PHOENIX – Pat Shurmur today reiterated that the Giants' most significant offseason transaction – trading Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Cleveland Browns for safety Jabrill Peppers and two draft choices – was a smart move for the franchise.
"It is business," Shurmur said. "We didn't want to get rid of Odell. We traded Odell and we got value. There are many things that I admire about Odell. I wish him the best.
"We are building. Obviously, Odell is an outstanding player, but it is a business and (general manager) Dave (Gettleman) addressed that. I really believe that we got good value in return. I am one of those that believes a trade can be good for both parties. We came to an agreement with Cleveland and we sent them an outstanding player. We got good value in return."
Shurmur – along with the NFL's 31 other head coaches – sat at a table and spoke to reporters for about an hour this morning at the league's annual meeting at the Arizona Biltmore. He discussed a smorgasbord of subjects, but at the top of the list was the trade two weeks ago of Beckham, the sensational receiver who caught 390 passes and scored 44 touchdowns in five seasons with the Giants.
In return, the Giants received first (No. 17 overall) and third (No. 95) round draft choices and Peppers, who was the 25th selection in the 2017 draft and played two seasons with the Browns.
"Our impression is that he is a first-round pick," Shurmur said. "He is an outstanding player as well. He can play safety. We were looking to help ourselves on defense. He is going to step in and play good football for us."
Peppers will step in for Landon Collins, who, like Beckham, was selected to three Pro Bowls with the Giants. Collins joined the Washington Redskins as a free agent.
"Landon played really good football for a very long time," Shurmur said. "That is what happens in business. He went and signed a very lucrative contract. We wish him well. I said it earlier. Anyone that has ever played for me or that I have ever worked with that are no longer with us, I wish them all the best. I hope they go to their teams and win them games. The same can be said for Landon."
Shurmur dismissed the notion that Beckham and he didn't always see eye-to-eye.
"That seems to be the narrative, but that is not the case," Shurmur said. "He is an outstanding player. It was business. The notion that we were tired of Odell is not accurate.
"We certainly talked a lot about (the trade). I am on board. I really believe that we have a plan. We have a way that we want to make our team better and we feel like this trade is something that will help us do that."
The Giants have been busy this offseason. In addition to Peppers, they added a starting right guard in Kevin Zeitler (in another trade with Cleveland, for linebacker Olivier Vernon), plus wide receiver Golden Tate, safety Antoine Bethea, defensive end Markus Golden and defensive tackle Olsen Pierre. They also re-signed kicker Aldrick Rosas and offensive linemen Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley.
The Giants have 12 choices in the seven-round NFL Draft, including two in the first round, which begins on April 25. They last selected two players in the first round of the draft in 1984.
Tate had 611 receptions for 7,214 yards and 38 touchdown catches in nine seasons with Seattle, Detroit and Philadelphia. Tate, who has been a Super Bowl champion and a Pro Bowler, will team with fourth-year pro Sterling Shepard to give the Giants wideout versatility.
"I am excited about him," Shurmur said. "His skillset is like Sterling's. When we run the ball, they are gritty blockers and you can play them on the edge and in the slot. Then, when you throw the ball, they have both done good work in the slot and have had production outside. You can play both guys wherever."
Zeitler is a former first-round draft choice who played five seasons in Cincinnati and two in Cleveland.
"He is all about football," Shurmur said. "He has that old school feel. He came in and visited me. He was wanting to know about iPads and making sure he got a lift in that day. 'Oh by the way, can you direct me to a realtor so my wife can get going?' He is very task-driven. He came in with four or five things he wanted from me. He is a really fine pass blocker and an outstanding run blocker. He will be a solid piece for us at that right guard spot."
Zeitler joins tackles Nate Solder and Chad Wheeler, guard Will Hernandez, and Halapio/Spencer on the current O-line.
"I think we are making progress, and I am really pleased with how they progressed at the end of last year," Shurmur said. "To this point, we added a really good player. We are going to continue to do that. I think we also shined a bright light on the fact that it starts up front and we are going to do what we can to address the offensive and defensive lines up front as we move forward."
The Giants signed Bethea to team with Peppers in the back of the defense. Bethea is a three-time Pro Bowler who has played 13 seasons for Indianapolis, San Francisco and Arizona. He helped the Colts win Super Bowl XLI in his rookie season in 2006.
"He is a very accomplished player," Shurmur said. "I watched the tape and I see why. You only have to meet with him for a few minutes to feel that leadership that he processes. I think he will help make our back end much stronger."
With the draft looming and reinforcements needed throughout the roster, the Giants will continue working to upgrade their roster.
"I think there are numerous good players in this draft," Shurmur said. "We are putting our final evaluations on this class. We have done a heck of a lot of work on all the quarterbacks that we could potentially draft. As much work as we did last year. We will just have to see in the final analysis how it stacks up. There are some really good players in this draft.
"Our plan is to add more good football players. That is the plan. The diet that doesn't sell is to eat less and exercise more. No one will buy that book. We are just trying to add more good players. We shined a bright light on some positions of need a year ago and we are going to address some of those needs."