Giants coach Tom Coughlin currently has plenty of reasons to be unhappy. The latest reason comes from the manner in which the team’s single-season leader in receptions exited the building.
Coughlin said Thursday that the Giants didn’t get a chance to match the one-year contract offer receiver Steve Smith obtained from the Eagles. “And we were told we were going to,” Coughlin said, per Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger. Coughlin also said, according to Garafolo, that the “situation was like running a race but being in the locker room and not told the race had started.” (That’s Garafolo’s quote, not Coughlin’s.)
Adds Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post: “I’ve covered Coughlin a long time. He seems not only very [pissed] about how Steve Smith handled his exit, but genuinely hurt, too.”
That’s fine, but if the Giants wanted a chance to match any offer Smith received, they could have used the transition tag. Of course, that would have cost much more than what the Eagles ultimately paid.
Moreover, there’s a chance that the Giants had already made it clear to Smith and/or his agent that the team wasn’t willing to guarantee any money in 2011 — or possibly that the Giants wanted to wait to sign Smith after Week One, at which point his base salary wouldn’t have been guaranteed.
Besides, the Giants had more than two full weeks to work something out with Smith, who by all appearances gave the Giants the first crack at keeping him around. When Coughlin declared on Wednesday that Smith faces a “long haul,” maybe Smith decided that Coughlin was trying to scare away any other suitors in the hopes that Smith eventually would accept whatever the Giants had on the table.
Either way, Coughlin probably shouldn’t blame Smith for mishandling the situation. Coughlin should probably blame himself, or at a minimum his front office.