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Kyle Rudolph Released by Giants Ahead of Free Agency After 1 Season with Team

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMarch 2, 2022

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The New York Giants are releasing veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph.

The two-time Pro Bowler, who signed a two-year deal in 2021, announced Wednesday he was on the way out: 

Kyle Rudolph @KyleRudolph

.<a href="https://twitter.com/Giants?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Giants</a> Fans thanks for taking me and my family in this past year! Certainly not the year any of us expected, but a year we will never forget.. We're appreciative of the Mara and Tisch Families for giving us the opportunity to be a Giant. <a href="https://t.co/HSZzGGTXRI">pic.twitter.com/HSZzGGTXRI</a>

Kyle Rudolph @KyleRudolph

We may not have got the results we deserved, but that didn't keep us from going to work together everyday! <br><br>Looking forward to what's next!!

Rudolph caught 26 passes for 257 yards and one touchdown in his only season with the Giants.

He also confirmed to ESPN's Adam Schefter that he wants to keep playing in 2022.

As he embarked on his first offseason as general manager, Joe Schoen needed to trim $12.2 million from the Giants' payroll in order to get under the salary cap. He'll obviously want to shave off even more than that too in order to sign free agents and draft picks.

Cutting Rudolph was done with that goal in mind.

Dan Duggan @DDuggan21

Kyle Rudolph announced he's being released by the Giants. The first domino to fall is the easiest and most obvious. Giants create $5M in cap savings, while eating $2.4M in dead money. Paid Rudolph $7M for 26 catches, 257 yards and 1 TD.

In general, Rudolph's production has been trending downward, which made him one of the team's likeliest cap casualties.

While he's clearly on the wrong end of the aging curve at 32, another team might be willing to give Rudolph a shot. In addition to the value he provides on the field, he can be a positive presence inside the locker room:

Pat Leonard @PLeonardNYDN

Daniel Jones &amp; Kyle Rudolph are close friends. Drove to games together last season. The veteran TE was a positive influence inside the Giants’ building. But these are the types of necessary moves to clear cap space &amp; assemble a new team for 2022.

The 6'6" pass-catcher might also successfully argue a change of scenery will provide a slight boost to his numbers.

The Giants finished last in offensive efficiency in 2021, per Football Outsiders, as Daniel Jones failed to take a step forward in his development. Jones threw for 2,428 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions during his third year under center.

Rudolph's 9.9 yards per reception were equal to his career average, and his 66.7 percent catch rate wasn't much lower than his usual standard (68.0 percent), per Pro Football Reference.

It's safe to assume he won't return to his Pro Bowl form again, but he might have another solid year or two left in the tank to be a dependable option at tight end.

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