The New York Giants fanbase received good news over social media yesterday when the team’s free agent defensive tackle Linval Joseph tweeted that he wants to return to the Giants. Re-signing Joseph, a young and prolific defensive tackle, is undoubtedly one of the most pressing issues and biggest priorities for Giants GM Jerry Reese. Joseph’s public endorsement of the team is an encouraging sign that a deal might be completed before Joseph hits the NFL free agent market.
It is imperative that Reese and the Giants’ organizational brass act with haste and capitalize on this opportunity. Joseph is one of the premier defensive tackles in this year’s free agent class, and the Giants have exclusive negotiating rights with their own players until free agency officially begins, Mar. 11. After that point, Joseph will be free to contact other NFL teams and leverage lucrative offers against each other.
The Giants cannot afford to lose Joseph. He is prolific, only 25-years-old and without him their run defense becomes a liability. If the Giants can re-sign Joseph and continue to develop last year’s second-round pick Johnathan Hankins, the team will have a formidable interior line just coming into its prime.
Reese is historically known for playing hardball with free agents.
As a rookie GM he didn’t back down from Michael Strahan nor did he acquiesce to the demands of Osi Umenyiora. But it’s time for Joseph to get paid. He made $500,000 last year, and Joseph is worth at least ten times that.
Reese needs to lock Joseph up with a five to six-year contract in the $32-38 million range. And if that doesn’t work, he should franchise tag Joseph for one year and $9.1 million, giving the two sides additional time to work out a long-term contract.
Re-signing Joseph will be a costly proposition that limits the Giants’ free agency financial flexibility. But losing him and his premier talent to a poaching team will be a far costlier mistake.