Giants linebacker Blake Martinez speaks with the media after practice during...

Giants linebacker Blake Martinez speaks with the media after practice during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Aug. 3, 2021. Credit: Brad Penner

Blake Martinez became the second veteran to accept a significant pay cut from the Giants rather than be released when he agreed to a new final year on his contract on Friday evening.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard reached a similar agreement with the Giants earlier in the week as the team trimmed its ledger to get below the league salary cap by Wednesday’s deadline.

Both players are coming back from serious injuries and so held little leverage against the Giants. Had they become free agents they likely would not have been signed until closer to the start of training camps.

According to a source, the new deals reduce each of their base salaries for 2022 to around $2.25 million with incentives that could double it to the ballpark of $5 million.

Martinez, who tore his ACL in Week 3 last season, was due to earn $8.425 million. Shepard, who tore his Achilles in December, was due $8.475 million. The reworked contracts drop Martinez’s salary cap number from just over $14 million to around $8 million and Shepard’s from $12.495 million to about $6.5 million.

The Giants also benefit from having two veteran players remaining on a thin roster. Martinez and Shepard are both expected to be cleared for the start of the regular season in September.

The moves, coupled with actual player cuts this offseason, have pared close to $25 million from the salary cap general manager Joe Schoen inherited. Schoen said he hoped to clear $40 million, but that goal was not tied to the start of the league year on Wednesday.

Getting below the salary cap with some funds to spend in free agency was, and it has been accomplished. Barring any further moves the Giants will have roughly $12 million in total cap space when free agency begins, though some of that will need to be allotted for the incoming draft class that, as of now, will include two high first-round picks.

Cornerback James Bradberry remains the most likely target of any future financial trimming with a cap number of $21.8 million, the second-highest on the team. The Giants would save $12.1 million by cutting him while taking on $9.7 million in dead money. Trading him remains a possibility, but that may not happen until the draft when the Giants have a better idea of the players they plan on selecting, including potential cornerbacks in the first round who could replace him.

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