All the Jerry Reese Critics Have Come Out to Play (Again): Free Agency, Jon Beason and the Addlepate

Image: USA Today

Image: USA Today

Here we are again, in the foothills of Free Agency in the NFL.  I love this time – such strategic thinking must happen so that each team can attempt to keep the solid players, and negotiate for players to fill holes before the 2014 season.

I find the media (and fans) relatively humorous during this time.  A GM for an NFL team even suggests he might let one of his (seemingly) best Free Agents test the market, and the headlines and articles twist his comments to Kingdom Come – and the fans immediately begin to call that GM every expletive in the book – leading with ‘Dumb’, ‘Stupid’, and ‘Moron’!  What I also find – well, I don’t know if the word is funny, because the better word might be ‘sad’ – is I don’t really think that most people even look to see what the GM REALLY said, or don’t really think about what the GM is (knowingly) doing by saying what he is, specifically the way he is saying it.

And here we are once again with NY Giants General Manager, Jerry Reese.  This week, in a press conference at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, Reese was asked about some of his plans for the many Giants Free Agents.  Significant focus was given to team captain and DE Justin Tuck and 2009 1st-Round WR Hakeem Nicks.

Instead, most of the headlines hint at, or focus on someone else – to stir the pot – knowing that fans would read the article and comment (or in some cases, just read the headline and comment) – upset at anyone who would even think of letting Free Agent Jon Beason (best MLB leader since Antonio Pierce) go.  And of course – that is exactly what happened.  Today in the context of social media, Jerry Reese is an ‘idiot’, and quite a few other things.

Image: USA Today

Image: USA Today

Here are some of the headlines and lead in comments from the news media after Reese’s press conference:

Daily News: GM Jerry Reese tells NY Giants veterans to test free agency Well, I’m not sure this is exactly what he said, but it’s a good headline.  It definitely makes someone want to read the article to see just who Reese might be talking about.

Giants 101: Are New York Giants Making Mistake by not Signing Jon Beason Prior to Start of Free Agency?  And of course, to stir the angst, the Facebook header to this article added: “New York Giants GM Jerry Reese hinted that LB Jon Beason will not be re-signed prior to the start of free agency. Could that turn out to be a mistake?”  Well, read on in this blog.  You decide if that is what Reese said.

NY Post: Giants Will Be Younger in 2014, with a lead-in paragraph, “General manager Jerry Reese said Saturday that fairness — and not just the team’s precarious salary-cap situation — dictates defensive end Justin Tuck, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and linebacker Jon Beason be allowed to test their value.”

Now I believe most Giants fans are resolute about Hakeem Nicks and the likelihood he won’t be back in 2014.  It’s a mixed bag amongst the fan base for Justin Tuck (for the record, I want him back).  But the key word that is being twisted and turned and paraphrased in every article I read about ‘what Jerry Reese said’ in the press conference: Jon Beason.  As I said – the media knows this is the one that will get to Giants fans.  He made that BIG, beast of a difference on the team when he came in in 2013.

But did anyone (of you who have clearly memorized the Thesaurus listing for the word, ‘stupid’) read what Reese actually said?  Since so many of you have decided to read headlines and lead-ins, and point out in social media how addlepated (look it up) Jerry Reese is, lets take a look at what he really said:

“It’s going to be a significant difference on our roster,”… “It’s going to be a lot of young players. And obviously, we’ll go into free agency and see where we can find some guys that can fill some holes for us. And we’ll take our picks in the draft.”

On Nicks and Tuck specifically: “We keep all our options open,”… “Both of those guys, they deserve to see what the market is.”

On Free Agency: “Free agency is free agency, which means you go out and try to get as much money as you can,”… “I’m always in favor of guys getting as much money as they can.”

Specifically on Jon Beason: Reese said the Giants have, “had some talks with him, and hopefully, we’ll be able to get him back,”… “We’ll leave our options open, and I’m sure they’ll do the same.”

I could go on, but this pretty much sums it up.  For everyone out there judging Reese, where exactly did he say he wanted to let Beason go?

And I ask, what do you think Reese, as GM of a team negotiating with agents, SHOULD have said?  Should he have said, “Oh yes, we’re going to pay him as much as the agent wants in order to make sure we get him back as a Giant in 2014”???  Because THAT would have made him something beyond stupid – it would have made him a laughing stock.  Or should Reese, instead put his words out there very wisely.  My friends, this is ALL part of the negotiation!

A General Manager’s job is to make sure they can field the best team/product possible, within the guidelines of the Salary Cap, and without overpaying one guy at the expense of other needs.  A great team is made up of 53 players that as a single unit, can bring that perfect mixture of talent and finesse and unity to drive it toward a championship.  A GM’s job is to make the hard decisions, and to negotiate wisely with the money he has in his budget.  See February, 2012 blog: Super Business XLVI En Route to XLVII – I wrote this blog specifically on this topic back when so many fans felts the Giants should pay then Free Agent, Mario Manningham, the $9M he wanted to be a #3 WR.  It explains the role of the GM in the NFL, comparing it to a GM in a large corporation.

So I ask, is Jerry Reese really that stupid?  I think not.

More to come…



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