NFL Execs Trash Giants for ‘Inexcusable’ Free Agency Gaffe

Giants mocked for free agency gaffe

Getty Head coach Joe Judge of the New York Giants looks on after a blocked punt by the Seattle Seahawks.

The New York Giants certainly made noise this offseason, you can’t argue that. However, that’s not to say that everyone is a fan of how Dave Gettleman and company opted to disperse their money. The team took major financial swings on the likes of wideout Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson in free agency — both of whom are coming off injury-ridden seasons.

When it comes to Golladay, while some question the price tag attached to his name, there’s mostly a resounding understanding as to why the team made the decision they did.

“What they paid was ridiculous to me, but who they got wasn’t a problem,” an exec said, via The Athletic. “They had trouble getting receivers to go there, so the Golladay deal is kind of what happens.”

However, as for the Jackson signing, folks around the league have been far less receptive.

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Adoree Jackson Move Continues to Receive Backlash

“The Adoree Jackson deal was inexcusable,” one exec told Mike Sando. “And then they went and jeopardized their future cap by converting guys to get all these deals done. The potential for disaster is high.” Another exec noted that “I don’t know how they got Adoree Jackson to $13 million. Adoree is talented but has been hurt a lot.”

This isn’t the first time the Jackson signing has been met with scathing reviews. Michael Lombardi, a former long-time NFL executive with three Super Bowl victories to his name was left puzzled by New York’s decision to throw $26.5 million guaranteed the corner’s direction. In fact, he was so against the move, he ranked the Giants’ signing of Jackson as his No. 1 most hated move over the first wave of free agency.

“The Giants paid him as if he were a big-time starter, with guaranteed money for doing very little over the last two seasons,” The Athletic insider wrote. “Who were the teams that the Giants were competing against for acquiring Jackson? The Titans know Jackson well, they desperately need coverage corners, and they walked away from the contract. What does that say?”


Defending the Jackson Signing

Did the Giants overpay for Jackson? The answer to that question certainly teeters on yes. His average yearly salary of $13 million ties him with former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore as the league’s 12th highest-paid cornerback, per Over the Cap. Yet, is it truly out of the question to think Jackson can develop into a top-12 player at his position?

Yes, injuries have struck Jackson of late, most notably this past season where he appeared in just three games due to a knee injury. With that said, over the three years prior, Jackson played in 43 of the Titans’ 48 regular-season games.

When on the field, Jackson has proven to be a more than serviceable No. 2 cornerback. In fact, some could argue he’s flashed legitimate CB1 upside. The numbers would certainly back that notion. Prior to his lost 2020 season due to injury, Jackson had never received an overall Pro Football Focus grade below 73.0 in any of his three pro seasons. Furthermore, he is the league’s 15th highest-graded cornerback since 2019 (75.8). On top of that, only the aforementioned Stephon Gilmore, All-Pro Richard Sherman and Pro Bowler Jaire Alexander own a mark greater than Jackson’s 85.6 coverage grade when lined up on the outside.

While all of those numbers point to a player with CB1 upside, Jackson will likely never be asked to man such a role in the Giants’ defense — and frankly, that’s the brilliance of the move. James Bradberry is the team’s unquestioned top player at the position and arguably a top-three cover corner in football. However, despite Bradberry’s utter brilliance a season ago, the secondary still struggled in coverage, mainly due to the players lined up opposite him.

Corey Ballentine, Ryan Lewis, Isaac Yiadom and Julian Love all at one point or another were given an opportunity to lock down the gig opposite Bradberry in 2020, and all — to varying degrees — failed. Signing Jackson puts an end to the revolving door at the position and has the traits and upside (only 25 years old) to be the final piece in solidifying the Giants’ secondary as one of the league’s premier units.

We all know the Giants play in a division with stud No. 1 pass-catchers such as Amari Cooper and Terry McLaurin. However, the NFC East also bolsters some of the more talented No. 2 and No. 3 wideouts in the NFL, with Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Curtis Samuel quickly jumping to mind.

So, with all that in mind, while you could argue Jackson is a tad richer than his on-field production may warrant, we understand where the Giants were coming from in their decision to pay him what they did.

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