Feb 072015
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul’s Contract Voided: The New York Daily News is reporting that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s rookie contract was voided on Friday. This expected move means Pierre-Paul will become an unrestricted free agent in March unless the Giants protect him with a Transition or Franchise tag. The Daily News is reporting that the expected Franchise tag number for defensive ends is expected to be approximately $15 million.

Other clubs are allowed to begin negotiating with free agents on March 7 and teams can officially sign another team’s free agents on March 10. Teams can designate Transition or Franchise players any time between February 16 and March 2.

“We would certainly like (Pierre-Paul) back, but it would have to be at the right price, something that makes sense for us,” said Giants President and CEO John Mara on December 30. “He certainly had a great finish to the season and showed the type of player that he can be and that he will be going forward. I would be very surprised if he was not a Giant next year.”

Pierre-Paul just turned 26 last month and his best football could still be in front of him. But he has had difficulty recapturing his tremendous productivity from his sophomore NFL season in 2011 when he accrued 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks. Those numbers plummeted to 66 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2012 and 27 tackles and 2 sacks in 2013.

Pierre-Paul had surgery in June 2013 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and he never seemed to fully rebound from that procedure during the 2013 season. He flashed some of his old form in Week 10 that year but also suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the last five games of the season.

In his fifth year in 2014, Pierre-Paul had his second-best season, 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.

Much more was hoped for and expected in 2014, but JPP remains the one player in the front seven that other teams need to account for. If he leaves, the Giants will have a major hole to fill on a defense already pot-marked with holes. But bringing him back is not a no-brainer. There is a salary cap and JPP clearly believes he is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL and wants to be paid like it. The Giants know Pierre-Paul has had inconsistent productivity the last three years, as well as back surgery and shoulder issues.

“I think at the beginning of the season he wasn’t playing like he played at the end of the season,” said General Manager Jerry Reese on December 30. “The second half of the season, he came on really strong and played like we thought he should play. The guy has some ability to be a game changer. We didn’t see enough of that in the first half of the season.”

Towards the end of the 2014 season, Pierre-Paul’s comments to the press seemed to strongly suggest he will not be giving the Giants a hometown discount and that he is interested in testing the free agent waters.

“I don’t know (if I will be back with the Giants),” said Pierre-Paul in late December. “Everybody asks me that question and I really can’t answer that question truthfully. I don’t know what my future holds. Who knows if I am going to be in a Giant uniform, who knows where I am going to be in the offseason. Like I said, now, the numbers are there, I had a great season, and everybody sees it. There really is nothing else to say, just negotiations and it is coming.

“At the end of the day, it’s business, it’s business. Everyone knows that, even the fans know that, my family members know it, and I am going to make the best decision to better me and my family.

“I‘d love to be a Giant for the rest of my career, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t always fold like that. Look at Justin Tuck, look at Osi Umenyiora, look at Brandon Jacobs, it doesn’t matter. I think I am worth a lot of money.

“Like I said, it is going to be a business situation, it’s going to be about my family, and what I want to pursue,” replied Pierre-Paul. “At the end of the day, I’m here. Like I said earlier in the season, if I am a Giant, then I will be a Giant for my whole life. I don’t know what is going to happen.”

Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul:

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Article on the New York Giants Special Teams: Who was the Giants’ best special teams player in 2014? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Feb 062015
 
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Giants.com Q&A With TE Larry Donnell: Know Your Giants: TE Larry Donnell by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on the 2015 New York Giants: 5 things the Giants must do to make the Super Bowl in 2016 by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and Potential Salary-Cap Cuts: Looking at potential Giants cap cuts by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on P Steve Weatherford: NY Giants punter Steve Weatherford recalls Ann Mara as ‘beautiful spirit’ by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Giants.com Feature on Players: Video features on the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • TE Larry Donnell (Video)
  • TE Adrien Robinson (Video)

Articles on Former New York Giants Co-Owner Ann Mara:

Giants.com Video Tribute to Ann Mara: A video tribute to former New York Giants co-owner Ann Mara is available at Giants.com.

Article on Former Giants LB Lawrence Taylor: Lawrence Taylor at 56: ‘Hard to believe‘ I’m still alive by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on “The Fumble”:

Feb 012015
 
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Ann Mara, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

Ann Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants have announced that Ann Mara has passed away at the age of 85. Ann Mara and her children owned 50 percent of the Giants since the death of her husband, Wellington Mara, at age 89 in 2005.

Mara was often referred to as the matriarch of the New York Giants and “The First Lady of Football.”

“I am sad to say that our mother has passed away,” said John Mara, Ann’s son and the team’s president and chief executive officer. “She has been the leader of our family in every way, and we will miss her dearly.

“She slipped in front of her home during the ice storm two weeks ago (on January 18). She had been in the hospital since the following day, initially due to a head injury she suffered in her fall. After a few days, we were hopeful for her recovery, although we knew it would be a long road back. Unfortunately, there were complications.

“She loved her family, and all of us were able to spend time with her in these final days. All 11 of her children and our spouses and numerous grandchildren were with her when she passed away.”

Ann and Wellington were married in 1954. Their family eventually grew to include 11 children, 43 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren. In addition to John Mara, two other sons work for the team, including Senior Vice President of Player Evaluation Chris Mara and Vice President of Community Relations Frank Mara.

The other half of the New York Giants is owned by the Tisch family, who bought their half of the team in 1991 from Wellington Mara’s nephew Tim Mara.

“On behalf of my mother and sister and brother, I want to express our sympathy to John and the Mara family,” team Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch said. “Ann Mara has been the wonderful matriarch of our franchise. Like her husband Wellington, Ann was passionate about her faith, her family and her football team. Her energy and enthusiasm for her franchise were unmatched. We will miss her and are deeply saddened for the Mara family’s loss.”

“Mrs. Mara was a tower of strength, dignity and inspiration for her family and all of us in the NFL,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Her family and the Giants organization have always reflected Mrs. Mara’s competitive spirit, integrity, and wonderful sense of humor. Our thoughts and prayers are with John Mara and the entire Mara family.”

For more on Ann Mara’s life, see Ann Mara, New York Giants’ Matriarch, 1929-2015 by Michael Eisen at Giants.com.

Jan 232014
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Eli Manning Excited to Work with Ben McAdoo: Quarterback Eli Manning said on Thursday that he is looking forward to working with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

“I think in a way it will be exciting knowing that you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to learn some new things,” said Manning. “Right now, I don’t know exactly what the changes will be, if it will be completely changed terminology and formations or if we’ll keep some of those things and just bring in his concepts. I don’t know if the coaches have all figured that out exactly as well. I’m looking forward to figuring out all those things and I want to get to work. I think it’s exciting in a sense to (have) a challenge ahead of me and I look forward to it and obviously our teammates and offensive guys are all going to have to do some learning. But I look forward to getting everybody together and kind of going through it together and seeing how we can improve.

“I’m excited about Ben coming in. I talked to him before we hired him…before he interviewed with coach Coughlin and was very impressed with him and his offensive mindset and also his preparation on how he likes to get ready, his drills with quarterbacks and the things he’s done in the past. I’m excited about what he’ll bring to the Giants and look forward to getting in meetings and getting with him and seeing what I can do better and what I need to learn and how this offense is going to go. So I’m looking forward to getting back to work with him.

“The Packers’ staff was (coaching) in a Pro Bowl a few years ago and I met Ben there. I was around him. Obviously, he was coaching the quarterbacks and I was there to kind of put together some sort of offense. It probably wasn’t exactly their whole offense, but you got a little piece of it. I think the west coast offense has kind of changed a little bit over the years and a lot of people are running a lot of the same plays. They call it different things, but they’ll have their little tweaks and different things that they do that they’ve done in Green Bay, where he’s been under that offense. I’m looking forward to learning. You may call it different things. It’ll have some different ideas, but it’s still about playing football and having great footwork and mechanics and throwing it to the open guy.

“I know from the players that have been there over the years and the coaching staff and the ownership that we have, everybody is going to be totally committed to getting back to playing at a high level and getting to the playoffs and being a team that can compete for championships. I know the dedication will be there and we’re going to work hard and obviously we’ve got a new offensive coordinator coming in to shake things up and I think that’s an exciting challenge for us, but I’m looking forward to getting back and getting to work and to put everything we can into getting that winning atmosphere back to the Giants organization.”

Manning was also asked about the high ankle sprain he suffered in the regular-season finale. “The ankle is doing good,” Manning said. “I’m actually getting a little ice and stim(ulation) on it right now. But it’s feeling good and I’ve been rehabbing and working out and so it’s doing good.”

Articles on New York Giants Co-Owner Ann Mara:

Articles on Quarterbacks Eli Manning and Peyton Manning:

Article on Former Giants Running Back Brandon Jacobs: Jacobs’ hatred of Harbaugh still burns in nasty radio rant by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on Former Giants Offensive Tackle Kareem McKenzie: NFL alum at home in college by Mike Kerwick of The Bergen Record