Excerpt: "The Giants have until March 4 to use their franchise tag and there’s a good chance they won’t designate any of their unrestricted free agents. Consider that in the 20 years since the franchise tag has existed, the Giants have used it only three times.

No wonder co-owner John Mara said Tuesday what everyone already knew when he told the NFL Network the Giants “probably’’ won’t use the franchise tag on any player this year.
Still, there are a few players who might warrant the tag.

At the top of the list is Will Beatty, the soon-to-be 28-year-old left tackle coming off his first full season as a starter. For the first time, Beatty played in all 16 games, starting 15. The timing of this ascension was ideal for Beatty, a 2009 second-round pick out of UConn. He’s not at the level of an elite left tackle but he is athletic, an excellent pass protector and could be a fixture for years to come, as long as his back problems don’t flare up again.
Beatty is a free agent the Giants must retain, one way or another, because there is no left tackle prospect on their roster and finding one elsewhere won’t be possible at any reasonable price. If the Giants cannot work out a long-term deal with Beatty, they can apply the franchise tag on him, which would guarantee him $9.66 million for the 2013 season. Any team interested in signing Beatty would have to negotiate an offer sheet and if the Giants did not match the contract that team would forfeit its next two first-round draft picks to the Giants. It’s a steep price no one will pay." Read more...