The New York Giants announced the release of wide receiver Victor Cruz and running back Rashad Jennings Monday, and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reported the 2017 offense will be without tight end Larry Donnell as well because the team will not be re-signing him.
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Donnell Hits Free-Agent Market
Monday, Feb. 13
Donnell will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and Dan Duggan of NJ.com said it was clear the tight end wasn't part of New York's long-term plans considering he was benched during the majority of the 2016 season's second half.
He finished with a mere 92 receiving yards and one touchdown, and Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com described his blocking as "subpar."
While Donnell wasn't much of a factor last year, he broke through in 2014 with 623 receiving yards and six touchdown catches after he signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2012. However, neck injuries limited him to just eight games in 2015, and there has been a significant drop-off in production since:
|Larry Donnell's Career Stats|
|Season||Games||Catches||Receiving Yards||TD Catches|
The Giants still have Will Tye at tight end, but he managed just 395 receiving yards and one touchdown in 2016, suggesting they could use more productive depth at the position moving forward following Monday's roster moves.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected the Giants to use a third-round pick on Michigan tight end Jake Butt in the upcoming draft, which would give New York an athletic and tall (6'6") target to replace Donnell.