- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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It certainly took a little longer than perhaps both parties wanted it to, but left guard Kevin Boothe is back.
A source confirmed that Boothe re-signed for a one-year deal with the Giants, which was first reported by NFL Network. Boothe was a major priority for the Giants in free agency. Let's take a look at what his re-signing means:
Left side secured: The Giants were able to keep the left side of the offensive line intact for another year. They locked up left tackle Will Beatty before free agency began, and Boothe was their next priority.
Why did it take so long? The Giants were limited in what they could offer Boothe, who tested the market. It certainly appears the market wasn't great for Boothe. Surely he wanted more than a one-year deal.
What's next for O-line: Who will start at right tackle? It may be time for James Brewer to step up.
The Giants still have David Diehl, but the veteran may have to take a pay cut to remain with the team with Boothe back in the fold. Diehl is due to make $4.475 million in base salary in the final year of his contract.
I still argue that the team can use Diehl's experience and versatility, since he can play both guard and tackle. With Chris Snee and David Baas returning from offseason surgeries, the Giants need depth and a guy with Diehl's championship experience. But Diehl will likely have to remain at a cheaper price than his current contract.
What's next in FA? The biggest remaining issue for the Giants is signing WR Victor Cruz to a long-term deal. The restricted free agent is expected back for at least another season after being tendered with a first-round RFA tender. Teams can present Cruz with an offer sheet and the Giants have the right to match or receive first-round compensation, but no team is expected to make an offer and surrender a first-round pick.
If nobody makes an offer to Cruz, as expected, by April 19, the Giants have all season to work out a long-term deal with their Pro Bowl receiver. John Mara said a few weeks ago that the team had an offer out to Cruz, and the New York Daily News reported that it exceeds $7 million a year. Cruz is looking for more than that.
The Giants also want to extend Hakeem Nicks' deal, and they will likely have to create more cap space to try to do that and sign their draft picks in April.
The Giants likely will continue to sift through free agency to see what other bargains they can find and fill out depth needs on the roster.
Draft outlook: If Boothe had left, the Giants may have had to seriously consider drafting an offensive lineman in the first round at No. 19. I still think the Giants should draft an offensive lineman high in their draft, because they need to groom another young guy for the future. But at least they don't enter the draft with a void at left guard. The Giants can opt for a defensive player at 19 or the best player available.
I think they should take a pass-rusher since DE Osi Umenyiora is likely to sign with Atlanta and DE Justin Tuck is entering the final year of his deal. But if a stud linebacker, a solid secondary prospect or a promising offensive lineman is there at No. 19, the Giants should do what they typically do -- take the highest-rated player available on their board.
That decision was made a tad easier Monday by re-signing Boothe.
Tell us what you think of Boothe returning and what you want to see the Giants do next.