By Alex Gajovich-Protich @alexprotich
On Wednesday, Giants began their off-season moves as they released OLB/DE Kareem Martin and ILB Alec Ogletree (also released TE Scott Simonson days prior). These two players were expected to get released due to their massive contracts. Giants save around $13.05M by cutting these two players.
Ogletree comes up short:
Ogletree and Martin were big disappointing acquisitions made by GM Dave Gettleman towards the beginning of his Giants tenure. Ogletree was traded by the Rams along with a 2019 7th-round pick to the Giants for a 4th round-pick and a 6th round-pick. Ogletree’s last good season was 2016, having been nominated to a second-team All-Pro.
Ogletree’s play dipped a bit in 2017. Ogletree got the starting ILB job along with now Packers linebacker B.J. Goodson. His play got ultimately worse in 2018 with the Giants. Ogletree, though finishing the year with 5 INTs (one being returned for a TD vs Chicago), was a liability covering TEs and when forced to tackle. Years before that had been a Giants’ weakness. Many thought an improvement would be next for Ogletree the following year, however, his stats dipped even more. He only got 1 INT, compared to 5 the year prior.
Unfortunately, Ogletree’s results were the same as the year before, when it came to tackling and covering. The Giants have some (but unproven) promise in 5th round-pick LB Ryan Connelly. David Mayo and Deone Bucannon are expected to hit free agency but could be good backups. They also have the 4th pick in the draft and could get Clemson utility man Isaiah Simmons. They also have Free Agency to possibly pursue Joe Schobert or Cory Littleton.
Martin never a fit:
Martin was signed to a 3-year, $21M contract ($7.5M guaranteed) during the start of the 2018 Free Agency. This was mainly because he had played under then defensive coordinator James Bettcher in Arizona. Martin only totaled 3.5 sacks with 4 years in Arizona and 1.5 sacks in 2 years with the Giants. He was signed to implement Bettcher’s 3-4 hybrid scheme. This will go down as one of Gettleman’s worst Free Agency signings, as the pass rush continues to be a weak link on the Giants defense today.
Both moves were supposed to fix a horrid defense. But they only ended up making it worse. Others are expected to get released before free agency and the draft due to their mass contracts. Players like tight end Rhett Ellison, center Spencer Pulley, safety Antoine Bethea, and possibly offensive lineman Nate Solder. Hopefully, the Giants make these moves and use the saved money to upgrade their team and make them a contender.