Football teams have a mantra whenever they lose a player, whether it’s to injury or roster move: Next man up.
But when an organization starts shipping off talent in exchange for draft picks in the name of building a future and the NFL trade deadline is looming, players who have value to offer contenders don’t necessarily worry about who will be the next man up. They worry about who will be the next man out.
A strong candidate for that title with the Giants is cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
He was part of the wave of defensive players brought to the team in 2016, and now that he’s seen two others from that offseason class of acquisitions traded in the past few days, he admitted that the thought of his own future with the Giants has crept into his mind.
“Business is business, baby,” he said. “Whatever they decide to do, that’s what they do. I can’t be mad at them. I can’t judge nobody. I can’t say nothing. If it happens, it happens. I’m on to the next step.”
For him, that next step is Sunday’s game against Washington at MetLife Stadium. With the trade deadline on Tuesday, it could wind up being his last for the Giants.
“I’m here to play football and I’m going to show up every day until whatever decision they make,” Jenkins said. “Whatever they [do], I got no problem with it, but until then, I’m here and I’m here to stay.”
Another player who could draw interest from trading partners is linebacker Olivier Vernon, who also was part of that 2016 influx of defensive talent.
“All I can do is worry about football,” Vernon said. “Everybody in here is still positive and has their eyes on the Redskins.”
Of course, being traded isn’t only a change in scenery. It’s a life change, one in which few players have much control. That’s why the media are not the only ones who ask Jenkins about the possibility of a midseason move.
“They ask me, my family asks me, my friends,” he said. “But like I tell them, I can’t control that.”
Jenkins also said he’s not surprised that contending teams might want to add him to their secondary.
“Of course,” he said. “They understand how I play.”
He’s 29 years old and has two seasons after this one on his deal, which could make him difficult to trade. Those were some of the reasons — age and contract — why the Giants received less in compensation for Damon Harrison than for Eli Apple even though Harrison is a much more accomplished player.
Jenkins did say he wants to remain with the Giants and that he has not requested a trade.
“I want to be here, I’m happy I’m here,” he said.
But he also sounded as if he might not mind going elsewhere if such a situation arose.
“Whatever decision they make, I’m going to go with it,” he said. “No bad feelings, no hard feelings, no nothing. Business is business.”
And in this business, with this team, in this season, anything can happen. At least until Tuesday.