It’s time for Pat Shurmur to take his pen out.
Throughout the preseason, he said he, his coaching staff and the front office have held daily discussions about who should make the Giants’ final roster. Each time, they essentially have asked themselves: If we had a game this week, who would we bring with us?
Shurmur noted that the names of the players to be kept were always written in pencil. Decisions, in other words, were non-binding. But t
hat’s no longer a luxury. At least not after 4 p.m. Saturday, which is the NFL’s deadline for teams to have a 53-man roster. The Giants have carried 90 since the start of offseason workouts, and almost half of the players who have spent their summer with them now are going to be excised.
“We’ve got a decent idea of the direction we’re going to go with things, but we still have some conversations,” Shurmur said Friday morning. “I told that to the players, it’s a credit to them. Every year, the players want to make it tough on us as to this guy or that guy. I think sometimes you can be in a situation where it’s pretty cut-and-dry, but I think we’ve had some guys that have played themselves into the mix.”
Shurmur said he plans to meet individually with all of the players who are cut. “The human element of it is tough,” he said. “I think we all get used to it, but if you’ve got a heart and you’ve got a soul, you’re talking about guys’ livelihoods, it’s a tough situation that way.”
Some teams began announcing trims Friday, but Shurmur said he did not anticipate finalizing any decisions until Saturday. Even then, the decisions won’t be “final.” As the Giants trim to 53, theirs isn’t the only roster they’re looking at.
There is a very good chance that several players who will wear a Giants uniform in the Sept. 9 opener against the Jaguars currently are playing for another team.
One way to obtain a player might be by flipping the seventh-round pick the Giants received from the Vikings in exchange for center Brett Jones this week. It’s the kind of currency the Giants can use to acquire a player who is perhaps on the verge of being cut or waived Saturday. That’s what they did last year when in the final minutes before the deadline, they traded for Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell, giving themselves an experienced player who wound up helping them.
“The seventh-round pick was important,” Shurmur said. “We’re always going to look to upgrade all the position groups.’’
The second way the Giants can acquire a player is through the waiver wire, and they are second in line for the first three weeks of the season because of their 3-13 record in 2017. (After that, the order will be determined by current record.) So with hundreds of players being waived by 4 p.m. Saturday, the Giants can claim and be awarded, at worst, the second-best of all of them, in their view.