The “in” door at the Giants’ facility works, too.
There may not be as much star power and production coming through it, but some established players with impressive resumes are joining a team that just parted ways with three Pro Bowl players.
On Thursday, the Giants agreed to a four-year contract with wide receiver Golden Tate and a one-year deal with linebacker Markus Golden, a source confirmed. ESPN reported that the Tate deal is for $37.5 million with $23 million guaranteed. The Giants also finalized their two-year deal with free-agent safety Antoine Bethea on Thursday.
After trading Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon and letting safety Landon Collins walk into free agency, general manager Dave Gettleman insisted that he does indeed have a plan. These additions seem to be a part of it.
Not everyone will appreciate that. The dearly departed former Giants carried a lot of clout and the moves have angered many fans. Being measured against the successes of the players they are replacing is something the newcomers will have to deal with next season.
“Some Giants fans might not like it,” Bethea said of the turnover on the roster on a conference call on Thursday, “but it’s just part of the business and we have to keep going.”
Bethea did say he understands the fans’ confusion and even said he feels their pain regarding Collins’ exit.
“They should be upset,” he said. “Landon is one of the best safeties in the league. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and he played well for the Giants.”
Bethea, 34, is a three-time Pro Bowler himself. Like Tate, he is a Super Bowl champion. That would seem to be something the Giants want to impart to their younger players, in particular Saquon Barkley. Surrounding him with as many positives as possible seems to be part of the plan, too.
In Tate, the Giants get a receiver who had at least 90 receptions in each season from 2014-17 with the Lions and had 74 catches in 2018 while playing for the Lions and the Eagles. He also caught seven passes and scored a touchdown for the Eagles in the playoffs in January, including the game-winning score in the divisional round against the Bears.
Now Eli Manning’s primary passing targets for 2019 look to include Tate, Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman, along with tight end Evan Engram and Barkley. The list is not as forlorn as it looked when Beckham left.
Golden, like Bethea, played under Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher with the Cardinals. Golden had his most successful season in 2016 when he had 12 1⁄2 sacks. He missed 2017 with an ACL tear and was miscast in a 4-3 scheme in 2018.
The Tate and Golden signings won’t be official until they arrive in New Jersey this week for physicals.
The Giants also are hosting offensive lineman Mike Remmers, who was scheduled to arrive on Thursday night and meet with the team throughout the day on Friday. Remmers, 29, has connections to Gettleman (he was with the Panthers from 2014-16) and coach Pat Shurmur (Vikings 2017). He has experience at guard and tackle and could be the Giants’ new starting right tackle — and the final piece of the offensive line overhaul — by the weekend.
The moves will be accepted by fans only if they work on the field, though. Bethea said he’s intent on doing his part.
“It’s not a rebuilding team,” he said. “You get a good nucleus, some good guys that can work together. Obviously, the league year just started. I know upstairs, they’re doing what they need to do to build a great team. As players, our job is to come out there and put our best performance, our best foot forward and put the best product we can put on the field.”
And make those decisions palatable.
Notes & quotes: The Giants are bringing back free-agent defensive backs Antonio Hamilton and Tony Lippett on one-year deals. Hamilton excelled on special teams. Lippett was coming off an ACL injury and played limited snaps.