EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In one of the more improbable turn of events, offensive lineman Will Beatty is returning to the New York Giants after being released earlier this year.
Two days ago, the move seemed highly unlikely. Beatty and the Giants had a fractured relationship. It has since been repaired, and they're destined to be reunited for at least one more season.
Beatty, 31, has spent his entire career with the Giants. He was their second-round pick in 2009.
It's a renewed marriage of convenience that works for both parties. The Giants desperately needed offensive line help and Beatty needed a job. He already owns a house in New Jersey and is familiar with the surroundings and organization.
It made sense after the Giants' preseason struggles. The price ($1.1 million guaranteed) was right for both sides.
The move speaks volumes. It has a significant impact for the team, the player and the current state of the Giants' offensive line.
Let's take a look at what the signing really means.
Sign of desperation
The Giants were in a bad place with their offensive line. This is really not debatable. They tried to upgrade throughout the offseason but came up empty. General manager Jerry Reese, coach Ben McAdoo and the Giants offensive linemen have tried desperately to sell the preseason starting five as a respectable and competent unit. Nobody has really bought what they've been selling.
"Well, I look at offensive lines all around the league," Reese said at the start of the summer. "I look at the two offensive lines --- I always try to look at who the offensive lines that played in the Super Bowl were. I kind of look at those offensive lines that played in the Super Bowl and I say, 'You know what? That isn’t a big difference from the offensive line we have, or to whatever the degree that may be,' so I just have to look around. It would be great to have five Pro Bowlers up front, but I don't think anyone has that."
But the results in the preseason said otherwise. The Giants' first-team offense hasn't been able to run the ball and has four first downs and 88 total yards in four quarters when quarterback Eli Manning has been on the field. This spurred Beatty to reach out to Reese and mend the fences.
Two days later, the desperate Giants re-signed a player they never anticipated would've returned when they released him earlier this year. It was all made possible because they realized they needed help badly.
There is a right tackle competition
Beatty's addition doesn’t come with any guarantees to be a starter. He's expected to compete with Newhouse for the starting job, but needs to check off some boxes before he can be thrown into the mix.
It's important to remember that Beatty missed the entire 2015 season because of two separate injuries. He tore his pectoral muscle while lifting weights in the spring and was unable to return later in the season because of a shoulder problem that required surgery.
Beatty hasn't experienced full contact since the 2014 season finale. He needs to prove that he's healthy, get into game shape and reacquaint himself at right tackle.
Beatty hasn't played right tackle since his rookie season, which could be a challenge.
It wasn't his preference either. But he's willing, and that is where the Giants prefer he plays. They're intent on keeping Flowers, last year's first-round pick, on the left side.
Run game still a problem
This is the part that might be overlooked. Beatty was never known as a great run blocker. It's not the strength of his game, and that is unlikely to change as he ages and returns from two serious injuries. His insertion into the starting lineup would improve the Giants' pass blocking, but they might be downgrading their run blocking with Beatty instead of Newhouse.
The line's run blocking was its weakness last season. It's unlikely Beatty is the antidote to those problems.
Indictment on Bobby Hart
Bringing back Beatty says a lot about Hart. This spring and summer (especially the preseason) showed that Hart isn't a potential option at right tackle.
Hart, 22, spent the entire summer behind Newhouse. And now, Beatty will almost certainly jump him on the depth chart at tackle.
It's not all that encouraging for Hart's future. He has struggled badly this preseason, especially as the first-team left guard in place of an injured Justin Pugh on Saturday against the Jets. He wasn't especially impressive the previous week as a tackle against the Buffalo Bills, either.
The signing of Beatty was likely precipitated by the Giants' lack of trust in Hart as a potential replacement starter if Newhouse struggled.