The Giants had Blake Martinez on their initial 53-man roster, but as of Thursday afternoon, he is a free agent. New York released the veteran linebacker.
This removes a seventh-year veteran from Big Blue’s linebacking corps. Martinez accepted a pay cut this offseason, coming after he suffered an ACL tear early during the 2021 slate. As Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com tweets, this was a peculiar move by the Giants; the team basically guaranteed him an extra $2MM before ultimately cutting him. This is believed to be a mutual parting, per ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter). Martinez was at practice Thursday but had been excused Wednesday.
Martinez’s departure will clear a path for Tyre Phillips, the former Ravens guard whom the Giants claimed earlier Thursday. The Ravens waived Phillips on Wednesday. The Ravens had hoped Phillips would clear waivers and return to the team via a practice squad agreement, per ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley (on Twitter), but the former Baltimore starter did not make too far down the league’s priority list.
A former Packers fourth-round pick, Martinez posted four straight seasons of at least 140 tackles over his final three Green Bay years and his 2020 Giants debut. During an offseason that featured then-GM Dave Gettleman dole out big contracts to Martinez and James Bradberry, the former signed a three-year, $30MM deal. Following Martinez’s ACL tear, Gettleman stepped down. Big Blue’s new regime worked with Martinez to bring him back in March, but the team may be moving toward younger pieces at the lower-value linebacker spots.
Martinez, 28, played in two of the Giants’ preseason games after sitting out their August opener. Former seventh-rounder Tae Crowder is in line to start for the Giants, who used a fifth-round pick on Micah McFadden this year.
A 2020 third-round pick, Phillips, 25, started 13 games for the Ravens over his two seasons with the team. He became the team’s Week 1 starter as a rookie and was in position as Baltimore’s starting left guard to start last season as well. But multiple injuries derailed Phillips’ time in Maryland. The Ravens moved on with Ben Powers and Ben Cleveland as their non-Kevin Zeitler guard contingent.
The Giants have been busy up front this offseason. After injuries ransacked their 2021 O-line, the Giants added four first-string blockers (center Jon Feliciano, guards Mark Glowinski and Joshua Ezeudu, tackle Evan Neal). They also placed guard Shane Lemieux on IR Wednesday, sidelining him for at least four games. Phillips would represent a veteran alongside Ezeudu, a third-round rookie.