INDIANAPOLIS – What promises to be a busy offseason of roster restructuring began in earnest for the Giants, who announced they have released running back Devontae Booker and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Both veterans were first-year Giants who joined the team as free agents in 2021. They are the first veteran contributors from the team to be cut by the Giants' new hierarchy, general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll.
Schoen spoke Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine about the offseason issues the Giants face.
"The reality of the situation is we have to get under the (salary) cap," he said. "We're over the cap right now. It's the contingency plans. Literally we have A, B, C, D, E and you gotta wait for the first shoe to fall before you make the next decision, so it's a great time to be here. I'm excited to be at the combine, I'm glad that everything is back in person. But to get around with the agents of our players and have a face-to-face conversation, be able to meet with other general managers and really get a beat for what everything is going to look like … I'm looking forward to accomplishing a lot this week.
"There's some conversations that need to be had, I'll say that. We've got a detailed plan when we come here and over the next 24 hours, we'll start moving based on conversations."
Schoen was asked about finding a balance between cutting players to clear cap space while simultaneously trying to improve the team.
"That's the big question," he said. "How do you get under the cap and still stay competitive this year, which I've said, that's my (goal). Again, we want to see progress next year, we also want to be a competitive team, but you have to keep the future in mind, so you have the draft capital, you have the cap situation you're in. It is what it is, but you've got to figure it out how we'll be active in free agency. How can you do that?
"Again, there's a lot of contingency plans, a lot of it is out of our control and we've still got two weeks. Two weeks from (today, the start of the new league year), we've got to figure all this out and this is a big week for us."
Booker, who was signed by the Giants last March 17, played in 16 games with four starts in his sixth NFL season. He was inactive against Atlanta on Sept. 26. He tied Saquon Barkley for the team rushing lead with 593 yards, though Booker's 145 carries were 17 fewer than Barkley's.
In addition, Booker was third on the team with 40 receptions (for 268 yards). He scored three touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving.
Booker had season-high totals of 21 rushing attempts for 99 yards in a victory against Las Vegas on Nov. 7. A week earlier, in a Monday night game in Kansas City, he caught a season-best five passes for 65 yards. On Oct. 10, Booker scored both of the Giants' touchdowns in a 44-20 loss in Dallas on a one-yard run and a three-yard catch.
In six seasons with Denver, Las Vegas and the Giants, Booker has rushed for 2,119 yards and 11 touchdowns on 527 carries and added 162 receptions for 1,224 yards and two scores.
Rudolph joined the Giants on March 24 after 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He played in 16 games with 13 starts – missing the Nov. 28 victory against Philadelphia with an ankle injury – and caught 26 passes for 257 yards and one touchdown (a one-yarder at Kansas City).
Rudolph had a season-high four receptions vs. the Raiders and the Giants' longest catch of the season, a 60-yarder against the Chargers in Los Angeles on Dec. 12.
A two-time Pro Bowler with the Vikings, Rudolph's career regular-season totals include 479 catches for 4,745 yards and 49 touchdowns.
View the players set to become free agents when the new league year begins March 16.