Jon Beason and Justin Tuck were two of the main reasons the Giants were a top-10 defense in 2013 and a big part of the team winning seven of its last 10 games. But as of Wednesday night, only one of them was certain about returning for 2014.
After testing free agency and being wooed by the bank-breaking Broncos as well as other teams, Beason agreed to terms with the Giants. That solidifies the middle linebacker position and crosses off what was atop the team's list of defensive priorities this offseason. He made an immediate impact over the final 11 games of the season after the Giants acquired him in a trade in October for a seventh-round pick. Now the team gets to see what Beason can give them over a full season.
Tuck, meanwhile, spent yesterday visiting with the Raiders in Oakland, leading to speculation that he could be going from Big Blue to the Black Hole. He is expected to at least present the Giants with an opportunity to match any offer he receives from other teams, and there are others besides the Raiders who are interested. His preference is to remain with the Giants, and their preference is to have their defensive end and captain back. The only question is whether the two sides can agree on the financials of a deal.
Tuck received an offer from the Giants before the start of free agency, but the Raiders (if inclined) likely will have the cap space to top it by a substantial margin. The Giants have a history of not upping their offers by very much in such situations. They held firm with Steve Smith and Kevin Boss in 2011 and wound up winning a Super Bowl that year while neither player had much of a career elsewhere. Tuck, though, may be a special case given his popularity as a team leader and coming off an 11-sack season after two in which his production slipped.
If the Giants meet any other offers, it will be an easy negotiation. If they come up short, though, Tuck will have to weigh a higher salary against a return to the only NFL franchise he's ever known and a team with which he won two Super Bowl rings.
Notes & quotes: The Giants announced the signings of G Geoff Schwartz and RB Rashad Jennings, who had agreed to terms on Tuesday along with C J.D. Walton, who visited with the team Wednesday. Schwartz's agent said his deal was for four years and $16.8 million with $6.2 million guaranteed; Jennings reportedly signed a four-year, $14-million contract with about $3 million guaranteed. No terms were available for Walton, who started for two and a half years with the Broncos but hasn't played in the NFL since he suffered an ankle injury midway through the 2012 season . . . WR and KR Jacoby Jones visited with the Giants Wednesday but wound up re-signing with the Ravens. Other visitors to the Giants who left without contracts were G Shelley Smith and CB Tracy Porter . . . Former Giants LB Keith Rivers signed a two-year deal with the Bills . . . Tuck wasn't the only Giants free agent visiting the Raiders. He was joined by CB Terrell Thomas and RB Andre Brown . . . The team's two-year, $8-million deal with LB O'Brien Schofield was put on hold after the Giants didn't like what they saw in his knee during a physical . . . The Giants were one of many teams that reached out to the Bucs about a possible trade for Darrelle Revis before he was released, but they were not in the hunt for him as a free agent. Revis reportedly agreed on a deal with the Patriots Wednesday night.