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Giants’ 90-man roster: Is LB Alec Ogletree really worth the money?

Let’s look beyond his five 2018 interceptions

New York Giants v Washington Redskins
Alec Ogletree returning an interception.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

When New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman swung a 2018 offseason trade to get Alec Ogletree it looked like a symbol that the Giants new regime was going to change the long-running tradition with the Giants of treating the linebacker position like an afterthought.

Subsequent personnel moves make you wonder if that is really the case. In terms of judging Ogletree, though, that is really neither here nor there. What is really important to decipher is whether or not Ogletree is worth the big salary the Giants are paying him.

When the Giants acquired Ogletree they took on his four-year, $42.75 million contract. The Giants adjusted the deal, but Ogletree still carried a $4.75 million cap hit a year ago and will carry a massive $11.75 million cap hit this season.

Let’s discuss Ogletree’s worth to the Giants as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 235
Age: 27
Position: Inside linebacker
Experience: 6

How he got here

The Giants got Ogletree and a seventh-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for fourth- and sixth-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. They needed inside linebacker help, and they need a veteran “alpha” to be the leader on defense as they installed a new system. They hoped Ogletree, who took over defensive signal-calling from B.J. Goodson, would provide both.

Ogletree produced a career-high five interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. In 13 games he had 93 tackles, 7.15 per game. He had eight passes defensed, a sack and four quarterback hits. Nice enough numbers. But ...

Per Pro Football Focus, Ogletree’s 50.6 grade was 53rd among 57 qualifying inside linebackers. He missed 16 tackles, eighth-worst among qualifying linebackers. Despite the five interceptions, his coverage grade was 50th. His run defense graded was 52nd. His overall PFF numbers were, in fact, the worst grades of his career.

So, the five interceptions and two TDs look nice. The deeper numbers, though, not so nice.

2019 outlook

What will the Giants get from Ogletree this season? Probably pretty much what they got last year, and what the Rams got from him before that. We know what Ogletree is at this point in his career.

He makes some plays, but his PFF numbers consistently show that he isn’t great in coverage and he misses too many tackles.

The larger question is whether or not Ogletree will be a Giant beyond 2019. After this season there will be no more guaranteed salary left on Ogletree’s contract, and if they moved on from him they would only be on the hook for $3.5 million in pro-rated bonus money due from last season’s contract adjustment.

The guess here is that the Giants do that, especially if fifth-round pick Ryan Connelly or any of the other young linebackers bidding to make the roster show promise.