The recent release of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Shaquille Leonard has sparked speculation about whether the New York Giants should consider signing him. However, with financial constraints and a solid linebacker duo in place, it seems unlikely that Big Blue should pursue this option.
Leonard is no longer playing like his former All-Pro self
Despite being a three-time first-team All-Pro and a four-time Pro Bowler, Leonard’s performance and playing time have significantly decreased this year. The main reason for this decline can be attributed to the two back surgeries he underwent last season.
Despite being healthy this year, he has only played 70 percent of defensive snaps, a career-low. This reduction in playing time is striking when compared to his pre-injury campaigns, where he consistently played over 95 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. Such a decrease raises concerns about Leonard’s current form and ability to contribute effectively.
Leonard’s frustration became apparent as he expressed his dissatisfaction with the decrease in his playing time on multiple occasions. Even when Zaire Franklin was unavailable for one game, the Colts chose to give playing opportunities to Segun Olubi, an undrafted second-year player, instead of Leonard. This is worrisome as it suggests that the Colts lacked confidence in Leonard’s future performance.
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Adding Leonard may not be financially feasible
If the Giants were to claim Leonard off waivers, they would inherit his remaining salary of $6.11 million for the remainder of the season. This figure amounts to almost $1 million per week, which would strain Big Blue’s limited cap space.
With only around $3.9 million in cap space available, it becomes clear that adding Leonard may not be financially feasible for the struggling Giants unless they make drastic cuts to the roster.
The Giants already have a formidable LB duo
While the allure of reuniting Leonard with his former teammate Bobby Okereke might be enticing, Big Blue may not necessarily require another linebacker at this point in the season. Micah McFadden and Okereke have been performing exceptionally well throughout the year, forming a formidable duo.
Furthermore, considering the Giants’ overall record of 3-8 takes them out of playoff contention, it might be more sensible for them to relinquish Leonard to a contending team in need of linebacker depth. This would not only benefit Leonard but also give the Giants an opportunity to focus on developing their current duo more.