The New York Giants selected Will Beatty in the second-round of the 2009 NFL draft with the hope they could develop him into a starting left tackle. As the 2013 offseason gets ready to move into full swing, it's evident that Big Blue succeeded in their quest to make Beatty a trustworthy protector of Eli Manning's blind side. The problem is that the team may not have the money to re-sign him on the open market, which means that their investment would have been to merely groom Beatty to flourish under the wing of another NFL team. Today, Beatty was ranked the No. 3 free-agent offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus.
Ranked ahead of Beatty were Sebastian Vollemer of the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins' Jake Long. Although none of the three aforementioned players can be described as sure-fire locks to become elite left tackles, all of them will command significant interest on the free-agent market this offseason. Left tackle, similar to defensive end or quarterback, is a premier position that championship caliber teams covet.
In 2012, Beatty showed us, and the entire NFL, that he is capable or manning the left tackle position for almost every team in the league. He's not among the upper echelon of All-Pro caliber players that will garner a monster contract in free agency. In fact, that's actually beneficial from the Giants perspective at this point. If Beatty were playing at the level of a Ryan Clady or Joe Thomas, he would be as good as gone right now. The Giants don't need him to be a super star; they just need him to be good enough, and that's what he is.
However, as a left tackle, "good enough" can earn you a lot of money. The franchise tag for a left tackle will cost upwards of $9 million this offseason, which is not an outlandish sum for the anchor of a teams offensive line. However, for the Giants, it's a number that the team will be unlikely to afford. For Big Blue to have a realistic chance of fitting Beatty's salary into the already tight salary cap situation, he's going to have to sign a long-term deal for a lower annual salary.
After Jerry Reese concludes the process of clearing salary cap space, Beatty, along with Hakeem Nicks, will be among the Giants top priorities this offseason. With questions surrounding nearly every position on the offensive line, the Giants can not afford to lose a player that they spent several years developing into a starting left tackle. If another team overpays for Beatty's services, then the team will have no choice to but let him go. He's not good enough to break the bank for. However, until then, the Giants must be aggressive in pursuit of Beatty and get him back in Blue in 2013.
Also…Eli Manning, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Jerry Reese, Miami, Miami Dolphins, New England, New England Patriots, New York, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Draft, Pro Football Focus, Will Beatty