INDIANAPOLIS – New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese acknowledged Saturday that his team has heard from the Buffalo Bills regarding a possible trade for running back Willis McGahee, who has expressed unhappiness in Buffalo. A Bills source said Saturday there is growing unhappiness with McGahee from Buffalo's standpoint as well.
Reese said Saturday during a press conference at the NFL scouting combine: "There is some Willis McGahee talk, there is some talk about Willis out there … We'll investigate Willis, we'll do that. We'll investigate everybody out there with the trade talk. We'll leave no stone unturned as far as that goes."
The Giants lost starting running back Tiki Barber to retirement after last season. Barber and coach Tom Coughlin have exchanged verbal jabs since then, with Barber complaining that Coughlin overworked him during practice over the past couple of seasons.
Likewise, the 25-year-old McGahee complained last month about Buffalo, saying he is unhappy playing for the team that made him a first-round draft pick in 2003. A Bills source said that McGahee's unhappiness seemed to affect his play last season.
McGahee didn't spend any time in Buffalo last offseason learning the new playbook under coach Dick Jauron. The Bills are expecting more of the same this offseason.
"Willis literally didn't know what to do on the plays," a source said. "After the play was called, we'd have another coach signaling to Willis what to do because he didn't know. He'd miss blocks [in pass protection] a few times, not because he was beat, but because he didn't know what he was doing.
"He just doesn't study. … His teammates noticed it, and it affected how they viewed him in the locker room."
McGahee missed two games last season and rushed for a career-low 990 yards. He averaged 3.8 yards per carry last season and has averaged 3.9 for his career.
McGahee has only one year left on his original contract, which could pressure the Bills to try to get something in trade before McGahee has a chance to leave as a free agent.
As for the Giants, Reese said the team hoped to have third-year back Brandon Jacobs take over as the starter this season. The interest in McGahee makes it obvious that such interest could be subject to change.
DIELMAN COULD TOP GUARD MARKET
San Diego guard Kris Dielman appears to be the most sought-after player among the offensive linemen who will be available in free agency.
Several executives indicated that Dielman will receive in excess of $6 million per year on his contract after the start of free agency Friday. That figure could top $7 million, perhaps making Dielman the highest paid interior lineman in the game.
Last year, Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson received a seven-year, $49 million deal from Minnesota to make him the highest paid interior lineman.
Dielman, who turned 26 this month, became a starter in 2005. He was an undrafted free agent in 2003 who started on the Chargers practice squad before becoming a top-flight left guard.
Among the teams supposedly most interested in Dielman are Cleveland, Miami and Dallas. Agent Mike McCartney declined to comment.
Beyond Dielman, Cincinnati guard Eric Steinbach, who also is considered a tackle by some teams, is expected to top the $6 million figure when he gets an official contract offer next week.
JENKINS MULLING EXTENSION
Green Bay defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins is mulling whether to accept a four-year contract extension from the Packers or accept being tendered as a restricted free agent.
Jenkins has been offered a deal worth approximately $16 million, according to a source. That includes roughly $7 million in guarantees. The deal is not a premium offer because of injury concerns. Jenkins has a chronically bad ankle and has had a shoulder injury during the first three years of his career after being an undrafted free agent.
Although Jenkins might opt for the security of the deal, the flip side is that it quickly could become outdated with the expected growth of contracts around the NFL. That could leave Jenkins underpaid by the third and fourth years of the deal.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, whose team has the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, was his pointed self Saturday with a series of humorous comments. But he did have one particularly good comment when asked about Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn by the Tampa area writers.
"Somebody asked me the other day why his stock is falling. Who said his stock was falling, the NFL Network?" Gruden said.
- Tiki Barber
- Jerry Reese