The Giants’ decision to pay no mind to the offensive tackle that wanted to play for New York as badly as Giants fans wanted him in a Big Blue jersey surfaced on Tuesday morning.
Andrew Whitworth said he hoped to land with the Giants during his 2017 free agency, per NJ Advanced Media’s Ryan Dunleavy. Problem was, New York’s former GM Jerry Reese batted away 37-year-old Whitworth’s heavy interest in the Giants.
“Just being completely honest: That was a place that my wife and I were very interested in going,” Reese said. “We even told our agent that we would love to hear if there was an option there. We were told there wasn’t any interest there. It wasn’t something that was ever a viable option for us.”
The image of Whitworth starting for the Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday has all the signs of a missed opportunity for Giants fans. Whitworth signed a three-year, $36 million contract with Los Angeles after the Giants dismissed him in 2017. Now he’s ready to pursue his first Super Bowl ring, playing behind the league’s youngest head coach in Sean McVay.
Whitworth had three teams going after him after the Giants withdrew due to Reese’s strong desire to build a younger roster. Reese’s 10-year run as New York’s GM came to an end before the 2017 season was over after starting first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers and underwhelming Bobby Hart as the Giants offensive tackles.
“When we looked at all of our options,” Whitworth said, “it was really an opportunity where I had two coaches in (Broncos) Vance Joseph and (Vikings) Mike Zimmer that I had played with in Cincinnati, and I had a guy in Sean who is a close friend of (Redskins coach) Jay Gruden, who I am really close with.
“I just believed in his offensive philosophy. Being an offensive guy, I just felt leaning toward the guy who was more offense-influenced. My wife and I got married in California. It’s a little bit of a special place for us. It was an easy decision for my family.”
Whitworth moved on from New York and found enormous success, leaving the Giants in disarray after Reese’s successor Dave Gettleman’s attempt to rebuild the offensive line collapsed. QB Eli Manning suffered a career-high 47 sacks in 2018.
Whitworth is the oldest offensive lineman in the league and if he does hold the Lombardi trophy come Sunday night, there’s a good chance the four-time Pro Bowler will consider hanging his cleats for good. The former Bengal could be available, though, if the Rams opt to release him and save $10.8 million against the salary cap, per Dunleavy.
“Retirement is always an option,” Whitworth said. “I believe in balance. I believe in being a good dad, a good player, a good teammate. Everything I do needs to balance up. Every year I’ll weigh it and see what happens. But I don’t think a victory or not weighs into that decision very much.”
Whatever Whitworth decides for the 2019 season, his previous desire to play for New York and the Giants’ lack of interest for the revered tackle is a glaring mistake for Big Blue.