Tomorrow Don "Wink" Martindale turns 60.
In January, the Giants almost lost Wink to a Head Coaching job opportunity in Indy.
Wink actually asked that his name be dropped from consideration when owner Jim Irsay said that taking the top job was subject to Wink keeping DC Gus Bradley and DB coach Ron Milus-quite a break for the Giants.
Seeing the value of Martindale to the current Giants team, it certainly appears that the Administration has gone out of their way to keep Wink happy with player additions:
In the opening hours of free agency- DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches was signed. He was certainly a name not discussed often in the media, but Schoen said before the start of free agency that he working to find players that fit what Martindale wanted for his D.
Shortly thereafter, we learned that the Giants were putting the bulk of their free agent dollars into LB Bobby Okereke, an obvious team need, and while several highly valued linebackers (including the Bills Tremaine Edmunds) were available, the Giants wanted Okereke-certainly following input from Wink.
Though Calais Campbell signed with the Falcons, he indicated when interviewed that he was also being pursued by the Giants. Remember that Campbell had played for Wink in Baltimore-another indication that Schoen was trying to add players that Wink wanted.
Lesser known DBs Amani Oruwariye and Bobby McCain were also signed as free agents-both described as players that would fit well in a Martindale defense.
For all Giants fans, the excitement of A'Shawn Robinson meeting with the team brought hope-and then nothing. But Schoen then surprised everyone when just prior to the draft, Robinson was signed to become another crucial fit to Martindale's defense.
Next came the draft, and Joe Schoen has told us that his back still hurts from the bear hug he got from Martindale when Deonte Banks was signed. All told, the Giants used 4 of their 7 draft picks on defense, with each player being described as a "perfect fit" for a Martindale D.
Clearly the Giants are doing everything possible from a player standpoint to give Martindale the defense he wants.
But what about other incentives to keep Wink a Giant? Most coaches sign for 2 year contracts. Though the Giants rarely discuss coaches contracts, is it possible that Wink has been extended another year? Or perhaps a raise based on his 2022 success.
Surely every NFL coach has desires to eventually become a Head Coach. But Wink will be 60 tomorrow. He has quickly become loved by Giants fans throughout the NY area. Joe Schoen has responded to Wink in an overwhelming way, as I have listed all the player adds to the D.
There is little doubt that some day the Giants will lose Mike Kafka to another team as their head coach. With Daboll and the experienced current staff already on Offense, the team can manage that lose.
But a loss of Martindale (who would probably take LB coach Drew Wilkins with him) would be a serious setback.
Let's hope that the Giants have done what fans don't see (salary and contract term) adjusted in a way that will keep Wink in NY for the rest of his years as an NFL coach. There is no question Schoen has done everything possible to provide him the type of players he coveted.
Hoping more has gone on that we haven't heard about that keeps him here long term.
Happy 60th Birthday Coach !!