New York Daily News

LOVE IS LOST: Julian signs with Seattle, leaving Giant hole in defense


The Giants lost their leading tackler, defensive play-caller and captain to the Seattle Seahawks on Friday.

Safety Julian Love signed a two-year, $12 million contract on Friday to play for Pete Carroll, a source said, choosing the Pacific Northwest over the Northeast.

“New York, it’s been an unforgetta­ble four years,” the former fourth-round pick wrote on Instagram. “Being a part of this Giants community has been a dream and I’m so grateful to everyone who made NY home.

“To the Mara family, my coaches, and all of the incredible staff, thank you for everything. you made it a privilege to come into work each day. To my teammates, thank you for all of the good times. Playing alongside you guys has been one of the highlights of my life.

“And to the fans, thanks for always bringing that NY energy,” he added. “I will carry this experience with me forever. Love y’all always.”

Love, 24, consistent­ly said two things entering free agency: that he wanted to remain a Giant but he knew what he was worth.

While the Giants said they valued Love as an ascending part of their program, their financial offers clearly did not reflect that in Love’s estimation.

The average annual value of Love’s Seahawks contract, in fact, is lower than the Giants’ first offer.

There was a disconnect throughout the Giants’ and Love’s negotiatio­ns, beginning with initial proposals that came in far apart.

There was optimism that a depressed safety market, with salaries down pretty much across the board, would convince Love of a more realistic number.

But when the Giants circled back after

completing Daniel Jones’ contract and tagging Saquon Barkley, the team and Love were still at an impasse, and once he boarded a plane for Seattle there was no turning back.

Losing Love is a shame considerin­g the leadership and workload he shouldered last season.

When Xavier McKinney broke his hand off-roading in Cabo during the bye week, Love took over play-calling and kept the ship steady to help the Giants reach the playoffs.

His 124 tackles led the Giants by a country mile, with linebacker Jaylon Smith (88) coming in second.

His Week 6 intercepti­on of Lamar Jackson set up the game-winning touchdown over the Baltimore Ravens during the club’s 6-1 start.

His limits eventually were exposed by the rival Philadelph­ia Eagles’ aerial attack, which put a cap on what the Giants could reasonably offer.

But this is a leadership and football loss for Brian Daboll’s team, no question about it.

Love’s departure calls to mind his comments on the Talkin’ Ball with Pat Leonard podcast in early December. He made clear then that he was going to stand his ground if it came to it.

“It’s a special place and special organizati­on, and I believe in what [Joe] Schoen and Daboll are doing,” he said then. “But at the same time I can’t sacrifice … what I think my value is. And so that’s the challenge.

“It’s funny,” he said, “because I’ve been in this situation before in terms of leaving Notre Dame. I loved that school. I loved my friends that were there. It was perfect. Everything was meshing, everything was vibing, and then the best situation came up for me to declare for the draft and I had to do it.

“It broke my heart,” Love added. “But I had to do it.”

 ?? AP ?? Safety Julian Love walks away from Big Blue, signing two-year, $12-million deal with Seahawks.
AP Safety Julian Love walks away from Big Blue, signing two-year, $12-million deal with Seahawks.

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