Williams deal complete

The Giants accomplished their main off-season goal. New York has agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent safety Shaun Williams, locking up their former first-round pick.

Williams agreed to a seven-year deal worth $24.5 million, for an average of $3.5 million annually. Included in the deal is a two-tiered signing bonus, from which Williams receives $3.25 million now and an additional $3.25 next off-season.

Williams, who finished second on the club last season with 96 tackles, will sign the deal early next week when he heads to New Jersey for the start of the Giants off-season conditioning program. The Giants are expecting Williams Tuesday, but he said that he's hopeful of arriving Monday.

Following the release of last year's starting strong safety, Sam Garnes, the re-signing of Williams was essential to the Giants plan, which is to move the 6-2, 215-pound Williams to his natural position of strong safety.

The Giants currently have Omar Stoutmire as their starting free safety, but you can expect that to change. New York will look to sign another safety in the near future or after June 1. Another option is selecting a safety in the first round or two during next month's draft.

The Giants were originally hopeful of locking Williams up before the start of free agency on March 1. However, they could afford to be patient because Williams clearly wanted to come back to New York. He only planned to visit two other teams, and neither materialized. The Eagles cancelled Williams' visit after they signed Blaine Bishop. Then Williams called off his trip to Tennessee last Thursday when it became apparent that he was going to return to New York.

While the Jets, Eagles, Redskins and Cowboys have all been very active this off-season, retaining Williams is Big Blue's first signing thus far. But it certainly was an important one.

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