The Giants didn't just rebuild their team last season, they also helped rebuild Steve Spagnuolo's career.
The popular defensive coordinator, whose prior two years on the job were historically bad (with the Giants in 2015 and the Saints in 2012), earned rave reviews for the way he helped revive the Giants' defense last season. And as a result, the Giants gave him a two-year contract extension, according to a league source, to ensure he'd be back for more.
That move -- first reported by ESPN -- was really a foregone conclusion. "Spags" didn't even receive a nibble in the latest round of head coaching searches, so his job options were limited even though his defense went from 32nd in the league last season to 10th overall this season as the Giants allowed the second-fewest points in the league.
Sure, a lot of that improvement had to do with the $200 million spending spree GM Jerry Reese went on last offseason, bringing in the high-priced trio of defensive end Olivier Vernon, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and defensive tackle Damon Harrison. But the players loved Spagnuolo for the way he integrated all the pieces into his play-friendly, aggressive scheme.
Free-agent spending sprees have a long history of not working. The 57-year-old Spagnuolo made it work.
He was their defensive coordinator in 2007 when the Giants won Super Bowl XLII -- in large part to their defense. He was pursued that offseason by the Washington Redskins to be their head coach, but the Giants talked him out of it and rewarded him with a three-year contract worth $2 million per season that made him one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the league. One year later, he left to become the head coach of the St. Louis Rams.
So far, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo has made no offseason changes to his coaching staff after the Giants' impressive 11-5 season, and at this point none are expected.