The news of this broke just as we were lining up for the premiere of the Giants’ new Super Bowl DVD and then when Eli Manning came out so strongly against the bounty program in New Orleans it overshadowed the news. But the Giants designated Steve Weatherford as their franchise player on Monday, the last day teams had the opportunity to do so.
Weatherford’s reaction? He sounded ecstatic in these comments issued by the Giants.
“I'm super excited to know that I will be with the Giants for at least one more season,” Weatherford said. “This is a great franchise and a great organization, really the best I've been with. So it’s very exciting to know that I will be back. I think the franchise tag is a step that needed to be taken to continue to work together on a long-term deal. I want to be with the Giants for a long time and I really think the feeling is mutual, so hopefully something can get worked out long term and I can be a Giant for another four, five or 10 years.”
The only thing missing was slow-motion video of him running around Candlestick Park yelling "I'm getting the m----------- franchise tag!"
Weatherford sounded confident that he would be back with the Giants almost immediately after the Super Bowl. In fact, there were some reports then that it was a done deal. But apparently there’s still a little work to be done. It might even be done quickly, like before the Giants have to put him on their 2012 roster with a cap number of around $2.5 million in base salary next week. If they sign him to a long-term deal before then, they can figure in bonuses and other creative accountings to get that number down.
The last time the Giants used the franchise tag it was on Brandon Jacobs in 2009. It took less than two weeks for them to hammer out a new contract for four years, the fourth of which is for this upcoming season. Unless …
Oh, and if any other team wants to sign Weatherford they can surely negotiate with and sign him. They’d just have to give the Giants two first-round picks. I’m sure the Giants wouldn’t mind that.
Maybe the Saints will sign Weatherford. He’s played there before and it doesn’t look like they’ll have a first round pick for a while anyway.