EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin is clearly angry. He's angry that Steve Smith spurned the New York Giants and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday. He's angry because, as he said in his news conference this morning, he thinks the Giants were done wrong by Smith's agent. And he's angry because he's out there having to answer questions about a contract negotiation when he's not the guy who does the contract negotiations.
"It’s like lining up for the race and you’re in the locker room and nobody tells you that the race is going to be run," Coughlin said in answer to a question about whether the Giants were given a fair chance to match the Eagles' offer. "That’s the disappointing thing here. I don’t believe that we were given the opportunity to do what we could do."
Not surprisingly, Smith's agent, Ben Dogra, disputes that assessment, telling Mike Garafolo that he did in fact tell the Giants he had a one-year offer on the table from another team and that he never told the Giants they'd be kept in the loop before Smith signed.
"Ask them the question: Do they think their offer was too low?" Dogra said. "If they thought it was too high and he left, then it worked out for everybody because they wouldn't have paid more. If their offer was too low and they know it was low, then shame on them."
Now, there's no point in bringing this back to Coughlin because, as he said, he's not the one who does the contracts here. GM Jerry Reese is. And in spite of repeated requests, Reese has yet to show his face and submit to interviews on this or any other topic since the first day of training camp. There is, as you might expect, a growing interest here in the media room in speaking to Reese, but no sense yet of whether that will happen today. I'm going to stick around a while to see what happens.
Anyway, from my perspective, that's almost enough of this specific, Steve Smith-related dispute. Smith is a really good player. The Eagles will benefit from the signing and the Giants will suffer for his absence. But it's not as if the Eagles signed Justin Tuck or Eli Manning away from them. Smith has generated more than enough copy over the past 24 hours, especially since we're not even sure when he's going to be able to play.
The bigger question here in East Rutherford is whether the Giants' front office knows what it's doing. And we have plenty of time and plenty of as-yet-unseen results with which to answer that.