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Martellus Bennett Free-Agent Signing: Coughlin Calls Move 'Perfect Match'

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin today called the signing of free-agent tight end Martellus Bennett a "perfect match." The Giants signed the four-year veteran to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

"In our situation it's a perfect match, because here we are with two guys that aren't going to be able to go," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "We get a guy with this quality and we can say to him, ‘You go out on the field, you go from less than 30 percent play time to 70-75-80 percent play time just by virtue of if you come here and if you are willing to pay the price to be what you want to be. Here's the opportunity.'"

Bennett, 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, played his first four season with the Dallas Cowboys as the backup to Jason Witten. The one-year deal is a sort of "prove it" contract for Bennett, who gets an opportunity to be the Giants' primary tight end in 2012 with both Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum rehabbing from torn ACLs suffered during the Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.

"We had a very good, open, forthright visit with Martellus today, and we are excited to have him join the Giants family," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He's ready to go to work and wants to prove he can be one of the top tight ends in the NFL; we think the sky is the limit for him here."

Watching the Super Bowl, Bennett saw Ballard and Beckum go down and thought he might end up in New York with the Giants.

"I'm just happy to be able to come here and get a chance to be the starter and work with a guy like Eli (Manning) and with guys around me like Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks," Bennett said. "In Dallas it was the same thing with Dez (Bryant), but I think it's different for me now because I get the chance to step up and really show what I can do."

The Giants seem intrigued by the untapped potential they see in Bennett, who caught 85 passes in four seasons with the Cowboys. As a backup to Jason Witten in Dallas, Bennett's first job was to block and he wa rarely a focal point in the Dallas passing attack.

"What you have is a talented athlete who played behind an all-pro," Coughlin said. "Who is not very satisfied, is not very fulfilled, is anxious. He is anxious to prove the quality of athlete and football player that he can be. If you go back to '08, '09, '10, '11, you can see spots where he flashes as what he could be.

"He feels like he hasn't scratched the surface of what he can do. And he's a young, aspiring, athletic tight end who can run. He'll be up the seams at 6-6, 265. He can run up the seams with speed and be up over the top of a lot of people. So we're excited about that. He's got a ways to go, but he'll work at it. This could be a terrific move for both him and us."

Bennett was a second-round draft choice by Dallas from Texas A&M in 2008, the 61st overall selection.