The Giants had a large void to fill at the inside linebacker position and the Rams were shopping Ogletree who is still in the prime years of his career at 27 years old. The Rams signed Alec to a 4-year, $42M extension and then traded him to the Giants 5 months later.
The Giants not only gave up draft picks in the 2019 NFL Draft but agreed to take on his contract averaging over $10M per season. This was a large investment by the Giants and they arguably overpaid, but where do the Giants go from here?
Alec Ogletree is paid as a top-shelf linebacker. The only two linebackers who have a larger salary per year are Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner. There is a huge gap in production between the Giants’ MIC defender and those two linebackers.
The Giants still have $18M in total guaranteed money to pay Ogletree over the next 3 seasons. If they decide to release him, they would have a significant amount of dead money against the salary cap.
Alec Ogletree has always been known to make big plays since his days as a Georgia Bulldog. While he’s the type of player who makes big plays, he gives up big plays as well. In 2018 he’s continued to struggle with inconsistency and in coverage, but he hasn’t played poorly overall. He has 78 combined tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 4 quarterback hits, 6 pass deflections, and 4 interceptions through 12 games. His play has also picked up recently, in the last 5 games he has 34 combined tackles, 1 sack, 3 quarterback hits, and 3 interceptions. One of his interceptions came in the team’s only win before their bye-week against the Texans in week 3.
Ogletree’s play might be up and down, but his consistency comes off the field as a leader. He’s always seen trying to lift the team’s spirits throughout games and always has the right things to say publicly. This makes him valuable to the team in an intangible way as well.
What’s next after 2018?
The Giants might be overpaying the linebacker based on market value, but they would be in a far worse position next year if they released Ogletree without any reliable depth behind him. If the team could successfully negotiate a pay-cut that would be ideal. If not they are better off keeping a solid player for a few extra million per year.