PALM BEACH, Fla. — John Mara said he has no intention of ever settling the explosive lawsuit filed against the Giants by Brian Flores, even if offered the opportunity to do so.
“I’m not settling,” Mara, the Giants co-owner, said Sunday from the NFL owners’ meetings. “Because the allegations are false and we’re very comfortable with our hiring process. It was a fair process and we ended up making the decision we made based on a lot of factors, none of which had anything to do with race.”
On Feb. 1, Flores sued three NFL teams, alleging discrimination with his firing by the Dolphins and in the interview processes with the Giants and Broncos.
Flores was a candidate for the Giants’ head-coach opening that went to Brian Daboll. Flores claimed his Jan. 27 interview with the Giants was a “sham” because the Giants had predetermined before the interview process that Daboll was getting the job. Flores in the suit said he mistakenly received a text message from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick that was supposed to go to Daboll, with Belichick in the text saying he heard “from Buffalo and NYG that you are their guy.”
Mara had no idea where Belichick’s information came from.
“I haven’t spoken or communicated with Bill since we played [the Patriots] in the preseason last summer and to my knowledge nobody in the organization has communicated with him either,” Mara said.
Asked if he reached out to Belichick to learn the truth, Mara said he had not.
“Why should I?” he said. “We made our hiring decision and we’re happy with that decision. I think the truth will come out eventually: He didn’t speak with anybody in our organization.”
The Giants would save $7.2 million of precious and needed salary cap space if they find a trade destination for RB Saquon Barkley, but that is not a plan the team is actively pursuing.
“We’re not shopping Saquon, but Joe [Schoen] is the general manager,” Mara said. “If he and the head coach want to make a personal decision and they have a conviction about it I’m not going to interfere with it. But that’s not something we’re actively looking to do, let’s put it that way.”
Shipping Barkley out would rob the Giants of someone not long ago considered to be their marquee player.
“I’m certainly aware of that, but I don’t think it’s a major factor,” Mara said. “Listen, I like him, he’s been a great representative for us, I still think he’s a really good player, I think he could potentially have a very big year this year but at the end of the day the head coach and the general manager make those decisions.”
The Giants are trying to find a team willing to trade for CB James Bradberry, who would come with a cap hit of $21.8 million. The Giants are only about $1.2 million under the cap; removing Bradberry from the roster would create $12.1 million in cap savings. The Giants might have to let him go for nothing in return.
“That would hurt because he’s been a very good player and he has been the consumer professional for us,” Mara said, “but the cap situation is what it is so we’d have to consider our options right there.”
Mara on the release of safety Logan Ryan, a move that was based on football and not cap savings: “It was a decision that Brian [Daboll] and Joe made and decided they wanted to move on and I wasn’t going to block it. I was sorry to see him go, I liked him, I thought he was a good player, I thought he did some great things for us in the community.”