Rhett Ellison blocked for Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. Will the Giants’ new hybrid tight end/fullback be opening holes for AP in New York on Ellison’s so-called dream team?
Peterson was one of the first people to reach out and congratulate Ellison on his signing Thursday with Big Blue, the 28-year-old, five-year NFL veteran said in a conference call on Friday.
“Of course, it’d be great to have him with the Giants,” Ellison said of Peterson, the free agent who turns 32 on March 21. “But he hasn’t told me. He has his own family and has to think about what he has to do. But it was a lot of fun to block for him (in Minnesota).”
Ellison also said of Peterson’s abilities: “He’s a specimen. You don’t see guys like that — ever.”
Giants sign TE/FB Rhett Ellison to four-year, $18 million deal
The Giants also included this nugget in their official release (take that for what it’s worth): Ellison helped Peterson rush for more than 1,000 yards three times in Minnesota, including his 2,097 yards in Peterson’s 2012 MVP season.
Could Ellison’s signing also be a recruiting move to seal a deal for Peterson?
Ellison toured the Giants’ East Rutherford facility for the first time on Friday after signing a four-year, $18 million contract on Thursday with $8 million guaranteed and an annual $4.5 million cap hit.
He said his desire to win a Super Bowl and the presence of a “Super Bowl-winning quarterback” were the primary draws. Tom Coughlin’s Jacksonville Jaguars were after Ellison but he said it was a no-brainer to come to New York once the Giants entered the fold.
Ben McAdoo says Giants will ‘take a look’ at Adrian Peterson
Ellison said he has wanted to play for the Giants since he first entered the league in 2012.
“Before the draft they had just won the Super Bowl, and that was my dream team,” Ellison said.
He even said he used to watch a lot of film of former Giants tight end Bear Pascoe, of all people, since they handled similar responsibilities on the field.
“My whole M.O. is whatever they need me to do, I’m gonna do it,” Ellison said. “You could say (I’m an) H-back because I put tight end and fullback into one thing, or getting split out, whatever it is. It’s just knowing the concepts and how you fit in it. I don’t look at it as a position. I’m a moving piece kind of thing.”
Ellison (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) said this past season was the “hardest season of my life physically and mentally,” having to undergo surgery for a torn patellar tendon in his knee after the 2015 season and recover to appear in 15 games for Minnesota this past season. He credited his wife for helping him push through.
Ellison also has toughness in his blood: His father’s side of the family has a rich history in New Zealand rugby. Ellison’s father, Riki, in fact, was the first New Zealander to play in the NFL. He was a three-time Super Bowl champ as a linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers (1983-89) and L.A. Raiders (1990-92).
“He’s excited,” Ellison said in the team release. “He wants me to have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl. And he couldn’t be more excited. He had some run-ins with the Giants back in his career. Oddly enough, they were one of his least-favorite teams, because they had some losses to them in the playoffs. Now he’s a big Giants fan. He’s already asking for all the gear.”
The Giants reportedly are going to release hybrid tight end/fullback Will Johnson, who spent last season on injured reserve, now that they’ve signed Ellison. Overthecap.com says that will save the Giants $1.075 million against the cap, costing them just $200,000 in dead money for 2017.
Every dollar matters, especially if they are chasing after Peterson — who has been connected strongly in recent days with the Oakland Raiders — even if the running back intends to play on a discount.
The Giants already signed wide receiver Brandon Marshall to a deal that actually breaks down into a two-year, $11 million deal with $5 million guaranteed and a $4.5 million annual cap hit, according to ESPN. The difference between those numbers, and the originally reported two-year, $12 million terms, is that Marshall’s contract in reality is more of a one-year contract with a team option for the second year if the Giants wish.
The Giants remain in the market for offensive linemen at both the tackle and guard positions, including former Raiders tackle Menelik Watson. Plus defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and linebacker Keenan Robinson remain unsigned free agents from last season’s drastically improved Giants defense.
The club reportedly is considering restructuring the contract of return man Dwayne Harris or else release the pricey special teamer, which would save cap space.
Jason Pierre-Paul continues to count a whopping $16.9 million against the Giants’ cap under the franchise tag, which ate up half of the Giants’ approximate $34 million of space entering the offseason right off the bat. And as the Daily News reported, as of Thursday the Giants and JPP’s camp were not even speaking about a long-term deal that hopefully would reduce his annual cap hit.
However, after seeing Calais Campbell sign with Jacksonville on a four-year, $60 million contract with $30 million guaranteed and a $15 million annual cap hit, it seems likely that Pierre-Paul, still only 28, will expect a payday not that far below his franchise tender number.
NEWHOUSE TO RAIDERS
Offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse is leaving the Giants to sign a two-year deal with the Raiders, according to an ESPN report. Newhouse, drafted by the Packers in 2010, played the last two seasons for the Giants.