Giants Release Starting Defender in Shocking Move: Report

Giants release LB Ryan Connelly

Getty Giants LB Ryan Connelly

In total, the New York Giants released 28 players on Saturday in order to trim their roster to 53 by the 4:00 pm deadline. There were a few surprise moves sprinkled in here and there, such as the releases of quarterback Cooper Rush and cornerback Grant Haley. However, all pale into comparison to what the G-Men opted to do at the linebacker position.

The Giants have officially released linebacker Ryan Connelly, a 2019 fifth-round draft pick and projected starter alongside big-ticket free agent, Blake Martinez.

Connelly Continued to Battle Injuries Throughout Camp

Connelly saw his promising rookie campaign come to a screeching end after just four games last year, sustaining a torn ACL in Week 4  vs. Washington. Connelly underwent surgery and would go on to miss the remainder of the 2019 season. The former Wisconsin standout finished the year with a total of 20 tackles (10 solo), one sack and two interceptions.

Connelly was believed to be back to 100-percent at the start of training camp, but was unfortunately bitten by the injury bug once again in recent weeks. He missed several days of practice, including the team’s Blue-White scrimmage last week.

Still, Connelly’s release comes as a shock, especially considering David Mayo, the team’s returning leading tackler from last season, is expected to miss approximately a month of football after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

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Who Will Start Next to Blake Martinez?

Despite the injury to Mayo, breakout camp performances from Devante Downs and Mr. Irrelevant, Tae Crowder, likely helped push Big Blue’s hand when it came to the decision to move off of Connelly.

Downs in particular is a player who’s earned rave reviews this summer. The 6-foot-2-inch, 252-pound linebacker has flashed in coverage, likely forcing his way into the Giants’ starting lineup, as well as head coach Joe Judge’s heart.

He’s a guy that comes in, you can see his eyes in meetings, he’s very engaged and focused on you when you’re talking. Whether you’re talking directly to him or somebody else, he’s taking the same coaching point. He comes on the field every day, ‘Yes sir,’ ‘No sir,’ goes to work, does whatever you ask him to do to the best of his ability. I’m enjoying working with him a whole lot.

Despite the release of Connelly, New York still kept nine linebackers in total on their initial 53-man roster. Downs and Crowder join the aforementioned David Mayo as well as Markus Golden, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximinies, Kyler Fackrell, Blake Martinez, TJ Brunson, Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown to round out the unit.

Josiah Tauaefa, an undrafted free agent in the 2019 draft class, who spent time on the Giants active roster a season ago, joined Connelly as the only other linebacker to be cut on Saturday.

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