Kyle Rudolph, Devontae Booker dumped by Giants in salary-cap maneuvers
INDIANAPOLIS — The Giants' purge has begun. As promised.
The team began its roster slashing on Wednesday with the decisions to part ways with tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Devontae Booker. The moves will save the Giants a little over $7 million against their bloated salary cap that still needs further trimming to reach the NFL maximum by the start of the new league year in less than two weeks. The Giants will carry an additional $3.4 million in dead money against the cap with the departure of the players.
New general manager Joe Schoen spoke at the Combine on Tuesday and anticipated that the first cost-cutting measures would take place "sooner rather than later." Less than 24 hours afterward he executed on that promise.
There is still a long way to go toward getting under the cap (another roughly $6 million is needed) and Schoen’s goal of clearing $40 million in order to make the Giants functional in free agency, the draft and potential signings once the season starts.
Both Rudolph and Booker signed with the Giants last year. Rudolph was expected to become a red-zone weapon , but he was slowed early by offseason foot surgery that the Giants knew about when they inked him to a two-year, $12 million contract with a $4.5 million signing bonus. He wound up playing 16 games with only 26 catches for 257 yards and one touchdown.
Booker was more productive. Signed to a two-year, $5.5 million contract as an insurance policy in case Saquon Barkley was unable to return from ACL surgery, Booker wound up tying Barkley for the team lead in rushing yards with 593. He scored three touchdowns — two rushing and one receiving — and was third on the team with 40 receptions for 268 yards.
The departure of Booker would seem to indicate a bit less of an appetite to part with Barkley than many interpreted from Schoen’s remarks on Tuesday. The general manager said the Giants would listen to trade offers for Barkley, who is guaranteed $7.2 million on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. If the Giants can find a buyer for him before March 16 they would be able to put themselves below the cap with just that one move, but they would be left without a proven running back on the team.