Giants ‘are not trading for Deshaun Watson’: John Mara

Anything seemed possible Wednesday for the Giants. Anything but trading for Deshaun Watson.

Endless optimism and few certainties filled the air in the Quest Diagnostics training center as general manager Joe Schoen’s official introduction kicked off a new era for the NFL’s losingest team of the last five years. But one thing made very clear is that Watson’s pending 22 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct — one reason the Pro Bowl quarterback did not play this past season for the Texans — are a non-starter for the Giants.

“We’re not trading for Deshaun Watson,” co-owner John Mara said emphatically.

Why?

“There are so many reasons why we wouldn’t do it,” Mara said. “Cap-wise we couldn’t afford it, but more importantly with the claims that are out there right now, that’s just not the right fit for us.”

Ruling out Watson includes a ripple effect.

Brian Flores will interview for the head coach vacancy Thursday. As head coach of the Dolphins from 2019 until earlier this month, Flores pushed to trade for Watson, even after the claims surfaced. Flores has been in separate contact with both Mara and Watson, The Post previously reported, but it is not believed that Mara’s refusal to trade for Watson would cause Flores to reconsider and prioritize one of the other eight vacancies.

“I didn’t go down that road in the interview,” Schoen said when asked if he and Mara discussed the possibility of trading for Watson. “But where we are salary-cap wise, and the pending legal issues, I don’t know how you could go down that road right now.”

Giants Deshaun Watson
New Giants GM Joe Schoen (c.) with co-owners John Mara (r.) and Steve Tisch (l.) after Schoen’s introductory press conference on Jan. 26, 2022.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Because Mara and Schoen both mentioned the salary-cap implications, it follows that the same logic applies to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who was seeking a trade last offseason and has eyes for New York.

Wilson, 33, comes without any character red flags but at the cost of $24 million on the cap in 2022 and $27 million in 2023 before any contract extension that likely would need to be part of a trade. By comparison, Watson, 26, has $136 million remaining on a contract through 2025.

Giants Deshaun Watson
The Giants will not trade for Texans quarterback for Deshaun Watson, owner John Mara said Wednesday.
Getty Images

The Giants are projected to be $5.7 million over the cap, so fitting any new contracts — let alone huge ones — is going to be a challenge. That means the Giants have cap error coming just to get into compliance with the cap, before addressing any major shortcomings on the offensive line and at edge rusher.

“It’s a concern and it’s real,” said Schoen, who was assistant GM with the Bills when they inherited a difficult cap situation.

Schoen said he will meet with assistant GM Kevin Abrams by early next week to start formulating a cap plan. Abrams, who interviewed to be the Giants GM in 2007 and 2017, was not among the nine candidates interviewed this time.

“When the new head coach gets in here … we’re going to evaluate everybody,” Schoen said. “We’re going to make educated decisions once we have more information. There are going to be difficult decisions that are going to have to be made.”

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