The Giants told Michael Matthews yesterday morning he had been cut.
“I wish they would’ve told me then I’d be traded,” the tight end said with a laugh. “It would have been much easier to handle.”
It’s unclear if the Giants knew at the time they’d be sending Matthews to the Patriots by the end of the day, but that’s what happened. Matthews went to New England in exchange for a conditional 2011 draft pick, as the Giants opted to keep third-year tight end Darcy Johnson over him. Johnson joins Kevin Boss and rookie third-round pick Travis Beckum in the team’s tight end corps.
"I didn't take it too hard. Probably my wife took it harder than me," Matthews said. "But we know that's the nature of the business we're getting ourselves into. I didn't get too bummed out."
Matthews played in all 37 regular-season and playoff games for the Giants since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He and David Tyree were two players who suited up for Super Bowl XLII and had their tenures with the Giants ended yesterday.
“I loved the Giants, man," Matthews said. "I loved the organization. The time I was there, everyone was very supportive of me. The fans are awesome. I appreciate everything the guys did for me there. I love all the players still. I'll still talk to a bunch of them because I made some solid friendships. I loved my whole time there."
Coach Tom Coughlin said in the team’s press release getting rid of Matthews, a 6-4, 270-pound blocking tight end who had eight catches in two seasons, was a tough decision. Matthews played through a shoulder injury during his rookie season that required surgery after the Super Bowl.
“I have such respect for Mike and what he has done in his life and his family and what he represents – a try-hard guy that nobody gives a chance and he comes in and he’s the right man in the right place at the right time and wins a Super Bowl ring in his rookie year,” Coughlin said. “I think about his toughness.”
**The Giants waived both of the QBs they drafted in the past two seasons: Andre’ Woodson (sixth round last year) and Rhett Bomar (fifth round this year). The team is hoping Bomar will clear waivers today so they can add him to the practice squad.
This will be the second straight year they’ve started the season with only two QBs on the roster: Eli Manning and David Carr. By doing so, they were able to keep one more player at another key position.
“I think you have to make a very difficult call when you decide to go with two,” Coughlin said. “That roster spot can be utilized by a worthy player, a player that deserves to be on your team. We’ve found, as we go forward with 32 teams, that it’s very difficult later on to find a quality player, a guy that can come in and help if you need one. So you are much better off to try to protect those that you have that are currently on your squad that can play the game at a high level. You’re more inclined to try to do whatever you can to take care of your roster and keep as many good players as you can.”
**For the first time in the Coughlin era, the Giants kept seven WRs. (They had seven in 2004 when they claimed Mark Jones the following day, but Jones was more of a returner who also served as a DB.)
The Giants realize receiver is a position with a lot of question marks, so keeping an extra player was clearly of importance. That allowed both Sinorice Moss and Derek Hagan to keep their jobs.
Hagan, who made a nice tackle on a kickoff in the preseason finale against the Patriots, will be asked to contribute on special teams.
“He was very noticeable in the spring. At times he stuck out in training camp as a receiver,” Coughlin said. “You combine his size with the ability he has as a special teams player, he certainly deserves his spot.”
**Only one undrafted rookie free agent made the roster: CB Bruce Johnson, who beat out CBs DeAndre Wright (sixth-round pick) and Stoney Woodson (seventh round), who was waived earlier this week after suffering a high-ankle sprain.
“He hung in there more than anything else,” Coughlin said of Johnson, who was once considered a mid-round draft prospect. “I think he kept getting a little bit better and a little bit better. He has the speed. To me, he needs to play more. He was a guy that was fairly consistent.”