Giants need to know if they have two young bookends — every team’s dream — or if Peart is best served as a swing tackle off the bench. Peart has allowed 11 pressures (three sacks, including two with a lost fumble) and has looked awkward in space at times trying to set up screens over the last five games. He essentially alternates between encouraging and discouraging performances. 

OLB Lorenzo Carter 

This really applies to two outside linebackers who are former third-round picks: Carter and Oshane Ximines. 

Carter has a half-season left to prove he is worthy of being an NFL starter entering free agency. The awe of his length, athleticism and physique wore off long ago. A void of production took its place

Carter had one quarterback pressure on 43 pass-rushing snaps in his last three games before an ankle injury knocked him out of the last two. He has zero sacks this season after last year’s Achilles surgery and two in his last 17 games dating to 2019. 

Somehow, that’s still better off than Ximines, who was inactive last week and needs to show he belongs on a 53-man roster next season. 

Lorenzo Carter (left) and Oshane Ximines (right)
Lorenzo Carter (left) and Oshane Ximines (right)
Joseph E. Amaturo (2)

RG Will Hernandez 

After 3,212 career snaps, you’d think the Giants know what Hernandez is by now. Maybe that’s the case. 

Pros: Durable. Versatile. Pass-blocking. Cons: Run-blocking. Pulling. Declined after promising rookie season. 

It’s unrealistic to think the Giants are going to find four new starting offensive linemen around Thomas in one offseason, so Hernandez is playing to prove he’s a short-term fix. His second contract will come in way below the four-year, $70 million extension the Colts gave Braden Smith, who was drafted three picks after Hernandez in the second round in 2018. 

WR Darius Slayton 

It will be telling to see how Slayton is used once Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney all are healthy at the same time. Is he in a four-receiver rotation or is he a spare part? 

Slayton’s first two seasons were remarkably consistent (averaging 49 catches for 745 yards with 11 total touchdowns), but his numbers are way down this season. Even with injuries throughout the receiver corps, Slayton has zero catches on three targets over the last two games, after averaging six targets per game earlier in his career. 

Slayton’s team-friendly contract drew interest at last week’s trade deadline. His future may be tied to what happens in the offseason with Shepard — an organizational favorite but possible salary cap casualty for $4.5 million in space. 

Darius Slayton has not recorded a reception in each of his last two games.
Darius Slayton has not recorded a reception in either of his last two games.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

CB Darnay Holmes 

The Giants drafted over Holmes, but rookie third-rounder Aaron Robinson’s injury delayed his development. Then they benched Holmes, but rookie sixth-rounder Rodarius Williams suffered a season-ending injury. 

So, Holmes, who is the 96th-ranked cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus, has one more stretch of meaningful snaps to prove he belongs in a sub-package role. His would-be game-changing interception against the Chiefs was wiped out by Ximines’ offsides penalty. One strike against Holmes is he doesn’t play enough of a role on special teams. 

P Riley Dixon 

It’s been mostly downhill since Dixon — acquired in a 2018 trade with the Broncos — signed a three-year, $8.7 extension as his career-best year came to a close in 2019. It won’t be a surprise if the Giants add a punter to the practice squad from a workout down the stretch. 

In two of the Giants’ last-minute losses, poor punts by Dixon — a sideline shank against the Chiefs and a short-field touchback against the Falcons — fed into the defense’s inability to get a stop.