New York Giants veteran wide receiver Sterling Shepard is reportedly the latest victim in a series of salary cap moves by the team this week.
Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post reports that the Giants have asked Shepard to take a pay cut and return on a shortened one-year contract next season. The new salary would reportedly be close to the league minimum of $1.035 million, which is a significant cut from his base salary of $8.475 million. Shepard still has two years remaining on his contract but this deal would wipe out the final year, allowing Shepard to hit the free agency market sooner.
Shepard is in the process of recovering from a torn Achilles that he suffered in December. The longest-tenured Giant is set to carry a $12.495 million cap charge into the 2022 season. The Giants would clear just $4.505 million of that space by cutting him. None of Shepard’s $8.475 million base salary is guaranteed, and so a pay cut benefits both parties moving forward in case Shepard is not at full strength at the start of the season.
At this point, Shepard could be ready to play by the start of the regular season but is likely to miss spring camp.
In his sixth season with the Giants this past year, Shepard recorded 36 catches for 366 yards and one touchdown in seven games. At 29 years old, Shepard is the only current member of the team to appear in a playoff game for the Giants. But his career has been plagued by injuries, specifically a hamstring this past season. Shepard has missed 20 games since 2019 due to injuries.
Freeing cap space is a top priority for this new Giants regime that released tight end Kyle Rudolph after just one season with the team and running back Devontae Booker. The Giants are currently amongst the bottom 10 in the league in terms of salary cap and so the moves are likely to keep coming.