Giants release WR Golden Tate
The Giants have cut Golden Tate in a cost-cutting move. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

With the New York Giants in a disastrous cap situation, NFL rumors have pointed in the direction of Golden Tate being a casualty of the economic times.

Apparently, that’s now come to fruition. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, New York has opted to release the 32-year-old one-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.

This can’t be seen as too much of a surprise. Tate recorded just 35 receptions for 388 yards with two touchdowns while catching passes from struggling signal-caller Daniel Jones last season. However, it will also have some wide-ranging ramifications for the Giants moving forward.

Impact of the Giants releasing Tate

Signed to a four-year, $37.5 million contract in March 2019, Tate was set to count $10.85 million against the salary cap.

Cutting the wide receiver outright saves New York roughly $6.1 million with a $4.7 million dead cap hit. If the Giants were to designate Tate a post-June 1 cut, said savings in 2021 would reach an estimated $8.5 million.

The Giants currently find themselves roughly $4.05 million over the estimated 2021 NFL salary cap. Moving off Tate is the first of several moves for general manager David Gettleman.

As for the Giants’ wide receiver situation, it stands to reason that this will be a central focus, both in free agency and via the draft. Sterling Shepard is the team’s leading returning receiver. He caught 66 passes a season ago. After that, there’s not much to write home about.

Giants' salary-cap situation following the release of Tate

This move puts New York under the projected cap. In no way does that mean Gettleman and Co. are done cutting the fat. Numerous veterans will be up on the chopping block ahead of the start of NFL free agency. Here’s a look at a few with their cap savings in parenthesis.

  • Kevin Zeitler, guard ($12 million)
  • Jabrill Peppers, safety ($6.7 million)
  • Nate Solder, tackle ($6 million)
  • Evan Engram, tight end ($6 million)

Of course, the Giants could add to that by designating all four post-June 1 cuts. As of now, moving off them immediately would save a cool $30.7 million against the cap.

New York also has to think about retaining core impending free agent, defensive tackle Leonard Williams. He’s coming off a downright dominant 2020 season and will likely demand north of $17 million annually on the open market.

Williams, 26, played under the $16.13 million franchise tag in his first full season as a member of the Giants after being acquired from the Jets. He responded by recording an astounding 30 quarterback hits to go with 11.5 sacks. Williams becomes the Giants’ next priority.

Tate and his value in NFL free agency

Despite his somewhat lackluster numbers a season ago, Tate caught 67.4% of his targets from Giants quarterbacks. He has proved to be an above-average slot receiver in the past.

Remember, this is the same guy who recorded more than 1,000 yards with the Detroit Lions in 2014, 2016 and 2017. While he won’t demand a huge payday or a long-term contract, the expectation is that this former Pro Bowler will draw interest from several contending teams.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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