Jerry Reese's whirlwind Free Agency of 2014 continues. The latest development is that John Jerry of Bully-gate fame has signed with the Gmen. When the details of the (NFL's independent 3rd party) Wells investigation into the Martin-Dolphins bullying was released, we read the entire report. It was a sickening recounting of how 3 players (Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry) tormented Jonathan Martin to the point where he left the team. Why did Richie Incognito bully Martin? Because he could. It may sound very hard for an NFL Offensive Tackle to get physically and mentally abused, but it happened.
John Jerry was a follower. He is guilty for his role. The Giants are betting that the 1 year deal will keep Jerry on a short leash. They expect that he will follow the example of a different locker room culture that is hopefully devoid of such abhorrent behavior. Considering the Giants track record with taking on football players with a troubled past (Ahmad Bradshaw, Christian Peter), it sounds like an opportunity for all parties. Jerry will get disciplined by the NFL, he is accepting a low salary because of his status, and the Giants get an Offensive linemen that gives them more depth inside of their cap.
If we take a look at all of the Free Agent moves the Giants have made since March 12, what jumps out is the number of players that have accepted 1 and 2 year deals.
Quintin Demps (not updated in the link) signed a 1 yr deal for $1M.
J.D. Walton signed a 2 yr deal for $1.25M in Year 1 and $5M total for 2 years.
|Player||1 Year Contract Salary|
So 8 of the 18 players signed as FA's have been given 1 year deals for various reasons. Manningham is coming off a disappointing season following an ACL tear. Thurmond had a 4 game substance abuse suspension which was probably PEDs. And Jerry of course is lucky to be getting a second chance with a stable franchise like the Giants.
UltimateNYG NY Giants blog loves 1 year deals for Free Agents. Why? Because you don't lose their attention. Some get disappointed that Reese gives these players the opportunity and that when they do well, they pick up and leave. Our attitude is- LET THEM ALL DO SO WELL IN 2014! We will be blessed with a powerhouse if that is the case. Read that list again and imagine what this team will be like if all 8 have a great year. We will have a locker room of suppliant achievers who create an atmosphere of team, contribution, winning and putting the Giants in contention for a title.
The signing that I am most excited about is Geoff Schwartz. He is a solid Offensive Lineman who will instantly solidify a unit that was at the bottom of the NFL last year. Yet when one reads his 2013-2014 journey to the day of March 12, 2014, you get the feeling that he has spent his entire focus on the financial payoff of Free Agency as opposed to coming here and winning a title. So I am more concerned about a guy like this (who has a history of injuries) not delivering to his full potential than I am with the guys en masse who have 1 year deals. The latter are fighting for their NFL survival this year with the Giants. The former fought for that LAST year with the Chiefs. Prove me wrong Geoff Schwartz! Play like this is your final year in the NFL and bring a title to the Giants in 2014.
Tons of new faces from other teams means a clash of culture. Anyone who does not understand how important culture is in the NFL should read Bill Walsh's The Score Takes Care of Itself. Almost every player who has worn Blue talks about the greatness of the NY Giants organization. Well, we've got players from Kansas City, Denver, Miami, SF*, Denver-PHL-AZ, KC, Seattle, Baltimore, Washington-Denver and Oakland coming aboard. So who's going to be doing the assimilating? Them or the Giants players? This is where the leaders in the locker room come in. This is where Antrel Rolle and (yes, believe it or not) Eli Manning come in. With Justin Tuck gone, these are the guys. Maybe Snee. But it is going to be up to Rolle and Manning to keep the new (veteran) players on the path. Manning is quiet and leads by example. But all he has to do is open up his mouth once to get everyone's attention. With the retirement of David Diehl, there is no one on the team with more seniority than Manning and Snee. We know Rolle will speak his mind. We need him and Manning to keep this plethora of free agents on the path. If that can get done, and JPP is back to 100% with a pass rush, there is zero reason why the Giants cannot vie for a title. Between all of these Reese FA signings, the Giants have more than enough talent to compete. We just have to guard against the hyperbole that comes from Dream Team pronouncements that are long on talent and short on work. Why is John Jerry going to bust his butt and run through a wall for Rashad Jennings? The answer is shorter contracts, a strong culture from the Giants organization and the leadership within the locker room.