EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' decision to exercise the 2015 contract option on cornerback Prince Amukamara doesn't appear to have been a tough one. Asked about it during his pre-draft news conference here Thursday, GM Jerry Reese said this:
"We think he's a good player, so we exercised the option."
Truthfully, there doesn't have to be much more to it than that. The 2015 option for 2011 first-round draft picks isn't guaranteed against anything but injury until the start of the 2015 season, so the decision really doesn't cost the Giants anything or bind them to Amukamara unless he gets hurt so badly he can't play in 2015. If he does end up playing for the option price in 2015, he'll cost them about $7 million, which sounds like a high number. But cornerback clearly is a position on which the Giants aren't afraid to spend big resources, and they likely could carry both Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie if they wanted to.
Amukamara said last week that he was hoping the team would pick up the option and that his feelings would be hurt if they didn't. So this low-risk move carries the added benefit of making one of their key players happy in the short term while keeping their long-range options open. They could extend Amukamara any time between now and the 2015 season to lower his 2015 cap number. They could release him next offseason if they decide to go in a different direction. Or they can delay their long-range decision on him until the 2016 offseason.
Amukamara may not be a $7 million cornerback, but given the state of the position right now and the prices some cornerbacks have commanded this offseason, he may not be far from it either. The Giants now have a year to see which direction his career takes and whether they get a bargain for 2015 or whether it's time to move on.