Scroll through Twitter for comments about the New York Giants and you find a lot of negativity in the fan base when it comes to starting left tackle Will Beatty.
'Why haven't the Giants cut Will Beatty yet?'
Basically, most of what you read on Twitter in regards to Beatty are variations of those two paraphrased comments. Some, of course, in much more colorful Internet language.
Thing is, the Beatty hatred is really hard to understand. Is Beatty Walter Jones or Anthony Munoz? Or even the equal of current Philadelphia Eagles' left tackle Jason Peters? Heck no. But, as they say, he is also not exactly chopped liver.
What is Beatty? The 30-year-old Beatty is something that is very difficult to find in the NFL, something precious that should not be easily cast aside. He is an above average left tackle.
Beatty had a horrible 2013 season, and it's apparent that no matter what else he has done or will do in his career some will never forgive him for it. In that season Beatty allowed 13 sacks, more than any other tackle in the league. He had a -11.7 Pro Football Focus grade, including -19.9 in pass protection, 64th out of 76 tackles who played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps.
In every other season since becoming a full-time starter in 2011, however, Beatty's play has been above average to outstanding. Since 2011, Pro Football Focus lists 316 offensive tackles as having played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps. Only 145 of those (45.8 percent) has record positive PFF scores. Beatty has done so three of the four times.
Beatty's overall PFF grade in the four seasons since he became the starting left tackle is +22.6, a grade that includes the 2013 debacle. In 2014, Beatty was 14th among all tackles playing at least 25 percent of the time with a +13.0 PFF grade. He allowed only three sacks.
Beatty is also a dominant run blocker. His four-year score from PFF in run blocking is +30.6. Even in his rough 2013 season he was +7.2 as a run blocker. He has been the best run blocker on the Giants' line for years now, and the view here is that the Giants need to run behind him more often.
Some likely hold Beatty's five-year, $37.5 million contract against him. That may seem like a ton of money, but the truth is it's actually a middle of the road contract for a starting left tackle -- 12th-highest at that position, per Over The Cap -- and probably perfectly appropriate value for Beatty's place among NFL left tackles.
The contract also pretty much guarantees that Beatty will be a Giant in 2015. Beatty's 2015 cap number is $8.05 million. The Giants could save $4.9 million against the cap by designating Beatty a post-June cut, but would still be on the hook for $3.15 million in 'dead' money that would count against the cap. That's an extraordinary amount to pay someone not to play for you.
Besides, if you cut Beatty you had better be certain you are upgrading the position. You can't cut your above-average starting left tackle, endanger the health of your franchise quarterback, and not absolutely KNOW you have a better player waiting to take that spot.
The view here is that the Giants don't have a better option at left tackle than Beatty, and they can't find one at this point in free agency or in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Justin Pugh is a right tackle who might end up moving inside to guard. He's a good player, but not an NFL left tackle. Marshall Newhouse was signed to provide depth and fill in when needed, not to protect Manning's blind side for 16 games.
If you draft Brandon Scherff, he's a right tackle or a guard. If you draft La'el Collins or Andrus Peat maybe they develop into left tackles eventually, but you can't trust them at that spot from Day 1.
The best tackle still on the market is Joe Barksdale, a right tackle who struggles in pass protection. Jake Long is a four-time Pro Bowl left tackle, but he is rehabbing an ACL tear and reportedly considering retirement at age 30.
So, at least for the 2015 season, the Giants simply don't have a better choice at left tackle than Beatty. And the reality is, Beatty isn't really a bad choice at all. Many NFL teams would be happy to have him, and the Giants should be, too.