The New York Giants announced Thursday evening that they have released linebacker Blake Martinez.
The Giants signed Martinez away from the Green Bay Packers as a part of their 2020 free agency class, and he proved to be a pivotal part of Patrick Graham’s defense.
Martinez missed the 2021 season with a torn ACL, but the Giants had counted on Martinez to return as the MIKE linebacker in their new defense. The team and Martinez agreed on a contract restructure to lower his salary cap hit back in March. Martinez had seen a declining role in Wink Martindale’s defense, as the “defensive quarterback” duties were shifted from the middle linebacker position to Xavier McKinney at safety. Martinez, a captain last year, was also not voted one of the team’s 10 captains for the upcoming season.
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan is reporting that the decision to move on was mutual between the player and team. Martinez had been excused from practice on Wednesday.
The release was not a salary cap-driven decision. Martinez took a pay cut this offseason. He was carrying a base salary of $1.25 million and a cap hit of $7.676 million. The Giants save only $176,471 against the cap with the cut and carry $7.5 million in dead money.
The move will likely leave Tae Crowder as the Giants’ starting middle linebacker.
The Giants claimed OL Tyre Phillips from the Baltimore Ravens in a corresponding roster move. Phillips, 6’6, 345 pounds, played 22 games (13 starts) in two seasons with the Ravens and has experience at guard and tackle. Phillips was a 2020 third-round pick (108th overall) by Baltimore. The Giants also have offensive lineman Ben Bredeson, Baltimore’s 2020 fourth-round pick, on their roster.