But, without Joe Judge as the closer, these players could have walked.
Navigating through his second offseason with the Giants, Judge proved that he can pay off when it comes to convincing outsiders that his path is the right track and his Giants are on the right track. With his direct and direct approach, Judge inspected the merchandise in free agency before his team made a purchase. Invisible transfers may work for some players, but not for high-priced ones, not as long as Judge is tasked with approving who gets added to his roster.
Still relatively new to this and coming off a 6-10 debut season, Judge’s prowess as a recruiter fostered the belief that he will be the Giants’ head coach for quite some time.
In Year No. 1, the property and main office witnessed how Judge was able to cajole his own players into buying. Moving on to year No. 2, Judge was able to convince prominent free agents like Kenny Golladay and Adoree ‘Jackson to leave their homes for multi-day visits to the Giants. Revealing there is growing intrigue for the program Judge is building. That Golladay and Jackson, after meeting and being questioned by Judge, still wanted to get on board shows just how valuable he has become.
This was the unknown and the risk when the Giants signed Judge, then 38-year-old special teams coordinator, as their head coach. Could you lead the players you had and also convince others to join?
“We’ve fallen in love with believing that players want to be pampered and that you need a player coach,” Tiki Barber, the Giants’ greatest running back of all time, told The Post. “What these guys really want is a coach that they respect, that they can believe in and that they know it’s not one way with some people and another with others. It is a testimony to train Judge. ”
The evidence, after an incredibly effective (and expensive) free agent spending spree, is clear: Judge is making the Giants relevant.
“It’s a destination again,” Barber said. “The New York Giants are a place that people want to come to play.”
No one is fooling himself here. The Giants signed a $ 74 million contract for Golladay and put together a $ 39 million package for Jackson. Those are the main reasons they will be wearing blue this season. However, without the positive vibes that Judge unleashed, these deals would not have been made.
Players can be taken aback by Judge’s direct manner. It didn’t take long for the 2020 Giants to learn that Judge says what he means and means what he says. If Golladay or Jackson needed verbal bouquets thrown at them, they wouldn’t have been impressed with Judge.
“Joe Judge takes the glitz and the glamor out of it and brings it back to the fundamentals, the football and the team-first mentality,” said safety Logan Ryan. “It is comforting for the guys to know that they will be pushed onto the practice field and they will be pushed to be better players and work together to play winning football. Some guys still believe in being coached, like ‘I want to be great and Joe Judge has been a part of great organizations and he seems like a great coach, they have great players there, I want to play there. ”
That Ryan went into action to help influence Jackson and that Jabrill Peppers had dinner with Golladay before the deal closed shows that Judge’s lieutenants have his back.
Jackson said his conversations with the Giants players convinced him that “they understand what [Judge] he’s looking for and what he wants, just for everyone to be on the same page and be cohesive, that’s the most important thing. ” Golladay said after hearing the vision presented by the judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett: “ They had me right there. ” Veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph said he had teams of “12 or 13” interested in him, but after speaking on the phone with Judge and Garrett, he told his wife over lunch, “I knew New York was the place. where I needed to be. ”
Players need to know that their head coach has the juice to get talent coming through the door to stay in the building. That Judge was able to do it resonates with those who joined him in 2020 and came back for more.
“It’s a different mindset that Coach Judge has brought in,” Barber said. “It is so real. It’s refreshing to have that in New York. That’s the biggest change, these guys are excited about where this team is heading. ”
This is how a team feels when they know they have a reliable closer.