Darius Slayton doesn’t have a taste for the business side of the NFL after going through free agency for the first time.
The unfinished business left on the field for the ascending Giants is much more appealing to him.
“It would have been kind of crazy to leave after somewhat building all these bricks,” Slayton said Monday, after re-signing on a two-year, $12 million contract. “Then, as soon as we get the thing built, to just jump off the top.
“I definitely wanted to stick around and be at the top and take in the view myself.”
The Giants went 14-35 in Slayton’s first three seasons before jumping to 9-7-1, plus a playoff victory, last season.
He led the team in receiving yards in three of those four seasons, and keeping his connection with Daniel Jones intact became a priority for both negotiating sides once Jones signed his four-year, $160 million contract.
“I might’ve been more happy for his deal than my own deal, honestly,” Slayton said. “Just because I’ve been here for everything that it’s taken for him to get here, and seeing the way people viewed him before and the way they view him now.
“Anybody who follows me on Twitter knows, Daniel Jones slander is not being tolerated on my timeline. That will be the way probably until the day I die.”
Slayton, 26, said “multiple teams were interested,” but the Giants offered “pretty early” and “we were in negotiations for a while.”
The Georgia native, whose parents live in Atlanta, was in contact with the Falcons where he could’ve played with close friend Micah Abernathy, but he downplayed a report that he took less money than they offered to return to the Giants.
“It’s an interesting deal to see how the league values you, how your team does and how those compare to each other,” Slayton said. “I learned I don’t care for the business side. I love to get up and run routes and catch the ball. That’s what I was busy doing. I let my agent do what he does.”
Allen Lazard (Jets) and Jakobi Meyers (Raiders) signed for $11 million per year apiece at the top of the free-agent receiver market.
“This was a pretty weird free-agency year: Teams weren’t just throwing around money kind of like in other years,” Slayton said. “I felt like this was the best place for me to go. Obviously, I’m comfortable here. I enjoy the people here. It was easy to come back.”
It also would have been easy for others in Slayton’s shoes to leave.
Only eight months ago, Slayton was forced to take a pay cut from $2.54 million to the league minimum of $965,000 to avoid getting released before the season.
Why didn’t he hold a grudge?
“In general in life, I try not to bring emotion into things that aren’t emotional,” Slayton said. “Football is not emotional. Either you go out there and make plays — and the people that make decisions play the people who make plays — or you don’t. I tend to point the thumb and not the finger, and look at what I can do better.
“Sometimes in life you do everything you are supposed to do and you end up getting screwed over, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t somewhat contribute to my situation last year. I have to take responsibility for that and do better.”
Slayton was a healthy scratch Week 1 after an injury and drops-plagued training camp.
The former fifth-round draft pick rallied for his third season with at least 46 catches and 724 receiving yards over the next 16 games and now finds himself in a new-look offense featuring tight end Darren Waller, slot receiver Parris Campbell and a lot more speed to complement his own wheels.
“We have a lot of guys that can fly, a lot of guys that can play,” Slayton said. “That’s only going to help our team and make the competition around here better.”