In an expected move to clear up cap room, the Giants announced they have released ILB Alec Ogletree and OLB Kareem Martin.
SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano had both players on his list of potential cap casualties that could come this offseason for Big Blue. Ogletree highlighted it, as the Giants have now cleared an extra $8.25 million while leaving $3.5 million in dead money.
As for Martin, he was brought over to fit in James Bettcher’s scheme, but his production was well under-par. The Giants save $4.8 million in cap space with him being cut, while leaving $1.2 million in dead money.
So, all in all, the Giants have added $13.05 million to their cap to spend this offseason.
Now it’s up to GM Dave Gettleman to fill these voids, especially Ogletree’s given his captain status, on defense. The NFL Draft has some intriguing prospects, in particular Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons, who many believe to be a great fit for the Giants with that No. 4 overall pick. He has the size, speed, power and coverage ability to be the do-it-all, versatile player in the middle of the defense calling the shots for a long time.
But there are also some free agents out on the market that Gettleman could target. Cory Littleton from the Rams and Joe Schobert from the Browns have been consistent tackle producers over their careers, and they are both young at 26 years old apiece.
Martin was brought in as an edge rusher in Bettcher’s 3-4 system, but he fell on the depth chart to players like Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter. The Giants’ need for a more consistent pass rush is even more critical than filling that linebacker spot, and Gettleman definitely has options there like Shaq Barrett — the NFL’s sack leader in 2019 — Jadeveon Clowney, and Yannick Ngakoue to name a few in free agency.
In the Draft, Chase Young probably would’ve been an absolute lock at No. 2 overall after LSU’s Joe Burrow goes No. 1 (presumably, of course). But the Redskins came away with that pick despite the Giants holding it for much of last season. Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa and Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos are the next-best options, but the Giants may want to go in a different direction with their first-round pick.
Trading for Ogletree was one of Gettleman’s first big moves as GM back in 2018, and he gave him a hefty extension at $42.75 million over four years. And though he had 93 and 80 tackles over the last two seasons respectively, his inability to cover tight ends and running backs eventually made it a bad contract.
Ogletree did find himself in the right place at the right time, though, in 2018 with he had five interceptions with two returned for touchdowns.
Martin played in all 16 games with seven starts in 2018, but only totaled 1.5 sacks and 48 tackles over that span. Only five games came his way in 2019.