For a second straight season, Kiwanuka graded out as one of Pro Football Focus’ three worst 4-3 defensive ends. Kiwanuka’s 77 total quarterback pressures combined over the last two full seasons were only 31 more than Robert Ayers put together as a rotational lineman for the Giants in just 12 games in 2015. Kiwanuka’s play warrants his release at almost any cost, but his 2015 cap number means that this is likely to be the team’s first offseason decision. He carries a $7,450,000 2015 cap number and the Giants can save $4,825,000 by releasing him. They can afford to eat the $2,625,000 in dead money against the cap in this scenario.
USA TODAY SportsJeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The undersized center turned out to be a colossal bust in his first season with the Giants. GM Jerry Reese sought Walton’s services because he viewed him as quick, athletic, and a solid fit for Ben McAdoo’s new offensive scheme. What Reese didn’t factor in is that Walton had missed the entire 2013 season with an injury. This rendered him a different player from the one that Reese watched on film from years before. Walton turned out to be a boy amongst men on the field and he was consistently pushed around in both the run and pass game. Walton carries a $3,625,00 2015 cap hit, but the Giants can save $3,000,000 in cap space by releasing him.
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The Giants signed McClain last offseason in part as insurance at inside linebacker, but also because they thought McClain had potential as a two-down thumper in the running game. McClain turned out to be a liability in pass coverage, as expected, but also in run defense. He missed the second-most tackles on the defense with 12 and he struggled to fill the gaps all season. The Giants can save $3,100,00 of his $3,400,000 2015 cap number by releasing him. Depending on the status of fellow inside linebacker Jon Beason, this could become an easy decision.
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When the Giants signed Jenkins, they had hoped that he would flourish in his new position as the three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defensive scheme. Previously, he had been miscast as a defensive end in a 3-4 defensive scheme. While Jenkins has been a solid contributor in his new role, he’s simply not the gap-piercing defensive tackle that the team had hoped for. In his two seasons with the team, he has just 7 sacks. Last season he finished with just one sack in what turned out to be an injury-riddled campaign. The Giants could decide that they’ve allocated enough resources to aging veterans with an injury history. We saw this same thing happen last season with David Baas and Justin Tuck.
Beason is the least likely of the following five to be released this offseason, but that doesn’t mean that there is no case to made for getting rid of the veteran. Beason carries a $7,366,666 2015 cap number and the Giants can save $3,533,332 in 2015 cap space by releasing him. With over half of his 2015 cap number considered “dead money”, the Giants will have to decide if Beason’s injury history makes him worth keeping around and counting on to start at middle linebacker. Over the last four seasons, Beason has played in just 24-of-64 games. He has dealt with several lower body injuries over the course of his career, and he just turned 30 years old.