New York Giants Continue to Prioritize Offense by Re-Signing Kevin Boothe

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMarch 25, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 07:  Kevin Boothe #77 of the New York Giants  in action against the Cleveland Browns during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 7, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The New York Giants have already lost five starters from the 2012 season, but Kevin Boothe won't be the sixth. 

The Giants shored up their offensive line for 2013 by re-signing the unrestricted free-agent guard to a one-year deal on Monday, according to NFL Network's Kim Jones

With Will Beatty signing a long-term contract earlier in the offseason, that means the Giants will have the ability to bring back the same starting five along the offensive line, with Sean Locklear or David Diehl manning the right tackle spot (unless James Brewer emerges, and they don't bring Locklear back). 

The 29-year-old Boothe may not be a stud or a Pro Bowler, but he has started 26 straight games, is versatile and consistent, and hasn't been injured since 2010. The Cornell product can play anywhere in the interior offensive line and is a particularly strong run-blocker, which should help 2012 first-round pick David Wilson in his first year as a starter.

This might mean the Giants can wait a year before worrying about guards in the draft. They have plenty of needs on defense and could use help at that right tackle spot. Chris Snee still has gas left in the tank at 31, and Boothe didn't become a regular starter in this league until 2011, so his body might be less beaten up. 

The one-year deal also indicates Boothe couldn't get what he wanted or expected on the open market, which is likely a relief to the cap-strapped Giants, who would have been left with a big hole left of center without the seven-year vet. 

This is an average-at-best offensive line that would have taken a hit with 2012 fourth-round pick Brandon Mosley or a street free agent starting in that spot. 

I mentioned that the Giants have lost five starters this offseason. Three—Kenny Phillips, Michael Boley and Chris Canty—played defense. But two more key defenders—Osi Umenyiora and Chase Blackburn—are likely to hit the road, too.

On offense, they're replacing Martellus Bennett with the very productive Brandon Myers and have the highly-touted Wilson ready to step in for the departed Ahmad Bradshaw. With Boothe re-signed, they're set. 

And that says a lot, I believe, about their priorities. They know that this team will be competitive so long as Eli Manning is running things, and his weapons are intact. Supporting Manning continues to be the top priority in New York, and bringing back Boothe is another indication that they won't sacrifice anything else on the offensive side of the ball.