In a surprising move, the New York Giants are finalizing a contract with New England Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge, ESPN reported Tuesday morning.

Hours after New York product Matt Rhule reportedly spurned them in favor of a job with the Carolina Panthers, the Giants moved on their hire, finalizing a deal with the Philadelphia native Judge. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the two sides began hashing out a contract on Monday night, the same day Judge interviewed with the team.

Among speculated and reported candidates, Judge wasn’t widely expected to land a head-coaching gig, and it appeared the Giants were still evaluating their options as of Tuesday, when NFL Network indicated the club had requested permission from the Dallas Cowboys to speak with soon-to-be ex-coach Jason Garrett. Judge is their guy now, however, tapped to replace Pat Shurmur and become the third full-time Giants head coach in five seasons.

Will Brinson is joined by John Breech and Sean Wagner-McGough to react to the Giants hiring Joe Judge to be their next head coach. Listen to the episode below and be sure to subscribe to the Pick Six podcast here

A Mississippi State graduate who attended Lansdale Catholic in the Philly area, the 38-year-old is best known for his eight years with the Patriots, with whom he won three Super Bowl rings. Fresh off a 2019 season in which he guided New England’s special-teams unit to a top-10 finish in kick and punt coverage while also coaching the club’s wide receivers, Judge originally joined the team in 2012 as a special teams assistant. Three years into his Pats career, he was promoted to STs coordinator, where he oversaw units that helped New England capture Lombardi Trophies in 2016 and 2018.

Prior to joining the Patriots, Judge spent three seasons under Nick Saban as Alabama’s special teams assistant, winning two national championships as part of the Crimson Tide. He began his full-time coaching career in 2008 at Birmingham-Southern, where he coached the Cougars’ linebackers.