With continued excellent play, Los Angeles Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth has been making it obvious for two seasons that the New York Giants made an awful mistake two seasons ago by not pursuing the now-13-year veteran.
Whitworth, still playing at a high level at age 37, poured salt into the Giants’ wound on Monday when he told Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advance Media that the Giants were a preferred destination when he left the Cincinnati Bengals after 11 seasons.
“Just being completely honest: That was a place that my wife and I were very interested in going,” Whitworth said when asked by NJ Advance Media about one of the last big miscalculations by former Giants general manager Jerry Reese.
“We even told our agent that we would love to hear if there was an option there. We were told there wasn’t any interest there. It wasn’t something that was ever a viable option for us.”
Whitworth signed a three-year, $33.75 million deal ($15 million guaranteed) with the Rams. He was named All-Pro in 2017. This season, Whitworth allowed only four sacks, 33 total pressures and had the third-highest Pro Football Focus grade among tackles who played 1,000 or more snaps.
Rather than sign Whitworth and move Ereck Flowers to right tackle, GM Jerry Reese stubbornly kept Flowers at left tackle. To help the offensive line, he drafted only Adam Bisnowaty in Round 6 and signed D.J. Fluker to a one-year deal.
Instead of giving that $33 million to Whitworth, they signed wide receiver Brandon Marshall (two years, $11 million, $2 million guaranteed) and tight end Rhett Ellison (four years, $18 million, $8 million guaranteed).
I was never in favor of the Marshall signing. In retrospect now, it is easy to see that the Giants erred in not going after Whitworth.
At the time it was understandable that $10-12 million annually for a 35-year-old seemed exorbitant, and I wrote as much. After seeing how well he continues to play, watching Ereck Flowers struggle for another year, then seeing Dave Gettleman have to spend $62 million ($34.8 million guaranteed on Nate Solder — a younger, but lesser player — to correct that mistake Whitworth looks like a bargain.
Revisiting the Whitworth decision is sort of like crying over spilt milk. Can’t do anything about it now. The idea that he was interested in the Giants, though, makes their lack of pursuit even tougher to take.