Spencer Pulley last season hoped his play on the field and his comportment in the locker room made enough of a favorable impression to allow him to stick around with the Giants. Pulley, a 25-year-old center, received his answer on Monday when he agreed to a deal to return.
As an impending restricted free agent, Pulley gets a three-year contract worth up to up to $9.6 million, with $2.3 million guaranteed, The Post confirmed. This is another step in the fortifying of the offensive line, even though Pulley might not regain his place as the starting center. He was claimed off waivers by the Giants in early September, prior to the start of the 2018 season, and by Week 7 was inserted into the starting lineup. Pulley played well, starting the final nine games on a line that eventually provided better protection for Eli Manning and more space for Saquon Barkley.
A need arose for a center last season when Jon Halapio went down in Week 2 with a fractured ankle and veteran John Greco could not hold up as the replacement. Halapio last week was re-signed for $645,000 and is on the mend. The Giants believe Halapio at the time of his injury was playing at a higher level than any of the other four starters on the line. Pulley provides insurance in case Halapio is not ready to go for the start of the season and also provides real competition for Halapio.
Pro Football Focus ranked Pulley as the No. 26 center in the league last season. If he does not win the starting center job, he will serve in a backup role at center and at both guard spots. Pulley, undrafted out of Vanderbilt, played in all 16 games as a reserve for the Chargers in 2016 and started all 16 games for the Chargers in 2017.
The Giants have four of the five starting spots set on their offensive line, having acquired right guard Kevin Zeitler in a trade with the Browns for linebacker Olivier Vernon. From left to right, the Giants will go with Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, either Halapio or Pulley, and Zeitler. The goal in free agency or the NFL Draft is to upgrade at right tackle, where Chad Wheeler in his second NFL season started the final 14 games.