Giants' new regime made Sterling Shepard feel wanted

Giants’ new regime made Sterling Shepard feel wanted

Words spoke louder than actions to Sterling Shepard.

The Giants were going to cut his salary if he wanted to remain with the team this season. No two ways about it. But the sting of the insult was softened by the message coming from a new regime that he still was valued and this was just the reality of fixing a disastrous salary cap situation.

So, Shepard agreed last month to a pay cut from $ 8.5 million to $ 1.5 million – plus a $ 500,000 workout bonus ($ 2 million fully guaranteed) and other incentives – to be part of the general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll era instead of declining and prompting his release.

“I wanted to be around a group of guys that wanted me to be around the team. That’s the grasp I got from those guys when talking to them, ”Shepard said Monday, on the first day of the Giants’ voluntary offseason program. “You take your chance in free agency and you don’t know where you are going to end up. I still have ties with a lot of people in this building. There was some familiarity for me. ”

Sterling Shepard felt wanted by new general manager Joe Schoen (top right) and new head coach Brian Daboll (bottom right).
Corey Sipkin, USA TODAY Sports, AP

The 29-year-old receiver ruptured his Achilles on Dec. 19 and missed the final three games, upping his total to 20 games lost due to various injuries over the last three seasons. He was on crutches at the introductory news conferences for both Schoen and Daboll, but “the thought actually did run across my head” that he could be tossed aside because they were not tied to his past production.

Shepard is uncertain when he will be able to rejoin practice.

“I’m doing everything in my power to get back on the field,” Shepard said. “I went through a lot mentally and emotionally at first. Kind of past that now and want to focus on getting better. ”

It’s a similar situation for linebacker Blake Martinez, whose salary was cut from $ 8.4 million to $ 1.25 million with a $ 775,000 workout bonus. He is coming off a torn ACL in September.

“It was definitely a difficult decision,” Martinez said. “For me, it all came down to my family. To be able to have my daughters in the schools they are in and that situation handled, I just love playing football. I knew what the coaches brought here from my time rehabbing and interactions, and I just felt confident knowing I could go out there and prov the type of player I am coming back from my injury. ”

Shepard is the longest-tenured Giant (seventh season) and the only one who has played in a playoff game with the franchise. His restructured contract means he will be a free agent in 2023 instead of 2024.

Sterling Shepard, on crutches, greets Brian Daboll at his introductory press conference.
Sterling Shepard, on crutches, greets Brian Daboll at his introductory press conference.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Shepard remains quarterback Daniel Jones’ favorite target when healthy. He was among the league leaders with 16 catches after two games.

“I did the pros and cons, and the pros outweighed the cons by a landslide,” he said. “Ultimately, it was the best situation for me and my family. I was super happy that we were able to come to an agreement. If everything goes the way I hope it goes, hopefully I’ll be here a little longer. ”

The Giants restructured cornerback Adoree ‘Jackson’s contract, by converting $ 8.965 million of his deal into a signing bonus to create $ 5.98 million in cap space, according to ESPN. With a void year added, that brings Jackson’s cap hit down to $ 9.2 million in 2022, up to $ 19.4 million in 2023 and adds a nearly $ 3 million dead-cap charge in 2024.

Schoen previously said restructures like this were a “last resort.” Turning to it Monday suggests the Giants are not close to their goal of trading cornerback James Bradberry for draft capital and cap space.

Adoree 'Jackson
Adoree ‘Jackson
Getty Images

It also suggests the Giants are more confident that Jackson will be part of the 2023 roster than either receiver Kenny Golladay or defensive lineman Leonard Williams, both of whom were candidates for a restructure that would’ve added more dead cap in 2023 if released.

“I think Adoree ‘is a good player for us,” Daboll said. “Happy he’s here. He’s energetic. Good being around him this morning. ”

Daboll stood in front of a team as a head coach for the first time Monday. He used about 10 minutes of a 20-minute full-team meeting to discuss “expectations and standards” – including a dress code of wearing team-issued gear around the facility – and gave the rest of the time to others.

Players received playbooks and film-loaded iPads for the first time. When the offense was in the weight room, the defense had meetings and vice versa. Daboll circulated to each position’s meeting room for about five minutes.

Bradberry and receiver Kadarius Toney were the notable players not seen in any of the more than 100 photos the Giants socialized. Their attendance is not known.

“Everything is voluntary. We understand that, ”Daboll said. “But there was a packed house.”


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