INDIANAPOLIS -- Dave Gettleman is serious about rebuilding the Giants' offensive line -- so serious, in fact, that he might be willing to make free-agent guard Andrew Norwell the highest-paid guard in the game. And that might mean the Giants will have to pay the 26-year-old Carolina Panther a contract worth more than $12 million per year.
That seems excessive for an interior lineman. But the more Gettleman talked at the NFL scouting combine, the more it sounded like a price he's willing to pay.
"There isn't a quarterback alive that's going to get in the huddle and say, 'OK, boys, let them up the middle. I'll deal with it,'" the Giants GM said on Wednesday when asked if a guard could be worth $12 million per year. "You need to be firm in the middle. So at the end of the day if it's keeping your quarterback upright and out of the hospital."
Gettleman wasn't talking specifically about Norwell, of course, but a team source said the Giants are planning to pursue the first-team all-pro in free agency. Gettleman knows him well, having signed him in Carolina as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State in 2014. He became a starter for the Panthers by the middle of his rookie year.
Now, the 6-foot-6, 325-pounder is going to cash in big as one of the top free agent linemen on the market. He could be a replacement for Giants guard Justin Pugh, who is also a free agent, although the Giants haven't ruled out signing them both, if the prices are right.
Under Gettleman, it sounds like the Giants aren't going to shy away from paying offensive lineman, since he has made it clear he believes his beloved "Hog Mollies" are an essential part of a winning team. And if that means doling out a contract worth more than the five-year, $60 million contract (with $23 million guaranteed) that the Cleveland Browns gave guard Kevin Zeitler last March?
Well, that's the price of doing business with the best "Hog Mollies" nowadays.
"There's a bunch of guards now that are getting paid," Gettleman said. "And if you think about it, they're closer to the quarterback. Listen, it's the market. Is that car worth $150,000? If someone buys it, I guess it's worth it, you know what I mean?"