July 21, 2008

Giants Finally Let Shockey Go; Pro Bowl TE a Saint

Saints' offense will feature a star tight end for the first time in years

It is not known yet what finally changed the Giants' mind. It may have been the trade of Miami DE Jason Taylor to Washington, a player that the Giants had targeted.

It may have been the proximity to training camp for a player that wasn't happy. It may have been some incident yet unknown, but the Giants finally relented.

The Saints and Giants were parlaying over the disgruntled star tight end for weeks before the draft. The Saints' offer got as high as their 2008 second round pick and their 2008 fifth round pick.

The Giants countered in the end with the two, the six, and starting strong safety Roman Harper.

Now three months later, the Giants have accepted a draft pick package similar to the Saints' April offering.

It is not the same offer as before in April. The Saints have shipped their 2009 second and fifth picks to the Giants for Shockey. The Saints paid significantly less for him now, benefiting from the presence of their second round pick (CB Tracy Porter) and their fifth round pick (OT Carl Nicks) in addition to Shockey for the 2008 season.

The tradeoff is that Shockey has two days to arrive, not in New Orleans but in Jackson, MS, where the team will report training camp on Wednesday. He will be learning the offensive playbook, including several packages to be focused on his versatility as an inline end and a wideout.

Shockey is as outspoken as a tight end can be. Arriving during the Jim Fassell era and coached by then-offensive coordinator Sean Payton, Shockey excelled as a receiver and grew as a proficient blocker. A high-effort, high-intensity player, Shockey's energy wasn't always put to its best use off the field. Butting heads with head coach Tom Coughlin, calling out quarterback Eli Manning and a verbal shouting match last month with general manager Jerry Reese all contributed to his exit from New York.

Although new contract demands may also be part of Shockey's attitude, the Saints are not expected to give him a new deal immediately. Shockey is represented by controversial agent Drew Rosenhaus, who has a history of inciting contract displeasure in his clients.

Shockey is under contract for the next four seasons, with base salaries of $2.225 million this year followed by $3.25 million, $3.825 million, and $4.508 million in 2011, the final year of a 2005 contract extension. That 2011 season also includes a $2.4 million roster bonus making his 2011 cap figure close to $7 million.

A first round pick out in 2002 out of Miami, Shockey's vibrant personality includes an American eagle tattoo covering most his right arm, a work of art that took three days to complete.

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