The Giants might be headed down the ultimate jackrabbit hole when it comes to Janoris Jenkins, who could be playing his final game for the team Sunday in Detroit ahead of next Tuesday’s trade deadline.
The $62.5 million cornerback has been a constant subject of trade rumors in recent weeks, with Sports Illustrated reporting that the Giants have been “actively shopping” him around the league.
Jenkins was given several chances Friday to commit to wanting to stay with the Giants, but he declined each time in an animated group interview at his locker after practice.
“It don’t matter where I want to be. Business is business. If they let me go, they do. Ain’t no pressure,” Jenkins said. “At the end of the day, let me go be who I be. Ain’t no pressure. I ain’t sweating nobody, ain’t no arguments.
“If you gonna let me go, don’t beat around the bush saying there’s rumors. Let me go if you gonna let me go. If not, then let me play football.”
Jenkins, who has one season left after this one on his five-year contract, remained with the Giants after they traded defensive starters Damon Harrison and Eli Apple before last year’s deadline and then Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon (both to Cleveland) in the offseason.
Contending teams such as Kansas City, where former Giants coach Steve Spagnuolo is the defensive coordinator, reportedly are in the market for an experienced cornerback. Jenkins noted he thrived in Spagnuolo’s defensive system with the Giants in 2016 “because I understood the whole scheme overall,” although he was suspended for one game in 2017 for failing to return on time from the team’s bye week in October.
Jenkins’ play has been uneven this season, but his assessment was that he “only had one bad game, if you ask me,” referring to the team’s Week 3 win against Tampa Bay. “I don’t know what y’all are seeing. [The Tampa game], that’s it,” he said. “Other than that, I’m playing ball, baby ... I shut down one side of the field."
After the Giants' Week 2 loss to Buffalo, an angry Jenkins indicated awareness the clock is ticking on his NFL career, saying: "Yeah, I'm angry ... I'm on Year 8. I need to get somewhere. I'm trying to win something."
Asked again Friday if he wants to stay with the Giants, Jenkins added: “It don’t even matter. I can’t control business decisions. My whole thing is to play football, so whatever decision they make, they make. I want to play football. It ain’t about where I want to be. Playing football is playing football. It’s a business. You gotta understand football is a business. That’s the way I look at it.”
Notes & quotes: Giants coach Pat Shurmur said WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) will miss his third straight game Sunday, but RB Saquon Barkley is expected to play after tweaking his sprained ankle last week against Arizona in his first appearance since Sept. 22. “Last week, [Barkley] was coming back from injury, so we were being cautious and smart about it all the way up to the game," Shurmur said. "We were more deliberate about it. Now that he’s played and we’ve seen how a week applies to a game, I’m pretty confident in saying he’s playing. I think he had a good week of practice, so he’s ready to go." ... CB Corey Ballentine (concussion) also has been ruled out. ... TE Evan Engram was wearing a Mark Bavaro jersey in the locker room after practice … Shurmur added LB Deone Bucannon, signed earlier this week after being released by Tampa Bay, will “be active and will be involved” Sunday because of his “familiarity with our system.” The 2014 first-round pick played four seasons for defensive coordinator James Bettcher in Arizona.