AP source: Giants, Weatherford agree on 5-yr deal

DENNIS WASZAK Jr. AP Sports Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Steve Weatherford earned Tom Coughlin's trust with one clutch punt after another.

The New York Giants rewarded him with a long-term deal for being a reliable force during their Super Bowl run.

A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Friday that the Giants and Weatherford agreed to terms on a five-year contract worth $12.75 million.

The deal includes a $3.25 million signing bonus, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not yet announced the signing. Weatherford will be paid about $6 million through the first two years, and the bonus is more than the roughly $2.6 million Weatherford would have made if he signed his franchise tender.

The Giants placed the franchise tag on him on March 5, with both sides anticipating getting a long-term contract done.

"I'm looking forward to representing the NEW YORK GIANTS for the next 5 years," Weatherford wrote on Twitter, where he has become a fan favorite. "(at)giants thank you to our fans for making it an easy decision!"

Weatherford had a solid regular season, averaging a career-best 39.2 yards, and was terrific in the playoffs while helping lead the Giants to a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.

The 29-year-old punter spent the previous two seasons with the area-rival Jets and set an NFL mark with 42 punts inside the 20-yard line in 2010. But they chose not to re-sign him, and Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff declared that Weatherford "wasn't good enough" to punt anymore for them.

Instead, Weatherford had perhaps his finest season with the Giants, who were looking for more consistency at the position after a rocky rookie campaign by Matt Dodge the previous year.

Weatherford certainly delivered, particularly in the postseason. In the Giants' 24-2 playoff-opening win over Atlanta, he averaged 40.8 net yards on four punts, with two going out of bounds at the Falcons 21 and one going out at the Falcons 10. He had 12 punts for a 40.6 yard net average in the NFC championship victory over San Francisco, and dropped three punts inside the 20 against New England in the Super Bowl.

Weatherford has also played for the Jaguars, Chiefs and Saints.