|Thursday, March 21
Barber unhappy with Strahan's salary stance
ESPN.com news services
Barber lashed out at Strahan on Wednesday in an interview with the New York Post, saying his teammate "should just be quiet."
Strahan, who just set the single-season sack record with 22½, refused to accept a proposed seven-year $58 million deal, at least partially because the signing bonus was to be split in two. The proposed bonus would have Strahan receiving $10 million this year and $7 million next season. Strahan reportedly wanted the $17 million all at once so the Giants would not have a chance to cut him before giving him the second part of the payment.
Upset with the way negotiations are going, Strahan also has vowed to leave the Giants after his current contract expires in one year. He said the Giants are not doing enough to be a winning team. After making it to Super Bowl XXXV, the Giants struggled with a 7-9 mark despite Strahan's record-setting season.
"I don't know if he realizes how much $17 million is," Barber told the Post. "That is absolutely ridiculous, to turn that down. He's already the highest-paid defensive player in the league. He's already making more than most quarterbacks. I find it hard to believe this whole deal hinged on if he was going to get $17 or $10 million this year. I find that hard to believe. That's the value of my entire contact, that's why I have no sympathy. You're telling me that's not good enough for two years? Give me a break."
Barber, wide receiver Amani Toomer and safety Jason Sehorn all have split signing bonuses in their contracts. Strahan is the only Giant who has refused to get the bonus that way, according to the newspaper.
Barber, the most versatile and perhaps most valuable member of the Giants' offense, said that Strahan is being too selfish.
"He's got to be able to give a little to get a lot, and he's not willing to give at all," Barber told the Post. "Michael says, 'I just want the Giants fans to know that the Giants aren't doing what they say they're doing.' We don't need all that. It hurts me as a Giant and as a Giants fan.
"He basically said he doesn't trust the organization," Barber continued. "When they made the deal with me it wasn't an agreement between (GM) Ernie (Accorsi) and I that the money would come through. It was from the owner of the team. My agent warned me about it, but we had the promise of Mr. (Wellington) Mara, who typifies integrity in this league. I felt confident if there was someone I could trust, it was him. It makes me mad. If you can't trust the Giants, who can you trust?"
As for Strahan's implication that the Giants are not interested in putting together a title contender, Barber again was critical of his teammate. "I know they care about winning," Barber told the Post. "You got to realize no single player, I don't care how good you are, how many sacks you had or how many yards you've rushed for, is bigger than the team, period. Michael is not thinking about the team; he's thinking about himself."
Strahan didn't seem too concerned with Barber's comments. He told the New York Daily News on Thursday that he doesn't expect any problems with Barber when the two players arrive at Giants Stadium on Monday for the start of offseason workouts.
"I'm not getting into a (war of words) with someone," Strahan told the newspaper. "I'll think about it and we'll see what happens, but I'm not going to get stressed out about it. If I'm not going to get stressed out about dealing with the Giants, then I'm not going to get stressed out about what someone else said."
A feud between two of the Giants' top players could be a source of concern -- even if Strahan insists it's no concern at all.
"I get along very well with Tiki," Strahan told the News. "I've never had any problem with Tiki. If he said something that's bad about me, then he has a problem. I don't have a problem.
"I'm not going to drag someone else into my business. That would be unprofessional."