*Coach Ben McAdoo spoke with the media, plus more news and notes from the NFL Combine: *
Linking Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center is a 30-foot-long banner that reads: "THE FUTURE STARTS HERE."
That's fitting at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where inside the city limits right now are the next seven Giants, give or take. There will not be a barbell lifted until Thursday or a 40-yard dash clocked until Friday, but the action is already underway.
After teams made their way to Indianapolis yesterday, the convention center was overrun with high-ranking officials addressing the media. Most of them were speaking publicly for the first time since their 2016 seasons ended as they set the table for the year ahead. Ben McAdoo, making his second appearance at the combine as a head coach, was among that group today.
"It is great to be back, exciting to be back," he said after an 11-win season and a trip to the playoffs in his first year. "It is really the kickoff of the draft process for the coaches. [Vice President, Player Evaluations] Marc Ross and the scouts do a great job of setting the table for us and I am excited to be here. Let's open it up."
So let's do as the coach says and open it up. Here's what we learned on Wednesday:
GREAT TO HAVE JPP BACK
Before the combine, the Giants made some news back in East Rutherford when they placed the franchise tag on veteran defensive end and Super Bowl XLVI champion Jason Pierre-Paul. By doing so, the Giants have until July 15 at 4 p.m. to reach a long-term contract agreement with Pierre-Paul, who would have become an unrestricted free agent on March 9. If no deal is reached, he would have to play the 2017 season under the terms of the franchise tender.
"Yeah, it is great to have JPP around," McAdoo said. "We think highly of him. Obviously that is the business part of the equation and I try to stay out of that as much as I can. But Jason is a great part of the team, someone who made some progress last year and it will be good to have him back."
JPP wasn't the only player the be franchised this year. Here are the others: RB Le'Veon Bell (Steelers), QB Kirk Cousins (Redskins), OLB Melvin Ingram (Chargers), CB Trumaine Johnson (Rams), OLB Chandler Jones (Cardinals), and DT Kawann Short (Panthers). They were all ranked among the top 15 in NFL.com's "Top 101 Free Agents of 2017."
NFL.com ranked the Top 101 free agents of 2017.
MOVING ON FROM CRUZ, JENNINGS
The Giants recently parted ways with two offensive veterans: wide receiver Victor Cruz and running back Rashad Jennings. McAdoo said he had a chance to talk with both players, which is the toughest part of the business.
"That is not why you get into coaching," he said. "Obviously Victor went through some tough times; the last three years were very difficult for him and he bounced back this year and had a chance to stay healthy. Playing that first full year after the injury is huge and once a Giant, always a Giant. He is a big part of Giants history.
"I had a chance to speak with Rashad on the phone. He was already training for next year and you wouldn't expect anything less from him. But Rashad and I have had some good conversations over the three years since I have been here and he was a big part of our offense, big part of the leadership in the locker room and we will miss him in that regard."
ALL DAY LONG
Three-time league rushing champion Adrian Peterson was a common subject that made the rounds at every team's podium. The Minnesota Vikings announced this week that they will not exercise the 2017 option on the star running back's contract, setting him up to become an unrestricted free agent on March 9.
"I have no idea [what the interest will be in Peterson]," Vikings GM Rick Spielman said. "Again, you walk into this thing, and every year you look at the current contracts on, maybe, the top 10 players at the position, and all of a sudden the market changes because teams spend differently. And then all of a sudden that market starts adjusting. So I wish I had an answer. I don't know what those expectations are; I don't know where his market is."
Naturally, the question turned to the Giants, who just released a running back.
"We will go take a look at him," McAdoo said. "We will evaluate him, we will get a grade on anyone that is available, and we will make those decisions in terms of what is best for the Giants moving forward."
McAdoo was then asked if the team needs to add another proven player to carry the ball.
"If it fits and if it is clean," he responded. "Paul [Perkins] is a guy that we have confidence in. He missed all offseason last year because of the rules that are in place with rookies and he came into training camp and really had to catch up in a hurry. He had some success with special teams early and ended up being a nice ball carrier for us and grew in protection as well. But again, he needs to come back, he needs to get better and he can get better and I know that he is working to get better right now."
HEARD AROUND THE LEAGUE
"We're going to responsibly listen to any opportunities that are out there [to trade the No. 1 pick in the draft]. I think we have to do that. It's not a design of ours. We'd have to wait to see what might come and what player might be available as we get through this process." – Sashi Brown, Browns EVP of Football Operations
"Your No. 1 pick is not what it used to be. Tony Boselli ain't coming out now – because he's a in a different offense – to plug in at left tackle right away. Or anybody else. There's so much more teaching involved with these younger players now. Much greater athletes, but much more teaching on our part." – Cardinals coach Bruce Arians
"Well, over the years with the [proliferation] of the spread offenses, the spread defenses, for lack of a better term, that have come into vogue, there's a lot of corners and a lot of safeties that have to match up with a number of wide receivers. And there's plenty of wide receivers in this draft as a result of those offenses as well. What's a little different is the depth of the running back position, which hasn't been real deep in recent years -- it looks like this is shaping up to be a real strong running back draft class as well." – Steelers GM Kevin Colbert
Thursday, March 2:Media availability and bench press for offensive linemen, running backs and specialists.* Friday, March 3:*
On-field workouts for offensive linemen, running backs and specialists; media availability and bench press for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends.* Saturday, March 4:*
On-field workouts for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends; media availability and bench press for defensive linemen and linebackers.* Sunday, March 5:*
On-field workouts for defensive linemen and linebackers; media availability and bench press for defensive backs.* Monday, March 6:*
On-field workouts for defensive backs.