The Giants see Nick Gates as a starter on the offensive line.
Now they are paying him like one, too.
Gates signed a two-year extension Saturday worth at least $6.825 million, with bonuses and incentives that could push the value north of $10.3 million, The Post confirmed. He was set to earn $675,000 in the final year of his original contract (before restricted free agency) but now is under contract through 2022.
“Happy to call New York home for the next three years,” Gates wrote on Instagram.
The front office believes it uncovered an undrafted gem with Gates in 2018. The former coaching staff held him in high regard. And the new coaching staff stresses versatility — one of Gates’ best assets.
Gates, 24, was told to practice snapping in the offseason as he is in the mix with Spencer Pulley and rookie Shane Lemieux to start at center. He trained near his Las Vegas home with Giants left guard Will Hernandez and several members of the Raiders, including quarterback Derek Carr.
But this week’s offensive line development — Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 health risks — pushes rookie first-round pick Andrew Thomas to left tackle and creates a void on the right side for rookie third-round pick Matt Peart, veteran Cam Fleming or Gates.
Nick GatesCorey Sipkin
Solder’s opt-out freed up $13-16 million in salary cap space, but negotiations on Gates’ extension began much earlier this offseason and were not a direct reaction to looser purse strings. General manager Dave Gettleman singled out Gates’ toughness and “bright future” before the NFL draft.
Gates started 10 games at right tackle and 25 at left tackle over three seasons at the University of Nebraska. He missed his entire rookie season because of a foot injury before making three starts (two at tackle and one at guard) last season.
The extension was first reported by NFL Network.
“Being an undrafted free agent in the league is not easy to do,” Gates told The Post in May. “You have to take the opportunity and run with it whenever it comes, and use the motivation of getting passed on by 32 teams for seven rounds.
“I try not to think about that too much, but it pops in the back of my head and gets my fire burning a little. I just have to keep going to work every day and focusing on making the team better and doing my job.”
Linebacker Markus Golden reported to camp Friday, as The Post previously reported was the expectation. He underwent a second round of COVID-19 testing Saturday and, if he has the required three negative results, will be ready for a physical exam Tuesday.
Golden’s delayed arrival because of personal reasons isn’t considered a holdout. He hasn’t yet signed his one-year, $4.125 million contract, though that would be the step after passing his physical.
The Giants officially signed unretired kicker Chandler Catanzaro to a one-year contract. He agreed to terms last Sunday but needed almost a full week to pass through the camp entry protocol.
The Giants claimed rookie wide receiver Tony Brown off waivers from Cleveland. He was undrafted after 56 catches for 707 yards and five touchdowns last season for Colorado.