NFL Free Agency: Re-Signing Steve Weatherford to 5-Year Deal Is Smart

Michael DesjardinsCorrespondent IIMarch 17, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Steve Weatherford #5 of the New York Giants celebrates after the Giants won 20-17 in overtime against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Steve Weatherford is a punter, one of the most overlooked positions in football. Yet, he may very well be one of the most important players on the New York Giants roster.

That's why the organization re-signed him to a five-year, $12.75 million deal.

He's one of the best special teams players right now, and he has the skill and the physique to be a part of this franchise for a long time.

Just look at how he's done the past two seasons.

In 2010, with the New York Jets, he tied the single-season record for most punts inside the 20-yard line, with 42 punts. He had 84 punts that season, which means half of his punts created problems for opposing offenses.

Oddly, the Jets chose not to re-sign him, and the Giants took the opportunity to sign him on a one-year deal, just a year after the failed Matt Dodge experiment.

Last season, he averaged a career-high 45.7 yards per punt, on 82 punts.

However, his biggest game came in Super Bowl XLVI, where he not only dropped three punts within the Patriots' 10-yard line, but his first punt helped lead the Giants to a safety and give the team a 2-0 lead against the New England Patriots.

When it comes to accuracy and overall skill, there's no one better than Weatherford. But it's not just his skill that makes him great; it's his impressive physique.

His strength is uncommon amongst special teams players, and has been noted by Men's Fitness to be able to squat 475 pounds and bench press more than 400 pounds (check out a photo of him working out and his training regimen here; it is quite impressive)..

His mix of both skill and physique makes him a dangerous (yet overlooked) force for years to come.

This signing is a great, low-key move by the Giants organization. Continued production by Weatherford will help make the Giants contend for another Super Bowl next season.