Former New York Giants wide receiver turned football analyst Amani Toomer said today on SINow Live that the stick contract situations the Giants find themselves in with current star receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks is a "direct result" of the Giants handled the recently-retired Steve Smith.
Toomer is right when he says that Smith "never got his big contract" after a 2009 season that saw him set a franchise record with 107 receptions. But for Toomer to point the finger at the Giants and blame them for pulling their five-year, $35-million offer to Smith off the table is revisionist history, and it's not fair.
First and foremost, Smith could have -- and without any doubt SHOULD HAVE -- taken the money when the Giants offered it to him.
After Smith suffered his injury, what were the Giants supposed to do? Were they supposed to simply give Smith a $35 million contract when they obviously knew the condition of his knee and had to have a pretty good idea he was unlikely to ever be the same player he had been? I think not. It's a salary-cap league, and you can't cripple your ability to build a team by giving money to a player based on what he used to be able to do.
The Giants still wanted Smith because they still thought he could be a good player, were still negotiating with him prior to the 2011 season, and were stunned when the Philadelphia Eagles swooped in and stole him away.
Maybe the Giants were a bit cavalier in getting Smith's name on a contract. They can't be blamed, however, for pulling the original mega-deal off the table.
As for Nicks and Cruz, it's difficult for fans who only want them to sign and get on the field to swallow this, but you can't blame either one of them for trying to squeeze every last dollar out of the Giants they can get. Their careers, as Smith found out, can be wrecked at any time. Thus, their earning potential can also be destroyed in an instant.
Signing both is a difficult balancing act for the Giants. partially because of the salary cap and -- I'm certain -- partially because they don't want to intentionally offend either guy.
To go back in time and try to blame the Giants for the current situation, and the fact that Smith never got his pay day, is simply not right.