Giants co-owner John Mara has been involved with the NFL long enough to know that business decisions are made every year by players and teams.
But that doesn’t mean that he’s grown enough callouses to withstand some of those decisions.
Take for instance the decision of safety Landon Collins, whom the Giants were unable to franchise due to limited cap space. Collins then turned around and made a bee-line to Washington, a Giants division rival, and a team that had once employed Collins’ boyhood idol, the late Sean Taylor.
“That hurt me greatly,” Mara said about Collins’ departure during a press briefing with reporters prior to the start of the NFL spring meetings in Phoenix. “I liked Landon a lot and I had a great deal of respect for him. He played hard week in and week out.”
The Giants could have bitten the bullet and applied the franchise tag on Collins, but in the end, Mara and the rest of the Giants brass thought it wasn’t practical from a value perspective.
“It basically comes down to, just like any other player, putting a value on it. Here was where the numbers were going to end up for him. Do we want to spend it here or do we want to spend it elsewhere?
“It was a difficult decision but ultimately the numbers that he was going to be able to achieve in free agency was not something we were willing to go,” he said, perhaps referencing the $14 million per year average Collins’ new contract with Washington will pay out.
“It killed me to see him go. I know he wanted to be a Giant and wanted to be here. He was homegrown. It meant a lot to him. You have to make tough decisions and remove sentiment.”
One of the big questions regarding Collins was why the team didn’t move him via trade last year when they supposedly had a chance to do so.
There were reports of the Giants wanting at least a second-round pick for Collins. However, no team was willing to go higher than a fourth-round pick according to multiple reports.
“I don’t recall the offers being anything that we were willing to consider at that point in time,” Mara said.
“It was still early enough in the year that we had not completely given up. We wanted to see what happened with him and how he played. He played well, but unfortunately he got hurt.”
Instead now the Giants are in line to get a third-round compensatory pick in next year’s draft assuming they don’t make any other major signings in free agency.
Mara insisted that last year, no decision had been made regarding Collins’ long-term future with the team.
“That decision was not made until the franchise (tag) deadline. We just felt that the number that he was going to get in free agency was too rich for us.
“We didn’t want to franchise him, even though he said he would do that. I think players are ultimately unhappy when you do that with them. We knew at some point he was going to get the money that he got, and it was something we were unwilling to live with.”
The Giants have since added Jabrill Peppers, acquired in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, and veteran Antoine Bethea, signed as an unrestricted free agent, to the roster to man their two safety spots.