They get the player. And at their price. There is no doubt that managing a roster means managing the salary cap. A General Manager for the New York Giants has to have both a 'win now' plan, as well as a long term plan to sustain a talented roster to be able to compete every year within that 'win now' plan.
Here are the words of the great Michael Strahan after the 2007 Super Bowl Championship in his 'America's Game' interview for NFL Network: "In New York, they will EAT YOU ALIVE if you're not successful." Oh so true. And 'they' (fans and media) will also eat you alive if they don't THINK you will be successful, as we are seeing since the end of the lockout. I for one can see The Plan, the strategy that Reese is employing. Go ahead my fellow brothers who bleed blue, take the jump with me...
The facts are simple: The Giants did not want to retain Barry Cofield at the price he commanded on the open market. They did not want to keep two Olineman in their mid-thirties coming off major surgeries. They did not want to match the incredibly rich offer the Raiders made for a TE who caught 32 balls last year, a TE who has had multiple concussions. And they did not want to keep an oft-injured Steve Smith with guaranteed money, who may NEVER get back to his 2009 form. And while I wanted Reese and the Giants to roll the dice on Smith's knee, it is a real possibility that his knee limits him to the point of football irrelevance.
But the Giants DID want 44. At their price. They DID want, and need, a new Center. So they targeted the best Center on the market who, BTW, also plays Guard. He fits right in to the Giants philosophy of strong, versatile players up the middle on the Oline. They DID want to keep another guy who fits that same description, and keep him once again, at their price. That would be none other than Mr. Sexy Hips, Kevin Boothe. He can play all three inside positions.
This is nothing new. Reese knows what the hell he is doing.
Look at the recent past. When the Giants, as in Reese, Coughlin, and his coaching staff, target a player that they want, especially a guy already on the team, they get him. And they sign the player at the time when the price will not only be right for the team, but will make the player happy and feel secure. Reese took over in 2007. When he targets a player, these are his results:
#1 Jan. 2008. Justin Tuck signs a 5 year, 30 million dollar contract with 16 mil guaranteed. Bargain. Major contributor. And Reese signed him before he reached FA.
#2 April 2008. David Deihl signs a two year, 31 million dollar extension that will make him a Giant through 2013. A good deal for a very good lineman who played 1 year too long at LT, but was very effective from 2007-2009. Remember when this was a huge gamble? Reese GOT PAID big time for this gamble. Signed before reaching FA.
#3 June 2008. Chris Snee, strongest man in the NFL, signs a 6 year 43.5 million dollar deal making him a NY Giant through 2013. Bargain. One of the best RG's in all of football. Signed before reaching FA.
#4 Dec. 2008. Corey Webster signs a 5 year, 43 million dollar contract through 2013 with 20 mil guaranteed. This is an expensive contract in my view. But there is no denying it was a good decision by Reese to keep this very good young player . Again, signed before reaching FA.
#5 Feb. 2009. Brandon Jacobs (27, as I like to call him) signs a 4 year, 27 million dollar contract with 13 mil guaranteed. This will keep 27 in Blue through the 2012 season. Jacobs was signed before testing the market when he reached FA.
#6 And this is why we are never in a rebuilding mode. When you have a franchise QB and a solid if not great HC, you are in contention AT THE VERY LEAST, for a playoff berth every year. Aug. 2009. Eli Manning signs a 97.5 million dollar extension, keeping him a Giant through the 2015 season. As long as we have him, we have a chance. Just ask teams like BUF, MIA, TEN, or even the once great 49ers. Without that QB, you are toast.
Guys Reese did not target:
#1 Luke Pettigout. Good LT for us for a long time who was let go at the RIGHT time. We won a SB with his replacement at LT the very next year.
#2 Amani Toomer. I friggin' loved this guy. And maybe he had another year in him. But he was let go at the right time.
#3 Gibril Wilson. Good Safety for us. Went to FA hell, OAK...is he still in the NFL?
#4 Derrick Ward. Great RB for us. Loved his contributions to Earth Wind and Fire. Went to TB and did nothing. Still in the NFL?
I think these players are good examples of guys who contributed mightily for the Giants and were difficult decisions to let go. Reese nailed it on all four of them. He had to make some difficult decisions this offseason as well.
And here is the point that I hope you fine folks take away from this post more than any other: We may very well see this same proactive Jerry Reese over the next year with players such as Mario Manningham, Terrell Thomas, Will Beatty, Jonathan Goff, Kenny Phillips. Players who I expect to perform well for the Giants this year. Players who Reese and TC targeted in college, targeted in the draft, and have now developed into great young football players. If they perform like Reese believes they will, he will target them once again in the near future. And he will reward them handsomely for the privilege to play for the New York Giants.
In Reese I Trust.