Giants agree with DE Tuck on $30 million extension

Updated: January 18, 2008, 1:45 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

A breakout 2007 campaign for New York Giants backup defensive end Justin Tuck will on Friday become a break-the-bank season for the three-year veteran.

Tuck and the Giants reached agreement Thursday on a five-year contract extension that runs through the 2013 season, has a maximum value of $30 million, and includes $16 million in bonuses. Barring any last-minute glitches, the final details of the deal will be completed on Friday and the contract will be officially executed.

The extension was first reported late Thursday by the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger and confirmed for ESPN.com by league sources.

The former Notre Dame standout, a third-round selection in the 2005 draft, had appeared in only 20 games, with one start, over the first two years of his NFL career, and recorded just one sack. But in 16 games in 2007, two as a starter, Tuck posted 10 sacks, the second most on a New York unit that led the NFL in quarterback knockdowns.

He also registered 65 tackles and two forced fumbles.

Tuck, 24, signed a four-year contract as a rookie in 2005 and is scheduled to earn a base salary of $520,000 in 2008, the final year of that deal.

The contract extension provides security for Tuck but also for the Giants, who face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. Despite its current depth at defensive end, New York could face future problems at the position.

Fifteen-year veteran left end Michael Strahan, who flirted with retirement last offseason, skipped all of the conditioning program last spring and then training camp as well, before deciding to report for the 2007 season. He will enter the final year of his contract in 2008, with a base salary of $4 million, and likely will consider retirement again when the current Giants' season concludes.

Right end Osi Umenyiora, who signed a lucrative contract extension in December 2005, and who has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons, has asked the team to rework his deal.

It is conceivable, if Strahan and Umenyiora don't have their contract situations resolved, that neither might be in training camp on time. But having locked up Tuck for the long term, the Giants have given themselves a nice security blanket if that scenario arises, and some leverage against the veteran ends. And if it doesn't, the team has secured the services of an emerging young defender through 2013.

Tuck has played at both left and right end, but this season he has been very effective by moving inside to tackle in the Giants' nickel pass rush. Although he is not blessed with great bulk (6-feet-5, 274 pounds), Tuck is deceptively strong and has developed solid techniques. And when he moves to tackle, he can use his quickness to beat most of the league's guards.

In 36 career appearances, he has 106 tackles, 11 sacks, three forced fumbles and two passes defensed.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer with ESPN.com.