INDIANAPOLIS — Here is a little look-see into what Joe Judge wants to get out of NFL free agency — more specifically, what he is not interesting in acquiring as the first-year head coach looks to add specific talent to the Giants’ roster:
“Look, here’s the deal: You don’t sign older players to coach the younger players. OK?” Judge said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I’ve got four kids, I’m not letting the 14-year old raise the 6-year old. It’s not happening. OK?”
This has happened in the recent past with the Giants. General manager Dave Gettleman in 2018 signed veteran running back Jonathan Stewart to serve as a backup and, just as importantly, to help mentor rookie Saquon Barkley. Gettleman that same year signed outside linebacker Connor Barwin to play a role as a situational pass-rusher and also to help guide rookie Lorenzo Carter. Those signings did not work out, as far as any on-the-field production from the veterans.
“You don’t sign older players thinking, ‘This guy’s going to teach the younger players how to be a pro,’ ” Judge said. “That’s not how it happens. The way they can help that young player develop is maybe their experience with communication or what they can see throughout a game plan can help the younger player play faster. Maybe it takes a little more off that younger player’s plate, so know they can go out and play more aggressive.
“You don’t bring in older players thinking they’re the missing piece to the puzzle and now they put you over the hill. You don’t sign older players thinking they’re going to develop the culture of your team. That’s our job as coaches. That’s our job.”
Judge said he and Gettleman have “discussed at length all our philosophies.” Gettleman did not say his philosophy has undergone any change.
“I’ve done a little bit of both over the seven years I’ve been doing this,” the GM said. “I’ve brought veteran players in just to play, and I’ve had a couple of veteran players I knew real good things about that could be mentors. You do the background work and you figure that piece out. Listen, we’ve had cap guys call veteran agents for veteran players and the agents have said, “Oh, by the way, our guy isn’t coming in to babysit anybody.’ OK, that’s fair, that’s fine, I’m not mad.”
Gettleman would not discuss whether he will consider using a franchise or transition tag on defensive tackle Leonard Williams. Gettleman traded two draft picks — a 2020 third-rounder and 2021 conditional fifth-rounder — to obtain Williams from the Jets.
“He’s a good young player,” Gettleman said of the 25-year old Williams.
Asked if he is cognizant how he will be perceived if he does not re-sign Williams, Gettleman said, “Absolutely, I’ll get killed. I’ve got a thick rhino hide.”