Should Giants think about moving on from Blake Martinez?


Blake Martinez Treated Image

The Giants have some big decisions to make this offseason with key players either heading to free agency or coming into the last year of their contracts.

With little wiggle room to work with under the salary cap, we’ll take a look at these players and whether or not they should stay or go.

Let’s break down the case of LB Blake Martinez:

Overview

Before we freak out, let me preface this entire article by saying this: Blake Martinez is one hell of a football player. He’s what many teams look for in a middle linebacker; someone who can go sideline to sideline, get in the backfield, and most importantly, tackle with a high proficiency.

That said, a new GM has landed in New York and Joe Schoen will be evaluating the entire roster to see where improvements need to be made as well as how he can create some cap space that Dave Gettleman didn’t really leave behind.

Martinez is entering the final year of his contact, and according to OverTheCap, he could save the team $8.525 million if he were either let go or traded.

And despite leading the Giants in tackles in 2020 in his first year with New York, he suffered an ACL injury in Week 3 that forced him out the rest of the year.

So there is a decision to be made whether or not he should be staying.

Case to Stay

Martinez didn’t lead the Giants in tackles in 2020 by accident. His 151 combined was synonymous with his career totals with the Green Bay Packers, which is why he was sought after by numerous teams before that season.

Production like that is hard to replicate, and considering he’s still under contract, why let someone like that go? Sure, the Giants had some solid play with Tae Crowder calling the plays instead of Martinez when he left for the year, but there’s no doubt the team’s run defense faltered without him.

Giants fans also recognize how much leadership Martinez brings to the group. Not only is it the juice factor, getting his teammates pumped up during games, but in the locker room he’s a very down to earth player who understands what camaraderie can do for a winning club.

Story continues

Being a key part of the rise in defensive production for Big Blue, Martinez should at least play out this final year to see what this group can really do. He’ll have more than enough time to recover from his injury and he should be good to go by camp.

Aug 29, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants inside linebacker Blake Martinez (54) celebrate his turnover against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium.

Case to Go

ACL injuries are always a shot in the dark. Some players come back just fine, but more times than not, that burst of speed or quick pivot in the ground is done gingerly and it takes time to truly get back to regular form.

Just look at Saquon Barkley this year, if you want an example. So the Giants can’t predict that the Martinez of old will be on the field in September.

The cap situation also comes into play here. Saving over $8 million would do wonders for Schoen, who knows he needs to upgrade in the trenches first and foremost.

He could try to trade Martinez and get something back in return as well. Maybe a contender needing that missing piece would take him on, and it’s worth the risk coming off injury.

It’s just hard to deny that cap savings will be crucial now and moving forward in this rebuild for the Giants, and Martinez, in the final year of his deal, might be a luxury Schoen doesn’t need to have. The NFL Draft and the emergence of Crowder will allow him to think this way.

Blake Martinez celebrates after interception vs. Washington

Verdict

This is a tough one because I feel like the fan base is truly split on either blowing it up and starting from scratch to do things the right way… or taking the pieces the team has now and molding it properly with a few new additions and the right coaching staff.

Coming off a serious knee injury is hard to predict, but the type of production Martinez has put out all these years prior to joining the Giants should warrant him playing another year in the system.

He’s also a natural defensive leader who the team’s new head coach is going to want in the locker room while a brand new culture and system is being put in place.

And who knows? Maybe Martinez does play like his old self and even earns himself an extension. Either way, he knows he needs to ball out this year and it might as well be for the team that’s already holding him under contract.

The Giants need his presence up the middle.



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