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A Look Back at When Media Bashed Jerry Reese for Giants' Free Agency Handling

The lockout had ended and the furious frenzy of free agency had just simmered down. When the dust settled, many fans and media of the New York Giants were dumbfounded and furious. Here's a recap of the Giants' key off-season decisions:

  • OLinemen Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert were released.
  • TE Kevin Boss, WR Steve Smith, and DT Barry Cofield chose more guaranteed money and left for Oakland, Philly, and DC.
  • Plaxico Burress chose more money and the Jets.
  • Osi Umenyiora is holding out for more money after Jerry Reese verbally promised him a large contract.

It was not easy for the fans and media to watch all these key guys leave and no one brought in, especially while the Redskins sign several starters and the Eagles assembled every Pro-Bowler on the market. Here's where the fun begins. After a week of nothing, Jerry Reese finally addressed the media and the fans:

"It seems like people are in a panic about the perception (that) we are not doing a lot. We had a game plan, we stuck to our game plan."

"When I say sticking to our game plan, we made responsible offers and if those offers weren't good enough, we would move on," Reese clarified. "The proof's in the pudding. We'll see when we get out there. We feel like we have a strong squad."

"Look at how many big sexy moves the Green Bay Packers made last year.... I don't remember a lot," Reese said. "Who won before? Pittsburgh? How many big sexy moves did they have? You develop players. The making a splash, the big sexy move, I don't know if that always works. I don't know if all the big sexy moves are the right way to go."

This line of thinking is literally the polar opposite of Vinny Cerrato thirty seconds before the Jason Taylor acquisition. Two days before the week one matchup vs the Redskins, Reese was still cool and collected:

"I believe we'll make the playoffs, and I believe we'll make a run. I believe those things, and this team is really not that far away. I really believe that."

Jerry Reese concluded the media session on the perception that the Giants are not better than last year:

"I'm not bothered by that. That's mostly fans who say that kind of stuff and really don't understand the process. We have good players on the team. We are not looking to go out and make every sexy splash that can be made."

"We will make solid football decisions," he added. "That has been happening for a long time. You can go to any camp and the fans are saying that about their football team. That is what fans do and that is what makes fans great."

I can't agree more with Reese here. As much as we, the fans, read blogs and news outlets, we really don't have a clue what is going on at these negotiation tables. In addition, not all of the negotiations even make it to the public feeding table, so are the fans playing with a 40-card deck? You betcha. But that didn't stop the flood of NY Giants beat writers and fans from sounding off. In no particular order:

Let's start with blogger Glenn, from Ultimate NYG:

Because of his questionable negotiating gambling techniques, Giants GM Jerry Reese is now on the hot seat...But he did say his team will make the playoffs....Reese's bizarre behavior is troubling.

Because this [draft] formula worked once, the Giants continue to draft defensive linemen. While they are gobbling up defensive linemen, they are ignoring other positions such as linebacker. This formula does not work anymore. Other teams around the league have caught up to the Giants. A ferocious pass rush can be short circuited by using tactics such as play action pass, quick slants, bringing in an extra tackle.

Committing over 100 million dollars to quarterback Eli Manning is not looking good right now...Sorry to say, the window for this team winning a championship has closed.

The "Fire Jerry Reese" Facebook page kicked up. "You suck should be fired now!!!!!!!! - November 30, 2011

Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger:

After seeing Steve Smith sign for one year and $4 million with the Eagles, I'm completely baffled on this one. What is going on in the Giants' front office? I mean, seriously, what is going on right now? I'll tell you what's going on: for the first time, Jerry Reese's seat must be getting warm...he'd better have a plan because, much as he told us he thought this roster was good enough as currently constructed, it's not. It's just not.

Point --> Reese. Steve Smith, who was coming off micro-fracture surgery, played in 9 games for 11 receptions and 1 TD with Philly this year. Oops.

Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger:

It isn't too soon to question Reese's leadership, because it sure looks like he did not know the market for his own players. He was trying to get both at a bargain price, waited too long into the process, and lost them to teams willing to pay more (but not outrageously more).

While making fun of Giants fans is fun, I have to give props to Ed Valentine of the SB Nation blog, Big Blue View. He remained collected and pointed out possible reasoning for each free agent decision, all of which ended up being true:

At tight end, Boss was a popular player. But, was he really that good? The most receptions he ever had in his three seasons with the Giants was 42. Some of you blame Kevin Gilbride for that. Isn't it just possible, though, that was the type of player Boss was? Remember that Boss dropped 11 of the 66 balls thrown his way last season, a completely unacceptable 17 percent of passes in his direction.

At defensive tackle, Barry Cofield was a good player but not one worth breaking the bank over.

At defensive end, the Giants are still trying to come to some agreement with Osi Umenyiora. But, Jason Pierre-Paul appears ready to burst into stardom. He can't do that from the bench.

At wide receiver, the Giants have been preparing for 2011 as though Smith would not be around, anyway. That is why Jernigan, a speedster with a lot of experience collegiately in the slot, was drafted. Fans have clamored to see Victor Cruz and Ramses Barden get a chance.

At least Giants fans were bold enough to admit they know nothing. Now, if you excuse me, I have some "must sign!" free agent articles to write.