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New York Giants news, 5/22: Justin Pugh in “driver’s seat”

Pugh’s contract, OTAs, more headlines

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals
Justin Pugh
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants guard Justin Pugh is going to be paid handsomely after this season, and he knows it. Pugh recently told the New York Post that he is “sitting in the driver’s seat” when it comes to cashing in a big payday.

Pugh is already making nice money. The Giants picked up the fifth-year option on their 2013 first-round pick, meaning Pugh will earn $8.821 million for the 2017 season.

After that? Pugh is well aware of what the market is paying players at his position.

Kevin Zeitler signed a five-year, $60 million deal this offseason with the Cleveland Browns; Joel Bitonio six a six-year, $51 million deal from the Browns; The Kansas City Chiefs gave Laurent Duvernay-Tardif five years and $42 million; Ron Leary got a four-year, $36 million deal from the Denver Broncos; Larry Warford signed a four-year, $34 million deal with the New Orleans SaintsBrian Winters got a four-year, $29 million deal from the New York Jets.

“Trust me, I noticed,’’ Pugh said. “Some of the guards are really good players who have not made Pro Bowls, guys that have missed significant time and have gotten paid a lot of money. I know where I sit in that hierarchy. I also know the Giants need to do right by me, too.

“I’ve gone out there and done everything they’ve ever asked me to do. So I know my worth. I’m going to go out there and play my best season of football and hopefully the Giants say, ‘Let’s pay him what he deserves.’ ”

The Giants decisions on both Pugh and center Weston Richburg after this season. The franchise tag is a possibility for one, but to keep both the Giants will have to dole out at least one expensive long-term deal. As a second-round pick, Richburg does not have a fifth-year option included in his rookie deal.

OTAs begin Monday

The Giants will hold the first of 10 voluntary OTAs on Monday. Here is the OTA schedule and rules. The first media access is Thursday and I will have a preview of what I will be watching for that morning before I head down the New York State Thruway to watch practice. In the meantime, here are a couple of early “what to watch for” type posts.

ESPN breaks down what we will learn from OTAs. offers a list of 10 things to watch.

More Headlines

Rizzuto to Gregorius to Webb: The long tradition of filling legendary shoes | New York Post

It’s never comfortable when an athlete looks up one day and realizes there are far more yesterdays in his career than tomorrows. You’re 36 instead of 22. Your window is closing, and along comes a kid who’s not even noticed the window. Time is undefeated in everything, but it’s especially unbeatable in sports.

So you can maybe understand why John Mara tried to be diplomatic not long ago when the Giants drafted Davis Webb out of the University of California in the third round. Almost immediately, Webb was dubbed Eli Manning’s likely successor and why not? Cal produced Aaron Rodgers — who’s proven to be a fairly competent successor to Brett Favre — and Webb lit up scores of scouts’ eyes with his skills and his tools.

Still, the Giants weren’t yet ready to hand Manning a gold watch and some other lovely parting gifts. Not yet anyway. Certainly not on the record.

“I think it’s a little premature to be anointing this guy as the heir apparent to Eli, he hasn’t set foot on the field yet,” the Giants’ co-owner said. “But he’s got a lot of talent and we’re looking forward to seeing what we got when he gets here. As Bill Parcells used to say, let’s not get his bust ready for Canton just yet.”

Understood. And understandable.

Still: There are few things more difficult than replacing an icon, both for the athlete who’s unfortunate mission includes that job description and for the team that needs to fill a hole that for years had been a source of production and pride.

Former New York Giant Justin Tuck stays busy in post-playing career - New York Giants Blog- ESPN
Classes and internships have kept Justin Tuck from doing as much charity work as he'd like, but he won't miss a mentoring event this week.