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GM Dave Gettleman considers putting franchise tag on safety Landon Collins 

Landon Collins of the Giants looks on during

Landon Collins of the Giants looks on during a video review in the fourth quarter against the Saints at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

INDIANAPOLIS – The Giants have until 4 p.m. on March 5 to decide if they will use the franchise tag on pending free agent Landon Collins, and they may use every last second of it. 

General manager Dave Gettleman said at the combine on Wednesday that the team is “still evaluating” that possible tactic. The other options would be signing Collins to a long-term deal before then (something that seems unlikely) or letting the three-time Pro Bowl safety hit the open market.

Not all of Gettleman’s “evaluating” has to do with Collins on the field. Using the tag would lock up about $11 million of salary-cap space – approximately half of what the Giants have available -- just as they head into free agency. A long-term contract would lower the immediate hit to the cap.

And then there is Collins’ apparent aversion to signing the tag. He created a media storm last week when he said he cleaned out his locker and said his goodbyes to those in the building, although coach Pat Shurmur said it was reported “with way more drama than what actually happened.”

Gettleman said his job as general manager is to eliminate distractions and allow the players and coaches to function. “You tag a guy, he’s mad, and then that’s all you guys are going to write about for six months,” he said. “I have to say to myself: Is it worth it?”

Odell trade not ruled out

Gettleman’s declaration in early January that he “didn’t sign Odell to trade him” did little to extinguish rumors that the Giants would be willing to listen to offers for the star wide receiver, so his reiteration of that stance Wednesday is unlikely to quell the flames. But the general manager stood by his not-quite-slam-the-door-shut statement anyway.

In fact, he may have opened the door a little more than it already was. When a reporter suggested that Gettleman’s go-to line suggests only that he had no intention of trading Beckham at the time he signed him last August, Gettleman said: “That’s good ears.”

It may not be in the Giants’ worst interest to dangle Beckham just a bit. If a team were to blow them away with a trade offer, they could consider it and maybe even act on it. If not, well, they still have Beckham.

“Speculate all you want,” Gettleman said. “I’ve made my statement on that.”

Giant steps

The Giants do not have a third-round pick in this draft, having used it in the supplemental draft to select CB Sam Beal. “We really feel strongly that if Sam were in this draft, he’d be a second-round pick,” Gettleman said. “While it’s aggravating to not have a third … if he’s the guy we think he is, then we won’t be mad.” Beal did not play in 2018 after suffering a shoulder injury in one of his first practices … Asked what RB Saquon Barkley can give the Giants in Year Two, Pat Shurmur said: “I’d like to see what he did last year next year.” … Gettleman said he is “still evaluating” the role of LB Olivier Vernon and his massive contract, which could count for $19.5 million against the salary cap in 2019.

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