Posted by Alexis Celluro | Featured Columnist
As the offseason continues, so do the rumors. Again, this one involves the New York Giants defense.
This week, the message boards have been buzzing with the thought that the Giants may cut linebacker Jon Beason and defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka in an effort to free up some cap space.
Releasing Beason and Kiwi frees up 3.8 million and 4.8 million dollars in cap space, respectively. The thought is that by cutting their losses here, Big Blue may have enough money to resign a couple of their big name free agents (think Antrel Rolle, or even Jason Pierre-Paul).
Now, it has been stressed that keeping Antrel Rolle in New York is key to starting off the new defense under Steve Spagnuolo on the right foot. Rolle’s consistency, leadership and veteran presence make it a huge priority to get him under contract, and soon. And, at the right price, having Jason Pierre-Paul back in blue next season is also ideal.
By letting go of Beason, Kiwi, or even both of them, the Giants may have enough money to appease both Rolle and JPP.
Let’s take a quick look at why this move makes sense.
Kiwanuka has not been the same player since he suffered a serious neck injury back in 2010. Although his best season came in 2011, he had his three worst seasons in the following years. Last season, he had only 28 tackles. Keeping him costs the team a little over 7 million dollars- and it is not worth it.
Beason, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated of a case. He was a steal when he came to the Giants from the Panthers via trade back in 2013. His presence was felt immediately, and teammates pinned the defense’s mid-season turnaround on him. He had 93 tackles in just 12 games with the team. However, Beason’s track record of injuries is a bit of a liability. He was a non-factor this past season after undergoing surgery on his right toe and being placed on IR.
Personally, I think letting Kiwanuka go is a good move. At almost 32 years old, he only has one season left on his contract, anyway. I’m not sure it’s worth the money it will cost to keep him around for one more year.
But, I’m a bit torn on Beason. While he has not yet shown he can stay healthy for an entire season, he has shown that he can breathe life into an otherwise limp Giants defense. Beason is the kind of player I can see Spags relying on to be an extension of himself on the field, much the same way he used Antonio Pierce back in the day. I also think having both Beason and Rolle back together provides a solid veteran presence, as well as some much-needed attitude, to this defense. I don’t think it is unrealistic to think that Beason will restructure his contract to take a pay cut, and free up some money in that way.
Regardless, there will have to be some sort of roster changes made in order to secure some of our own free agents, before they Giants look around the league, or look to the draft for answers on defense.