NY Giants inside-linebacker David Mayo ended up playing a much bigger role with the team than anyone thought in 2019, but did his play warrant his recent contract extension?
Before we begin, it’s worth mentioning that I’m amongst the biggest sticklers when it comes to the salary cap, positional value and not having the back-end of your roster filled with ‘solid special-teams guys’ that you’ll ever find. So from the jump, I was probably never going to like the NY Giants locking up David Mayo ahead of free agency.
To his credit, Mayo filled in somewhat admirably for a depleted Giants defense in 2019 on his way to starting 13 games. Originally drafted by Dave Gettleman in Carolina in 2015, his former GM brought him back to his current organization after he was cut by the San Fransisco 49ers.
Mayo’s overall statistics were not terrible — 82 tackles (52 solo), 5 tackles-for-loss, and 2 sacks. However, he was a major liability in pass coverage; so much so, that it’s really almost impossible to use him on any down where a pass could happen (which is just about every down in today’s NFL). He lacks any type of fluidity in his hips and is more of a try-hard player that can help in the run game but is overmatched athletically every time he’s on the field.
So, knowing this, the terms had to be very minimal, right? Wrong. First off, Gettleman felt the need to sign him to a three-year deal which is very questionable in its own right. The total value of the deal comes out to $8.4M ($2.7 per year), which by no means is going to hamstring the NY Giants’ salary cap in years to come, but still, why overpay when you don’t need to?
There was simply no rush to make this deal. It’s highly unlikely that Mayo would receive this type of deal on the open market, and if he did, great — let him walk. The shrewd GM’s in this league care about every last dollar on their salary cap, and paying a fourth-string linebacker that can’t reasonably ever be a starter on a competent defense almost $3M per season over three years is not good business.
Again, is this earth-shattering? No, not in the least bit. However, it brings us back to one of Gettleman’s scary roster-building tendencies which is to fill his depth players with high-character (which Mayo surely is), high-effort guys that are simply not good football players.
We saw how that worked out in 2019, as injuries are unavoidable in this league.
So while I’ll likely be told I’m overreacting and complaining (as usual, and maybe I am), I would have much rather seen the team use one of its 10 draft picks on a high-upside young linebacker that could actually possible contribute to the regular lineup.
Special teams have become so much less important since the kickoff rule changes, and all of the people parroting that Mayo is a “solid special-teamer) likely couldn’t even tell you what his responsibilities on specials were, or what he did that was so good (he mainly played on field goal unit, only had 2 special teams tackles and played just over 50% of ST snaps — anyone else could have done the same).
Again, this move is unlikely to have any lasting effect on the NY Giants. But still, when your first two moves of the offseason are to retain two underwhelming players that offer almost nothing on offense or defense – Elijahh Penny being the other – to multi-year contracts above their market value (which is almost nothing), it’s disappointing.
The good news is we’ll hopefully be talking about signing real impact players as soon as tomorrow, and no one will have to worry about hearing me complaining about us retaining underwhelming players — at least for a little bit.
GMENHQ Grade: D