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Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Giants sign Martellus Bennett

By Ohm Youngmisuk

The New York Giants have signed former Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett, the team confirmed.

The deal is for one year and $2.5 million, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Bennett signed after visiting with the Giants on Wednesday, and said he's eager to prove himself as a starting tight end after four seasons as Jason Witten's backup in Dallas.

"I think at times you got glimpses, but I was in a limited role," Bennett said in a conference call. "I only played like 30 percent of the snaps while I was in Dallas. I think, in a larger role, I can do so much more. I think the sky is the limit. I don't think anyone has really seen who I am as a player and what I have to offer."

The Giants didn't waste any time trying to strengthen a depleted area on their roster. Tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum both suffered torn ACLs during New York's Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots and likely will start the season on the physically unable to perform list.

"In our situation, it's a perfect match because here we are with two guys that aren't going to be able to go," coach Tom Coughlin said. "He is anxious to prove the quality of athlete and football player that he can be. If you go back to '08, '09, '10, '11, you can see spots where he flashes as what he could be."

Bennett said he instantly developed a rapport with Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope during his visit.

"It was kind of like love at first sight," Bennett said. "We just clicked right away."

The Giants still could look for another tight end, but the 25-year-old Bennett is a target with tantalizing size and potential.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Bennett has four career touchdowns, all during his rookie season in 2008. He also had a career-high 33 receptions for 260 yards in 2010 while playing as Witten's backup.

"It is kind of weird," said Bennett when asked about switching sides between division rivals. "I've been playing against these guys for four years. At the end of the day it is business. People leave Dell all the time to go work for [Apple] Mac."

The Giants have had success developing tight ends from former Giant Kevin Boss to Ballard in 2011.

A second-round draft choice from Texas A&M in 2008, Bennett also is an excellent blocker. The Giants running game struggled most of last season and it is going to be a question mark next season after the team's decision to release veteran Brandon Jacobs.

"He feels like he hasn't scratched the surface of what he can do," Coughlin added. "And he's a young, aspiring, athletic tight end who can run. He'll be up the seams at 6-6, 265. He can run up the seams with speed and be up over the top of a lot of people. So we're excited about that. He's got a ways to go, but he'll work at it. This could be a terrific move for both him and us."

Bennett's addition comes on the heels of the Giants re-signing cornerback Terrell Thomas. The team wants to re-sign middle linebacker Jonathan Goff and punter Steve Weatherford. The team placed its franchise tag on Weatherford, who wants to work out a long-term deal.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.