Blake Martinez

Raiders LB Blake Martinez To Retire

Blake Martinez has played four games with the Raiders this season. He has started two of those and was on the field for 91% of the Raiders’ defensive snaps against the Jaguars. The veteran linebacker has changed his plans since Sunday.

The seventh-year vet announced his retirement (via Instagram) on Thursday. Martinez spent time with the Packers, Giants and Raiders over the course of a successful career, one coming after he was drafted in the 2016 fourth round.

The Giants reached an agreement to keep Martinez this offseason, coming to terms on a restructured contract with the multiyear starter. Martinez, 28, had suffered an ACL tear during in 2021 and was entering the final season of a three-year, $30MM deal. The Giants reversed course on the high-priced inside ‘backer just before the season, releasing him and taking on some dead money in doing so.

While Martinez found a new home in Las Vegas, that partnership will end up being shortlived. The Raiders bumped Martinez up to their active roster not long after signing him to their practice squad. He recorded a game-high 11 tackles in his fourth and final game as a Raider, logging 63 defensive snaps against the Jags.

One of a few midround Packers draftees to be plugged in as a starting linebacker over the past several years, Martinez ended up starting 57 games with Green Bay. During his four-year run with the team, the Stanford product became one of the NFL’s most reliable sources of tackles. He racked up at least 144 stops from 2017-20, leading the league with 144 in 2017. He notched a career-high 155 in his 2019 contract year, providing a springboard to that $10MM-per-year Giants pact.

Martinez played for current Raiders DC Patrick Graham during much of his career. Graham was in Green Bay in 2018, working as the team’s linebackers coach, and was the Giants’ DC during Martinez’s two seasons in New York. Martinez joined James Bradberry as Giants big-ticket 2020 signings; each player helped Graham’s defense finish in the top 10 in points allowed. But Martinez’s early-season ACL tear in 2021 led to an early end to his Big Blue run.

For his career, Martinez totaled 706 tackles and 13 sacks. During that 2017-20 stretch, no one surpassed Martinez’s 594 tackles. Future Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner came closest, reaching 568.

Raiders Sign LB Blake Martinez To Active Roster

The Raiders are bringing up permanent help at linebacker, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, signing recently acquire practice squad linebacker Blake Martinez to the active roster today. Martinez had visited a couple weeks ago with the Ravens and Raiders but didn’t end up officially signing with Las Vegas until offered a practice squad spot just three days ago. 

Martinez is a former fourth-round pick for the Packers who is a straight tackling-machine. In his sophomore season, Martinez tied with Preston Brown and Joe Schobert for the league-lead in total tackles with 144. The next year he repeated the effort with 144 tackles and improved on those seasons with 155 in 2019 and 151 in 2020, despite not leading the league in any of those following seasons. He also is an adept playmaker behind the line of scrimmage, totaling 13.0 sacks, 18 quarterback hits, and 39.0 tackles for loss over his career.

After playing out his rookie contract in Green Bay, Martinez signed a three-year contract with the Giants in free agency. Unfortunately, Martinez suffed a torn ACL in the second year of his new contract, landing him on injured reserve. The Giants surprisingly decided to cut the veteran linebacker despite his agreeing to take a pay cut earlier in the offseason. Perhaps even more surprising is how long it’s taken him to find a new home.

The Raiders have brought in Martinez likely due to the recent absences of Pro Bowl starter Denzel Perryman. The former Hurricane has failed to play a full game this season. Perryman was carted off the field in a Week 1 matchup against his former team, the Chargers, and sat out the next two weeks recovering from an ankle injury. In his first game back this past Sunday, Perryman was forced to leave the game early after sustaining a concussion. With Perryman being mostly absent so far in the 2022 season, Las Vegas will hope that Martinez can, at the very least, fill in until he can return.

To make room for Martinez on the 53-man roster, Las Vegas moved another recently acquired player on injured reserve. According to Rapoport, offensive tackle Justin Herron, traded from New England on September 21, tore his ACL in practice yesterday and will be out for the remainder of the year. Herron got some productive snaps in his first game appearance as a Raider last weekend, but it seems he’ll have to wait quite a bit to make a second impression.

In another related move, the Raiders filled Martinez’s practice squad slot with veteran wide receiver Albert Wilson.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/4/22

Today’s practice squad moves:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Raiders To Meet With LB Blake Martinez

The Giants made Blake Martinez a surprise cut just before season, releasing the veteran linebacker despite carrying him through to their 53-man roster. The seventh-year defender has resurfaced via multiple scheduled visits this week.

After meeting with the Ravens on Tuesday, Martinez will visit the Raiders on Friday, NFL reporter Jordan Schultz tweets. Martinez has a clear connection in Las Vegas, having worked with new Raiders DC Patrick Graham with the Giants and Packers.

Graham was in Green Bay as the team’s linebackers coach in 2018 and, after a year in Miami, was in New York when the Giants gave Martinez a three-year, $30.75MM contract in 2020. Martinez, 28, played two seasons on that deal, though the second one was interrupted by an ACL tear. The Giants cut bait two weeks ago, doing so despite taking on $7.5MM in Martinez dead money. The team had previously restructured Martinez’s deal this offseason.

When healthy, Martinez stands as one of the NFL’s most prolific tacklers. The former Packers fourth-round pick ripped off a four-season stretch in which he topped 140 tackles each year. He led the NFL with 144 stops in 2017 and notched 144 under Graham, while adding a career-high five sacks, the following year. In his lone healthy Giants slate, Martinez totaled 151 tackles (nine for loss) and three sacks. Big Blue’s Martinez and James Bradberry signings helped the team make a surprising defensive turnaround in 2020, when it ranked ninth in scoring defense in Graham’s debut season. That moved Graham’s name to the HC radar.

The Raiders currently have top inside linebacker Denzel Perryman sidelined due to an ankle injury. Perryman, who missed the Raiders’ Week 2 game against the Cardinals, has not practiced this week.

Ravens Worked Out LB Blake Martinez

Jason Pierre-Paul wasn’t the only big-name linebacker to visit the Ravens yesterday. Baltimore also worked out linebacker Blake Martinez, according to Clifton Brown of the team’s website.

[RELATED: Ravens Meet With OLB Jason Pierre-Paul]

Steven Means suffered a season-ending Achilles tear on Sunday, and with Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo both sidelined with their own Achilles injuries, Baltimore is down to only two outside linebackers in Odafe Oweh and Justin Houston. With limited depth, the Ravens decided to bring in a pair of veterans for auditions, and while no deal has been announced as of Wednesday night, coach John Harbaugh made it clear that he’d appreciate some reinforcement.

“That would be great,” Harbaugh replied when asked if the team has plans to sign an OLB. “I’ve already asked them once, and I’ll ask them again, ‘Are you in shape? Are you ready to go play? Are you ready to run around and help us win?’ Because that’s what I care about; we’re not trying to do anyone any favors here. We want guys who will come in and help us win right now. If you’re ready to do that – that’s really for any player – come on.”

Martinez led the NFL in tackles between 2017 and 2020, compiling 594 with the Packers and Giants. He collected another 23 tackles through the first three games of the 2021 season, but a torn ACL ended his season prematurely. He was cut by New York at the end of the 2022 preseason.

The Ravens did add some LB depth to their practice squad earlier today when they signed Brandon Copeland. The 31-year-old has seen time in 82 games since debuting in 2015, including 16 games with the Falcons in 2021.

Giants Release LB Blake Martinez, Claim G Tyre Phillips

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 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’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’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.

Giants Have Done “A Ton Of Work” On OT Charles Cross

The Giants, who hold the No. 5 and No. 7 overall selections in this month’s draft, are well-positioned to address two of their biggest needs — offensive tackle and edge rusher — with a top collegiate prospect. Per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, Big Blue has done “a ton of work” on Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross, one of the top OTs in the class.

Cross is not considered to be on the same level as Alabama tackle Evan Neal or NC State blocker Ikem Ekwonu in terms of overall talent, but one scouting source told Dunleavy that Neal and Cross are the best pure left tackles in the class. While all three prospects project well at right tackle, Ekwonu is better-suited to the right side, and he also has the ceiling of an elite guard.

There is a chance that Neal and Ekwonu, or at least one of the pair, will be available for the Giants when they are on the clock with the No. 5 pick. In that scenario, New York could take the highest-rated OL on its board, or it could simply opt to fill a different need, secure in the knowledge that one of those two players and/or Cross will still be there for the taking at No. 7 (assuming, of course, that a club with a Top-4 selection does not nab Cross). But if the first four picks skew towards O-linemen rather than, say, pass rushers, then new GM Joe Schoen may need to pounce on a protector for QB Daniel Jones.

If he ends up with Cross, an accomplished pass blocker who would complete a strong bookend with 2020 first-rounder Andrew Thomas, Schoen should be happy, regardless of which pick he uses. In 719 pass-blocking snaps in 2021, Cross allowed just 16 pressures.

Schoen recently passed along several injury updates on two starting-caliber players already on the roster. LB Blake Martinez (ACL) and WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), both of whom recently accepted pay cuts, will hopefully be back in action by August, per Schoen (Twitter link via Jordan Raanan of OL Nick Gates, who started all 16 games for the Giants in 2020 but who suffered a career-threatening leg fracture in Week 2 of the 2021 season, may be ready for training camp, as Raanan tweets.

Contract Details: Reynolds, Shepard, Martinez

Here’s another detailed look at a deal done this week, as well as some information on some contract restructuring in New York:

  • Josh Reynolds, WR (Lions): Two-year, $6MM. The contract has a guaranteed amount of $2.7MM, including a $1.5MM signing bonus and the full 2022 salary of $1.2MM, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. Reynolds can really see a payday in 2023. That year of his deal has a base value of $1.8MM, a $1MM roster bonus activated on the third day of the 2023 league year, and $400,000 for the year in per game active bonuses (around $23,529 per game). The deal also holds $2MM of annual incentives based on catches, yards, and touchdowns as well as an additional $2MM incentive in 2023 based on team achievements, playoffs, and stats.
  • The Giants recently came to agreements with wide receiver Sterling Shepard and linebacker Blake Martinez to restructure their contracts. The Athletic reporter Dan Duggan confirmed on Twitter that both deals are worth roughly $2.25MM in 2022 with incentives that can push the value up to about $5MM. The intention was to lower the two veterans’ cap hits and they will do that, dropping Martinez’s cap number from $14MM to about $8MM and Shepard’s number from $12.4MM to about $6.5MM.

Blake Martinez Takes Pay Cut To Stay With Giants

The negotiations between the Giants and linebacker Blake Martinez have resulted in a new deal. Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reports that the veteran will be staying with the team, but at a reduced salary. 

Earlier this week, the two sides discussed a re-working of his deal, as part of the wider need for the Giants to shed 2022 expenses. Martinez was due to make $8.525MM (the amount the team would save with a release), but carry a cap hit of just over $14MM. That led to the possibility he could be let go, but now he will stay in the Big Apple – unlike a number of veterans who have been cut in recent days.

The 28-year-old joined the Giants in 2020 after four seasons in Green Bay, including three as a starter. Between 2017 and 2019, the former fourth rounder totalled 443 tackles, nine sacks and a pair of interceptions. He delivered a similar performance in his first campaign in New York with 151 stops, two forced fumbles and five pass deflections.

Unfortunately, a torn ACL limited Martinez to just three games in 2021. His absence was felt on a Giants defense that allowed 129 rushing yards per game, which ranked 25th in the league. With him still in the fold, however, much of the cap gymnastics general manager Joe Shoen faced upon his arrival has taken place. The biggest remaining question on the roster now pertains to James Bradberry. Given the team’s need to cut costs, the highly regarded cornerback has been the subject of trade interest from a number of teams. Much of what Schoen does in free agency will depend on the organization’s handling of Bradberry’s contract.

Giants, Blake Martinez In Talks

The Giants want to keep Blake Martinez, but there’s still some business to discuss. The two sides are in talks to rework his contract for 2022 (Twitter link via’s Mike Garafolo) and, if they can’t come to terms, they may wind up parting ways. 

[RELATED: Giants Likely To Target Trubisky]

As it currently stands, Martinez is due $8.525MM this season with a sizable cap number of $14.025MM. Those are the terms of the three-year, $30.75MM deal he inked with the Giants back in 2020, but they have some doubts after Martinez’s lost season. The veteran ‘backer tore his ACL in late September of 2021, limiting him to just three games and 23 stops on the year.

Of course, the Giants also know what Martinez is capable of while healthy. As the Giants’ left inside linebacker in his debut year, he tallied 151 tackles, three sacks, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and one interception.

Martinez, 28, could be released to save $8.525MM with $5.5MM in dead money. Meanwhile, they could free up additional room by trading other Dave Gettleman holdovers like cornerback James Bradberry and running back Saquon Barkley. Both have been rumored possibilities, though a Bradberry deal seems far more likely than a Barkley blockbuster.