In what has become an annual rite of passage each off season, the New York Giants announced today that they released injury-plagued offensive linemen, Will Beatty and Geoff Schwartz. In addition, another injury-prone player, middle linebacker Jon Beason, also announced his retirement from the NFL after nine seasons for the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants.
The moves were announced officially on Feb. 10, 2016 on the team’s official website.
Beatty was a second-round draft pick of Big Blue out of the University of Connecticut in 2009, and he had been the team’s starting left tackle for the past few seasons. But Beatty tore a pectoral muscle in a weight-lifting injury in May 2015, and then tore a rotator cuff last October, as he battled to get back into the line-up. The result was that he played zero games for the G-Men in 2015. According to the website, OverTheCap.com, designating Beatty a post-June 1 cut would net the Giants a cool $7 million in cap savings.
Geoff Schwartz was the team’s biggest free agent acquisition in 2014, after signing a four-year, $16.8 million contract with New York. The veteran offensive lineman was supposed to help shore up the unit for Big Blue. Instead, injuries to his foot and ankle limited Schwartz to just 13 games in two seasons. New York may save some cap space by cutting Schwartz, but replacing him on the offensive line may prove to be difficult. According to Pro Football Focus, Schwartz is the highest graded player (80.5) cut by any team this off season.
The retirement of Jon Beason could hardly be described as unexpected, as the veteran linebacker has been mostly unavailable due to injury for the past two seasons. After an Oct. 2013 trade from Carolina, Beason became an important and productive member of the Giants’ defense. The tide turned over the past two campaigns, as Beason could only suit up for nine of 32 games for Big Blue.
“I feel like I let people down in terms of my availability to play on Sundays,” Beason said. “It was extremely difficult and unfortunately consistent the latter part of my career. I know that those things were out of my control, and there wasn’t one single thing I could have done more with the cards I was dealt to ensure that I was available more and healthy, and able to go out and help my team compete.
According to USA Today on Feb. 10, 2016, “The Giants finished last in total defense in 2015 and will doubtless look quite different on that side of the ball in 2016. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and cornerback Prince Amukamara are among the team’s free agents.” Re-signing Pierre-Paul and Amukamara does not come without risk, as both players battled injuries last season, as they have throughout their careers. On the other hand, the Giants roster is devoid of high level talent, and letting these two players walk away through free agency would further erode a questionable roster.