NFL teams have begun shedding excess weight with their post-Super Bowl purging. The rules permitted it beginning Monday, the day after the Super Bowl, when veteran contracts were able to be terminated.
It's a reality of the business. Teams sever ties with players whose production doesn't match their future compensation for salary-cap and financial purposes.
WR Victor Cruz (signed through 2018)
Pros: He's a veteran wide receiver who made tough, clutch catches throughout the season. Cruz is also universally respected in the locker room and is a calming presence to and close friend of Odell Beckham Jr. In his second year back from two serious injuries, Cruz should only get better physically next season.
Cons: Cruz is 30 and didn't create the same separation from defenders this past season. The Giants also don't have a natural position for him with Sterling Shepard entrenched in the slot. Cruz played outside most of 2016, which isn't ideal. The Giants could use a bigger receiver opposite Beckham. Cruz is a generous 6-feet tall and not the most physical of players.
Prediction: The Giants will renegotiate with Cruz for the second straight year. He returns at a cheaper price and likely an even more reduced role.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (signed through 2018)
Pros: He's coming off a strong season. Rodgers-Cromartie had six interceptions and seamlessly transitioned to the slot. Overall, he allowed a QB rating of just 56.6 this season, according to Pro Football Focus. That's dominant. Rodgers-Cromartie also wants to remain with the Giants and works hard. He made a habit of arriving early on Mondays during the season -- the Giants' off day -- to get in workouts.
Cons: Rodgers-Cromartie isn't an ideal cornerback for the Giants' system. They ask their cornerbacks to play physical and use a lot of bump-and-run coverage. Rodgers-Cromartie isn't an asset against the run and against bubble screens. Also, all six of his interceptions came on the outside -- five of them when he sagged off the wide receiver and made a play on the ball -- and the Giants are intent on starting Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple out wide. The biggest concern about Rodgers-Cromartie over the past two seasons has been his reliability. He constantly came off the field in 2015 and missed almost all of the Giants' biggest game this season. If he's cut or traded, this is the primary reason.
Prediction: Rodgers-Cromartie played his way into another year with the Giants.
RB Shane Vereen (signed through 2017)
Pros: He has a unique skill set that the Giants missed greatly for most of this season. Vereen catches the ball well out of the backfield and is a reliable blocker. He is also sneaky elusive. No wonder he averaged 4.8 yards per carry this season.
Cons: Vereen tore his triceps not once but twice this season. He's still rehabbing the injury. His health could be a concern moving forward.
Prediction: Barring any serious concerns about his arm, Vereen returns for another season.
LB J.T. Thomas (signed through 2017)
Pros: He's a quality special teams player, when healthy. He's also one of the most respected players in the locker room.
Cons: Thomas hasn't been able to remain healthy. He played in one game this season after tearing his ACL. He already took a pay cut last offseason.
Prediction: The Giants sever ties with Thomas.
RB Rashad Jennings (signed through 2017)
Pros: Jennings earned the trust of the coaching staff with his work ethic and reliability. He rarely fumbles (none lost on 181 carries this season) and is an excellent blocker. The veteran also runs hard once he gets going downhill.
Cons:He struggled running the ball this season, leaving too many yards on the field. It was a combination of missing holes and not enough elusiveness. He averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Jennings is also 31 years old.
Prediction: The Giants move on from Jennings.