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New York Giants to release Pro Bowl WR Golden Tate

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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 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 a season ago. However, it will also have some wide-ranging ramifications for the Giants moving forward.

Impact of the New York Giants releasing Golden Tate

New York Giants release Golden Tate
Dec 13, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (15) reacts after catching a pass at the one yard line against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (33) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Signed to a four-year, $37.5 million contract back in March of 2019, Tate was set to count $10.85 million against the 2021 NFL 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. Obviously, moving off Golden 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.

Related: Analyzing the New York Giants 2021 NFL salary cap

New York Giants salary cap situation following the release of Golden 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.

Golden Tate and his value in NFL free agency

New York Giants release Golden Tate
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (15) walks off the field after a 25-23 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in East Rutherford. Nyg Vs Tb (© Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

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

Remember, this is the same guy who recorded over 1,000 yards with the Detroit Lions in both 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.

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