Sam Beal played in only nine career games but seemed to have nine lives when it came to sticking on the Giants roster.
Time expired Tuesday, when the fourth-year cornerback was waived to close the book on another failed draft pick. Beal’s career was marked by multiple long-term injuries, a COVID-19 opt-out and an arrest on two gun charges.
General manager Dave Gettleman’s 2018 draft class consisted of seven players, including Beal in the Supplemental Draft by borrowing a third-round pick from 2019. Only second-round right guard Will Hernandez currently is contributing.
First-rounder Saquon Barkley has three touchdowns this season, but has missed the last four games due to injury. Third-rounder Lorenzo Carter has zero sacks and has missed the past two games. B.J. Hill was traded for starting center Billy Price. Kyle Lauletta and R.J. McIntosh are long gone. And now Beal is out the door after playing just 10 snaps (two on defense, eight on special teams) this season.
The Giants only have two picks remaining (Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram) from former general manager Jerry Reese’s 11 drafts. And now Gettleman’s first class could come up nearly as empty, especially if Carter and Hernandez (and Price, by proxy) leave in upcoming free agency.
It looked like Beal might get cut when he was taking third-team reps in training camp, but he was a surprise keep on the 53-man roster. When Beal subbed in Sunday for one play for an injured James Bradberry, the rest of the secondary scrambled to his aid.
The Giants actually have four open roster spots, but those are earmarked for left tackle Andrew Thomas’ return from injured reserve, linebackers Benardrick McKinney and Trent Harris to likely be signed off the practice squad after playing in two games apiece, and running back Gary Brightwell’s return from the COVID-19 reserve list.
With 13 days to go before the next game against the Buccaneers, Barkley (ankle) ran sprints under the eye of a trainer at the start of Tuesday’s practice. It was his first time on the field since Oct. 30, before he received two false-positive COVID-19 test results and was forced to stay away from teammates.
“Talking to him,” quarterback Daniel Jones said, “I know he’s working hard and doing everything he can to get back.”
Carter (ankle) also worked to the side with trainers. Thomas (ankle) cautiously moved through his workout, which is a sign he might not be ready to rejoin practice Wednesday as originally anticipated.
Shepard (quad) was not on the field.
Jones spent Tuesday night with his family at Madison Square Garden watching his brother Bates’ first game in uniform for Duke basketball. Daniel is a Duke graduate, sister Ruthie is the women’s soccer team’s goalie and Bates is a transfer from Davidson in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season.
“Excited to see those guys play,” Daniel Jones said after practice. “I’ve heard a lot about them.”