4. Move on from Rhett Ellison in favor of Kaden Smith
When the San Francisco 49ers were plagued by injury at running back in September, they tried to sneak their 6th round pick from the 2019 draft onto their practice squad. They would fail in their attempt, as the Giants would claim the former standout tight end from Stanford.
Kaden Smith was thrust into the starting role in Week 12 against the Chicago Bears, as Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison were unavailable due to injury. Smith would have five receptions for 17 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. The following week against the Green Bay Packers, he would have eight receptions for 70 yards. In five games he has 18 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile in 11 games this season, Rhett Ellison has totaled 18 receptions for 167 yards and one touchdown. The production of Smith is on par with Ellison’s, despite having played six less games this season. The Giants would be wise to move on from Ellison, who is scheduled to make almost $5 million next season, in favor of Ellison who is signed through 2023 on a rookie deal and is scheduled to make only $585,000 in 2020. While the Giants would be responsible for just over $2 million in dead cap space if they were to cut Ellison, it would free up roughly $5 million dollars next season.
Smith presents a low-cost option to be the number two tight end for the Giants. He is a solid run and pass blocker and while he may lack the speed and strength to be a top end tight end in the league, the 22-year-old is a long-term upgrade over the 31-year-old Ellison. Freeing up $5 million in cap space by releasing a backup tight end, allows the Giants to allocate that money to help fill one of the more pressing needs that their roster currently has.