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Jim Finn


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March 21, 2007 -- As usual when these situations arise with players, Tom Coughlin made a call Monday night to Jim Finn, informing him that the Giants had signed Texans fullback Vonta Leach to an offer sheet. Considering that Finn has been the Giants' starting fullback the past four years, it was information he was extremely interested in learning.


Basically, if Leach comes, Finn goes.


Leach, 25, is a restricted free agent and the Texans have the right of first refusal, meaning they have until Monday to match the offer. They will receive no compensation for Leach if they do not match and he leaves for the Giants.


The offer sheet is a four-year deal worth about $7.2 million that could rise to more than $8 million with incentives. What might make the pact too rich for Houston's liking is that $1.6 million comes in the form of guaranteed money.


"It's part of the process . . . it's a business," Finn said yesterday. "I understand the game. Every year you're going to have to have competition."


Finn, 30, has been around long enough to know that when a team writes a contract that guarantees $1.6 million to a fullback, that player is not around merely to provide competition. If Leach comes aboard he comes to the Giants as the starter and Finn's services will no longer be needed. Finn has two years remaining on a contract that will pay him $670,000 per season. He thrived as Tiki Barber's lead blocker, but Barber has retired and Finn might have played his last game for the Giants.


The Texans prior to last season signed Leach off the street after he was cut by the Packers and were happy with his work as a blocking back.


"Houston really likes this kid," said Leach's agent, Ralph Vitolo. "It could go either way. It's probably 50-50."


The Texans' offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, gave Leach his first NFL shot in Green Bay when Sherman was head coach of the Packers. Vitolo said Leach has no problem staying in Houston and added, "For the sake of continuity, in Houston he's established. I don't think he really has a preference, because he really does like New York.

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