New York Giants cut Golden Tate and David Mayo to clear cap space

New York Giants, Golden Tate

The New York Giants have made their first big cuts of the offseason. With free agency just weeks away, New York has made moves to clear up cap space. According to Ian Rapoport, the Giants released wide receiver Golden Tate and linebacker David Mayo tonight.

Both of these moves were expected, but they are now official. Cutting Golden Tate freed up $6.2 million in salary-cap space for the Giants. Cutting David Mayo freed up $2.3 million in salary-cap space. With these two moves, the Giants have made $8.5 million in cap space available to themselves for free agency.

Golden Tate was the Giants’ big free-agent signing in the 2019 offseason. Tate was brought in to replace Odell Beckham Jr.’s production but never met those expectations. Golden spent two seasons with the Giants, totaling 84 receptions for 1,064 yards and 8 touchdowns. Tate’s dead cap hit in 2021 will be around $4.7 million.

The Giants cut David Mayo from a very team-friendly contract. Mayo leaves behind $0 in dead cap. He also spent only two seasons with the Giants, signing in 2019. He was a starter for most of the 2019 season, totaling 82 combined tackles and 2 sacks. But, fighting through injuries in 2020, Mayo’s impact lessened to 29 combined tackles, 2 starts, and only 11 games played.

The Giants found a gem in Tae Crowder at the end of the 2020 NFL Draft. The team is presumably comfortable moving ahead with Crowder beside Blake Martinez. At wide receiver, it is no secret that the Giants are in the market for a new offensive weapon. The writing was on the wall for Golden Tate, especially after his public, off-the-field drama with the coaching staff in the middle of the 2020 regular season.

The 2021 offseason is heating up. Expect to see plenty more cuts around the league. With the salary cap expected to drop this year, teams will be releasing veterans to free up as much space as possible. The Giants might not be done making cuts ahead of the New League Year. The Giants have a couple of impending free agents to extend this offseason in Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams. They also have some holes to fill on both sides of the ball. The New York Giants were already over the salary cap, but these moves will bring them under and prepare them for free agency.

New York Giants: David Mayo returns from injured reserve ahead of Sunday game

New York Giants, David Mayo

The New York Giants may be without Sterling Shepard for their Sunday game against Washington, but they do have one player making a possible return: David Mayo. Mayo hasn’t played at all this season but has been an important return that the team has been waiting on. That’s because Mayo was projected as a starting middle linebacker, and the Giants already cut Mayo’s competitor Ryan Connelly.

However, the Giants’ website has announced that the Giants have both activated Mayo and expect him to play on Sunday. Obviously, this is an injury return that matters for the team. Blake Martinez, a middle linebacker, is one of the biggest additions of the offseason. But the player starting next to Martinez is a bit less certain.

Of the inside linebackers for the Giants, there’s a massive gap in performance between Martinez and the others at the position. Martinez already has 50 tackles, which goes to show his large role through the first five games. On the other hand, Devante Downs has 9 tackles and Tae Crowder has 8.

With that being said, it’s hard to expect more from either player. The Giants selected Crowder with the last pick of the Draft, so his usual performance is already better than usual for most drafted at that spot. Downs, on the other hand, was brought up from the practice squad originally and doesn’t have so much experience playing in an active role.

We don’t know what speed Mayo will be playing at after coming back from injury, but having a more experienced player in a starting role should be a boost for the Giants defense in an important area.

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers missed practice, could still return Sunday

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants don’t need more long term injuries this season, but Jabrill Peppers still has a questionable injury status. The safety who was injured in the blowout loss on Sunday didn’t practice on Wednesday. But his condition isn’t bad enough that the staff have ruled him out for the next game. As of now, it’s a tossup whether Peppers will play or not.

Peppers has a low ankle sprain but the length that this injury puts someone out can vary. On the lower end of the spectrum it can see a player bounce back in a week, but on the higher end it may put someone out for several months. It depends on the severity of the injury, and the Giants haven’t revealed the specific situation for Peppers.

Still, the fact that Peppers hasn’t been officially ruled out tells us that there’s at least a chance of a comeback for the Rams game. With the Giants set to take on a 2-1 team that scored over 30 points in each of their last two appearances, there’s an incentive to get Peppers back on the field for this one.

Linebacker David Mayo was also absent in practice and Joe Judge was noncommittal when asked about his recovery.

“It’s not official yet right now. He’s with the trainers. We still have a couple days to get it. I don’t anticipate seeing him practicing today,” Judge said to the media on Wednesday.

With other players such as Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard already sitting out for varying lengths of time due to injury, the Giants will need as many healthy players as possible to have a chance at bouncing back this year. It remains to be seen if Mayo and Peppers will be healthy come Sunday.

Giants Injury News: Mayo Eligible to Return This Week

New York Giants, David Mayo

The New York Giants linebacking corps could get a boost this week as David Mayo (knee) becomes eligible to return to the active roster fro m injured reserve.

Mayo has been on IR since Sept. 6 after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee during training camp. Under the new injury rules, players are eligible to return after three games and should the team choose to bring them back to practice, they have 21 days to activate them to the 53-man roster.

Head coach Judge said they could have a decision on Mayo as early as Tuesday.

Mayo played in all 16 games and started in the last 13 games replacing the injured Ryan Connelly. Mayo was second on the Giants with a career-high 80 tackles (50 solo), including two sacks.

“We’ll kind of look and see where that goes,” head coach Joe Judge said. “He’s with the trainers. I know he’s been working hard. I see him around the building. I don’t get a lot of time with him on the grass, but they say he’s working his butt off every day and improving on a daily basis. We have to look and see where he’s at. For us, it’s in his best interest to make sure that when we start that 21-day clock, that he’s in a position that he’s not going to have any setbacks that would take him past that 21-day clock. I want to make sure we do the right thing by him by not rushing him back before he’s fully ready, and that would keep him possibly off the field for the entire year. I want to make sure we go ahead and do right by him.”

Two other injuries to watch are safety Jabrill Peppers (ankle) and left tackle Andrew Thomas. Peppers turned his ankle on a special teams during a 49ers’ field goal attempt in the first quarter and did not return.

Thomas came out of the game during the final series and was replaced by another rookie, Matt Peart. Judge did not disclose if there was any physical issue with Thomas.

“I’d say with Andrew, you guys asked about him yesterday, he did finish the game,” Judge said. “There was nothing significant to really go over today with the trainers. Jabrill, I don’t have a timetable on him for anything. We’re going to evaluate him day to day. We’ll see where he is. He had that lower leg. They’re going through a couple more things with the doctor this afternoon, but it looks like it could go either way at this point right here.”

 

New York Giants Officially Move Two Important Players To Injured Reserve

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney

The New York Giants have made a flurry of roster moves during the past week but one of the most notable is moving two players to injured reserve. We all knew that Xavier McKinney and David Mayo were injured, but now that they’re on the IR list, the possible timeline for a recovery is becoming more clear.

Mayo out for a few weeks, McKinney out for longer

Based on the current rules the players are able to come back after three weeks because of being placed on the IR list while also being on the team’s 53 man roster. However, only one player will actually come back during that time span. The Giants seem to be lucky with the injury to David Mayo, because a fast recovery within a few weeks is expected.

McKinney, on the other hand, is worse off. Safety Xavier McKinney was supposed to be an impact player in the secondary. But with a broken bone in his foot, he may miss the entire year. Even if he’s not out the whole time, it will definitely be later in the season before the Giants get him back.

By then, the team may want to keep him on the bench rather than throwing him into the metaphorical fire quickly.

The Giants will miss Mayo for the first couple games of the season most likely, even if he can return from the IR list later. The Giants strangely enough cut Mayo’s top competitor, Ryan Connelly, so it looks like it might just be up to relative unknowns like Devante Downs and T.J. Brunson to man the spot until Mayo is healthy again.

New York Giants: Replacing Ryan Connelly After Strange Cut Decision

New York Giants, David Mayo

The New York Giants made their cuts to reach their 53 man roster recently, and Ryan Connelly isn’t on the list of players being kept. It’s kind of a strange decision, because Connelly was expected to compete for a starting spot next to Blake Martinez. And last season before his injury, it looked like Connelly was going to be a top defensive name on the team in his rookie year.

However, all that went up in smoke when the Giants made their cuts and decided Connelly wasn’t good enough. Perhaps it’s because of taking too long to bounce back from the injury properly, but it seems quick for the Giants to give up on a promising player like this. Especially when David Mayo’s injury brings uncertainty to the position.

Who exactly will fill the role that Connelly may have had if his recovery was successful?

Last year’s option, David Mayo

It looks like the Giants are going to rely on one of the players that manned the position last season, David Mayo.

But things are a bit more complicated because Mayo is out with a knee injury right now. That’s one of the reasons it’s so surprising the Giants moved on from Connelly very quickly. Mayo, however, may have gotten lucky with the injury and could make a quick return rather than miss a long period of the season.

Mayo isn’t exactly a bad option, and while he doesn’t look like a player with the breakout potential Connelly showed, he did have 82 tackles last season and isn’t going to actively hurt the Giants at linebacker.

The other option, however, is less certain.

The newcomer, Devante Downs

There’s some talk that Devante Downs was one of the players in direct competition with Connelly, and that the Giants must favor Downs if they cut his rival.

That may be the case, but it’s hard to put too much stock into Devante Downs just yet. Likely, the team isn’t thinking of him as the main option either. Maybe a stopgap before Mayo is back, but not a primary option after that.

That’s not because Downs is a bad player, but because he’s simply inexperienced. He only has 3 total tackles in the NFL. With no track record like this, it’s kind of asking a lot to throw a player like Downs right into the middle of things.

If he’s performing well in camp, Downs should get some kind of shot. But it’s a safer bet to give him time in the rotation first and let him gain some experience while others do the heavy lifting as starters.

With that being said, it’s not uncommon for linebackers to substitute often, so we might see Downs get a decent share of time on the field.

New York Giants: Xavier McKinney’s Career Is Not Doomed After Fifth Metatarsal Fracture

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney

The New York Giants were hit with bad injury news last week, losing two key pieces on their defense. Rookie safety Xavier McKinney and starting linebacker David Mayo were both announced injured. Mayo is expected to miss a few weeks with a meniscus trim, but McKinney is expected to be out much longer.

Xavier McKinney suffered a fractured left foot injury. More specifically, McKinney fractured his fifth metatarsal, the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe.

This type of injury is fairly common. Many athletes have suffered this injury, some being pretty big-names. McKinney is expected to miss at least two months as he recovers from this injury. But many fans are concerned that Xavier will not be the same player when he returns. Hakeem Nicks, one of the Giants’ best wide receivers in the Eli Manning-era, suffered the same injury and never returned to the same level he was once capable of. Is Xavier McKinney’s career also doomed by this injury?

How Other NFL Players Have Recovered From This Injury:

Xavier McKinney is not the first player to ever suffer a fractured fifth metatarsal. In fact, a few big-name NFL players have also suffered the same injury and made full recoveries.

Julio Jones

Julio Jones broke his foot in 2013, playing in only five games that season. Since then, Jones has dominated the NFL. Coming back from that injury, Jones was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2014. He was then selected as a First-Team All-Pro in the following 2015 and 2016 seasons. Julio has not missed the Pro Bowl in a season since 2013. Julio Jones made a full recovery from this injury (suffered in his third season) and cemented himself as one of the best wide receivers in NFL history over the course of a career that has not yet ended.

Marvin Jones

Another wide receiver, another Jones, Marvin also made a full recovery from the same injury. During his time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Marvin Jones fractured his fifth metatarsal in 2014. Jones missed the entirety of the 2014 season with this injury. But the following season, Marvin played in all 16 games and put up 816 yards on 65 receptions. Jones is still in the league, providing quality performances from the slot for the Detroit Lions, all these years removed from a fractured fifth metatarsal.

Ben Roethlisberger

Not just wide receivers have recovered from fractured feet. The sport’s most valuable position is not immune to injuries. Long-time Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is another one on the list of star NFL players who have recovered from a fractured fifth metatarsal.

Big Ben broke his big foot in 2010. Ben suffered the injury towards the end of the year, so he only missed the final four games of the season. But this was not an injury that Ben carried into 2011, or throughout the rest of his career. Roethlisberger returned to start in 15 games in 2011 and make one of his six career Pro Bowls. Ben Roethlisberger has continued to stand on that foot in the pocket and deliver big-time throws over the past ten years.

Stephon Tuitt

Moving to the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers have another solid player to add to this list. Stephon Tuitt, one of the NFL’s most consistent defensive tackles of the last six years, also suffered a fractured foot at one point. This situation could be the most comparable to Xavier McKinney, too, because of the timing of Tuitt’s injury.

Stephon was drafted in 2014, but he did not participate in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine due to a fracture in his fifth metatarsal. Tuitt suffered this injury in college and, subsequently, played a very limited role in his rookie season. Tuitt appeared in all 16 games, starting 4 of them, but he only played 40% of the Steelers’ defensive snaps.

The next season, Tuitt’s role expanded as he played 79% of the defense’s snaps. Tuitt is still one of the Steelers’ starting defensive lineman, to this day. He did suffer another injury in 2019, missing ten games, but this injury was unrelated to his foot injury. Tuitt tore his pec in 2019.

Derwin James

Another player to compare Xavier McKinney to is Derwin James. After a dominant, All-Pro rookie season in 2018, Derwin James suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal during training camp in 2019. James missed the first twelve weeks of the 2019 NFL season. This is the timetable expected for McKinney. He should be back around Week 13 for the Giants.

Derwin returned to the Chargers’ starting lineup in Week 13. He was not limited in any way, playing 98% of the team’s defensive snaps in Weeks 13 and 14, then 100% of the snaps in Weeks 15, 16, and 17. Of course, as it would be expected, Derwin James was not the dominant player in those final five games that he was in his rookie season- he had some rust to oil off. But Derwin was still playing at a high level after returning from this injury.

Derwin James earned an 82.3 overall grade by Pro Football Focus in those final five games, making him one of the highest-graded safeties of the 2019 NFL season. Granted, he only played 299 snaps, but he was still a solid player during that time frame. Derwin James recovered from the fractured fifth metatarsal injury and returned to form in only twelve weeks.

What Does This Mean For Xavier McKinney?

Xavier McKinney’s career is not doomed by his foot injury. Many Giants fans were scared when they first heard the news of McKinney’s fractured foot. Hearing the term “fifth metatarsal” gave them flashbacks to Hakeem Nicks and his injury from 2012. But Hakeem is just one example of a player who suffered this injury. Many other players have suffered the same injury, fully recovered, and gone on to continue successful careers.

Even at the safety position, Derwin James recovered and made an impact towards the end of the 2019 season. McKinney and James have a similar playing-style, too. Giants fans will see Xavier McKinney suit up this season, barring unforeseen complications. But the likely outcome in this situation is that Xavier McKinney fully recovers from this injury and goes on to have a successful career for the New York Giants.

New York Giants might have gotten lucky with David Mayo injury (report)

New York Giants, David Mayo

Wednesday brought a lot of bad news in the sports world, ranging from New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney’s fractured foot to the New York Yankees being tortured by the Atlanta Braves in a doubleheader. There wasn’t much positive news to spread, but the Giants might have received some good news with linebacker David Mayo.

The NFL regular season starts in about three weeks, September 14, specifically for the Giants. On Wednesday, McKinney was diagnosed with a fractured foot and underwent surgery. However, it will keep them out for at least 12-14 weeks of the regular season and potentially the entire campaign. This will set him back significantly in his development and could be a lingering issue down the road.

In a more positive light, a fracture can oftentimes be better than ligament damage. Bone can heal 100% while ligaments never return to the same strength. Nonetheless, second-year player Julian Love will likely become an immediate starter at free safety to replace McKinney.

Mayo, who will undergo a meniscus trim, could return for week two of the regular season, given he has enough practice reps and feels comfortable. Otherwise, the Giants might move forward with players currently on the roster. That would give options like Devante Downs and potentially Ryan Connelly all of the reps to start the year. The top middle linebacker will undoubtedly be Blake Martinez, who signed a three-year contract with the Giants this off-season.

According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the hope is that McKinney will be back after the bye week, which is approximately three months after surgery. That would put McKinney in the running to return after the Giants week 12 by week. That is the best-case scenario and if everything goes well with the surgery and his rehabilitation.

Despite these injuries, head coach Joe Judge indicated that he will move forward with the players he has available, and his only concern is that everyone continues to work hard and progress as a team.

“Xavier is a guy for us who’s making a tremendous amount of improvement,” coach Joe Judge said. “Look, we’re still looking forward to getting him back out there on the field. I’m not a doctor, I don’t have that timetable. I’m going to let those guys handle that. My only concern at this point is that he continues to work as hard as he can to get back on the field, and that we continue to develop him as a coaching staff, mentally, that he makes progress within the situational awareness and overall understanding of our schemes and the league tendencies in his time off the field.”

It is important to be aware of the rebuild currently underway, and the Giants still have a long way to go before they can be a competitive team in the NFL

New York Giants lose Xavier McKinney and David Mayo to injury

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney

It is 2020 after all. The New York Giants couldn’t escape the injury bug before the regular season even started, with second-round pick Xavier McKinney fracturing his left foot and reserve linebacker David Mayo picking up a torn meniscus.

McKinney, who is expected to be a focal point on defense in the secondary, will now miss significant time before making his debut. It is possible he will miss the entire 2020 season, as he will undergo surgery on Wednesday with foot specialist Dr. Martin O’Malley.

The Alabama product has looked stellar during training camp so far, forcing several turnovers and exciting the defense with his quality of play. In 2019 with the Crimson Tide, he racked up seven turnovers and displayed a keen ability to move up to the line of scrimmage and play well against the run as well as act as a ball hawk.

As for Mayo, he will undergo surgery on Thursday, after spending his first season with the Giants in 2019. The six-year veteran played in all 16 games for Big Blue, including 13 starts after rookie Ryan Connolly went down with a torn ACL. He had a career-best 80 tackles and earned 2.0 sacks.

The New York Giants are already thin on defense:

Losing these two players is a significant hit to an already thin defense. The secondary is missing a starter at the number two corner position and now free safety is up for grabs. However, young defender Julian Love will supplement the loss of McKinney at free safety, as he’s been working primarily there with the Giants during padded practices.

As for a middle linebacker, the Giants signed Blake Martinez with a three-year deal to act as one of their starters. With Mayo now scheduled to miss significant time, the hopes are that Connelly can regain his health and be ready for the start of the regular season in three weeks.

The New York Giants are taking a risky approach at linebacker

New York Giants, Ryan Connelly

The New York Giants are taking a risk at linebacker in 2020, but the rebuild makes it necessary: 

The New York Giants are still in the middle of a full roster rebuild, and expecting every unit to play at a high-level is unrealistic. With a second-year quarterback and an entirely new secondary, Big Blue will face its fair share of troubles in 2020, but improvement is all we are asking for.

While some positions theoretically got better, the linebacker corps is still very unpredictable and lacks elite talent. The Giants went out and signed former Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez, who brings experience as the MIKE linebacker who can stop the run and contain big plays. Martinez was often utilized in a vilifying scheme, noting that Green Bay didn’t value the middle linebacker position too much. He was forced to play zone coverage, Which affected his pass protection grades and efficiency.

The veteran defender will hopefully be an improvement over Alec Ogletree, but we won’t know until the regular season comes around, and we see his fit in the new defensive scheme, orchestrated by Patrick Graham.

The riskier spot is next to Martinez, where Ryan Connelly and a bevy of other players will compete for starting reps. The Giants seem optimistic that Connelly will return from a torn ACL in 2019 and play at a high-level. In four games, he posted 20 combine tackles, 1.0 sack, 2 passes offended, and 2 interceptions. He looked fantastic in a limited sample size, and if he can return to full health, Connelly will be the favorite to pair with Martinez at weakside linebacker.

Behind Connelly and Martinez is David Mayo, who signed a three year, $8.4 million deal this offseason. Mayo is a solid depth piece who can stop the run efficiently, but he is poor in coverage. Mayo played in 16 games for the Giants last year, tallying 52 solo tackles, 82 combined, 2.0 sacks, and allowed 19 completions on 29 targets, compiling a 65.5% completion rate against. One category he improved significantly in was his missed tackles. In 2018, he missed 26.3% of his tackles, which decreased more than 15% to 10.9% in 2019.

The Giants don’t have elite talent at linebacker — they have serviceable players that can hold down the fort while they continue to rebuild the roster. I anticipate they will look to bring in another player next year in the middle rounds of the draft or free agency, depending on how Connelly turns out. For now, we can expect them to enjoy some improvement after the replacement of Ogletree.