As a rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones is seeing everything for the first time.
That includes defensive coverages, opposing blitz packages and, yes, the business side of the sport. On Tuesday, he will pass through his first NFL trade deadline.
“It’s different,” said Jones, who, of course, is in no danger of being shipped anywhere before the 4 p.m. cutoff for deals between teams. But he will keep an eye on the rest of his locker room to watch the possible comings and potential goings that will take place before the Giants return to the practice field on Wednesday.
It may be new for Jones to witness, but it’s certainly not abnormal. In recent years, the NFL’s trading deadline has gone from an asterisk on the calendar, a box that passes with all the pomp and attention of Arbor Day, to one that is marked by a frenzy of activity. The Giants have been a big part of that evolution.
Last year, just ahead of the deadline, the Giants traded away two defensive starters. So far this year, they have acquired a potential one, taking defensive lineman Leonard Williams off the Jets’ hands on Monday for some future picks.
Who knows what will happen on Tuesday?
Certainly not the players, who usually are the pawns in these personnel maneuvers.
Which is why some of the high-priced veterans on the roster, who have seen the way the Giants execute their business at this time of year, are well aware that they may be wearing a different uniform this weekend.
“It’s kind of one of those things. It’s just a part of how this league works,” said linebacker Alec Ogletree, who was acquired by the Giants in an offseason trade from the Rams about 20 months ago and is one of the players who might find a new home in the coming days. “That’s the business side of the organization and the NFL. You come in, you put in your work and you just hope for the best.”
Ogletree, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, tackle Nate Solder . . . they’ve all been named as potential trade tokens in various reports. It certainly makes sense.
The Giants’ players and coaches may be focused on salvaging this season, but Dave Gettleman isn’t thinking like the general manager of a team that is 2-6 midway through 2019. He’s thinking like a general manager of a team that is 0-0 in 2020.
So if they can add a few draft picks to their arsenal next spring in exchange for a player they’ll likely be cutting anyway — or add a player such as Williams who might help them next season and beyond for some mid-round picks — the Giants have shown they are willing to do it.
Of course, it leads to awkward moments.
Coach Pat Shurmur, on a Monday conference call, was asked about the looming deadline and the Giants’ activities. “I really don’t have anything expectation-wise,” he said. Then, about a minute later, news broke on the Williams deal.
Jenkins, who spoke after the game on Sunday, said he doesn’t give a hoot (or words to that effect) what happens. He’ll just show up and play for whichever team he belongs to on Wednesday. On Monday, though, he posted a cryptic tweet — “Life is good” — that some interpreted as a change-of-address notice. It was not, though before 4 p.m. Tuesday, it may serve as such.
Ogletree had to be asked about his status on the roster. He’s a captain, one of the leaders who organized a players-only meeting for the Giants on Monday to help solidify a locker room to which he might not be returning.
“As of right now, I am still a Giant,” he said on Monday afternoon. “I haven’t heard anything different. Like I said, I’m a Giant today and I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be here now.”
And few have even mentioned the two-time Super Bowl MVP sitting in the corner as a backup quarterback! Eli Manning has a no-trade clause and the Giants have shown zero interest in shipping him away. But if recent history has shown anything, it’s that every player has a price.
Especially on these Giants.