On the Chopping Block: J.D. Walton

J.D. Walton was a solid contributor throughout the 2014 season, but with pass protection and run blocking still not evolving into a strength for the Giants, could the veteran center be the next player to be handed his walking papers this offseason?

J.D. Walton can derive exactly one positive from his 2014 campaign as the New York Giants’ center- he managed to play in all of his team’s 16 games. His stats in them included 0 forced fumbles, 0 fumbles, and 1 fumble recovered for exactly 0 yards. Most importantly, Eli was sacked 28 times down from 39 in 2013.

While he wasn’t abysmal, Walton was not electrifying either and can best be described as mediocre. Selected No. 80 in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft by the Denver Broncos, Walton played in 30 games before dislocating his ankle and being placed on the waiver wire wherein he was signed by the Washington Redskins. He was let go after a year and signed by Big Blue on March 12, 2014 meaning he has one-year left on a two-year deal and would cost the Giants $3.625 million to keep him.

Alternatively, Jerry Reese may decide it’s time to move the younger, healthier Weston Richburg over to his natural position under center while saving the team a cool $3 million. Walton is not necessarily overpriced or a financial burden on the team but, instead, he may find himself on the outside looking in more due to circumstance. With Richburg on the roster, Walton becomes a clunky luxury that comes with a history of injury and functions more as a drain on organizational resources than a benefit to them. Thanks to eight selections in this year’s draft, Jerry Reese can move Richburg to center and concentrate on fixing the rest of the team’s offensive line; one that will hopefully be far more effective on the run.

The one-year Walton experiment has been a decent gamble by Jerry Reese and although it hasn’t paid rich dividends, it hasn’t caused massive losses either. Instead, it economically bought the team some time to equip their future center in Weston Richburg with some invaluable game time and experience and may see an official conclusion nearer April 30- May 2, dates for the 2015 NFL draft.

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