BOCA RATON, Fla. — Ben McAdoo said the Giants weren’t just looking for players in free agency this offseason, they were looking for Giants. And that’s why he is excited about the moves that have already taken place this month.
“They’re good fits, not just good players,” McAdoo told Newsday at the NFL’s annual meeting on Monday, his first public comments on the additions since the team invested over $200 million in overhauling the defense. “They’re guys who can come in and make an impact, who are young and have a lot of energy, and are excited to be a part of it.”
The marquee player in the process is defensive end Olivier Vernon, who landed a whopping five-year, $85-million contract. McAdoo called him “a very disruptive player” and said he was impressed when he and the Giants prepared to face the Dolphins in December.
“He jumped off the tape as much as anybody we’ve seen going into a game,” McAdoo said. “He offers a lot as far as getting after the quarterback, but he’s a complete player as well.”
The one spot the Giants have been unable to plug thus far is offensive line. They expressed interest in veterans Russell Okung and Donald Penn, but those players signed elsewhere. Many believe the Giants are hindered in their quest for a quality lineman because they would ask a veteran left tackle (such as Okung or Penn, for example) to move to the right side while Ereck Flowers remained at left tackle for his second NFL season.
McAdoo did not say Flowers will definitely remain on the left side in 2016, but he didn’t hide from the fact that the Giants see Flowers there long-term.
“I’m excited for Ereck to develop as a left tackle,” McAdoo said. “Nothing is ever written in stone, but for him to go out there and battle the way he did as a rookie and have a chance to improve on his fundamentals and technique, we look forward to him developing there.”
McAdoo shrugged off the idea that having a young player like Flowers at left tackle could make it difficult to sign a veteran.
“It all goes back to finding the right player, finding the right fit for what we’re looking for,” McAdoo said. “You don’t want to chase guys and chase guys, they have to fit into what we’re looking for and our identity . . . If a guy is a good fit and wants to be a New York Giant, we’ll certainly take a look at him. Otherwise we’ll move on down the road.”
There are other positions that need addressing, too. Co-owner John Mara told Newsday on Sunday that the team is still shopping at cornerback and wide receiver along with the offensive line. McAdoo reiterated that.
“We’re looking at every position, not just offensive linemen,” he said. “It’s important that you don’t just find starters, you find depth out there. We’ll take help at any position we can get it.”
So far, the Giants have gotten some pricey help. For a first-time head coach to have his team be the biggest spender of free agency certainly helps.
“Jerry [Reese, the general manager] put the vision together, gotta give him credit,” McAdoo said. “Kevin [Abrams, assistant general manager] put the contracts together, gotta give him credit. And there was great support from the ownership.”
Now it’s McAdoo’s turn to take the pieces and make sure they do, in fact, fit.