The New York Giants have released running back Peyton Hillis. The 29-year old Hillis played in nine games for the Giants before his season ended due to a serious concussion he suffered in the game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 9. He was placed on Injured Reserve six days later. It was Hillis’ second concussion with the Giants in two seasons.
Hillis finished 2014 with 26 carries for 115 yards and 10 receptions for 87 yards.
Hillis was set to make $870,000 in salary in the final year of his contract and count $945,000 against the team’s 2015 salary cap if he had made the team. By cutting him, the Giants have “saved” that $945,000 against the cap with no “dead” money.
Hillis was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and played for the Browns (2010-11), Chiefs (2012), and Buccaneers (2013) before signing with the Giants in October 2013. He carried the ball 73 times for 247 yards and caught 13 passes for 96 yards in 2013 for the Giants.
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.
Atlanta Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who spent 10 years with the New York Giants from 2003-2012, recently told ESPN.com that he would like to retire as a New York Giant. Umenyiora will become an unrestricted free agent in early March.
“It was nearly a third of my life that I was there in New York, and I did a lot of good things there,” Umenyiora said. “As a team, we won some Super Bowls. I was able to go to a couple of Pro Bowls and be like an All-Pro player over there. Unless I’m able to do that somewhere else – which I don’t know how likely that is – then it would only make sense, whenever it is that I retire.
“I’m not going to play another 10 years. I’m not going to play another three years. Whenever it is that I retire, I think it would only make sense for me to do that as a Giant.”
The 33-year old Umenyiora was originally drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. In nine seasons (he missed the 2008 season with a knee injury), he played in 129 regular-season games and accrued 376 tackles, 75 sacks, and forced 32 fumbles. Umenyiora has been named All Pro twice (2005 and 2010) and played in two Pro Bowls (2005 and 2007). He also was a key member of two NFL Championship teams for the Giants in 2007 and 2011.
Umenyiora signed with the Falcons in during free agency in 2013. While he played in all 16 games in 2014 for the Falcons, he did not start and finished the season with only 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
“Zero plans to retire at this moment,” said Umenyiora. “I feel like I can still play, No. 1. The way things ended last year, I’m just not going to end my career like that. That’s not going to happen.
“I feel like when put in the right situation and given the opportunity to play, I would still be able to help somebody. I want to end the way it’s supposed to end.
“I think I’ll know exactly when the time (to retire) is right. When you’re physically not able to play anymore, you’ve got to be honest with yourself. You have to watch tape and study yourself from when you had good years, when you had not-so-good years. You have to look at your explosion, how you’re playing the game; if you still want to practice. And you have to have enough pride that you’re not going to go out there and embarrass yourself. You don’t want to go out there and look like a fool. I think the league will let you know when you’re done. Ain’t no charity cases being handed out. Either they feel like you can help them or that’s it for you. If you’re unable to play, they’ll tell you because you’re not going to have a job.
“More importantly, I think the league will let you know when you’re done. Ain’t no charity cases being handed out. Either they feel like you can help them or that’s it for you. If you’re unable to play, they’ll tell you because you’re not going to have a job.
“Do I expect to get a look from the Falcons? Absolutely. I think I did the right things when I was there, especially last year. I did and said all the right things, and I’m in great shape. Whether or not they decide to re-sign me, that’s another story. But do I expect them to look into it? I would think so.”
Articles on the New York Giants and Free Agency:
- Jason Pierre-Paul franchise tag possible because Giants ‘healthy’ with salary cap by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com
- Giants buzz at the NFL Combine: What’s new with their own free agents? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com
Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: An updated list of players visiting with the Giants at the 2015 NFL Combine by Nick Powell for NJ.com
Article on the New York Giants Safeties: Expect Giants to give young safeties a shot by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com