Tight end Rhett Ellison has underperformed on his lofty contract and his time with the NY Giants appears to be coming to a close.
Barring some sort of pay cut, Rhett Ellison likely has played his last game with the NY Giants. Signed during Jerry Reese’s last offseason as general manager, Ellison’s contract has kept him around despite the fact that his play has left much to be desired.
Brought in for his blocking prowess, Ellison was never expected to shoulder the tight end receiving load. However, the Giants were surely looking for him to eclipse 25 receptions, 300 yards or 2 touchdowns, something he never did once in any of his three seasons with the team.
Considering how many games Evan Engram has missed due to injury, the former USC tight end’s stats really leave a lot to be desired. His hallmark blocking was anything but with Big Blue, as although he wasn’t a liability, he was not as advertised – particularly in the run game.
Rookie Kaden Smith filling in admirably for both injured tight ends this past season only adds to the case of Ellison being released. The sixth-round pick of the 49ers that was acquired on waivers by Big Blue exceeded all expectations and seems to have a clear hold on the #2 tight end gig.
The signing was a curious one at the time as Ellison was coming off a 67-yard receiving season over 15 games with the Vikings in 2016. Paying a blocking tight end $18M over four seasons – good for the 11th-highest cap number at the position – is never something that made much sense.
Dave Gettleman cannot be blamed for bringing Ellison aboard, but what he can be blamed for – in a theme that’s becoming all too common – is restructuring his contract in the third year to make the necessary cap room available to bring Leonard Williams in at the 2019 trade deadline.
As if that trade couldn’t get any worse, Ellison now carries a dead cap hit of $2.1M into 2020 when the team was otherwise going to be able to move on from him in the last year of his deal for almost zero financial penalties.
While that $2.1M dead cap hit isn’t nearly high enough to make Gettleman consider keeping Ellison, it still stings. The NY Giants will save $5M against the 2020 cap by cutting the tight end now – instead of about $7M – so it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion he’ll be gone in a few weeks.
Chances he’s cut: 90%
Cap savings: $5M