Let the Cap Casualties Begin…
The Giants began their quest to clear money today with the releases of Tight End Kyle Rudolph and Running Back Devontae Booker. These were undoubtedly moves that had to be made. Since Joe Schoen has taken the job as Giants GM, he has made it clear that there were going to be, “tough decisions”, when it comes to getting the Giants under the cap. Two of the players that are being thrown around as part of these tough decisions are Cornerback James Bradberry and Middle Linebacker Blake Martinez. These two are unfortunately two of the Giants best players. In order to gain the money they need, it will be extremely difficult to keep both on the 2022 roster unless they took payouts or contracts were restructured, which Schoen has already called a last resort. Before the Giants cut ties with two of their foundational pieces, I think it’s important they look back to a cut they made last year to truly understand the possible implications.
Like this year, tough decisions had to be made last year in order to free up some money for Big Blue. In order to get under the cap in 2021, the Giants released guard Kevin Zeitler, who was their most consistent, and arguably their best lineman. The Giants knew this, but they cleared $12 million dollars by moving on from the veteran guard. Zeitler went on to sign with the Ravens and have a great season for the them, while the Giants once again fielded one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines. Just about a year after his release, the Giants will more than likely be looking for one, and maybe even two starting guards. What does this have to do with the 2021 Giants?
It has to do with the Giants weighing the money they would save vs. the production of the player they are releasing to save that money.
James Bradberry came to the Giants two years ago and was one of the NFL’s best corners. Last year, he did not have the same year as his first, but was still a very good corner. If the Giants were to cut/trade Bradberry they would save somewhere between $12.1 to $13.5 million dollars (depending on if it were pre/post June 1st). But if they were to trade/cut him, who would start opposite James Bradberry? It could be last years 3rd round pick, Aaron Robinson, but I don’t think he is ready for that role yet. We saw last year the Giants bet on their young offensive line with the release of Zeitler and that did not turn out well. Bradberry is a good productive player that would be very hard to replace, which is why I think it is necessary to keep him on the 2022 roster.
Like Bradberry, Blake Martinez had himself a very good 2020. Coming into last season, he was expected to build on his first year. He unfortunately tore his ACL in week 3 and was lost for the season. The Giants defense no doubt felt the loss of Martinez, especially in the run game. Although I would love to see Martinez back, I think he has to go. Replacing him would no doubt leave a hole in the Giants defense. But if you’re asking me which position I would rather try to replace, corner or MLB, I would have to go with linebacker. That is why I think Martinez unfortunately needs to go. Martinez is coming off a torn ACL, and the $8.5 million dollars the Giants would save by cutting or trading him (if he has a market) is something they desperately need right now.
Look I’m not a cap expert or a film buff. But I’ve watched every Giants game for the last 15 years and I know how hard it is to find good players. Blake Martinez and James Bradberry are good players, and Kevin Zeitler taught us last year what losing a good player can do to a team. That is why the Giants can’t afford to lose both of these guys. One has to go, and that man has to be Blake Martinez.
In a perfect world, they would both be suiting up in Blue next year, but unless one of them takes a pay cut, I don’t think that is going to happen.
(Photo: Steven Ryan/Getty Images)