The Giants didn't think safety Landon Collins was worth the price of the franchise tag, what seemed like a hefty $11.15 million for one year.
Turns out that wasn't so hefty at all.
Collins reeled in one of the biggest deals of Day 1 of NFL free agency when he agreed to terms on a six-year, $84 million contract with the Washington Redskins that includes $45 million guaranteed, according to an NFL source. It was a shocking deal that justified Collins' decision to let the Giants know he was going to hold out if he got the "franchise tag".
Meanwhile, the Giants' decision to let the 25-year-old Collins walk looks even worse, since they could have kept him at a bargain rate.
Time will tell if they made the right decision. Some of that will be determined by how they use that $11 million they saved when they finally get into the free-agent market. On Day 1 of the "legal tampering" period, the Giants were mostly quiet.
Here are some takeaways on what they did and did not do:
- Collins' deal was stunning. Heading into free agency, I heard five years, $60 million with $25 million guaranteed was about right. This blows away all the safety records -- total, average per year, guaranteed money. The Redskins, who have been historically crazy in free agency, signed a very good, young player. But it's hard to argue Collins was enough of an impact player to justify a deal this size.
- In case anyone was wondering, the Giants were never going to sign QB Nick Foles. They didn't see him as a big upgrade over Eli Manning -- if he was an upgrade at all -- and he was always going for a huge payday. Not surprisingly, he received it from Jacksonville: four years, $88 million (with a max of $102 million) and $50 million guaranteed. Not bad for a guy who has never started 16 games or thrown for 3,000 yards in a season.
- The closest thing to a "big name" the Giants appeared to be in on was Washington LB Preston Smith. He's a 26-year-old pass rusher who has had 24 1/2 sacks in his first four seasons. It sounds like his market will be too big for the Giants, though. At least a half-dozen other teams called about him on Monday.
- My head hurts from more Odell Beckham Jr. trade rumors. One more time so everyone can hear it: The Giants are NOT shopping him. If a team calls, they will listen, but the offer better be overwhelming for them to even consider it. Even then, they're not really inclined to trade him. Thanks for listening.
- The Giants did start the day off right, re-signing Spencer Pulley to a three-year, $9.6 million contract with more than $2 million guaranteed. They liked Pulley last year and think he can compete for the starting center job with Jon Halapio, assuming Halapio can fully return from the fractured leg and ankle that short-circuited his season. The Giants now have four-fifths of their offensive line intact.
- The fifth piece of their offensive line could be Daryl Williams, a former Dave Gettleman draft pick in Carolina who is now a free agent. The Giants are expected to pursue him to be their right tackle and the cost should be reasonable after he missed all but one game last season with a torn right MCL and dislocated patella tendon.
- The Giants called about LB Deone Bucannon, a 26-year-old who played three seasons under current Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher. The Giants are looking to add depth at linebacker.
- The Giants go three-deep at cornerback with Janoris Jenkins, 2018 supplemental pick Sam Beal and Grant Haley, who played well last season as an undrafted rookie. But they would like to add some veteran help, and have expressed an interest in Colts CB Pierre Desir.
- Former Giants RT Bobby Hart, who once declared himself "the best right tackle in the league" with a straight face, got a three-year, $21 million contract from the Bengals. And if that's not the most shocking deal of the day, I don't know what is.