Alec Ogletree

Giants Release Alec Ogletree, Kareem Martin

The Giants have released linebackers Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin, per a club announcement. By cutting the two veterans, the Giants will save roughly $10MM against the 2020 salary cap. 

The Giants acquired Ogletree via trade with the Rams in 2018. Despite his experience and soft hands (he has a dozen interceptions to his credit), the savings were too good to pass up. Ogletree appeared in 26 games for the G-Men in his two seasons and led the team with 173 stops in that span. He also set the franchise record for INTs by an LB in 2018 with five picks – two of which were brought back for touchdowns.

Martin joined the Giants on the same week as Ogletree. In his first campaign, Martin had perfect attendance with seven starts at linebacker and notched a career-high 48 tackles with 1.5 sacks. Last year, a Week 1 knee injury pretty much wiped out his season. He played in just five contests and logged a grand total of six tackles. He had one more year to go on his deal, but few expected him to see that final season.

By dropping Ogletree and Martin, the Giants will head into March with approximately $70MM in breathing room.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Release Candidate: Alec Ogletree

Giants GM Dave Gettleman is entering a make-or-break offseason. While plenty of fans were clamoring for his ouster at the conclusion of the 2019 campaign, team ownership elected to give him another shot to right the ship, but if Big Blue should disappoint again in 2020, Gettleman will almost certainly be gone.

So he needs to tread carefully when navigating free agency and the draft and in determining which players to jettison from the roster. LB Alec Ogletree, whom Gettleman acquired via trade with the Rams in 2018, presents an interesting case study in that regard.

Ogletree, a former first-round pick of the then-St. Louis Rams in 2013, has never been an advanced metrics darling. But he has been a full-time starter throughout his first seven years in the league, and he has even been something of a playmaker, accumulating 12 interceptions and four pick-sixes in his career. He typically plays all or almost all of his team’s defensive snaps, and in the years in which he has played a full 16-game slate, he has recorded well over 100 tackles.

On the other hand, the only Ogletree team that has qualified for the postseason was the 2017 Rams, so perhaps Ogletree’s playing time and the raw numbers that go along with that are attributable at least in part to the fact that he hasn’t played on particularly good clubs. He has never made the Pro Bowl and has not quite lived up to his status as a first-round pick, which suggests that the Giants could part ways with him this offseason and save $8.25MM against the cap in the process.

That savings must look tempting to Gettleman, but keeping the Georgia product also has its merits. Although the Giants do not lead the league in cap space, their $61MM of estimated room is nothing to sneeze at, so the financial benefits of releasing Ogletree are not as critical as they might otherwise be. And the team’s defense is young and will be learning a new scheme under DC Patrick Graham, so Ogletree’s experience and leadership could be a boon to Graham’s unit. Plus, Gettleman has never been one to put much stock in advanced metrics, so the fact that Ogletree doesn’t score highly in that department probably doesn’t bother him too much (though he did dangle Ogletree in trade talks in advance of the 2019 deadline).

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv recently suggested that a pay cut may be in the cards, and it’s easy to see why. Ogletree is certainly not worth the $10MM he is due to make in base salary in 2020, and he would not fetch that much on the open market. A reduction, though, may still pay him more than he would earn as a free agent, it would give him a shot at staying with the Giants in 2021 and earning the $9MM that he is due for that season, and the Giants would get a little more cap flexibility.

That sounds like a win-win for both sides, but if Ogletree doesn’t agree to a pay cut, either on principle or because he might want an opportunity to catch on with a team that gives him a better chance at a title, he could be playing elsewhere in 2020.

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East Notes: Rivers, Jets, Ogletree

The Patriots drafted edge rusher Derek Rivers in the third round of the 2017 draft, but the Youngstown State product has played in just six regular season games over his first three years in the pros. His entire rookie campaign was wiped out due to a torn ACL, he had a limited workload in 2018, and he sustained a knee injury during a preseason game in August that landed him on IR for all of 2019.

But as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes, Rivers still features heavily in New England’s plans. Reiss says Rivers remains a constant presence at the team’s facility, and if the team cannot retain free agent Kyle Van Noy — which is quite possible, given the amount of cap space that will need to be devoted to the offensive side of the ball, including the quarterback position — Rivers will need to step up.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv takes a look at a few Jets who could be cap casualties this offseason. Most of them — like CB Trumaine Johnson, whom we recently discussed as a release candidate — are obvious choices, but players like Jonotthan Harrison and Avery Williamson are more difficult calls. Vacchiano believes the club would be wise to retain Harrison at least as a depth option, and he suggests Williamson could be back on a reworked contract.
  • In a separate piece, Vacchiano names a few players the Jets should target in free agency, assuming their current teams don’t retain them. Unsurprisingly, he believes Gang Green should target the top of the O-line (Brandon Scherff, Jack Conklin) and WR (Amari Cooper, Emmanuel Sanders) markets.
  • Vacchiano undergoes the same exercises for the Giants that he did for the Jets. For Big Blue, he names LB Alec Ogletree as the most likely player to be cut on his list of seven names, and he also believes Conklin would be a perfect fit for the G-Men.
  • Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic summarizes the changes to the coaching staff that the Eagles recently made official. We had previously passed along most of those names, though Kapadia’s list also includes Andrew Breiner (hired as pass game analyst) and Dino Vasso (promoted to assistant defensive coordinator). He also offers his take on the changes, including his observation that the offensive staff now includes coaches who have very different schematic backgrounds, which suggests that Philadelphia will try to incorporate a wide variety of looks in 2020.

Giants Shopping Janoris Jenkins, Alec Ogletree

The Giants might not be done dealing. Even after trading for Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams, the Giants are shopping cornerback Janoris Jenkins and linebacker Alec Ogletree, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The Giants may also be open to trading tackle Nate Solder, RapSheet says, though we’ve heard conflicting word on that front over the last few days. 

Rumors have swirled about Jenkins’ status with the team for some time now and the club may finally be ready to part ways with him. For his part, Jackrabbit has been frustrated by the constant talk coupled with a lack of communication from the front office about his future. Through eight games, Jenkins has 35 total stops and an eye-popping four interceptions, showing that he’s still among the best corners in the NFL. Tomorrow, he’ll turn 31 years old, and he’ll be celebrating with a new group of friends if the Giants can find a suitable deal.

Ogletree, 28, entered the league as a first-round pick of the Rams. He didn’t impress in terms of the advanced metrics, but that wasn’t a turnoff for Dave Gettleman‘s front office. In March of 2018, they gave up some later-round draft capital to acquire Ogletree and his contract, which runs through 2021. Ogletree has started in all 19 of his games for the G-Men since then and has made some big plays, including five interceptions in 2018, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

The Browns could be one potential destination for Solder and many other contenders in need of tackles could also come calling. However, the Giants are reportedly nervous about switching up Daniel Jones‘ front line and may opt to keep him well protected for the rest of 2019.

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NFC Notes: Lions, Ngata, Giants

Here’s a quick look at the NFC:

  • Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata inked a one-year, $2.6MM fully guaranteed deal ($3MM maximum value) with the Eagles this week, but he had the same offer on the table from the Lions, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (video link). He chose the Eagles because he felt they were a better scheme fit for him. In Philadelphia’s two-gap system, Ngata is hoping to get back to his old form as he backs up Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan.
  • The Giants restructured linebacker Alec Ogletree‘s contract to prorate the $7MM roster bonus he was due over the remaining four years of his contract, a source tells Dan Duggan of The Athletic (on Twitter). His cap hit will be reduced from $10MM to $4.75MM in 2018, according to ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter).
  • Bears tight end Dion Sims remained on the team’s roster today and now has $4MM of his $6MM base salary fully guaranteed for 2018, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter) notes.

Extra Points: Butler, Shead, Rams, Chiefs

It’s been a wild ride for the Seahawks defense the past week. After the team traded Michael Bennett to the Eagles and released Richard Sherman, it also decided to release cornerback DeShawn Shead.

This was noteworthy because the Seahawks told the player it would release him to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent despite the NFL saying his contract should toll for 2018.

Earlier today, Shead signed with the Lions but reportedly wanted a return to the Seahawks, the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta tweets. After Seattle honored its statement to make the cornerback a free agent, Shead wanted to give Seattle every chance to keep him, but the organization ultimately wouldn’t match the offer he received from the Lions.

Seattle now enters free agency without three of its top veterans and could be seeing the end of the Earl Thomas era, who has threatened to hold out if he doesn’t receive a new deal. The Seahawks could deal him this offseason and are reportedly looking for a first-round pick in return.

Needless to say, the Seahawks once-stingy defensive unit will look plenty different in 2018.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Rams general manager Les Snead said on Wednesday the team traded linebacker Alec Ogletree to accommodate the ensuing move for cornerback Aqib Talib, Alden Gonzalez tweets. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips prefers cornerbacks to linebackers in his scheme, and a big move had to be made to bring in the former Broncos corner, who will count $11 MM toward the cap.
  • Snead also said he sees ways the Rams can address run defense and the pass rush in free agency, Gonzalez tweets. Though he is weighing what will be available to fill those holes with rookies, he doesn’t want to just wait until the draft to fill obvious needs. The team received some insurance for its pass rush on Wednesday when it re-signed veteran linebacker Connor Barwin.
  • New Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler said he was worried his Super Bowl benching would hurt his value on the open market, USA Today’s Lindsay Jones tweets. Butler notoriously didn’t see the field against the Eagles in February when the Patriots allowed Nick Foles to shred their secondary. The 2015 Pro Bowl selection reached a deal with the Titans on Wednesday worth up to $61 MM over five years, with $30 MM of that being guaranteed.
  • Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said cornerback Marcus Peters‘ trade to the Rams had nothing to do with national anthem protests, Pro Football Talk passes along“This was a football decision. … This wasn’t just one game, wasn’t a month, this was three years of body of work, and we look for consistency. We felt that this was in the best interest of the team,” Veach said. 
  • Veach also touched on the Chiefs move for Sammy Watkins, saying the team pounced on the receiver in the first minute of free agency, the NFL Network’s James Palmer tweets. Veach said that if Watkins received a call before theirs, the other team would’ve had to call in 30 seconds before they did. The team was motivated to move on Watkins to add him to Tyreek Hill, giving strong-armed quarterback Patrick Mahomes a pair of dynamic, stretch-the-field receivers.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Lions, Eagles, Raiders

Before Alec Ogletree was traded to the Giants earlier today, the Rams also offered the veteran linebacker to the Chiefs, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Los Angeles recently completed a Marcus Peters-centered trade with Kansas City, but it’s clear if Ogletree was part of those talks, or discussed in a separate deal. The Chiefs have already announced that team icon Derrick Johnson will not be re-signed, but Kansas City could still use another inside linebacker to play opposite Reggie Ragland in its 3-4 scheme. However, the Chiefs are one of the more-cap strapped teams in the NFL, so it’s unlikely they could have taken on Ogletree’s $10MM guarantee in 2018.

  • While the Lions now have until mid-July to work out an extension with recently franchise-tagged defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, a long-term could be a risky proposition for Detroit, argues Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. Ansah will already be 29 years old when the 2018 campaign gets underway, and he’s dealt with nagging injuries and inconsistent play over the course of his five-year career. Additionally, Ansah will now earn $17.143MM in 2018, meaning he’s likely looking for a guarantee of $38MM (the value of two consecutive franchise tags). As Rothstein writes, Lions general manager Bob Quinn has shown a willingness to pay up for stars in the past, but it’s unclear if Detroit is willing to go all-in for Ansah.
  • In addition to confirming Mike Groh‘s previously-reported promotion to offensive coordinator, the Eagles have announced a series of staff moves. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland had had “run game coordinator” added to his title, Carson Walch was promoted to assistant wide receivers coach, and Trent Miles was promoted to offensive quality control/running backs.
  • The Lions have hired former NFL defensive back Steve Gregory as a defensive assistant, the club announced today. Gregory played under Detroit head coach Matt Patricia when both were in New England, and had spent the past several seasons as a special teams quality control coach at Syracuse, his alma mater. Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (Twitter link), Gregory has long wanted to coach in the NFL, and many of his former teammates were high on his future coaching potential.
  • Long snapper Jon Condo will not be re-signed by the Raiders, as Condo himself announced on his Twitter account. This was the expected result after Oakland inked two long snappers to futures deals this winter, tweets Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A two-time Pro Bowler, Condo had spent all but one season of his dozen-year career in Oakland.

Giants Acquire LB Alec Ogletree From Rams

The Rams are trading linebacker Alec Ogletree to the Giants, a league source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deal will see Ogletree and the Rams’ 2019 seventh-rounder go to the G-Men in exchange for a fourth-round pick and sixth-round pick. 

Thanks to the extension he signed last fall, Ogletree is under contract through 2021. The Rams probably didn’t expect to part ways with him so soon even that the deal included $18MM in full guarantees with $33MM in cash flow over the first three years. L.A. is moving on from him, partially due to financial constraints, but the Giants believe they’re acquiring a quality playmaker on D.

Ogletree, a former first-round pick, started in all 15 of his games last season and racked up 95 tackles and two sacks. The advanced metrics have never been fond of him, but those who have watched him play disagree with the analytics.

Linebacker was one of the Giants’ biggest areas of need this offseason, particularly with Akeem Ayers, Jonathan Casillas, Mark Herzlich, Devon Kennard, Keenan Robinson, and Kelvin Sheppard all headed towards free agency. Last year, the Giants’ run defense sagged and opposing tight ends had their way across the middle of the field. The Giants are hoping that Ogletree’s presence will help in both areas.

The acquisition of Ogletree gives new defensive coordinator James Bettcher a big-time weapon to work with. Ogletree spent much of his career in a 4-3 scheme, but he transitioned to a 3-4 set under Wade Phillips last year, similar to Bettcher’s. It’s worth noting, however, that Ogletree didn’t cleanly fit into 3-4, as Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com (Twitter link) writes.

This marks the latest deal in what has been a busy offseason for the Rams. In recent weeks, L.A. has acquired cornerback Marcus Peters from the Chiefs and shipped defensive end Robert Quinn to the Dolphins.

The Rams were not expected to part ways with Ogletree, but it’s a logical move for cap reasons. Moving Ogletree may allow the Rams to hold on to linebacker Mark Barron and re-sign wide receiver Sammy Watkins. There’s also the outside chance that the Rams find space to retain cornerback Trumaine Johnson and the extra breathing room could help the team in their bid to eventually extend Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, and Jared Goff.

Per league rules, the trade will not become official until March 14.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Cards, 49ers, Hawks, Rams

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has not made any decision regarding whether his career will continue past the 2017 season, sources tell Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. Arizona will now be without quarterback Carson Palmer for several weeks (if not the rest of the year), and given that the Cardinals appear set to miss the postseason for the second consecutive season, there was some thought that Arians could hang it up after the current campaign concludes. But Arians himself tweeted that any such rumors were “news” to him, although Weinfuss added that how Arizona finishes the season could factor into Arians’ decision on 2018.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Offensive tackle Joe Staley‘s name is often tossed out near the NFL’s trade deadline, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan says it would “take a whole lot” for the club to move the veteran lineman, per Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group (Twitter link). As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee writes, the Niners have surely discussed trading Staley, especially now that a contending club such as the Eagles is down a left tackle in Jason Peters. Staley, 33, is still playing well — No. 19 offensive tackle in the league, per Pro Football Focus — and is signed through the 2019 season at extremely affordable rates.
  • Conversations between the Seahawks and edge defender Dwight Freeney were initiated after fellow defensive lineman Cliff Avril suffered an injury, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). Avril is done for the season as he deals with a neck issue, and could possibly contemplate retirement. Freeney, who says he turned down other offers, will likely serve in a rotational capacity, and is expected to be active when Seattle faces Houston on Monday night. Even after adding Freeney, the Seahawks are still looking for more pass rushers.
  • The Rams picked up $2.5MM in 2017 cap space as a result of extending linebacker Alec Ogletree, according to Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). That indicates that Los Angeles reduced Ogletree’s $8.369MM base salary, because his prorated $8MM signing bonus should account for $1.25MM on the Rams’ 2017 books. All told, Ogletree’s four-year extension is worth $42MM and contains $18MM in full guarantees. His $10.5MM average annual value places him behind only Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner among inside ‘backers.

Rams Sign Alec Ogletree To Extension

Rumored to be in the works for months, the Alec Ogletree Rams extension came to fruition on Thursday night. The Rams announced they’ve signed the linebacker to a four-year extension.

The through-2021 deal is worth $42MM, contains $31.4MM in total guarantees and $18MM in full guarantees, and comes with an $8MM signing bonus, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) this deal includes $33MM over its first three years.

Les Snead announced the re-up on the team’s website. The Rams will now have three well-paid linebackers. Ogletree follows Robert Quinn and Mark Barron, continuing a defensive fortification on a unit that also includes high-end contracts (or franchise tags) authorized recently for Michael Brockers and Trumaine Johnson.

Alec has evolved into a true leader of our football team and we are excited to sign him to this extension,” Snead said. “We look forward to Alec helping our team emerge as a consistent winner for years to come.”

In terms of per-year wages, Ogletree’s $10.5MM-AAV pact makes him the fourth inside ‘backer to earn eight figures annually — behind Kuechly, Bobby Wagner and alongside NaVorro Bowman.

Ogletree began his fifth season with the Rams last month. He’s now the second of the franchise’s 2013 first-round picks to have signed a four-year extension, joining Tavon Austin in that regard. The Rams picked up Ogletree’s fifth-year option in 2016 and had the inside linebacker under team control through this season at $8.369MM.

A fifth-year starter, Ogletree leads the Rams with 54 tackles. His deal will give the Rams two of the highest-paid non-rush linebackers in the league. Barron’s already signed for five years and $45MM.

Nothing’s emerged on additional progress having been made on the Aaron Donald front, but the Rams continued their trend of early-season extensions for defenders. Quinn and Brockers each signed re-ups in September, and now Ogletree has an October pact that will tie him to Los Angeles through the 2021 season.

This will eat into the funds available for Donald but also for potential Johnson or Lamarcus Joyner deals, however, but the Rams were slated to possess $62MM in cap space prior to the Ogletree contract. So, flexibility remains if the franchise wants to extend these players, which has been reported about Donald and Joyner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.