The New York Giants’ aggression in free agency — giving Leonard Williams, Adoree Jackson and Kenny Golladay $97.5 million in guaranteed money in a market with a reduced salary cap — raised some eyebrows around the NFL.
“There were no surprises,” said assistant GM Kevin Abrams. “It’s always a bit of an unknown who the players are who you will be able to attract, but we knew we were going to be aggressive.
“The danger of free agency is that it’s more auction than it is negotiation, but we know what we think the market is for a position, we know where we think players fit within that market and we’ll set those parameters of where we’re willing to go to get a player well in advance of the beginning of free agency.”
Abrams also said he wasn’t surprised by the volume of players the Giants were able to sign despite appearing to be skating close to the league’s $182.5 million salary cap.
“We thought that there might be some opportunities because we thought that there might be fewer buyers out there,” Abrams said. “Our plan was to be aggressive from the beginning. We knew we had ownership support, which was probably uncommon this year, to be as aggressive as we were.”
GM Dave Gettleman said the Giants “got four high-dollar guys at very good value for their positions.”
Gettleman said the Giants were satisfied with the medical reports on Golladay, Jackson and Kyle Rudolph.
“I tell you what, we had them come in. It was a little different with free agency this year, we actually had them come in first, so we really – all three guys, Kenny, Adoree’ and [Tight End] Kyle [Rudolph] – we had them in here and it was an old school free agency. We got to talk, a chance to visit with them, they went out to dinner with various people in the organization, they were here a couple of nights, our doctors were able to put their hands on them,” Gettleman said. “It was an old-fashioned free agency. [Head athletic trainer] Ronnie [Barnes] and head team physician] Doc [Scott] Rodeo felt very comfortable with us moving with the signing of those three guys.”
Here are a few more takeaways from the Gettleman-Abrams free agency media availability.
The signing of Devontae Booker
The Giants moved quickly to sign Booker to a two-year, $5.5 million deal to be the backup running back to Saquon Barkley, getting the deal done on the first day of free agency. Why the rush, and the financial commitment, for a guy who has never been more than a rotational player?
“One of the reasons we prioritized Devontae is you can never have too many good players at any position, I don’t care what anybody says,” Gettleman said. “One of the things that made Devontae so attractive was the facts that we felt he was a legitimate three-down running back … we feel he could be a good part of our solution at running back.”
The Kyle Rudolph situation
The Giants did not back out of or change the two-year, $12 million deal they agreed to with Rudolph after learning he would require foot surgery.
“We are the Giants. We’re going to do everything with class,” Gettleman said. “We had an agreement. Ronnie signed off on it. Doc Rodeo signed off on it, so we were fine.”
Painful loss of Dalvin Tomlinson
Gettleman admitted he didn’t like losing defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency.
“Dalvin is a wonderful young man, and he was a captain. So, obviously there’s regret,” Gettleman said. “But, at the end of the day you only have so much money and you’ve got to make decisions. That’s just the way it is. We’ll miss Dalvin.
“Sure it’s hard.”
This media availability was not designed to discuss the draft. So, getting draft information out of Gettleman wasn’t going to be easy. Is the GM satisfied with the team’s edge rushers?
“Lorenzo [Carter] and X-Man [Oshane Ximines] are rehabbing. They’re coming along well. You feel good about those 2 guys,” Gettleman said. “Cam Brown is going to get better. Carter Coughlin is going to be better. You’re growing them up and then you’re looking at the draft as well. You’re always looking to get better.”
How much better?
Of course the Giants feel good about their offseason work. Of course they feel as though they have improved. But, by how much?
“You can’t quantify it. It’s not going to be quantified until the fall, and we start playing in September. But we feel very good about what we’ve done, we feel very good about the direction the team is taking,” Gettleman said.
“We really feel that we’re building a solid football team that the fans can be proud of.”
Adoree’ Jackson’s big deal
Some analysts have been critical of the three-year, $39 million ($24.5 million guaranteed) deal the Giants gave former Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, believing it obe an exorbitant amount for a player who did not have a good 2020 season.
Gettleman, in his typical style, doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
“Well, my reaction to that is one of the things that makes America a great place is everyone is entitled to an opinion. Time will tell,” Gettleman said. “He’s got inside-outside flex, he’s a legitimate cover guy, he can run and he’s a very smart football player and he’s got ball skills. All of that stuff made him worth that.”