The Giants will be keeping tight end Levine Toilolo for the 2021 season. Is this the best move from a financial standpoint?
In the midst of “cap casualty season,” the Giants will reportedly not be parting ways with tight end Levine Toilolo.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the organization is retaining the 29-year-old veteran on a restructured contract. Toilolo had just one year remaining on his deal, which means the Giants may need to extend the contract in order to restructure it (it’s not confirmed they will). His 2021 cap hit was set to be $2.95 million ($2.925 million base salary, $25,000 workout bonus).
The #Giants are bringing back veteran TE Levine Toilolo for 2021, source said, on a restructured contract. He was set to make $2.95M in 2021.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2021
Amid a time period in which the Giants must clear cap room in order to keep both Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson (whether it’s via the franchise tag or a long-term deal, the latter route more likely than the former), this isn’t a fantastic move by Dave Gettleman. Sure, restructuring the deal does indeed clear cap space, but why not just cut Toilolo — a replaceable blocking tight end — and save nearly $3 million? Toilolo’s contract didn’t carry any dead cap money for the 2021 campaign.
It’s not like Toilolo is crucial for the offensive unit — the team could use Evan Engram or a potential free-agent acquisition as the main pass-catching tight end while utilizing Kaden Smith for blocking purposes. Florida’s Kyle Pitts could be another option for the top tight end spot if he’s on the board at No. 11 overall and the organization elects to trade Engram.
In a year in which the cap is down and New York must make crucial decisions on the defensive side of the ball, clearing $2.95 million in cap space could carry a significant level of importance. The fact the front office isn’t choosing to take that route is definitely a head-scratcher, but it’s not the first confusing move of the Gettleman regime.