- Last Updated: 8:56 AM, March 15, 2012
- Posted: 3:32 AM, March 15, 2012
One of the reasons the Super Bowl champion Giants are successful is because they know how to locate and acquire motivated players — athletes with something to prove. That certainly seems to be the case with their newest addition, Martellus Bennett, signed Wednesday as the team’s presumptive starter at tight end.
“He’s ready to go to work and wants to prove he can be one of the top tight ends in the NFL,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “We think the sky is the limit for him here.”
“This could be a terrific move for both him and us,’’ added coach Tom Coughlin.
It’s certainly a low-risk move, because Bennett, 25, agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. Such a short duration means the Giants have added a player who wants to show what he has got and then get rewarded with a long-term contract.
“I don’t think anyone’s really seen what I can do as a player and what I have to offer,’’ Bennett said. “I don’t want to say I have a lot to prove, but I have a long to-do list.’’
Bennett spent the past four years as a backup to Jason Witten in Dallas. The Giants believe he has a big upside and so does Bennett, who didn’t flinch when asked if he thought he could compare with pass-catching monsters Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham.
“If you look at those guys they get a lot of opportunities to make a lot of plays,’’ said Bennett, who is not exactly shy when it comes to speaking about himself. “I think I’m going to get a lot of those opportunities, and I’m going to seize the moment. I always look at myself as a good player, but I want to be great and this is the place where I think I can be great.’’
Bennett originally was a 2008 second-round draft pick of the Cowboys out of Texas A&M, but he never escaped Witten’s shadow. He’s 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds and the Giants undoubtedly see him as a two-way tight end, big enough to block and athletic enough to make plays downfield. His potential has overshadowed his performance. Bennett had 17 receptions for 144 yards last season and in four years had just 85 receptions for 846 yards. All four of his touchdowns came as a rookie.
“I think at times you got glimpses, but I was in a limited role, only played like 30 percent of the snaps while I was in Dallas,’’ Bennett said. “I think in a larger role I can do so much more.
“I had a great time in Dallas,” he said. “I got to play with one of the greatest of all time in Jason Witten. I may not have caught a lot of balls while I was there, but I learned a lot about football, just watching him. I just think it’s time for me to move on and be my own guy.’’
The Giants’ need for a tight end arose quite suddenly, as Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum both went down last month in Super Bowl XLVI with torn anterior cruciate ligaments. Following reconstructive knee surgeries, both players will be hard-pressed to get back on the field in 2012 and, in a best-case scenario, they will be able to return in the second half of the season.
The Giants opted not to take a look at their former tight end, Kevin Boss, released Wednesday by the Raiders. Boss will visit the Chiefs.
QB David Carr, who didn’t want to go anywhere, signed another one-year contract to remain as Eli Manning’s backup.
There’s been a wild spending spree for receivers but thus far Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hasn’t joined in. That could change, as the Giants free agent, according to ESPN, has attracted interest from the 49ers, Dolphins and Bills. He will visit the 49ers today. Another Giants player on the market, cornerback Aaron Ross, is scheduled to visit today with the Bengals and tomorrow with the Redskins.Follow @NYPostsports