The New York Giants have released punter Riley Dixon in one of a handful of salary-cap saving moves.
The 28-year-old punter set franchise records in 2019 and topped the season with a 46.1 average, but in the last two seasons, his average dropped to around 44 yards per punt.
Dixon was in the final year of the three-year, $8.7 million contract he signed back in 2020, SI.com reports. He was due to count for $3.12 million this season, but his departure will save the Giants $2.8 million on their cap, including the $250,000 roster bonus due to him on March 22.
Earlier this month, the Giants released veteran tight Kyle Rudolph and running back Devontae Booker, and reached an agreement with receiver Sterling Shepard to lower his cap number.
The team signed Rudolph and Booker as free agents in 2021, and they marked the first veteran contributors from the team to be cut by the Giants’ new leaders, general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll.
Booker played in 16 games with four starts in his sixth season. He tied Saquon Barkley for the team rushing lead with 593 yards, though Booker’s 145 carries were 17 fewer than Barkley’s, the team said. Booker was third on the team with 40 receptions for 268 yards, he scored three touchdowns — two rushing and one receiving.
Rudolph joined the Giants after 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and played in 16 games with 13 starts. He missed the Nov. 28 victory against Philadelphia with an ankle injury but ultimately caught 26 passes for 257 yards and one touchdown — a one-yarder at Kansas City — with the team.
Schoen still has some other — more difficult — options to create cap space, NJ.com reports.
Could running back Saquon Barkley be traded? NJ.com reports the trade would free up $7.2 million in cap space, but the RB can’t be released because his fifth-year option salary in 2022 is fully guaranteed.
NJ.com reports the Giants could make a few more cuts to create additional cap room, and here’s what that could look like:
- CB James Bradberry: $12.1 million (trading him would have same cap implications),
- LB Blake Martinez: $8.5 million,
- WR Darius Slayton: $2.5 million,
- TE Kaden Smith: $2.5 million,
- C Nick Gates: $2.1 million.
During the NFL Scouting Combine, Schoen spoke about the offseason issues the team currently faces.
“The reality of the situation is we have to get under the [salary] cap,” he said. “We’re over the cap right now. It’s the contingency plans. Literally, we have A, B, C, D, E and you gotta wait for the first shoe to fall before you make the next decision.”
Schoen was also asked about finding a balance between cutting players to clear cap space while also trying to improve the team.
“That’s the big question,” he said. “How do you get under the cap and still stay competitive this year, which I’ve said, that’s my [goal]. Again, we want to see progress next year, we also want to be a competitive team, but you have to keep the future in mind, so you have the draft capital, you have the cap situation you’re in. It is what it is, but you’ve got to figure it out how we’ll be active in free agency.”
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