Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said today that he was upset that Steve Smith chose to sign with the Eagles and claims that he was under the impression that the Giants would have had a chance to match any offer made the free agent WR.
"Well, I am upset, and so is everybody," Coughlin said. "But we're disappointed in the fact it's like lining up for the race and you're in the locker room and nobody tells you the race is going to be run. That's the disappointing thing here. I don't think we were given the opportunity to do what we could have done."
That last line is almost laughable. It is August 11th. The first preseason games are being played today. Camps are well underway. Smith was in the Giants' facility earlier this week. Not only were the Giants given the opportunity to re-sign him, they were given every opportunity. He's not a restricted free agent, you don't automatically get the right to match offers to the guy. If the Giants wanted him, they shouldn't have waited so long. Smith's agent Ben Dogra said that he never told the Giants they would have the chance to match an offer and in fact, warned them that they had strong interest from another team.
"I did not. I never told them at any point (that they would have the chance to match other offers)," Dogra told The Star-Ledger. "And, in fact, I'll take it a step further. I told them, 'Hey, I just want to be candid with you, I have another team that's going to be in the mix on a one-year deal.' So I did tell them that.
"If you have a sense of urgency, sometimes when you have a free agent, you can negotiate against yourself, you negotiate and wait for us, or you just negotiate to get a deal done. That's the prerogative of the club. We have no obligation to go back."
I'm sure many Giants fans are asking today where that sense of urgency was....It's funny to hear the Giants acting shocked all of sudden when it appears from the perspective of the agent and the player that they never seemed to indicate a strong commitment to him. Smith said on Facebook today "i truly wanted to stay here but that the giants DIDN’T want me here unfortunately."
Dogra said the same.
"He got a stronger commitment from Philadelphia on the short and possibly the long," Dogra said, "and that was it."