Kayvon Thibodeaux already cares for the Giants.
Thibodeaux caused a stir on social media on Monday when he took the No. 5 uniform from kicker Graham Gano, who proved a tough negotiator last year when another former first-round draft pick opted to walk away from the negotiating table instead Gano to pay asking price.
When the deal was finalized, the Giants socialized a video of Thibodeaux’s name stitched onto the jersey, a photo of the jersey hanging in his locker, a picture of their rookie pass rusher using the jersey in a game wore several fire emojis and a link to buy the jersey.
Thibodeaux wrote “It’s time” with two blue hearts and a Statue of Liberty emoji. And Gano jokingly wrote, “I thought you guys were posting my new jersey to hang…” with a smirking emoji.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, Graham GanoUSA TODAY Sports, AP
When the NFL changed a rule a year ago and started allowing defensive players to wear single-digit numbers, safety Jabrill Peppers wanted to get their hands on their old college number. But Peppers, now with the Patriots, stayed ranked 21st in his final season with the Giants after tough negotiations by Gano.
It’s unknown what Thibodeaux Gano paid to have the numbers changed, but the rookie clearly wasn’t giving up the number he wore in Oregon anytime soon. Not with a $31.3 million contract including a $19.9 million signing bonus waiting in the wings. Peppers earned $17.7 million in his first five seasons in the NFL.
“We’re talking about real numbers: if you tell someone 250, I don’t know what 250 means. You forget all the zeros after it,” Thibodeaux said last week when he suggested Gano’s retail price was $250,000, not $250. “Things are very different now.”
— New York Giants (@Giants) May 9, 2022
Calling Gano a “great guy,” Thibodeaux said, “Numbers don’t make the player, the player makes the number.” Gano has been a proud 5th-ranked player for over two years, making 92.3 percent of his field goals and 95 percent of his PATs.
The biggest winner is the charity, which will receive a donation from Thibodeaux as part of the deal. Gano teased more details to be released on Tuesday.
“Obviously he’s a vet and he’s put in a lot of work, and he has five kids,” Thibodeaux said, “so you know there has to be a lot of negotiation.”
The deal was closed faster than expected.