GIANTS' GM JERRY REESE PREPARED TO MAKE "HARD DECISIONS" AS SUPER BOWL CHAMPS MAKE PLANS FOR 2012
"The Giants are less than a month removed from an improbable Super Bowl run, a
memorable ride that left malcontent defensive end Osi Umenyiora smiling
and caused Brandon Jacobs to
practically beg for a chance to return.
But the run to the Lombardi Trophy has done nothing to change Jerry
Reese. Last offseason, the Giants GM made several cold-blooded personnel
moves, jettisoning popular veterans who did not fit in with his long-term plan.
Reese, at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine, told the Daily News that he is
well-prepared to be ruthlessly efficient again this offseason.
"You always have to make some hard decisions," he told the News. "If you
can't make a hard decision in this business, you shouldn't be in this
"There's always change," he added ominously, "and there will be change this
Reese made a host of unpopular moves in shaping the 2011 Giants, operating
with nary a hint of sentimentality as he let record-setting wideout Steve
Smith walk and cut veteran offensive linemen Rich Seubert and Shaun
O'Hara. He also refused to follow through on an alleged promise to Umenyiora
to re-do the underpaid pass-rusher's contract or trade him, leading to a
training camp holdout and bad blood between GM and player.
But by season's end, that firestorm had resulted in a Super Bowl victory, and
Reese the steely villain was suddenly Reese the genius architect.
"There are always some hard decisions to make," he said, "especially when
there are some Giants who have been on this team for a long time, and we have to
go in a different direction.
"It's never personal. It's always business."
There will be plenty of tough decisions in the coming months. Reese must deal
with Jacobs in a few weeks, deciding how to handle an under-productive tailback
who wants to return but is also due a $500,000 roster bonus next month. He must
make decisions on 21 unrestricted free agents, including Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham,
who said Saturday that he is not expecting to return.
The GM must also decide whether to finally placate Umenyiora, who is now in
the final year of the deal that caused so much controversy last season. Reese
said a Umenyiora extension "could happen," but made no guarantees.
And then there's sudden superstar wideout Victor Cruz, who wants
a significant bump in his $490,000 salary after a team-record 1,536 receiving
yards. But Reese hinted that he has no intention of overcompensating the
Cinderella story of the 2011 season.
"We're talking about everything," he said of Cruz's situation during his
combine press conference. "Everybody thinks they deserve more after their season
when you win the Super Bowl, so that's a good problem to have, so we'll discuss
those issues as well."
Those discussions will all be governed by the same ice-cold mentality that
built a Super Bowl champion this year, Reese promised.
"It's still early, a long time before we play a game," he told the News. "A
lot of things can happen. We'll move forward as quickly and efficiently as we