Mar 042015
 
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Larry Donnell, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Tender Larry Donnell: The New York Giants have tendered exclusive rights free agent tight end Larry Donnell. By tendering him with a 1-year, $585,000 contract, Donnell is now locked into re-signing with the New York Giants. Other teams cannot offer him a contract.

Donnell went from a little-known player to the team’s primary tight end in 2014, playing in all 16 games with 12 starts. Donnell finished the season with 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns. His 63 receptions were tied for 9th-best among all NFL tight ends in 2014.

The only other exclusive rights free agent on the team is cornerback Chandler Fenner. It is not known yet if the Giants will tender Fenner.

A complete list of New York Giants free agents is available in the New York Giants 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Victor Cruz Talks About Recovery: New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz spoke about his recovery from the torn patella tendon he suffered last October on SiriusXM Radio on Wednesday.

“The injury’s going well, the rehab’s going very, very well,” Cruz said. “I’m a little more than halfway there, we’re building the strength back in my leg. The rehab’s been hard, it’s been difficult, it’s been long, it’s been grueling, but I’ve been going through it, man, and it’s definitely paying off now. The strength is coming back slowly but surely.

“I started running on this cool machine called the Alter-G, where it lets you run with a certain percentage of your body weight. And I just started doing that yesterday so it’s only a matter of time before I get out there on that field, so I’m excited about that.

“(The Giants’ medical staff does) a good job of when I’m feeling good, they still tell me things I need to hear to bring me back down to earth a little bit. So they do a good job of keeping me humble and keeping me mindful of the fact that I still have a little ways to go. These steps that I’ve taken so far have been great ones, and they always remind me to send me videos of myself eight weeks ago, ten weeks ago just to remind me how far I’ve come.

“Obviously the next couple of months are very, very important in terms of building the strength (in my knee) and continuing to mold my body back into running shape and things like that. And I just want to take these next couple of months to do that and really focus on that. Training camp is definitely the timetable. More importantly, even before training camp, I’ll be feeling almost 100 percent around May-ish, June-ish and I can really start rehabbing and strengthening it and start running routes and things like that, hopefully.”

Mar 042015
 
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Jon Beason, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Jon Beason was solid in the middle for New York last year – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason said on SiriusXM Radio today that he and the Giants are currently in contact about a re-structured contract that would reduce Beason’s 2015 salary cap number. Beason is in the second year of a 3-year, $17 million contract that he signed with the Giants last offseason. He is currently scheduled to receive $3.6 million in base salary, a $2.2 million roster bonus, and a $100,00 workout bonus. Counting his prorated signing bonus, Beason’s total 2015 cap number is $6,691,666.

Beason’s 2014 NFL season was basically wiped out due to a ligament tear and fracture to the sesamoid bone in his right foot during an OTA practice on June 12. He aggravated the injury in Week 2 against Arizona, missed the next three games, and aggravated the injury again in Week 7 against Dallas. After that, the doctors decided he needed season-ending surgery and Beason was placed on Injured Reserve in October. In the end, he only played and started in four games and finished the season with 11 tackles.

If the Giants cut Beason before June 1st, the team would “save” $2,858,332 against the cap with a hefty $3,833,334 in dead money.

“I want to be a Giant,” said Beason, who represents himself in contract negotitions. “They took a chance on me when other people may have thought that I was done. You want to go out and hold up your end of the bargain. When healthy I still feel I’m the best in the business and no one can keep up with me.

“We’ve been back and forth trying to come to terms. They’re doing the best they can to try to be fair under the situation and as a so-called agent I’m doing the best I can to make sure I get the opportunity to earn some of that money back. What you hate is that you get penalized for what happened in 2014 when it’s no longer in anyone’s control. But if you do go out and you play well and you make the Pro Bowl, the guys win the Super Bowl, you make the playoffs, to take less money than what you were scheduled to earn is tough because you no longer have that opportunity to hit that benchmark. That’s the nature of the game.

“I’ve had the benefit of doing my own contract and you see how the business works. Unfortunately when you are making more than the league minimum you are susceptible to taking a pay cut due to injury. A lot of that has to do with the leverage that the teams have. What I’ve learned is that you can’t take it personally when the team is going to come after you to get money back based on an injury because the other 31 teams seem like they’re on the same page. ‘Hey, we’ll low-ball you worse if you decide not to take the pay cut.’… It’s an unfortunate part of the business, but at the same time staying in the game and continuing to play is ultimately what you want. And they know that.

“As you get older in the league you realize unfortunately it’s not so much about family or bleeding Carolina blue and black or (Giants) blue and red. They want you to have that perception of what this game is. It’s truly a business and if you can’t produce at a high level often, whether it’s through injury when you can’t or you are just not playing well, there is going to be some change. When you see that so often, guys continue to move on and you’ve stayed because you’ve been a good player, you start to understand that. When you get late in your career you do the best you can to continue to do all the things that help teams win in terms of playing at a high level, but also bringing guys along and leading and trying to get that ring.”

Articles on the New York Giants and Free Agency:

Mar 042015
 
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Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions (January 4, 2015)

Ndamukong Suh – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants May Pursue Ndamukong Suh: According to press reports, the New York Giants may pursue unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (Detroit Lions) when the free agency negotiating period begins on March 7.

The New York Daily News is reporting that “several NFL sources believe the Giants are considering a run” at Suh, who is widely-regarded at the top unrestricted free agent on the market. ESPN is also reporting that the Giants may be one of the teams in the mix for Suh.

However, with the Giants only currently about $10-13 million under the $143 million cap, the team would have to be creative to find a way to pay for Suh. The Giants could extend/re-structure some contracts (including that of QB Eli Manning) or cut players or force them to take pay cuts. There is also the possibility that the Giants could remove the almost $15 million franchise tender on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

The 28-year old Suh is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL and the rare defensive tackle who can both play the run and rush the passer. The problem for the Giants is that many teams with a lot more cap space are expected to bid on Suh, who may be seeking a contract in the 6-year, $100 million range with $50 million in guaranteed money.

Victor Cruz Injury Update: On a Giants.com video interview, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said he expects to be ready to practice by the time training camp starts in late July.

“My goal is for training camp,” said Cruz. “Obviously OTAs are near and approaching, but I just want to take my time and continue rehab. But training camp is definitely the goal.”

If Cruz is able to practice at camp, he would likely be limited as he is recovering from a very serious injury, tearing the patella tendon in his right knee in October 2014. It remains to be seen if Cruz can completely regain his pre-injury physical ability.

“When a guy has a big injury like Victor had, you can’t put all your eggs in his basket,” said General Manager Jerry Reese on February 21 at the NFL Combine. “Our doctors said he looks good. I see him down in the training room working out with our trainers and doctors and he looks good. Until you get out there – his game is quickness. Until you get out there and move around, you never know how he is going to recover from that. We are hoping and praying that he comes back 100 percent and be the Victor Cruz that we know, but you can’t put 100 percent in that basket.”

Articles on the New York Giants and Free Agency:

Articles on Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul:

Giants.com Feature on Center Weston Richburg: A video feature “Building Blocks: OL Weston Richburg” is available at Giants.com.

Mar 022015
 
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John Jerry and J.D. Walton, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

John Jerry and J.D. Walton – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants have released offensive lineman J.D. Walton. The 27-year old Walton started all 16 games at center for the Giants in 2014, but his play was sub par. Walton was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, was claimed off of waivers by the Washington Redskins in December 2013, and signed with the Giants in March 2014.

Walton was set to make $2.25 million in salary in the final year of his 2-year contract and count $3.625 million against the team’s 2015 salary cap had he made the team. But cutting him, the Giants have “saved” $3 million against the cap with $625,000 in “dead” money.

The new starter at center is expected to be Weston Richburg, who started 15 games as a rookie for New York at left guard after being drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Richburg’s natural position is center. The Giants also signed Canadian Football League (CFL) center Brett Jones and re-signed center/guard Dallas Reynolds in February.

Walton is the third veteran the Giants have released in the last week, including defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka and running back Peyton Hillis.

Mar 022015
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (August 28, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

As had been expected, the New York Giants have designated defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul as the team’s non-exclusive Franchise player. The deadline for designating a Franchise player was today, March 2. A Franchise tag binds an unrestricted free agent to the team for one year if certain conditions are met. Each team may only designate one player each year as that team’s Franchise player.

There are two types of Franchise tags:

  • An “exclusive” franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position as of a date in April of the current year in which the tag will apply, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. Exclusive franchise players cannot negotiate with other teams. The player’s team has all the negotiating rights to the exclusive player.
  • A “non-exclusive” franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the previous year, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. A non-exclusive franchise player may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if the player signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has a right to match the terms of that offer, or if it does not match the offer and thus loses the player, is entitled to receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.

Pierre-Paul will now count $14.813 million against the team’s $143.4 million 2015 adjusted salary cap (or more than 10 percent of the cap), unless the Giants (1) remove the Franchise designation, (2) sign him to a longer-term deal by July 15, or (3) choose not to match another team’s tender offer (only appropriate if Pierre-Paul was designated on a non-exclusive basis).

According to The New York Daily News, a source told the paper that the Giants will continue to attempt to sign Pierre-Paul to a long-term deal, but the team is not afraid to play out the season on the $14.813 million salary.

In his fifth NFL season, the talented but inconsistent Pierre-Paul had his second-best year, starting all 16 games and finishing with 77 tackles, 12.5 sacks, six pass defenses, and three forced fumbles. Pierre-Paul played the run well most of the year and finished up strong as a pass rusher after a slow start, with nine of his sacks coming in the last five games of the season.

Teams are allowed to contact and enter into contract discussions with free agents of other teams on March 7, but cannot officially sign players from other teams until March 10.

Mar 022015
 
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New York Giants Helmets (August 10, 2013)

© USA TODAY Sports Images

Today is Deadline to Designate Franchise and Transition Players: The time frame in which teams can designate Franchise or Transition from February 16 to March 2 ends today at 4:00PM ET. It has been widely reported and speculated that the New York Giants will designate defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul as their Franchise Player. Teams can begin negotiation with other teams’ free agents on March 7 and begin signing other players on March 10.

Giants.com Interview with LB Devon Kennard: A video of a Giants.com interview with LB Devon Kennard is available at Giants.com.

Article on WR Odell Beckham: The crazy life of Odell Beckham Jr.: How the Giants rookie is handling sudden stardom by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul and the 2015 NFL Draft: How the Giants’ No. 9 pick could give them leverage in contract talks with Jason Pierre-Paul by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on LB Jon Beason and the Middle Linebacker Position: Decision time: What will Giants do with linebacker Jon Beason? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and Their Own Free Agents: Here’s how Giants should handle their top five potential free agents by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants and Recent NFL Cuts: Notable NFL cuts that could make sense for Giants by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and Possible Offseason Roster Improvements: Which positions can the Giants fill in free agency or the draft? by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: What should Giants do if wide receiver Kevin White or Amari Cooper is available at No. 9? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and the Salary Cap: Giants’ spending lags on defensive side by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on Former New York Giant DT Jay Alford: Ex-Giant Jay Alford calls Steve Spagnuolo the ‘best defensive coordinator’ he ever played with by  Maria Guardado for NJ.com

Feb 252015
 
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Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Peyton Hillis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants have released running back Peyton Hillis. The 29-year old Hillis played in nine games for the Giants before his season ended due to a serious concussion he suffered in the game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 9. He was placed on Injured Reserve six days later. It was Hillis’ second concussion with the Giants in two seasons.

Hillis finished 2014 with 26 carries for 115 yards and 10 receptions for 87 yards.

Hillis was set to make $870,000 in salary in the final year of his contract and count $945,000 against the team’s 2015 salary cap if he had made the team. By cutting him, the Giants have “saved” that $945,000 against the cap with no “dead” money.

Hillis was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and played for the Browns (2010-11), Chiefs (2012), and Buccaneers (2013) before signing with the Giants in October 2013. He carried the ball 73 times for 247 yards and caught 13 passes for 96 yards in 2013 for the Giants.

Feb 242015
 
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Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Mathias Kiwanuka – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Thee New York Giants have released Mathias Kiwanuka. The 31-year old defensive end started the first 11 games of the 2014 season, but he was placed on Injured Reserve in December with a knee injury that troubled him much of the year.

Kiwanuka had a disappointing season, finishing with only 28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He had one year and $4.775 million in salary left on his current contract and was scheduled to count $7.45 million against the 2015 salary cap. According to OverTheCap.com, the Giants will “save” $4.825 million with $2.625 million in “dead money” by cutting Kiwanuka.

Kiwanuka has shifted between defensive end and linebacker ever since he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Giants. He primarily played linebacker for the Giants in 2007 and 2010-12, and defensive end in 2006, 2008-09, and 2013-14.

In his nine seasons with the Giants, Kiwanuka played in 120 regular-season games with 82 starts (52 at defensive end and 30 at linebacker). He accrued 412 tackles, 38.5 sacks, intercepted three passes, and forced 12 fumbles. He also won two Super Bowl rings with the Giants.

“Mathias has a warrior mentality,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He has been the ultimate team player for this franchise, and was a true pro from day one.”

“The thing that has always impressed me about Kiwi is how serious he is about the game,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He was always prepared and always in outstanding condition and played very hard. And he had some nasty in him.

“I always felt like you could count on certain things from him: eight-nine sacks, harass the quarterback, and you could move him around, inside, outside. He is dependable, reliable and there is no question about his professionalism.

“I would have to back him off in practice and remind him that we’re not hitting the quarterback. He would always agree and then I’d have to remind him again the next play.

“His character and professionalism and serious approach to the game will be missed.”

With the release of Kiwanuka, there are no defensive players remaining on the Giants from the 2007 Super Bowl team.

Feb 242015
 
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Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants (October 21, 2012)

Osi Umenyiora – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who spent 10 years with the New York Giants from 2003-2012, recently told ESPN.com that he would like to retire as a New York Giant. Umenyiora will become an unrestricted free agent in early March.

“It was nearly a third of my life that I was there in New York, and I did a lot of good things there,” Umenyiora said. “As a team, we won some Super Bowls. I was able to go to a couple of Pro Bowls and be like an All-Pro player over there. Unless I’m able to do that somewhere else – which I don’t know how likely that is – then it would only make sense, whenever it is that I retire.

“I’m not going to play another 10 years. I’m not going to play another three years. Whenever it is that I retire, I think it would only make sense for me to do that as a Giant.”

The 33-year old Umenyiora was originally drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. In nine seasons (he missed the 2008 season with a knee injury), he played in 129 regular-season games and accrued 376 tackles, 75 sacks, and forced 32 fumbles. Umenyiora has been named All Pro twice (2005 and 2010) and played in two Pro Bowls (2005 and 2007). He also was a key member of two NFL Championship teams for the Giants in 2007 and 2011.

Umenyiora signed with the Falcons in during free agency in 2013. While he played in all 16 games in 2014 for the Falcons, he did not start and finished the season with only 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

“Zero plans to retire at this moment,” said Umenyiora. “I feel like I can still play, No. 1. The way things ended last year, I’m just not going to end my career like that. That’s not going to happen.

“I feel like when put in the right situation and given the opportunity to play, I would still be able to help somebody. I want to end the way it’s supposed to end.

“I think I’ll know exactly when the time (to retire) is right. When you’re physically not able to play anymore, you’ve got to be honest with yourself. You have to watch tape and study yourself from when you had good years, when you had not-so-good years. You have to look at your explosion, how you’re playing the game; if you still want to practice. And you have to have enough pride that you’re not going to go out there and embarrass yourself. You don’t want to go out there and look like a fool. I think the league will let you know when you’re done. Ain’t no charity cases being handed out. Either they feel like you can help them or that’s it for you. If you’re unable to play, they’ll tell you because you’re not going to have a job.

“More importantly, I think the league will let you know when you’re done. Ain’t no charity cases being handed out. Either they feel like you can help them or that’s it for you. If you’re unable to play, they’ll tell you because you’re not going to have a job.

“Do I expect to get a look from the Falcons? Absolutely. I think I did the right things when I was there, especially last year. I did and said all the right things, and I’m in great shape. Whether or not they decide to re-sign me, that’s another story. But do I expect them to look into it? I would think so.”

Articles on the New York Giants and Free Agency:

Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: An updated list of players visiting with the Giants at the 2015 NFL Combine by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Safeties: Expect Giants to give young safeties a shot by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Feb 212015
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 21, 2015)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jerry Reese Addresses Media at NFL Combine: New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese addressed the media on Saturday at the NFL Combine. The video of the media session is available at Giants.com.

Q: You said you saw a couple fast receivers out there – did it bring you back to last year?
A: I am not sure about that, but there were a couple of fast guys out there this morning.

Q: Where were you in the process last year with Odell [Beckham Jr.]? How did that evolve and what did you see from here?
A: We had our pre-[combine] meetings. There are a lot of holes until you do the combine, pro days and the interviews. We talked about him a little bit, just pre-combine.

Q: Did anything here sway you or really define your intentions towards [Beckham]?
A: He was fast and he caught the ball. He really caught the ball nice. We call it arrogant hands. He had that. That caught our attention and he was really fast.

Q: Odell told us at the Pro Bowl that he played the last half of the season with two torn hamstrings. Is that accurate or is that an exaggeration?
A: I don’t know about that. I think he is trying to be a hero. I don’t think he could play with two torn hamstrings and run fast like that.

Q: I assume if he would have had that, you would not have let him play…?
A: I don’t think so. I think our doctors would have caught that.

Q: To clarify, these were [injuries] that happened at the beginning of the year that healed?
A: According to our doctors, it was healed up. He may have gotten fatigued later in the season. I don’t think you can go out there and run like that if you have a couple torn hamstrings.

Q: Where are you with Jason [Pierre-Paul]?
A: We are talking, but that is all I am going to say about that. It really is not appropriate to talk about where we are with respect to that, but we are talking.

Q: Have you had discussions with Eli [Manning] that you could share?
A: It is inappropriate to talk about that, too.

Q: How difficult is it to evaluate these spread quarterbacks who don’t do a lot of the things you are asking them to do at this level?
A: I think it depends, if you have a run-spread, you have seen in this league that the spread offense works. If you are going to run that, then I think you draft those types of guys. If you draft a spread, read-option quarterback and ask him to drop back and read defenses, I think it would be difficult for him. He would have to – it would be a big learning curve, I think.

Q: How would you describe the balance of risk/reward with guys putting up great numbers at the combine to knowing if that is going to translate to being a great football player?
A: With us, like most teams, it is what you do on the field. [That] weighs the most when you are evaluating a player. You just fill in some holes and some of the blanks with the running and things they do at the combine, [such as] the interviews. What they do on the field carries the most weight with us.

Q: I know you don’t want to say specifically what is going on with JPP, but in the past when you have used the franchise-tag, it has been a way to buy time for a long-term negotiation. Do you have any philosophy with allowing that player to be on the tag all year long, even if it [takes up] a lot of cap space?
A: I am not going to talk about that. We are just going to keep our options open with respect to that. Sorry about that.

Q: How much healthier are you guys in regards to cap space than you have been the last couple of years?
A: I think we are in pretty good health. We are headed in the right direction with respect to the cap.

Q: Is it a concern to you at all with how that money gets distributed?
A: I think we will be able to do what we need to do. I think we will have enough money to do what we need to do in the offseason, as far as free agency goes and whatever we decide to do with the other guys.

Q: Do you take a look at [Marcus] Mariota just in case he winds up in your division?
A: We look at everybody.

Q: Do you look at specific players and say we may have to face them, so do you look at them with a different eye that way?
A: We are evaluating him if he is there when we pick at nine. We are evaluating him for that, not necessarily if he is going to be in our division or something like that. We are evaluating him as a prospect right now.

Q: Have the changes to the conduct policy changed the way you guys evaluate off the field concerns? Have you noticed any change in that regard?
A: We always try to weigh the options of what a guy’s off the field issues are. Sometimes we have taken chances on some guys who have had some issues. We have taken guys like that. You have to weigh the options.

Q: Now they come in with a strike against them because of the new policy… Does that change the way you weigh that?
A: I say this all the time; if a guy has a blotter of things, they usually don’t change that. Again, these kids are really young and they make some bad decisions. You can’t kill these guys, 18,19, 20-year old kids for decisions they make.

Q: How do you look at this year’s draft and where do you see more depth than possibly other positions?
A: There are good players in this draft all over the place. I don’t really have one position that is deeper than the other.

Q: How do you assess your offensive line going into the offseason now and the possibility of moving [Weston] Richburg and [Justin] Pugh around?
A: We are going to continue to build our offensive line just like we are going to do every position. I think we still have some work to do there. We are going to continue to try and build our offensive line.

Q: When you look at Richburg, do you see him as a center? Coach [Coughlin] said the other day that he is going to compete for center…?
A: He played center in college. We had some injuries early on, so we put him in there at guard. He really didn’t get a chance to compete for the job. He will get a chance to compete for the center job.

Q: Getting back to the issue of prospects with character questions – because of the fact now they are trained on how to answer questions, I s it getting more difficult to judge the sincerity of these kids?
A: They are really good. We had interviews the last couple of nights. They are well-versed in what they want to say. It is a little tougher right now. We have some crafty questions that we can get the right answers.

Q: Do you have every intention of having Jon Beason as your middle linebacker next year?
A: Jon is under contract. We will see where that goes, but he is under contract.

Q: What do you see from the kid from Washington, [Shaq] Thompson?
A: He is a good player. He is versatile. I think he has played a lot of different positions. He has played linebacker, he has played some safety and some running back. He is a Swiss Army knife-type of guy.

Q: Do you envision him in the NFL at one of those positions?
A: I think the more you can do in this league, I think whoever takes him, he will have a chance to play any of those positions.

Q: If you think back to this time last year, could you have known what you were getting with Odell?
A: We thought he was a good player, we really did. We thought he was a terrific player and he obviously had the injuries early on and everyone was down on him a little bit. We tried to put him back in there a little too soon. With those hamstrings, you just have to rest them and let them heal.

Q: When you are picking in the top-10, does it change anything [because] it is obviously more of an investment with that guy?
A: If you are picking in the top 10 or the top 12, you should be getting… That is how the system is built. You should be getting better players. If you are picking last, the players are not the same quality as the first 10 or 12 players. If you are picking high in the draft, you should get better players.

Q: Does that increase the pressure on you and your staff to not make a mistake picking a guy up that high?
A: No, we work hard on the ninth player just like we would the 32nd player. We work hard on it.

Q: How do view it after picking a receiver last year picking ninth and the potential to go back to that position… Do the odds of that happening decrease because you went in that direction last year?
A: Best player available. We will take the best player on the board.

Q: It is obviously a quarterback driven league… Do you get calls about Ryan [Nassib]?
A: I can’t talk about that. That is inappropriate to talk about that. I can’t speak about that.

Q: How do you feel about the safety position going into next year?
A: I think we are going to try to upgrade that position just like all the other positions. We are going to try to upgrade every position as we go. Free agency, the draft, we will try to upgrade very position.

Q: Do you view [Cooper Taylor] and [Nat Berhe] as guys who could step in there as starters?
A: They are going to get a chance to compete. Cooper, obviously, needs to stay healthy. I think both of those guys will get a chance to compete at that position.

Q: What did you learn from having the draft a little later in regards to how you adjusted your schedule?
A: I think with the schedule you have a little bit more time. If you are out of the playoffs, you have a little bit more time to start your evaluation process. We are working hard like we always were.

Q: The receiving position is not a huge need if Victor Cruz is back and healthy… Where is he in his rehab and how much can you count on him being the old Victor Cruz?
A: When a guy has a big injury like Victor had, you can’t put all your eggs in his basket. Our doctors said he looks good. I see him down in the training room working out with our trainers and doctors and he looks good. Until you get out there – his game is quickness. Until you get out there and move around, you never know how he is going to recover from that. We are hoping and praying that he comes back 100 percent and be the Victor Cruz that we know, but you can’t put 100 percent in that basket.

Q: Do you have to plan for a plan B with another receiver just in case?
A: We will upgrade receiver. We will try to upgrade that spot as well. If Victor is back and Odell and Rueben [Randle], that is a pretty good core. There are a couple of other guys [such as] [Preston] Parker, there are some more names, [Corey] Washington and there are some young guys. If there is a good receiver, we will draft him.

Q: After the season ended some of your guys stuck around and kept going as if they were in the playoffs, as it might be a benefit next year… Do you see that as a benefit?
A: It is good to see the guys hungry and want to get right into the offseason and start working. We want to be in the postseason, so to see some of those guys hang around, it shows me what kind of dedication they have and how hungry they are to get back into the playoffs. We like that. Obviously there are some rules now with the offseason program with what they can do with the coaches, but some individual stuff they can do on their own – we have had a lot of guys in there.

Q: How much of a priority is it for you guys to fill a role of what David Wilson was going to give you?
A: He is a little different. We have some big bangers. David was a fast, quick guy who could catch the ball out of the backfield and return kicks. When you lose that dynamic type player, I t stings a little bit, but it is football and we will try to replace that position.

Q: How do you feel Ryan Nassib is progressing?
A: I think Ryan has done a nice job. I think if Eli got dinged up in some kind of way during the season, I think he could jump in there and help us win games. I think he has done a nice job. He prepares himself as if he is going to play, so he has done a nice job.

Q: Rueben has had some ups and downs throughout his career… How do you feel about him and how comfortable with him are you right now?
A: I think Rueben gets banged on a lot. Sometimes he should get banged on, but I think he gets banged on sometimes a little too much. I think he is a good, young player and all he needs are some chances. With Odell and Victor, I think he will get plenty of chances.

10 things we learned from GM Jerry Reese by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Giants.com Interview with Giants Officials: Video clips of interviews with the following New York Giants officials at the NFL Combine are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Video)
  • Executive Scout Steve Verderosa (Video)
  • Scout Chris Pettit (Video)

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Giants have no choice but to slap franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News