There are always risks when building through free agency. There is always a reason why a player hits the open market. Part of the reason the three highest-profile players the Giants signed during this cycle were available has to do with their health. Or the lack of it.
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree ‘Jackson are coming off 2020 seasons shortened by injuries. The Giants went through them and then put a lot of money on the table. The latest development with tight end Kyle Rudolph makes clear that the Giants, if they don’t roll the dice, are certainly betting. The top three contracts they signed for players outside of their organization were for players who lost considerable time and / or were unable to finish last season on the field.
The hip flexor problem that limited Golladay to just five games in 2020 for the Lions is well documented. The knee problem that limited Jackson to just three games in 2020 for the Titans is no source of speculation. The Giants, however, thought Rudolph was ready to roll when they offered him a two-year deal worth $ 12 million. Word spread Tuesday that something might not be right with Rudolph, who missed the last four games last season to the Vikings with a foot injury.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that the foot had not yet healed and that Rudolph is in need of surgery.
“It was certainly an interesting 24 hours, one that was unexpected,” Rudolph said. “It’s kind of a blessing that we can find this problem.”
The surgery, Rudolph said, will take place “as soon as possible,” and he hopes to be back in time to be ready for the start of his first season with the Giants.
“I don’t expect to miss any football,” he said. “I’m very excited, when we start playing football to be there with my teammates.”
While playing for the Vikings last season, Rudolph, 31, injured his foot on December 6 against the Jaguars. He missed the last four games, was released, and after 10 years with the Vikings, he agreed to terms with the Giants. Four months after initially injuring his foot, he still has not fully healed, which caused a momentary inconvenience in signing the contract; initially it was supposed to be Tuesday. The Giants made no financial adjustments to the deal. Rudolph will count $ 4.75 million in his salary cap this year. Receive a $ 4.5 million signing bonus.
“This is 100 percent of what happened during the season that caused me to miss the last four games of the season,” Rudolph said. “Everyone expected it to heal on its own and it didn’t. It needs to be fixed. I’m extremely grateful for the Giants medical staff … and I’m excited to fix it and get over it. ”
The two major signings for the Giants played a total of eight games in 2020 and needed to convince their new team, with check-ups at the Special Surgery Hospital on their visits, that they were ready to go.
Jackson, 25, injured his knee during a Sept. 11 practice, three days before the Titans’ season opener in Denver. He landed on injured reserve, wasn’t activated until Nov. 11, and didn’t play in a game until Week 15. The Titans were vague on the details of the injury. After the season, it emerged that Jackson was dealing with patellar tendonitis.
In 2019, Jackson was unable to finish the season and missed the last four games with a foot problem.
Golladay, 27, endured a brutal 2020 season. He missed the first two games with a hamstring strain and the last 9 games with a hip flexor.
The injury history cost Golladay (four years, $ 72 million) or Jackson (three years, $ 39 million) nothing, as they both received market value money.
There’s no question the Giants did their due diligence on all three players, in terms of medical exams. There’s also no question that Golladay, Jackson and Rudolph are no longer with their old teams, at least in part because they weren’t available last season. The Giants signed contracts worth a total of $ 123 million for three players who missed 28 games combined in 2020.
There are risks with each signing, even more so when the players who enter come from significant injuries that caused significant losses of time.