By Signing Will Beatty Long-Term, New York Giants Show Priorities Are Straight

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistFebruary 27, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 28:  Will Beatty #65 of the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium on October 28, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The New York Giants have spent the majority of the offseason thus far trimming some valuable fat. Three starters were released earlier in the month, making room for the team to lock up an offensive pillar for the next half-decade. 

Ultimately, re-signing left tackle Will Beatty to a five-year, $38.75 million contract (per USA Today's Mike Garafolo) will go down as the move that defined Big Blue's 2013 offseason. 

It isn't a sexy move, but the cap-strapped Giants don't have the luxury to spend cash on high-profile free agents. Instead, the focus is on ensuring that Eli Manning and the offense can function at the highest possible capacity for as many years as possible before the clock strikes midnight on the Manning era. 

The 27-year-old Beatty was 13 days away from becoming an unrestricted free agent and there isn't a proven left tackle on the market who could have replaced what he brought to the table in his breakout 2012 campaign. 

Only Houston All-Pro Duane Brown was a better run-blocking left tackle last season, according to Pro Football Focus, which also concluded that Beatty was the ninth-best overall blindside protector in the league. The 2009 second-round pick surrendered just three sacks on 524 pass-blocking snaps.

Considering that it was his first full season as a healthy starter, the trajectory of Beatty's career is something to be optimistic about; something the Giants are smart to get behind. 

Impending unrestricted free agents Martellus Bennett and Kenny Phillips are important pieces to the puzzle, but Beatty had to be the priority. Bennett is replaceable and Phillips' durability has come under fire. Plus, the Giants are deeper at safety and tight end than they are at offensive tackle. 

Manning has survived without blue-chip tackles ever since David Diehl began to fade a few years ago and his line has never been top-tier. But as Manning ages into his mid-30s, it's becoming extra-important for the team to support its franchise quarterback as best it can. 

That's why Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz aren't likely going anywhere. That's why they used a first-round pick last year on a running back. And that's why Beatty is getting $8 million per year to remain in place.