The New York Giants have a few big decisions to make this off-season regarding players and their bloated contracts. Former general manager Dave Gettleman left the team in shambles, so Joe Schoen, who was recently hired to lead the charge into the modern era for Big Blue, will have to shed some dead weight.
With that being the case, names like James Bradberry, Sterling Shepherd, and Blake Martinez bubble to the surface as potential cap cuts. The Giants already released Kyle Rudolph and Devontae Booker on Wednesday, clearing over $7M in salary space, but the team is still in the negative.
Both Shepherd and Martinez will be coming off significant injuries next season, as the Giants linebacker suffered a torn ACL, and their veteran receiver mourned an Achilles injury to end the season. Both will spend the off-season recovering and trying to make an impact in 2022.
If the Giants elect to cut both players, they would save $4.5M from Shepard‘s contract but pay nearly $8M in dead money next season and save about $8.5M from Blake Martinez’s contract, counting $5.5M in dead money. However, Schoen could enact a more productive method of reducing salaries while retaining the player at the same time.
The Giants have reportedly asked WR Sterling Shepard to take a big pay-cut next season, per Ryan Dunleavy of the NY Post:
The Giants asked receiver Sterling Shepard to take a significant pay cut in order to return on a shortened one-year contract next season, according to a league source.
If the Giants convince Shepard to reduce his salary hit significantly, they could theoretically save the $4.5M and retain him on a cheaper contract. Shepard likely won’t make an impact until the latter portion of the 2022 campaign, given the injury he sustained, but given his veteran leadership and familiarity with the team, his best bet may be to stay local. Realistically, he’s not going to earn much elsewhere, especially over multiple seasons coming off a torn Achilles.
As for Martinez, the Giants haven’t seen what he’s capable of after the torn ACL, so reducing his salary hit might be beneficial for both parties. No team is willing to add a $14 million cap hit for a player in his situation via trade, so the Giants can either cut him or lower his salary hit enough to retain him on a more cost-efficient contract. The breakeven point for the Giants would be $8.5 million for Blake. They would need to lower his salary hit next season down to about $5.5 million to make it work.