Giants Release Team Captain & Veteran Linebacker in Cap-Saving Moves

New York Giants release linebackers Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin


When Dave Gettleman was hired as the New York Giants‘ General Manager in 2018, one of his first major decisions was to proactively seek out an elite playmaker and leader on the defensive side of the football.

Gettleman believed he had found just that when he decided to pull the trigger on a trade to acquire linebacker Alec Ogletree from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a fourth and sixth-round pick.

Acquiring Ogletree also meant taking on his fairly large $42M contract. Yet, at the time it seemed to be worth the gamble for a player that was just one year removed from a second-team All-Pro berth and sitting at just 26-years of age.

However, after two years of injury-riddled football on top of decreased on-field performance, the Giants have ultimately decided to wash their hands of the one-time promising linebacker.

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Giants Move on From Defensive Captain Alec Ogletree

Alec Ogletree’s up and down two-year stint in the Meadowlands has officially come to an end. New York’s decision to release the veteran defender weighed heavily on his excessively rich contract.

According to Spotrac, Ogletree was set to be paid as the NFL’s sixth-highest inside linebacker in 2020, a value point that his on-field performance has not warranted. However, none of his upcoming money was guaranteed.

Releasing Ogletree will mean the Giants will endure a $3.5M dead money hit, but will also free up $8.25M in cap space.

The former captain of the Giants defense will be 29 years of age come Septemeber, and will likely find his fair share of suitors on the open market, albeit at a reduced price from what he had originally been making.

Ogletree struggled with injuries over his two seasons in New York, never playing in more than 13 games in any given year. His first season with the team showed solid promise as he racked up 93 tackles and an impressive five interceptions. However, in 2019, Ogletree struggled mightily in coverage, leading to less playing time and a dip in production. He ultimately finished the past season with a Pro Football Focus grade of just 54.2.

Giants Release Kareem Martin

Ogletree was not the only Giants linebacker to be given the boot on Wednesday. Veteran outside linebacker Kareem Martin was also released following two seasons with the team.

Martin was signed in free agency, fittingly enough, a meer day after acquiring Ogletree back in 2018. Martin was believed to be overpaid a fair amount, landing a $21M contract despite never eclipsing 1.5 sacks over his four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.

However, Giants fans had hoped that his connection with now-former defensive coordinator James Bettcher from their time together in Arizona would help elevate the edge-rusher’s production.

That ultimately proved not to be the case. In 2018, Martin finished with a career-high 48-tackles, yet managed to accumulate just 1.5 sacks. His 2019 campaign was cut to just five games as he battled through knee injuries.

Martin will be 28-years old next season and has shown the versatility to play standing up, as well as with his hand in the ground. The former North Carolina Tarheel could latch on somewhere as a rotational defender.

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