Thee New York Giants have released Mathias Kiwanuka. The 31-year old defensive end started the first 11 games of the 2014 season, but he was placed on Injured Reserve in December with a knee injury that troubled him much of the year.
Kiwanuka had a disappointing season, finishing with only 28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He had one year and $4.775 million in salary left on his current contract and was scheduled to count $7.45 million against the 2015 salary cap. According to OverTheCap.com, the Giants will “save” $4.825 million with $2.625 million in “dead money” by cutting Kiwanuka.
Kiwanuka has shifted between defensive end and linebacker ever since he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Giants. He primarily played linebacker for the Giants in 2007 and 2010-12, and defensive end in 2006, 2008-09, and 2013-14.
In his nine seasons with the Giants, Kiwanuka played in 120 regular-season games with 82 starts (52 at defensive end and 30 at linebacker). He accrued 412 tackles, 38.5 sacks, intercepted three passes, and forced 12 fumbles. He also won two Super Bowl rings with the Giants.
“Mathias has a warrior mentality,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He has been the ultimate team player for this franchise, and was a true pro from day one.”
“The thing that has always impressed me about Kiwi is how serious he is about the game,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He was always prepared and always in outstanding condition and played very hard. And he had some nasty in him.
“I always felt like you could count on certain things from him: eight-nine sacks, harass the quarterback, and you could move him around, inside, outside. He is dependable, reliable and there is no question about his professionalism.
“I would have to back him off in practice and remind him that we’re not hitting the quarterback. He would always agree and then I’d have to remind him again the next play.
“His character and professionalism and serious approach to the game will be missed.”
With the release of Kiwanuka, there are no defensive players remaining on the Giants from the 2007 Super Bowl team.