The key to the Odell Beckham Jr. trade turned out to be Jabrill Peppers. He’s the player the Giants wanted, and he’s the player the Giants ultimately acquired along with two draft picks when they made the deal with the Browns last week. The Giants equated him in value to a first-round pick.
Yet Dave Gettleman made sure not to add to any of the pressure that inevitably will come as Peppers returns home to New Jersey, where he will forever be linked to Beckham and safety Landon Collins.
“I didn’t trade Odell straight up for Jabrill Peppers,” Gettleman said. “Jabrill was an important piece to that trade. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I believe in his ability . . . He’s part of the trade and he’s an important part of the trade.”
Peppers seemed unfazed by the lofty expectations he’ll face with the Giants.
“I’m just going there to be the best football player I can be,” he said on a Monday conference call. “I hold myself to a high level and I intend to play at that level.”
Browns now have buzz
Peppers and guard Kevin Zeitler find themselves as former Browns at perhaps the first time in more than a decade when it is more desirable to be a current one. Now that Beckham is there with other high-profile pieces, Cleveland is the NFL’s place to be.
“You look at what they have done these last couple of weeks, it’s definitely an exciting time in Cleveland,” Zeitler said before adding: “I’m excited to be here and we are going to do everything we can to get the same amount of buzz in New York.”
Cody Latimer wrote on Twitter on Monday that he has agreed to re-sign with the Giants as a free agent. The wide receiver missed 10 games on injured reserve last year in his first season with the Giants. He had 11 receptions and a touchdown . . . Gettleman confirmed that other teams were interested in trading for Collins at the deadline last year. He did not act on those offers, which Newsday has reported went as high as a fourth-round pick. “At that point in time, it wasn’t what I thought he was worth,” Gettleman said. “At that point in time, we were really struggling, and what message are we sending by trading him? I didn’t think the value was there, and it’s about value, so that’s why we didn’t do it.” The Giants instead let Collins walk in free agency without any direct compensation (though they could receive a compensatory pick as high as a third-rounder in the 2020 draft).