- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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One of the New York Giants' top offseason priorities was to re-sign free-agent left tackle Will Beatty before he hit the open market. True to form, they got it done with little fuss. According to Adam Schefter, Beatty and the Giants have agreed on a five-year deal that includes $19 million in guaranteed money and could be worth as much as $38.75 million.
I think it's a decent deal for the Giants, but above all else it's one they had to make. A contract worth $7.75 million a year is a good price for a top-flight left tackle, and if that's what Beatty turns out to be then the Giants will be thrilled that they locked him up before other teams had a chance to bid on him. Finally free of the injury problems that had been plaguing him since November 2011, Beatty played very well once installed as the Giants' starting left tackle early in 2012. Pro Football Focus ranked him ninth among left tackles league wide for the 2012 season.
The issue, of course, is the "if." Beatty has had significant injury problems, and he has less than one full season in the books as a truly effective starter at the position. He will turn 28 on Saturday, so it's perfectly reasonable to believe his best days are ahead. But these question marks are the reason Beatty probably couldn't count on breaking any contract records if he hit the open market. He was wise to take this very nice offer from the team that drafted him, developed him and gave him his shot as a starter. And if he continues to perform the way he did in 2012 -- and especially if he continues to improve -- the Giants will count themselves fortunate to have him for this price. If he doesn't, they're out $19 million.
But the Giants had to lock up Beatty because they have other issues with which to deal in the coming weeks, on the offensive line and elsewhere. Starting left guard Kevin Boothe is, as Beatty was, eligible for unrestricted free agency. They need to figure out what they're doing at right tackle, where veteran David Diehl is making too much money and James Brewer may or may not be ready for full-time starter's duty. Tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Kenny Phillips are also valuable players who can be unrestricted free agents if not signed by 4 p.m. ET on March 12, and the Giants have decisions to make on unrestricted free agents like wide receiver Victor Cruz and safety Stevie Brown.
Left tackle is one of the Giants' priority positions as a team that relies heavily on quarterback Eli Manning and its passing game. That's why it was important for them to resolve the Beatty situation before the rest of their offseason could unfold. Fortunately for them, it was not difficult to find a deal palatable to both sides. The tougher work looms ahead.