How Giants’ Joe Judge handles telling vets about additions at their position

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The New York Giants have added players at nearly every position this offseason, leading onlookers to wonder how they convey the news of a signing to the existing veterans at those positions on the roster.

The Giants selected Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the first round of the NFL draft this past April and head coach Joe Judge revealed how he handles delivering the news to the veterans who may be affected.

“If there’s an older, experienced vet player at a position and we draft a player, I do talk to the players and let them know,” Judge told reporters on Thursday.

“Last year when we drafted Andrew Thomas, I had a conversation with Nate Solder on the phone afterwards — this year after the draft, I called Shep (Sterling Shepard). To me, it’s important to understand that, look, we are bringing in players to help this program and that the better each player plays, the more it helps each player on the team. We don’t look at any player on this program coming in as a threat or replacement. We look to go ahead and breed competition in this program and the best players will play. But I do think there is merit to talking to your older veteran leaders on the team and when you add someone at their position and just clarifying who you are bringing in and what the immediate plans are for that player.”

It’s been long considered that teams who draft over existing players are actually sending a message to the veterans that their jobs are on the line by making those moves. Judge is simply being proactive and forthright with his players. He is, after all, said to be a ‘players’ coach.’

Asked if wideout Darius Slayton — heading into his third year with the team — was in a different category, Judge stayed consistent in his response.

“I would say he’s a veteran player, he’s not in his first year, he’s got skin in the game right there,” said Judge. “In terms of Darius, everyone is going to play to their strengths. Darius and Toney, will they be on the field at the same time, different packages, different positions at times, but I think everybody on the team affects the other by the way they work and how they produce.

“In terms of that position, I thought it was necessary to talk to Shep specifically because when we drafted Toney the word in the press as he was reading those headlines was specifically he’s a slot receiver which, look, we are not bringing in someone to play one position. I thought it was relevant at the time to contact Shep out of respect for how he is with our program to communicate that with him.”

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