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Giants sign G Kevin Boothe; line returns for '13

By TOM CANAVAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-03-25 13:25

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants' offensive line seemingly is returning intact for 2013.

The Giants on Monday announced that left guard Kevin Boothe has re-signed after spending time on the free agent market. Contract terms were not immediately available.

The signing comes a little less than a month after left tackle Will Beatty signed a new five-year contract to stay with the Giants. Since the offseason ended, center David Baas restructured his contract to give the team more cap space. Right guard Chris and right tackle David Diehl are also under contract.

The versatile Boothe started all 16 games at left guard last season, and the past 22 games overall. The Cornell product has started games at center and left guard and filled in at right guard and tackle.

``Kevin is a pro's pro and we're happy to have him back,'' general manager Jerry Reese said. ``His return will provide experience, versatility, competition and depth on our offensive line.''

Entering his eighth season and seventh with the Giants, Boothe wanted to explore free agency before deciding where to play. For a while, he appeared he was going to sign with the Bears.

``I think you owe it to yourself to put yourself out there,'' he said. ``The entire time I wanted to return to the New York Giants, and fortunately they wanted me back.''

One question mark on the line might be Diehl. He struggled a bit last season after moving from left tackle and suffered a knee injury. Diehl also is in the final year of a contract that will pay him roughly $4.6 million this season. He might become a salary cap victim if the Giants need money to re-sign receiver Victor Cruz.

The offensive line had a good season last year, helping running back Ahmad Bradshaw surpass 1,000 yards while allowing an NFL-low 20 sacks. The running game averaged 116.4 yards.

``We're constantly looking to improve,'' Boothe said. ``This season, that doesn't change. We'll have most, if not all, of the pieces back together and we're looking forward to getting back to work and having a successful season - more than last year.''

The Giants (9-7) scored 429 points, the second-highest total in franchise history, but missed the playoffs a year after winning the Super Bowl for the second time in five years.

``Whatever role they need me to be in, I'm more than happy to fill,'' Boothe said. ``Whether it was the first person off the bench in years past or being the starter this past year, I approach every day with 100 percent effort. Whatever I can do to help the team, that's what I'm all about.''

Despite losing tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Kenny Phillips, the Giants have done a good job in free agency. Reese has signed cornerback Aaron Ross, safety Ryan Mundy, tight end Brandon Myers, placekicker Josh Brown, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, linebacker Dan Connor and receiver Louis Murphy, and re-signed Beatty, Boothe, linebacker Keith Rivers, backup quarterback David Carr and halfback Ryan Torain.

The Giants created cap space for some of the deals by releasing Bradshaw, defensive tackle Chris Canty and linebacker Michael Boley, while re-working the contracts of Baas and cornerback Corey Webster.

Cruz, the fan favorite from Paterson, N.J., who has led the team in receiving the past two seasons, is the major unsolved issue for the team. He was tendered recently, which gave him the right to test the free agent market while giving New York the chance to match any deal.

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