After what he called an "interesting" and "unexpected" 24 hours that saw his signing with the Giants delayed because of concerns the team found during his physical on Tuesday, Kyle Rudolph finally signed his two-year deal with the team. One of his first acts as a Giant? Surgery.
The veteran tight end said he will undergo a procedure to correct an injury to his foot "as soon as possible" and he expects to be on the field with his new team for training camp. The injury, which sidelined Rudolph for four games last season with the Vikings, was thought to have healed with time but his standard examination prior to inking the contract showed that it had not. After considering a plan of action, the two sides agreed to the originally-negotiated terms of the deal.
"It’s kind of a blessing that we were able to find this issue," Rudolph said on Wednesday. "We can fix it in March and I won’t miss any football."
Rudolph said he was never concerned that the diagnosis would scuttle his agreement with the Giants, although he expressed gratitude to the Giants that they did not make any changes to their original verbal agreement which was struck last week.
"There’s a reason I came here and one of the main reasons is the way this organization is run from the top down," he said.
As for what he can bring to the Giants once he does return to the field, Rudolph said his experience playing with (and blocking for) Adrian Peterson and Dalvin Cook during his decade with the Vikings prepared him to help Saquon Barkley. While he has developed into a strong blocker in recent years, for most of his career he was known more for his pass catching. That prowess sent him to a pair of Pro Bowls. He said he expects to be able to use both skillsets in the Giants’ offense this season.
He also said he thinks he and Evan Engram – and the rest of the Giant5s’ tight ends including Levine Toilolo and Kaden Smith – will work well together.
"I think we can complement each other very very well," Rudolph said of Engram, who is heading into the final year of his contract with the Giants. "He does things that I can’t even imagine doing… It allows your offense to really put defenses in tough situations when you can put multiple tight ends on the field. It really allows us to dictate how the game is going to go."
Rudolph also said he is looking forward to working under offensive coordinator Jason Garrett who coached future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten in Dallas.
"I’m extremely excited to be in this system," he said. "He obviously had an unbelievable track record with a tight end on a team that I don’t think we mention around this place anymore, so we won’t even talk about them."
Clearly, he’s become accustomed to his new surroundings very quickly.
NOTES & QUOTES: So how did the Giants afford to sign all of these free agents including the high-priced additions of Rudolph, wide receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree Jackson? According to ESPN the Giants created $7.5 million in salary cap space by restructuriong the contracts of LB Blake Martinez and CB James Bradberry, converting some of their salary into a signing bonus that pushes a large chunk of their cap hits to next season when the salary cap is expected to go up significantly. Next year is also the final year on the deals of both players, who signed for three years each last offseason, so the Giants have an option to extend them further if they’d like to next offseason … The Giants re-signed Devonte Downs, a 25-year-old linebacker who played all 16 games and started eight for them last season. Downs was a restricted free agent but the Giants did not tender him before the start of the league year earlier this month, making him an unrestricted free agent before he signed his new deal with the team.