When your team is as reliant on the play of the quarterback as the Giants are, it's wise to invest some money in making sure that he remains upright.
That's just what the Giants have done. Multiple reports indicate that the team has signed left tackle Will Beatty to a new five-year deal ahead of the March 12 start of free agency.
Beatty was set to become a free agent at that point, but the Giants made sure he never made it to the open market by handing him a $38.5 million deal. The deal includes a $12.5 million signing bonus and $19 million in fully guaranteed money, a nice haul for a player who might not have landed as much in a loaded class of tackles in free agency and the draft this offseason.
None of those players provide the continuity that Beatty provides to the Giants, however, and they clearly put a premium on that over the chance to save a little bit of money by looking in a different direction. They also seem to be placing a bet on Beatty either continuing to improve or maintaining the growth he showed in 2012 after being mediocre or worse through his first three seasons with the team.
Given the need to find a reliable right tackle as well as the other holes that need filling on the roster, it's hard to argue with that approach. Beatty isn't an all-world tackle, but he's good enough for the task at hand and the Giants aren't going to have to worry that someone else will fail to live up to that standard.
They seem less concerned about that prospect when it comes to tight end Martellus Bennett and wide receiver Victor Cruz. Bennett sent out a series of tweets on Wednesday indicating that the team hasn't been making much of an effort to get him under contract before he's able to test the open market.
Bennett was a strong addition to the Giants last season, both as a blocker and a receiver, but the team might be betting that they'll be able to retain him at a price amenable to their needs once the market weighs in on his value. It's a risk, albeit one that is unlikely to make or break the team regardless of how it plays out.
Losing Cruz would have more harmful effects, although there's much less risk because Cruz is only set to be a restricted free agent. With all signs pointing to the Giants choosing a Hakeem Nicks extension as their top priority for receiver contracts, Cruz is likely going to wind up with a free agent tender that guarantees him around $2.9 million for next year.
A team willing to give up a first-round pick as compensation for signing the wideout could wind up poaching Cruz, but that happens rarely in a league that's either averse to risk or engaging in collusion to keep restricted free agent prices down. Either way, Cruz has no leverage since he has to play next year to become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 and the Giants, like every other team in the league, are turning the screws on a player without any other option.
It's the wise move now, but it is one that can have ramifications for the future of their relationship. Cruz made that clear by dropping the "somewhere else" card while talking about his desire for a long-term contract.
The Giants appear to be comfortable with that risk or at least more comfortable with that risk than they are with the risk of losing Beatty.