News broke on Wednesday that the New York Giants have parted ways with inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and outside linebacker Kareem Martin. By making these cuts, the Giants will be saving $13.5 million in cap space.
Ogletree must have been a tough decision for the Giants. He’s been outstanding for the last two seasons for New York. He recorded 173 tackles, two sacks, and six interceptions. These moves indicate that the Giants defense is going through a significant re-build. There are rumors floating around that New York isn’t done, and more prominent defenders may be looking for new employment before free agency rolls around. Ogletree was also selected as a defensive captain last season, so outside of a change of personnel, the Giants defense will also have new leadership.
The New York Giants had the 27th worst DVOA in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. The ranking was so poor because of their pass defense, the Giants ranked 31st in the league. The Giants run defense was actually pretty solid, New York ranked 7th overall. I assume Ogletree’s 80 tackles last season had a big part in the run defense’s success.
The Giants now have about $62 million in cap space according to Over The Cap, and they also have the fourth overall draft pick. New York is set at quarterback with Daniel Jones, so I assume that the Giants will be looking to take a big name defender out of the draft, or possibly trade down.
If the Giants do elect to take somebody with the fourth pick, there are three good options that can make a big impact to the Giants right away. Cornerback Jeff Okudah (Ohio State), Linebacker Isaiah Simmons (Clemson), and Defensive Lineman Derrick Brown (Auburn)
No matter how bad the Giants pass defense was, Ogletree is an underrated coverage man and is very athletic. Prior to his release, Ogletree was slated to be the fourth highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL, only behind Bobby Wagner (Seattle Seahawks), Kwon Alexander (San Francisco 49ers), and C.J. Mosley (New York Jets).
Ogletree still has a whole lot to give, and is probably still in a good position to receive a big pay cheque this season.
The Giants have been linked to the New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy. The Giants head coach Joe Judge was the Patriots Special Teams coordinator and wide receiver coach until he was hired by New York in January. Judge has a lot of familiarity with Van Noy, and the Giants have the cap space to pay him.
Ultimately it’s going to be tough for the Giants to replace him, and there is a lot of leadership they will need to replace, but it’s not an undoable task. The only thing we know for sure, the New York Giants Defense will look very different in 2020.