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Giants officially land one player on the 2018 AP All-Pro Team

The NFL officially announced the 2018 All-Pro First and Second Teams on Friday just prior to the start of Wildcard weekend and just one player from the New York Giants made the cut.

Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas was named to the Second Team All-Pro roster. Rosas was passed over for Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker on the First Team All-Pro team.

Many fans expected running back Saquon Barkley to make the All-Pro team in his rookie season, but he was passed over by AP voters for Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley on the First Team and by Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott on the second team. Although Elliott finished as the NFL’s leading rusher, Barkley was a more effective running back on a per-touch basis. Elliott averaged 4.7 yards per carry with six rushing touchdowns while Barkley averaged 5.0 yards per carry with 11 rushing touchdowns.

Barkley finished with more total yards from scrimmage than Elliott, more touchdowns (15 vs. 10), and he was more of a factor in the passing game despite playing behind a considerably worse offensive line in a less productive offense overall. Barkley also paced Elliott in advanced stats, and according to Pro Football Focus he led the NFL in combined broken tackles.

Earlier this week, PFF broke down their 2018 First Team All-Pro squad and Barkley made the cut over both Elliott and Gurley.

“Statistics say the draft is often a crapshoot, but that’s not the case with a player like Saquon Barkley,” PFF’s Michael Renner wrote. “The Giants running back was as advertised his rookie season after being drafted number two overall. His 71 combined broken tackles were the most of any player in the NFL.”

PFF assigned Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey the runner-up tag behind Barkley. Both Barkley and McCaffrey impact the NFL game in multiple ways as two of the leading running backs in receptions during the 2018 season. Both Barkley and McCaffrey were selected by current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman in consecutive drafts, the first in which he was in the same position with the Panthers.

In addition to earning the accolade from PFF, Barkley’s rookie season included him reaching some incredible milestones and breaking some outstanding all-time NFL records. Barkley became the third rookie in NFL history to top the 2,000-yard mark in total yards from scrimmage, he became one of three running backs in NFL history (rookie or veteran) to rack up nine plays or more of 40-plus yards, he broke the all-time rookie record for receptions previously held by Reggie Bush, and that just scratches the surface. For the complete list of milestones and records from Barkley’s rookie season, you’ll find it here.

As for Rosas vs. Tucker, the Giants kicker was also named to PFF’s First Team All-Pro team.

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Here’s what PFF had to say about the Giants’ Pro Bowl kicker:

Rosas turned things around in a big way in 2018,” Renner wrote. “He went 31-32 on extra points and 32-33 on field goals with his only miss coming from 50+. This comes after a year in which he only went 18-25 on his field goal attempts.”

Fortunately for the Giants, the breakout Pro Bowl kicker is an Exclusive Rights Free Agent. In the NFL, there are three different free agent designations. Landon Collins, for example, is set to become an unrestricted free agent. An unrestricted free agent is free to negotiate and sign with any other NFL team. The second kind of tag is RFA or restricted free agent. A restricted free agent can be assigned a free agent tender (one-year deal) by his original team, but he is free to negotiate a long-term contract with any other team. If the restricted free agent agrees to a long-term deal with another team, they can sign an offer sheet, but the original team has the final say with the ability to match the offer sheet. Lastly, an exclusive rights free agent, like Rosas, can be assigned a free agent tender, but he is NOT eligible to negotiate with other teams.

In other words, the Giants can assign Rosas a one-year tender that is salary cap-friendly and he has no option to negotiate a long-term deal for leverage elsewhere. The Giants will most likely opt to go this route. While they could also opt to re-sign Rosas to a long-term contract, it’s not in their best strategic interest to sign him to a long-term deal coming off a dominant Pro Bowl season when the other option is to re-sign him to a cheap one-year deal to make him prove he can do it again in 2019 first.

Rosas broke the all-time Giants record for field goal percentage (96.9 percent) previously held by Josh Brown.

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