Source: New York Giants LB Blake Martinez to return on restructured contract

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Saturday, March 12, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giantsstarting middle linebacker Blake Martinezwill return for the 2022 season after agreeing Friday to a reworked contract, a source told ESPN.

Martinez's deal is similar to that of wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who also took a significant pay cut to return earlier this week. The moves were necessary as the Giants try to get financially healthy ahead of the start of the new league year Wednesday.

New York began this offseason more than $11 million over the cap. The Giants have since shed close to $25 million after cutting tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Kaden Smith, running back Devontae Booker and punter Riley Dixon.

Martinez, 28, was set to make $8.525 million on the final year of his contract after tearing the ACL in his left knee last season. He would have counted $14.025 million against the salary cap. The Giants are expected to save almost $6 million by restructuring his contract.

Martinez wanted to remain in New York despite a new regime and a more uncertain future, and his restructured deal was the solution after conversations between the two sides throughout the week.

He had signed a three-year deal for $30 million in the 2020 offseason. The contract was restructured for cap purposes last season to move $3.5 million of dead money into this year. That made the contract in its previous form difficult for the Giants to carry. But that all came under the previous regime, with Patrick Graham as the defensive coordinator. Martinez and Graham had a good relationship, having worked together previously in Green Bay.

Martinez's first season with the Giants was perhaps the best of his career. He had 140 tackles, 3 sacks, 5 passes defended, an interception and 2 forced fumbles. It was his fourth straight season with 130 or more tackles.

Martinez has played six seasons with the Giants and Green Bay Packers. He has started 76 of 80 career games.