Our man Adam Schefter reported Tuesday night that defensive end Justin Tuck is visiting the Raiders. The Denver Post reports the Broncos are interested in middle linebacker Jon Beason. Tuck and Beason are key defensive players the New York Giants began the offseason hoping to re-sign. Could they really both sign elsewhere?
Of course they could.
The Giants have the cap room to keep both players if they want to. Some Giants fans on Twitter seem upset by the two-year, $8 million price tag for O'Brien Schofield, but that contract isn't going to be the reason Beason and/or Tuck aren't back. The Giants had about $26 million in cap room when free agency started. They can sign basically anyone they want to sign.
However, the Giants take a very consistent approach when it comes to their own free agents. They settle on a specific value, establishing in their own minds what the player is worth. They tell the player they'll welcome him back at that number, and if the player doesn't like it he's free to go to Oakland or Denver or anywhere else and see whether he can do better. If he can't, they'll still welcome him back -- provided they haven't replaced him in the meantime. There's always wiggle room, but not much. Just because they have cap room doesn't mean the Giants want to spend more on Beason or Tuck than they believe they're worth.
The Giants believed, when the offseason began, they could sign Beason for something in the $3 million or $4 million per year range. Tuck's number is likely a bit higher, but not too much. The fact both are looking elsewhere indicates they think the Giants should be offering more. And in the cases of Denver and Oakland, they could find satisfaction.
The Broncos have already signed T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib and are trying to sign DeMarcus Ware today in a clear effort to win one more game next year than they did this past year. If they decide Beason is the guy to bring that star-studded defense all together in the middle, outidding the Giants won't be an issue for them.
The Raiders began the new league year with more cap room than any team and haven't spent much of it yet. They also let their own free-agent pass-rusher, Lamarr Houston, leave to sign with the Bears. So they have a hole. They could be a team that drastically overpays for Tuck, and that could send him packing. The Giants still have Mathias Kiwanuka and Damontre Moore to go with Jason Pierre-Paul. They love Tuck and always will, but he's turning 31 in a couple of weeks and the free agents they're signing are all in that 27-28-29 range.
This is one reason the Schofield signing is interesting. He's a linebacker (who could maybe help replace Beason), but the word I'm getting is the Giants also view him as a pass-rusher (who could maybe help replace Tuck). They signed him because they think he's a versatile guy who can help in a variety of ways depending on what their needs turn out to be. The issue may be that he's not that great a player, but the Giants saw something they liked and you guys are always telling me I should trust Jerry Reese more than I usually do.
Stay tuned on all of this, because no one knows what's going to happen. Expect the Giants to stay active, but also to stay consistent in their approach. They want Tuck and Beason back, but if one or both of them get crazy money elsewhere, they're not going to go overboard to make it happen.