The NY Giants began clearing out cap space ahead of free agency by releasing two underwhelming defensive players.
We all knew it would happen, it was just a matter of when. Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin were two major reasons for the NY Giants defense being as putrid as it has been over the past two seasons and are now cap casualties as Big Blue now looks to head into free agency with close to $75M in cap space (a few more cuts are expected as well).
Cutting Ogletree frees up $8.25M while releasing Martin adds an additional $4.8M. In total, the NY Giants gained over $13M in additional cap space today. No one figured either player had much of a chance to hang around for 2020, although some had speculated that the team would approach Ogletree about a pay cut.
Both of the moves that were made to acquire these two defenders will go down as two of Dave Gettleman’s worst moves on the job, which is really saying something. Signing Kareem Martin as a free agent to a 3/$15M deal after he averaged less than a sack per season with Arizona as a ‘pass-rush specialist’ seemed to be one of those classic Gettleman cases where he was negotiating against himself.
Too many times, Gettleman and the coaching staff attempted to bring in former Arizona Cardinal players to reunite with defensive coordinator James Bettcher. Markus Golden was the only player in that category to work out, while the other handful were complete and utter failures — Martin is the worst of that awful group.
Hopefully, Gettleman and the new staff won’t make the same mistakes with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and former Miami Dolphins (they likely won’t, as new head coach Joe Judge has been stern on the fact that he wants to create his own program and not bring in players for the sake of familiarity).
The Alec Ogletree trade will also go down as a horrific move, as the Giants actually gave up draft capital to take on his massive contract. To be fair, it was hard to find many people that didn’t like the deal at the time – myself included – as the linebacker was just a year removed from making an All-Pro team.
No one saw the type of dropoff that occurred coming, as the former Georgia Bulldog was one of the worst linebackers in the NFL during his time with Big Blue. His five interceptions (two returned for a touchdown) in 2018 masked his startingly bad play to some, but to anyone really watching it was easy to see just how much Ogletree was struggling in pass coverage.
The struggles became even more prevalent in 2019, as Ogletree ended the season having allowed a staggering 88% completions against him. You could have put a traffic cone out there and almost have gotten the same results.
It’s encouraging to see Gettleman get out in front of the cuts and make them happen early, and on the flip side, it’s just a nice thing to do for your former players as it allows them some extra time on the free agency market.
Big Blue is now armed with plenty of cap space to turn around the defense, and the unit already got better on Wednesday via addition by subtraction.