Brandon Jacobs was unwilling to “sell my soul” to stay with the Giants. Now he’ll have to sell his services to someone else.
The big, volatile running back was officially released by the Giants on Friday after he refused to take a massive pay cut for the second time in seven months. According to one source familiar with the talks, the two sides were closer to an agreement than they had expected to be. But in the end, the 29-year-old Jacobs thought the cut the Giants were seeking was just too steep.
“It’s time to move on,” Jacobs said. “We tried, couldn’t reach an agreement. It’s been great, though. I can’t say anything negative about anybody in the organization. ... It’s been a great ride. It’s a great organization, a stand-up organization. I had fun.”
Jacobs was due $4.9 million in 2012, including a $500,000 roster bonus on March 17. He was willing to take a pay cut, but since he had already taken a $1.75 million cut last August to avoid getting released, he wanted an extra year or two tacked onto the deal.
When the two sides failed to reach an agreement, the Giants had little choice but to cut him. His $7 million cap number was far too high for a declining player coming off a disappointing season in which he gained just 571 yards on 3.8 yards per carry. By cutting him, the Giants cleared about $5 million in 2012 salary cap space.
It still wasn’t an easy decision, though. Despite sometimes creating headlines for the wrong reasons — like throwing his helmet into the stands in Indianapolis in 2010 or cursing out Rex Ryan after the Giants-Jets game last Christmas Eve — Jacobs had been mostly productive in his seven seasons with the Giants. The powerful, 6-4, 264-pounder finished with 4,849 yards and a franchise-record 56 touchdowns. He also topped 1,000 rushing yards in 2007 and 2008.
“Brandon helped us win two world championships,” Tom Coughlin said. “He always did what was in the best interest of the team. He really was a team player. I have always felt like Brandon could be counted on.”
Jacobs, in a recent interview, said he hopes to play three more NFL seasons. He also expressed interest in playing for the Jets, despite his infamous altercation with Ryan after the Giants’ 29-14 victory on Christmas Eve in which Jacobs told the Jets coach, among other things, “It's time to shut up, fat boy.”
One NFL source said Jacobs could have some suitors, but he’s mostly viewed as a role player at this stage of his career. Whatever role he plays, he’ll have to do it for someone else.
“I accomplished a lot in my career as a professional athlete here,” Jacobs said. “It’s been a good ride. Time to move on.”