As they do prior to the start of every season, the experts at Over the Cap have begun to examine the best and worst contracts for each team league-wide. They wasted no time in breaking down the 2014 New York Giants, and right out of the gate, they found that newly signed cornerback Walter Thurmond III is, by far, the team's best contract.
Thurmond’s contract carries a base value of $3 million which is very reasonable for a player who could prove to be a solid number two cornerback. Because it is a one year contract and the player is hoping to hit it big in free agency the team knows they will get the best out of the player.
There is really no downside to this contract. It is low cost and low risk and fits the team situation perfectly. If things go as expected Thurmond will likely get a nice raise next season when he signs a multi year contract extension and the Giants will benefit from a low cost year for a starting player. It’ a win-win contract for both sides.
Thurmond signed with the Giants knowing he wasn't getting a top-tier deal, but felt like he could come into New York, man the slot corner position and prove on the world's grandest stage that he's an elite NFL cornerback. The hope, of course, being that he lands a lucrative, long-term deal — ideally, right here with Big Blue. And while that discussion is still a year away from taking place, both the Giants and Thurmond have put themselves in a good position here in 2013.
The same can not be said about offensive tackle Will Beatty, however.
A year removed from signing a five-year, $37.5 million contract, Beatty is a serious question mark for the Giants. Not only is he returning from a serious leg fracture, which occurred in Week 17 of last year, but he's also returning from what can only be described as an exceptionally poor season. In fact, even if he returns to health, the Giants have made it clear that while they'd like him to win back his starting job at left tackle, it's far from guaranteed.
In other words, Beatty has the potentially to be one of the most highly paid backups in the entire league.
Beatty became the standard bearer for the non-elite tier of tackles in the NFL, being given a $7.5 million a year contract with essentially $19 million in full guarantees. The Giants gave Beatty a great deal of job security through a large $12.5 million signing bonus. Among veteran left tackles on long term deals, the percentage of contract guaranteed is first in the NFL and the full guarantee trails only Duane Brown and Branden Albert. Albert was signed a year after Beatty.
Even if you were to ignore the massive signing bonus Beatty received, the veteran offensive lineman has one of the worst structured contracts in the entire league.
Arguably the only comparable player with a worse structured contract is Sam Baker’s in Atlanta. If Beatty fails this year the Giants will take on over $8 million in cap charges if they release him in 2015. He also has a $650,000 guarantee so the Giants would need to pay him a token amount to go away. If that happens the Giants will have paid $19 million for a two year contract, which is a very high figure. They need him to last at least three seasons to justify the contract and based on what we have seen that may not be that easy.
The one potential luxury the Giants have with Beatty is that he doesn't lack talent. After all, they gave him a massive contract because they felt he earned it. And despite a poor 2013 campaign, Beatty could return to his pre-2013 self and no longer would his contract be considered the "worst." On the other hand, he could continue to go downhill and have his contract remembered as one of the worst the Giants have handed out over the last decade.
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