When the New York Giants traded for middle linebacker Alec Ogletree on March 17, fans were hopeful for a better linebacking corps. They hoped that the Giants finally found their center piece to command the defense. However, 11 games into the 2018 season, Ogletree has not lived up to the hype.
Alec Ogletree Commands A High Price:
The Giants traded their 2018 fourth and 2019 seventh round draft picks for Ogletree. Considering the Giants received a fifth round draft pick by trading Damon Harrison, the best run stuffer in the NFL, maybe a fourth round pick for Ogletree was too much. On top of that, his cap hit next season spikes up to $11 million. This would make him the third highest-paid inside linebacker in the league next season. Alec Ogletree’s performance does not reflect that of a top three linebacker in the NFL. Thankfully, if the Giants decide to cut him next season (post-June 1st), they will save $10 million in cap space.
Below Average Performance:
Alec Ogletree is currently ranked as the 75th linebacker on Pro Football Focus with a below average grade of 43.2. Considering what the Giants gave up for Ogletree, and what they plan on paying him, this is unacceptable. This low grade comes from Ogletree’s poor play in coverage. For example, against the 49ers in week 10, Ogletree allowed tight end George Kittle to gain 83 yards on nine receptions.
In week 11, Ogletree was not assigned to pass coverage because of his play in San Francisco. Rather than play coverage, he was assigned to play run defense, but he struggled mightily there, too. The big-money linebacker played his part in allowing Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber to rush for 109 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The Giants have been allowing 125.4 rushing yards per game this season and 152.3 per game over the last three games. Their run defense is arguably their biggest weakness, and the blame for that should be carried on the shoulders of the middle linebacker.
Alec Ogletree does have a captain’s patch, and he has seemed to be an excellent leader this season. But that doesn’t excuse his poor play. The Giants can’t afford to pay top dollar for someone just to be a locker room leader. They need to pay for performance, and they need to get top level play when spending top dollar. Unfortunately, Alec Ogletree has not been giving the Giants top level performances, and this makes him a big cut-candidate next season.