Blake Martinez's once-promising tenure with the Giants ended on Thursday when the team released him after two seasons.
The linebacker and 2017 NFL co-leader in tackles was cut to make room for the Giants to sign offensive lineman Tyre Phillips.
Martinez joined Big Blue in 2020 as a lauded free-agent addition, signing a three-year, $30 million deal to man the middle linebacker role for the Giants. Martinez provided the steady play New York expected from him in 2020, recording 151 tackles (nine for loss), three sacks, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one interception.
The investment in the linebacker took a turn for the worst in 2021, though, when he suffered an ACL injury in the third game of New York's season. Although he returned to play in New York's last two preseason games in 2022, the 17-14 loss to Atlanta in 2021 would be Martinez's last regular-season contest in a Giants uniform.
The release is a slight surprise, but also the latest example of the new Giants' regime shedding signings made by former general manager Dave Gettleman, who put New York in a rough spot in terms of salary cap. The Giants were also forced to release James Bradberry this summer because of a lack of cap space.
The release of Martinez doesn't help New York's cap situation much. The Giants will save less than $200,000 in space after cutting the linebacker, while carrying $7.5 million in dead cap, pushing that total over $42 million for 2022, per Over The Cap.
Remaking the Giants won't be an overnight achievement for new general manager Joe Schoen, but moving on from Martinez allows other players the opportunity to prove their worth to Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. Martinez, meanwhile, can seek employment elsewhere at 28 years old.
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