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The New York Giants went on an unexpected spending spree this offseason in hopes to improve their fortunes. They have lost 10 or more games four years running now and the club saw opportunities in free agency and pounced on them.
“It wasn’t necessarily the plan coming in. We knew we had some room to operate with, we knew we had some needs,” Giants co-owner John Mara told reporters last week. “We wanted to see who was going to be available. If the right opportunity presented itself, then we’ll spend the money. If not – the one thing we said at the beginning of the process is we’re not going to spend just for the sake of spending, it has to be the right opportunity, it has to be the right individual.
“I think in all the cases, they were the right individual, so it made it a much easier decision to give the okay to go ahead and spend the money. But I can’t say we came in expecting to spend $100 million or whatever the final figure was. I say it in every year, just make sure it’s the right guy, it’s the right individual, it’s the right fit, they’re healthy and that we can manage the cap situation going forward, and I think we’ll be able to do all those things.”
Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with Mara’s actions. The Kenny Golladay signing was an expensive one (four years, $72 million with $40 million guaranteed) that was deemed mandatory. But the Adoree’ Jackson signing (three years, $39 million, $26.5 million guaranteed) was seen as an overreaching one.
Executives from around the NFL are panning the move. Mike Sando of The Athletic reports that the Jackson signing is being seen as ‘inexcusable,’ ‘questionable’ and ‘ridiculous.’
“The Adoree’ Jackson deal was inexcusable,” one executive said. “And then they went and jeopardized their future cap by converting guys to get all these deals done. The potential for disaster is high.”
“What they paid was ridiculous to me, but who they got wasn’t a problem,” that executive said. “They had trouble getting receivers to go there, so the Golladay deal is kind of what happens. I don’t know how they got Adoree’ Jackson to $13 million. Adoree’ is talented, but has been hurt a lot.”
True. After playing in all 32 games for the Tennessee Titans his first two seasons in the league, injuries have held Jackson to just 14 games over the past two years, hence the hesitancy for teams throw a suitcase of money at him in free agency. Last March, the Titans exercised Jackson’s fifth-year option, worth $10.244 million for 2021, but ended up cutting him this March.
That should have set Jackson’s market right there. Yes, there was reported interest from several other teams (the Rams, Chiefs, Raiders and Cardinals) which would drive up the price, but the deal is still seen as an unnecessary overpay by the Giants.
The Giants could have gotten more trigger-happy as free agency progressed, leading them to overpay for Jackson. It is uncertain how much interest those other teams and at what price.
“Going into free agency, the cap was lower and a lot of teams did not have much ammo,” said a third exec. “The longer you waited, the bigger the bargains were going to be. Adoree’ Jackson was late in the process. He should have been a bargain, and he wasn’t. That was questionable.”
Again, all true. The fact is, the Giants wanted Jackson badly and took the steps to get him. That was by offering him more money but by doing that, the signing went from an ‘under-the-radar,’ ‘low-risk, high-reward’ to just a high-risk one.
Time will tell if the Jackson deal was worth it but the Giants will simply settle for getting their money’s worth — and that would be if Jackson played up to his first round pedigree. He hasn’t, yet.