EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -The New York Giants didn't get overly involved in free agency in recent months because the market was overpriced.
``The money was out of control,'' new general manager Jerry Reese said Thursday at the Giants' annual predraft news conference.
Players some people would consider marginal performers got astronomical amounts, he added.
``We didn't feel like we were going to do that. We didn't feel like it was smart for us to do that.''
Instead, Reese went for value in trying to improve the Giants, who got into the playoffs despite an 8-8 record.
His big moves were re-signing starting center Shaun O'Hara to a five-year, $19 million deal and cutting overhead by releasing veterans Luke Petitgout, LaVar Arrington and Carlos Emmons from big contracts.
Reese's other moves were more cost-efficient. He signed former Chiefs linebacker Kawika Mitchell to a one-year, $1 million contract, acquired running back Reuben Droughns from Cleveland for receiver Tim Carter and signed a number of veterans, keeping reserve guard Grey Ruegamer, getting backup quarterback Anthony Wright and a couple of lesser-known defenders.
``There are still some opportunities left out in free agency,'' Reese said. ``Free agency, trade opportunities. There's still some stuff left out there.''
Reese has been spending much of his time since taking over getting ready for the NFL Draft a week from Sunday. The Giants will have the 20th pick overall. They need help at linebacker, cornerback and at left tackle with the release of Petitgout.
``I don't know if we can get a guy that can start, but I think that we can get a real good football player,'' Reese said. ``There are not a lot of rookies that start in the National Football League if you look all the way across the board. There are not a lot of guys that can jump in and start right away.''
Like Ernie Accorsi and George Young before him, Reese refused to discuss either the Giants' draft needs or players available in the draft. He said the team would not be averse to making trades, but he said someone would have to make a ``honey'' of a deal to make them give up one of their top three picks.
He even noted his approach to the media during the draft was shaped by Young.
``George used to say, 'Stonewall them,''' Reese recalled.
Reese doesn't plan to change the way the Giants handle the draft, except that he will be the one making the final call. This year, he is doing double duty, combining his old role as director of player personnel with that of general manager. It has him working 12-hour days.
``I really don't think about it as my first pick,'' said Reese, who last year was discussing the draft with the scouting staff while Accorsi was meeting with the media. ``It is the New York Giants' pick. That's every year. I don't think Ernie saw it as 'Ernie Accorsi's pick.' I don't think George saw it as 'George's pick.' He is the New York Giants' pick. So I really don't think about that one.''
Reese said the Giants plan to meet with about 25 potential picks before the draft, trying to get to know them and to determine their character, a trait now stressed by commissioner Roger Goodell.
``Obviously it is a lot riskier now because of the steps taken by Commissioner Goodell. Obviously he slapped some hands, broke some plates,'' Reese said.
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