New York Giants’ co-owner John Mara recently told the NFL Network that the Giants are unlikely to use the franchise tag this off-season. The Giants have only used the franchise tag three times since it was instituted in 1993. Even with all of the free agents the Giants would like to re-sign, they don’t see the need to use it.
The franchise tag is a one-year deal with an average of the top five salaries at the respective player’s position. This could be expensive in some cases because of some of the contracts that have been handed out in recent years. The Giants’ most important free agent is WR Victor Cruz.
However, Cruz is in a different situation. The Giants can tender Cruz, much like the Pittsburgh Steelers tendered WR Mike Wallace last year. Wallace was unhappy, and is most likely headed to another team in free agency this off-season. Cruz has expressed a strong desire to remain with the Giants, but it still will not come easy.
The Giants will most likely sign Cruz to a long-term deal, but there is another free agent the Giants are prioritizing as well. OL Will Beatty was arguably the best on the offensive line last season, and the Giants want to keep him. Signing him to a long-term deal is possible, but the Giants are also looking at the future and locking up WR Hakeem Nicks and DE Jason Pierre-Paul.
That means the Giants could very well use the franchise tag on Beatty. That tag would be expensive, as he would be paid nearly $10 million just for one season. The Giants certainly don’t want to go that route, but if they can’t reach a long-term deal, will they let Beatty walk?
It all remains to be seen what the Giants do with all of their free agents. Free agency starts in a couple of weeks. We’ll see if general manager Jerry Reese keeps that franchise tag in his back pocket.