Chris Canty was surprised on Tuesday night when he received the news that the New York Giants had released veteran linebacker Michael Boley.
Canty called it "tough news."
We knew that there were going to have to be changes. Certainly the way we performed down the stretch, changes are necessary," Canty said. "This football team did not play up to its potential, we didn't play together, and we gotta find a way to fix that.
Could Canty be one of the dominoes to fall as the Giants revamp a defense that has disappointed for much of the past two seasons?
The 30-year-old eight-year veteran has two years and $13.75 million remaining on the six-year, $42 million free-agent contract he signed with the Giants in 2009. Spotrac says Canty's cap hit for 2013, between his $6.25 million base salary and bonuses, will be will $8.2 million.
Canty played only nine games in 2012, missing the first half of the season after a lengthy recovery following off-season knee surgery.
In those nine games, however, Canty was productive. He had three sacks, five quarterback hits, four hurries, 25 tackles, 16 stops (plays causing an offensive failure) and a +6.6 Pro Football Focus rating (3rd on the Giants defense) in only 300 snaps.
A few comparisons from the Giants' roster.
Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard -- In 396 snaps, Bernard had one sack, seven pressures (hits/hurries combined) and 15 stops.
Defensive end Justin Tuck -- In 662 snaps, Tuck had four sacks, 28 pressures and 24 stops.
Defensive tackles Markus Kuhn and Marvin Austin combined -- In 276 snaps, the duo had zero sacks, two pressures, 11 tackles and five stops.
Those numbers illustrate that Canty's play was not part of the problem in 2012 -- the fact that he didn't play enough was.
Could the Giants decide they don't want to pay him nearly $15 million in salary and bonuses over the next two seasons and release him? Sure they could. Canty does not expect that, however. To be honest, neither do I.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm a New York Giant and I plan on being a New York Giant two more seasons," Canty said. "That's my contract, and I plan on honoring my contract."
More likely, from this vantage point, would be that the Giants might seek some cap relief by re-structuring Canty's contract.
As the Giants revamp their defense in 2013 the essential question with Canty comes down to this -- has he been part of the problem, or is he part of the solution? I believe he is part of the solution.
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