New York Giants co-owner John Mara spoke to reporters on Sunday at the NFL owners meetings, and dropped newsworthy tidbits on both Ereck Flowers and Johnathan Hankins. Let’s start your week by getting caught up on those notes, and the rest of the Giants-related headlines.
Not ready to give up on Ereck Flowers
While many in the fan base have spent their offseason gnashing their teeth and demanding that the Giants do something about replacing Ereck Flowers at left tackle, the Giants have gone about their business as though they intend to give the 2015 first-round pick another chance at that spot. Mara told Newsday that he is “not giving up on Ereck Flowers yet.”
“I know that seems to be the popular sentiment around, but this is a young kid who’s been in our weight room every day in the offseason. He wants to be good. He wants to be a top left tackle in this game. There’s a spot for him on our team. Hopefully it will continue to be at left tackle, but I’m not giving up on him yet and I don’t think anyone on our staff is.” ...
“I think he’s a very prideful guy,” Mara said. “I think he was probably stung by some of the criticism, and I think that will serve to motivate him next year. He’s a good kid, he really is. He wants to be a top player in this league, and I think when you have a guy that’s going to work as hard as he does and is as big and strong as he is, I think you have a chance.”
Valentine’s View: Perhaps the most interesting tidbit in Mara’s remarks is the news that Flowers has been working out in East Rutherford. Beyond lifting weights at the facility we don’t know what that means, but it does show some dedication to his craft. He could have been spending his time enjoying much nicer weather in Miami, where he is from and where he went to college.
Flowers will still be only 23 next season, and he still possesses terrific physical tools. Whether in the draft or free agency I would still anticipate that the Giants add someone capable of playing left tackle, but Mara’s backing is more indication the Giants are inclined to give Flowers another opportunity.
No “real movement” on Johnathan Hankins
When will defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins sign a free-agent contract? With the Giants or anyone else? Mara doesn’t really know.
"I don't think there's been any real movement there," Mara told NJ Advance Media at the NFL owners meetings. "We still very much like him on our team. He's a good player, really good kid. He adds a lot to our team. Hopefully we'll get it worked out. But I have no idea whether that will happen or not."
Mara said the Giants would like to bring Hankins, the only key member of the 2016 defense not currently under contract, back “without being irresponsible.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. We certainly want him back, but it’s got to make sense for us. He’s an important part of our team, he’s a great kid, he’s young and he fits in very well with us. So we hope to have him back.”
Kim Jones of NFL Network has reported that the Giants continue to offer Hankins “a multi-year deal that stacks up well in this free agent market.”
Brandon Marshall signing gave Giants “a spark”
The free-agent signing of wide receiver Brandon Marshall excited the fan base. Mara said it also excited the entire organization.
“It was a spark to the entire organization getting a player of that caliber,” Mara said at the NFL’s annual meetings in Arizona. “I think that’s really going to help us. He’s got a great attitude and he wants to win and I think he’ll be a good influence in the receiver room.”
David Njoku: “Very close” with Jeremy Shockey
Miami tight end David Njoku, considered by many to be a primary target for the Giants in the 2017 NFL Draft, told the New York Post that he is “very close” with Jeremy Shockey, the last tight end the Giants selected in Round 1.
Shockey was the Giants’ first-round pick in 2002. LIke Njoku, who is a Cedar Grove, N.J. native, Shockey played at Miami.
“He told me it’s the place to be, the Giants, the fans are great, atmosphere is great, we both love ball. It would be home also. It would be huge.’’
Njoku is ranked No. 19 on the Big Blue View Prospect Big Board.