BOCA RATON, Fla. — This month’s free-agency splurges by the Giants are not being seen as a get-rich-quick investment for one of the men footing the bill.
While the spending of more than $200 million in free-agent contracts has signaled urgency — and the NFL certainly has shown it is possible for teams to U-turn from terrible to triumphant very quickly — Giants co-owner Steve Tisch told Newsday on Monday at the NFL’s annual meetings that he doesn’t look at this offseason’s moves as a rapid cure.
“This is going to be a real work in progress,” he said of the rebuilding of the roster and the changing of the coaching staff after four years without a playoff berth and three straight with a losing record.
Even with all of the money Tisch and the Giants threw at the free agents they have added to the defense? Tisch put it in blunt financial terms.
“If banks are paying 1 1⁄2 percent, I’m not unrealistic,” he said of how quickly he expects to see his and fellow co-owner John Mara’s investment pay off. “I think it will be sort of a slow, steady, progressive, positive return on investment. It will be paying more than most banks are paying, I hope.
“I think John and I, we’ve always had very realistic expectations,” Tisch added. “I don’t think our expectations are unrealistic.”
That’s not to say the Giants aren’t excited about their key acquisitions: defensive end Olivier Vernon, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defensive tackle Damon Harrison.
“They’re good fits, not just good players,” coach Ben McAdoo told Newsday in his first public comments on the additions. “They’re guys who can come in and make an impact, who are young and have a lot of energy and are excited to be a part of it.”
General manager Jerry Reese was a bit more muted.
“It’s all on paper,” he said. “They’ve got to get out there and play. We haven’t done anything yet. We haven’t won a game since we got those guys.”
Still, he added some optimism: “We’re off to a good start.”
That seems to be the prevailing thinking in the organization, that this is just the beginning of a larger change in players, philosophy and decision-making.
Tisch said the big-money purchases are “somewhat uncharacteristic” of the Giants’ long history but added that such maneuvers are “the reality of the NFL in 2016.” He called the splurges a “perfect storm” of salary-cap space, need and players available.
“If not now, when?” he asked.
Tisch also characterized the changes — in personnel and otherwise — as “very exciting.” He said he believes the free- agent additions in particular have excited the fans, the returning players and the coaching staff.
“There’s going to be an energy, an enthusiasm in the locker room that may seem like an intangible, but I do think we’ll see it on the field this year,” he said. “If that ‘perfect storm’ keeps growing, I’m going to feel very, very good about the Giants in 2016. My fingers are crossed.”
Tighter than his purse strings, apparently.
“John Mara and I,’’ he said, “are the ones who are excited and nervous.”