The Giants saved $176,000 by cutting middle linebacker Blake Martinez in a move that saw another experienced veteran leave the team before the expiration of their contract. Now money woes along with injuries are continuing to eat away at the team. The Giant’s roster has only eight players on the active 53 that are over the age of 26, and mostly in places where the experience is a great necessity.
Tyrod Taylor is the experienced backup quarterback in a position where 33 isn’t that old anymore. Offensive linemen Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano, both 30, must bring along the youthful teammates on the starting offensive line. Much like quarterbacks, offensive linemen can have productive seasons into their thirties.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, 29, is back after having his salary severely cut and signing a contract filled with performance bonuses. With the salary cap issues, the Giants probably would not have been able to do better to have some experience in the young, injury-prone receiver room. Kenny Golladay, also 29, for right or wrong, is already assumed to be an offseason cut after this season and that he is only on the roster because of his massive contract.
On defense, 28-year-old Leonard Williams is tied to the team with his substantial contract while backup defensive tackle Justin Ellis, 32, comes cheap. Jihad Ward, age 28 is a Wink Martindale guy there for his familiarity with the defense. The latter two won’t likely be with the team next season when the Giants get more room under the cap.
Other notable players who parted ways this offseason include Logan Ryan, 31, James Bradberry 29, Nate Soldier 33, Kyle Rudolf 33, Devonte Booker 30, Elijah Penny 29, Evan Engram 28, Lorenzo Carter 27, and Will Hernandez 26. The Giants could absolutely use Logan Ryan right now and Andrew Adams, 29, was a better fourth safety than anyone else they have had this offseason.
The New Wave
This opens the door for one of the other young linebackers to step in next to Tae Crowder. This will most likely be 5th round draft pick Micah McFadden for he most fits the middle linebacker mold. Yet don’t be surprised if there is a lot of rotation at that second middle linebacker position.
Perhaps they were waiting to see how things worked out before cutting Martinez considering that he was not chosen as captain this year. Speaking of captains, Williams is one of the oldest. The other captains are Daniel Jones & Saquon Barkley at 25, Xavier McKinney Dexter Lawrence, Cam Brown at 24, and Andrew Thomas age 23. Special team captains are older with kicker Graham Gano age 35, the elder statesman on the team, snapper Casey Kreiter 32, and Julian Love age 24. By average the Giants only dropped from 25.6 to 25.5, yet they have half as many of players on the roster over 26 years of age than they had last year. (20)
This team is not just cutting salary it has cut age and are indeed in a rebuild. But that is an understatement. Around ten new starters, new coaches, new GM make this a significantly different team. 43 players that were in some fashion on last years roster no longer are. They are building to win. It might not be for this year, but moves had to be made. Expect a young, feisty team this season that will go through many growing pains.