Geoff Schwartz Released by Giants: Latest Comments and Reaction

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2016

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 1: Geoff Schwartz #74 of the New York Giants in action during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Giants 52-49. (Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images)
Rob Leiter/Getty Images

Geoff Schwartz's time with the New York Giants has come to an end, as the team released the veteran guard on Wednesday, per ESPN's Dan Graziano and Jordan Raanan of NJ Advance Media

"Yes I've been notified that I will be released," Schwartz tweeted upon hearing the news. "I'll have more to say on this later when it's appropriate."

The team also confirmed the roster move.

Schwartz went on to tweet a thank you to the Giants organization:

Thanks to the entire Giants organization, the Mara [and] Tisch families and the coaching staff. Completely first class from top to bottom. I appreciate the opportunity the organization gave me, and disappointed my bad injury luck prevented more a chance to help the team. I'm healthy now, training, and I'll be ready to play for my next team. No doubt I can still ball, and play well.

Injuries limited Schwartz in 2015, with a lower-leg fracture ending his season in December. In an interview with Raanan, he admitted he wasn't fully healthy when the regular season got underway:

Of course it does concern you. I don't read a lot about it but I know what I went through last year. Was my ankle healthy? Yeah, the joint itself was fine but I spent my whole offseason rehabbing, got to 80 percent and it goes downhill when you start playing. I was never able to train fully in the offseason. ... Then I had some issues with the nerves in my foot where I didn't feel my foot for three games. It's hard to play in those situations, and I did. I played through it.

The 29-year-old first signed with the Giants in 2014 for four years and $16.8 million, and the two parties restructured the deal last spring in order to lessen the guaranteed money he'd receive in 2015.

Graziano reported Schwartz was not approached about a pay cut before his release.

Schwartz was expected to become a key member of the team's offensive line upon his arrival, and that simply hasn't been the case, a point to which the Record's Art Stapleton alluded:

In that respect, his release isn't a major shock. With that said, it's somewhat surprising to see the team cut ties with him altogether. According to Spotrac, the Giants had roughly $46.7 million in cap space for the 2016 season before their latest cuts, so it's not as if general manager Jerry Reese needed to trim salary.

Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reported the Giants will save $3 million from Schwartz's release, $5.1 million from linebacker Jon Beason's release and $4.2 million from offensive lineman Will Beatty's release for "approximately $12.2 million more in salary-cap space." Part of the money they saved in this move will likely be used to find Schwartz's replacement, making this less of a cost-saving measure.

Reese could rely on John Jerry or Adam Gettis at right guard next year, but neither player was entirely convincing after replacing Schwartz, who shifted between left and right guard while filling in for Justin Pugh. Bobby Hart is another option—albeit largely unproven in the NFL coming off his rookie season.

Jake Ciely of questioned whether New York's moves Wednesday are all that beneficial:

Given his experience in the league, Schwartz shouldn't have much trouble finding a new home. Pro Football Focus gave him an 80.5 grade for his performance in 2015—more than respectable, especially considering his injury issues.

He battled toe and ankle injuries in 2014 and played just two games. Couple that with last year's developments, and some suitors might be a bit hesitant about whether he can stay healthy. He missed just three games through his first four years in the league, though, so it would be unfair to label him injury-prone.

Plus, he will have had an entire offseason and the last few weeks of the 2015 regular season to recover from his leg fracture and any other lingering problems.

Even if Schwartz goes on to become a key member of another team's offensive line, his departure from New York shouldn't single-handedly result in the Giants missing the playoffs. Still, this could prove to be a mistake for New York, which boasted a productive O-line in 2015.