New York Giants release Kevin Zeitler to clear salary cap space

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants released veteran guard Kevin Zeitler after two years with the team.

Zeitler, 31, was the Giants' best and most consistent offensive lineman last season. But he was set to earn $12 million and count $14.5 million against the salary cap.

That was too much for the Giants to digest this season with the cap decreasing 8% to $182.5 million. They save $12 million under the salary cap with Zeitler's release.

It was a decision prompted by the current NFL landscape and Zeitler's slightly diminished skills. His value on the open market isn't likely going to produce a similar 2020 salary.

"Can get Zeitler's level of play for way less than $10 million," an executive with another NFC team said recently.

Zeitler had a 65.9 grade from Pro Football Focus this past season, tied for 32nd among the 80 qualifying guards.

He had an 88.7% pass block win rate, which ranked him 23rd among guards. Zeitler has started 134 career games for the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Giants.

He was acquired by the Giants from the Browns in exchange for defensive end Olivier Vernon as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade.