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Could Joanne Gettleman’s favorite ex-Panther be an answer for the Giants?

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Safety Tre Boston is headed to free agency

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals
Tre Boston
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine you’re the general manager of an NFL team. You are used to making the tough decisions, ones that involve people’s livelihoods, ones that often won’t be greeted with open arms by the players impacted or fans who think they know what should or should not be done.

Now, though, you have really stepped in it. You just cut the guy who was your wife’s favorite player on the team you work for. Now, you have to go home and explain yourself.

As Tre Boston tells the story, that is the position then-Carolina Panthers GM Dave Gettleman put himself in when he cut Boston after the 2016 season. During a podcast appearance on WFNZ in Charlotte, N.C. last April, Boston told the hosts of the show that he had been Joanne Gettleman’s favorite Panther.

He said that Gettleman was “teary-eyed” when he told Boston he was letting him go, but that the current New York Giants GM is a “business guy.”

Boston said he felt like he “was a Dave guy” and that he had called Gettleman to congratulate him after the Giants hired him.

So, with the Giants needing a free safety and Boston, who happens to be a pretty good one, needing a job could Gettleman help the Giants and score some points at home by turning back to a player he selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft?

The basics

Age: 27 in June
Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 205
Experience: 5
2018 stats: 14 games played | 3 interceptions | 9 passes defensed | 79 tackles (one for loss)

Pro Football Focus: Overall grade (74.1) | Run defense (66.7) | Tackling (69.9) | Pass coverage (78.2) | Missed tackles (12)

PFF says:

On his third team in the past three seasons after signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, Tre Boston put together another productive season. Boston was the 24th highest-graded safety and his 74.1 overall grade was the second highest-graded season of his young, five-year career. He allowed 18 receptions on 30 targets for 189 yards and two touchdowns while breaking up seven passes and intercepting another three. ...

Boston has shown an ability to come into a new situation and provide stable play. In 2018, his forced incompletion percentage (26.7%) was fourth among safeties with at least 10 targets. In addition, his 61.0 passer rating allowed was sixth-best among safeties.

The skinny

In a depressed safety market last offseason, Boston ended up accepting a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals for $1.5 million. If the three-year, $22 million deal the Panthers just gave Eric Reid is any indication that safety market won’t be depressed this time around.

Boston likely greeted that news happily. Speaking with the Cardinals’ official website back in December, he left no doubt he is looking to get paid this time around.

“I’m going to sit and I’m going to wait,” Boston said. “I’m going to allow my agent to do all the talking we need to do. I think around the league I’ve gained my respect with teams. It’s all about how they want to go about business. Are we valued or are we not?

“I’m going to be right here until free agency hits. The Cardinals have the first chance, and if nothing goes down, then, hey, I’ve got to test the waters again like I did last year. We’ll test it with a bigger class, a better class. ... It’s going to be an interesting one. There’s a lot of guys – vocal guys. A lot of alpha dogs in that group. I’d love to see what (teams) do with us.”

Landon Collins of the Giants is in that group. So, too, are Earl Thomas, Adrian Amos, Lamarcus Joyner, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and others.

The Giants figure to somehow retain Collins. Whether that means an expensive long-term deal, or use of the franchise or transition tag it will likely be costly. Will the Giants be willing to spend big money on a safety to pair with him?

Maybe. Especially if Gettleman wants to make his wife happy.