There were, and still are, some grumblings from Giants fans about Jerry Reese’s (lack-of) free agency spending and the loss of key Giants contributors such as Kevin Boss and Steve Smith.
I get that fans are upset about losing players such as Boss and Smith but I also have to look at it from the business side of things. Boss and Smith took the money and ran. Can’t blame them for for that. They waited around hoping to get an offer from the Giants of what they thought they were worth but those offers never came.
Boss was made an offer he didn’t like, found a new home and more money, and will now be playing for Al Davis’ corpse out in Oakland. He wanted to be a Giant and it didn’t work out for him. The Giants knew what they were doing with him and didn’t see any advantage of retaining him for a higher price than what they wished to pay him. That’s there prerogative too. I wish the Bossman well and hope he has a fine career.
Smith was also made an offer. But his situation is a little murkier. From all indicications it looked like he would be a Giant in 2011, no matter how long it took for him to recover from microfracture surgery performed on his left knee. The Giants were banking on making him a relatively small offer in order to entice him to play for a better contract if he were to come back healthy and perform and the level a healthy Steve Smith can play at during 2011, basically they wanted him to play in 2011 for his 2012 contract.
We’ve all seen him in the past and we know what he can do… When healthy. That’s the key thing with any player in any sport. Once a top athlete suffers an injury, one of the magniutude that Smith did, we never know if they will truly play to their top level again. Giving Smith a contract and him not playing any games next season would have been a bad investment on the part of the Giants. However, signing him to a low contract and then watching him outperform it would have been heralded by all.
Football just doesn’t work that way all the time. Instead Smith was offered more to play in Philly, for a team that thinks he’s ready to play now, and took the money. The way it was handled could have been done differently and I do wish Smith stayed in New York but I understand that he thinks he’s worth more than what the Giants thought he was worth. In the end the only person you can bet on is yourself. Having him go to Philly makes it harder to root for him so I won’t. I’ll just wish that the Giants stuff him and hit him hard whenever Philly and New York meet this season, if he’s healthy enough to play.
Losing Smith, Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert, Barry Cofield and Boss hurts. But the season hasn’t started yet. Jerry Reese did bring in David Bass and Mark Herzlich and still has a pretty talented roster that should compete with the Eagles and Cowboys for the NFC East division crown or a wild-card spot. Losing Smith might come back to haunt us or we might look at it as a pretty good non-signing by the Giants. It’s better to lose a player a year too early than it is a year too late.
I have faith in Jerry Reese and the New York Giants front office because I think he knows what he’s doing and has fielded a competitive team ever since taking over from Ernie Accorsi, even building a team that brought home a Super Bowl title in 2007. Of course, if the Giants end up going 6-10 and not making the playoffs next season and Smith catches a 100 balls I’ll be cursing out Reese’s name next off-season, just like every other Giants fan.
Peter King made an interesting point in today’s edition of Monday Morning Quarterback during his Ten Things I Think Feature that might not be well received by Giants fans but should be read nonetheless regarding Jerry Reese and the Steve Smith situation:
6. I think it’d be ridiculous to dismiss the Giants’ inactivity in free agency, while their main rivals down the Jersey turnpike in Philadelphia have stocked up. At the same time, I think GM Jerry Reese has built up enough currency with the job he’s done over the past four seasons to see how this season plays out before throwing him out the door.
What’s Reese’s biggest crime? Not bringing wide receiver Steve Smith back? Let’s see how Smith plays. For those who aren’t familiar with the surgery Smith had, microfracture surgery on his left knee, this is not a garden-variety ACL repair. When a player has microfracture surgery, it involves trying to regenerate blood flow and cartilage growth in knees, poking holes into bones to stimulate blood flow.
This is not a simple surgery, although by all indications Smith’s procedure was not as serious as some. He is feeling good, from what he says, and will be able to run without restriction sometime soon. But how long will the freedom of movement last? He might be back to his old self, he might not. We’ll see.
My point is, when a player has microfracture surgery, it is an illustration of severe dissolution of cartilage in a knee. And that is not good. Think back on Reese’s tenure. In 2007, his rookie year, every player he drafted played in the playoffs for a Giant team that won the Super Bowl. The Giants have won one more Super Bowl than the Colts, Patriots, Eagles and Cowboys since he took office. Again, I’m not saying you should build a statue for the guy. I’m saying you should let the season take shape and see if the defensive front and running game he’s helped build can lift the Giants into the playoffs and beyond. Nothing’s won on Aug. 15.
We’ll just have to wait to find out how this all plays out next season…