Today marks the first day NFL clubs can place the franchise tag on one of their pending free agents, and like many other General Managers around the league, New York Giants GM Jerry Reese has some tough choices to make. With several high priority players slated to become Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) at the start of the new league year, Reese must determine how to approach each situation individually, and where to place the highest priority.
Of their remaining free agents, many deem offensive tackle Will Beatty, tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Kenny Phillips as the premiere three, and Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports the Giants are leaning in the direction of Beatty as their number one priority.
"From what I hear, re-signing Beatty is the Giants’ highest priority among their own free agents, which makes sense since he’s their left tackle and they don’t have a replacement ready," Vacchiano tweeted over the weekend.
Highest priority doesn't necessary mean an automatic franchise tag, however. Vacchiano adds that the Giants hope to sign Beatty to a long-term, cap-friendly deal and use of the franchise tag may only come into play if the two sides are close to a new contract – similar to the approach they took with punter Steve Weatherford a year ago.
The estimated franchise value for a left tackle is right around $9.7 million, which is a relatively tremendous price tag. In fact, that number would be 8% of the Giants' projected 2013 cap total, so a franchise tag may ultimately be a last resort in this situation.
Still, with no one waiting in the wings, the Giants find themselves in a precarious position with Beatty, who was recently rated the number three pending free agent takcle by Pro Football Focus.
Also…Football, Jerry Reese, Kenny Phillips, Martellus Bennett, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Will Beatty