Giants pay Diehl for successfully tackling new role

Replacing Luke Petitgout as the Giants' left tackle, David Diehl proved he was the real deal and helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLII. Diehl's reward is a new deal that compensates him for the important job of protecting Eli Manning's blind side.

The Giants recently ripped up the former left guard's old contract and rewarded him with a new six-year, $31 million contract. The key to the deal is annual escalator clauses that increase Diehl's salaries between $750,000 and $1.1 million a year as long as he plays offensive tackle.

The extension was worked out over the past month, Peter Schaffer, Diehl's agent said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

"I think the Giants, in terms of organizations in the NFL, have a great history of treating their players fairly," Schaffer said.

It's rare for a team to redo a long-term deal toward the beginning of the contract. Diehl was entering the third year of a six-year, $15.5 million extension he signed in 2005 that was scheduled to expire in 2011.

But Diehl was in a rare situation. He made the tough transition from left guard to left tackle and performed at close to a Pro Bowl-caliber level. Since coming to the Giants six years ago, Diehl has started 80 consecutive games. With the exception of Petitgout's release last year, the Giants' offensive line has grown together for four seasons and has evolved into one of the NFL's better blocking units.

Diehl won over Giants management by the way he's handled the transition and his ensuing success. The new contract was signed before the draft, but Diehl had kept the details to himself.

"I'll play any position they put me on the field because I know that's what I need to do to help our football team win games," Diehl said Wednesday in an interview with NFL Sirius Radio.

Diehl said that the Giants approached him about the extension.

"I just went out there and worked hard and played my position well and everything worked out with the Giants," he said. "And the best thing about it is I get to be a Giant for the rest of my career, which I wanted to do and be in the place that I started at and there's no better feeling than that."

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.