New York Giants retain TE Levine Toilolo on restructured contract, but why?

New York Giants, Levine Toilolo
Sep 14, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants tight end Levine Toilolo (85) runs after a catch while Pittsburgh Steelers running back Benny Snell (24) defends during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants desperately need to cut bait with several players as they try to open up enough cap space to re-sign some of their impending free agents.

The organization wants to retain Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson, so saving as much money as possible is likely the goal ahead of free agency. However, the Giants made one interesting move on Monday afternoon, electing to restructure tight end Levine Toilolo’s contract.

Toilolo was expected to earn $2.95 million for the 2021 season. If they were to cut him, he would count zero dead money, so they would’ve saved the entirety of his contract. Instead, he restructured down significantly, and we can only imagine it was near the minimum. If he agreed to such a deal, releasing him would’ve only saved an incremental amount of money, given the top 51 cut off. Last season, Toilolo recorded just five receptions for 46 yards and played in just 27% of offensive snaps.

However, he was predominantly featured on special teams, playing in 38% of snaps. At the end of the day, saving as much money as possible would’ve indicated releasing Toilolo, so unless they brought his cap number down to the bare minimum, this deal doesn’t make much sense. We’ll find out the restructured contract in the near future, but for now, this one is a head-scratcher.