The Houston Texans are waiving linebacker Zach Cunningham, who led the NFL in solo tackles (106) and combined tackles (164) a season ago. Should the New York Giants make a claim on the 27-year-old Cunningham.
Doing so would make sense for a number of reasons.
The Giants are without inside linebacker and defense captain Blake Martinez for the remainder of the season. The Giants, cap-strapped in 2022, face an offseason decision on Martinez. He carries a $14.025 million cap hit next season, and the Giants could save $$8.525 million in cap space by cutting him.
The Giants have been using 2020 seventh-round pick Tae Crowder, and journeymen Reggie Ragland and Benardrick McKinney at linebacker. Crowder, who plays virtually every snap as the team’s defensive signal caller, has the lowest defensive grade on the team, per Pro Football Focus, at just 28.1. McKinney and Ragland are veteran stop-gaps.
Cunningham had 107, 142 and 164 tackles in his previous three seasons.
Cunningham has only 67 tackles in 10 games this season. NFL.com reported that Cunningham was inactive for Houston in Week 13 after being late for a COVID-19 test, and that the Texans had disciplined the 2017 second-round pick “a few times this year.”
Claiming Cunningham would work financially for the Giants. While Cunningham signed a four-year, $58 million contract ($23.5 million guaranteed) with Houston, Field Yates reported that a claiming team would owe Cunningham only $275K for this season and that Cunningham has no guaranteed money coming to him in 2022.
The 4-8 Giants are currently seventh in waiver wire priority, same at their 2022 draft status. Would you like to see the Giants take a flier on Cunningham, perhaps at least allowing him an end-of-season audition?