The moves make plenty of sense for the Giants, who had less than $1 million in cap space prior to the releases. The team will save roughly $8.4 million dollars by moving on from the 32-year-old wide receiver and the 27-year-old linebacker.
After signing a four-year, $37.5 million contract in 2019, Tate’s tenure with the Giants got off to a rocky start when he was suspended for four games by the NFL for violating its banned substance policy. From there, the former Super Bowl champion only put up 1,064 total yards and 8 touchdowns in two seasons with the team and started only four games in 2020. Tate was left behind for a road game during the 2020 season after his on-field antics drew the ire of coach Joe Judge.
Mayo signed a three-year, $8.4 million contract he signed with the team after putting up 82 tackles in 2019. He had only 29 tackles and started only two games in 2020. Releasing him saves the Giants $2.3 million against the cap. The Giants incur no dead money.
The release of Tate has drawn significant attention, as it was one of the major signings that Dave Gettleman has made as Giants GM. Criticized at the time for handing out a significant long-term investment to a then-30-year-old slot receiver after trading away Odell Beckham Jr., the deal looks even worse now that Tate’s time has come to a close so soon. Letting Tate go saves the Giants $6.1 million against the cap. The Giants do eat $4.7 million in dead money.
Mayo had been supplanted by the Giants’ cadre of young linebackers, including Tae Crowder, Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown. Devante Downs also played more than Mayo during 2020.
It is now up to Gettleman to figure out how best to use the money saved. While it’s most likely that to be put towards the team’s biggest upcoming free agents in defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson, the Giants must also address a depleted wide receiver room.
The Giants still have have roughly only $9 million in cap space. Thus, more moves are likely before free agency begins on March 17.