The Giants today completed the first large-scale roster reduction of the Joe Judge era, removing 28 players to reach the NFL regular-season limit of 53 players.
The list included two quarterbacks (Cooper Rush and Alex Tanney), two players from the Giants’ 2019 draft class (inside linebacker Ryan Connelly and defensive tackle Chris Slayton) and one from the 2020 class (cornerback Chris Williamson).
Also released were wide receivers Johnny Holton, Alex Bachman, Derrick Dillon, Austin Mack, and Binjimen Victor; running back Tavien Feaster; tight ends Eric Tomlinson and Garrett Dickerson; offensive linemen Jon Halapio, Eric Smith, Tyler Haycraft and Kyle Murphy; defensive linemen Daylon Mack and Niko Lalos; linebacker Josiah Tauaefa; defensive backs Grant Haley, Montre Hartage, Brandon Williams, Dravon Askew-Henry, KeiVarae Russell, Jarren Williams and Prince Smith, Jr.; and long snapper Carson Tinker.
Hartage was waived/injured with a hamstring injury.
The roster shaping will continue tomorrow, when the Giants can also form their 16-player practice squad. Linebacker David Mayo (knee) and rookie safety Xavier McKinney (foot) are candidates for the injured reserve list, from which they would be eligible to return after missing a minimum of three games.
The Giants could also add to their roster by claiming players waived by other teams.
The moves leave the Giants with two quarterbacks in Daniel Jones and Colt McCoy but both Rush and Tanney are practice squad-eligible.
Because of the pandemic, practice squad eligibility has been revamped this year. Previously, a player was ineligible to join a practice squad if he had more than three accrued seasons in the NFL. Under the 2020 rules, teams can keep up to six players on the squad regardless of their service time.
Rush was awarded off waivers to the Giants on May 5, one day after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys. He played three seasons in Dallas under current Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and is considered a potential practice squad signee because of his knowledge of the offense.
Tanney was with the Giants the previous two seasons and became a footnote in franchise history in his only appearance, when he relieved Eli Manning in his final game, on Dec. 15 vs. Miami.
Holton joined the team on Wednesday. He played three seasons with the Oakland Raiders and last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. With 48 regular-season games played and four starts, Holton has more experience than the other receivers who were waived. His career totals include 14 receptions for 273 yards and three touchdowns.
The four younger receivers who were released all flashed at times during training camp. Bachman was signed to the Giants’ practice squad on Nov. 12, 2019 and to a reserve/futures contract on Dec. 30, 2019. Dillon (LSU), Austin Mack and Victor (both from Ohio State) are all rookie free agents.
Feaster, another undrafted rookie, joined the team on Aug. 27. He was originally signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars on April 27 and released on Aug. 8.
Tomlinson began his second Giants stint when he was signed as a free agent on March 30. Last year, he played in eight games with three starts for three teams – three games with no starts for the Giants, two games with starts for New England – where Judge was the special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach – and three games with one start for Oakland. He had one reception for one yard for the Patriots at the Jets on Oct. 21.
Dickerson, who first joined the Giants as a rookie free agent in 2018, from Northwestern, played in eight regular-season games – four each in 2018 and 2019 – but did not have a reception.
Halapio rejoined the team on Wednesday. He started all 15 games in which he played for the Giants last season but tore his Achilles tendon in the season finale vs. Philadelphia.
Smith was awarded off waivers to the Giants on Sept. 1, 2019, one day after he was released by the Jets. He played his first two NFL regular-season games last year, debuting when he replaced left tackle Nate Solder (concussion) in the second quarter vs. the Jets on Nov. 10 and also seeing action vs. Miami on Dec. 15.
Haycraft (Louisville) and Murphy (Rhode Island) are rookie free agents. The former was a tackle in college who spent much of camp learning how to play center.
Daylon Mack was signed by the Giants on Aug. 17. He played one game last season for the Baltimore Ravens, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Slayton was one of the Giants’ two seventh-round draft choices in 2019. He was on the team’s practice squad for the first 15 games and was inactive for the Dec. 29 season finale vs. Philadelphia.
Niko Lalos is a rookie free agent from Dartmouth.
Connelly was a fifth-round draft choice in 2019 whose promising rookie season was cut short by injury. He played in the first four games, including starts in each of his three games but suffered a torn ACL vs. Washington on Sept. 29, underwent surgery and missed the rest of the season. He tallied 20 tackles (10 solo), 1.0 sack and two interceptions. When he picked off a Jameis Winston pass at Tampa Bay on Sept. 22, he became the first Giants rookie linebacker with an interception since Oct. 26, 2008, when Bryan Kehl picked off a Ben Roethlisberger pass in a victory in Pittsburgh.
Tauaefa played in 12 games last season after joining the roster on Oct. 1 as a rookie free agent. He totaled three solo tackles, including two for a loss, all in his NFL debut vs. Minnesota on Oct. 6. Tauaefa added three tackles and one forced fumble on special teams.
Haley first joined the Giants as a rookie free agent in 2018 and in two seasons played in 25 games with 12 starts. His totals included 76 tackles (65 solo), 1.0 sack, and two passes defensed.
Hartage was awarded off waivers to the Giants on April 28, after spending his rookie season with the Miami Dolphins. He played in four games and tallied seven tackles (five solo), one pass defensed and one special teams tackle.
Askew-Henry was signed by the Giants on March 24 after playing four games for the New York Guardians of the XFL during the spring. The West Virginia University product was in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp last year.
Brandon Williams and Russell joined the Giants on Aug. 29 after each spent the 2019 season out of football. Both were former third-round draft choices. From 2016-18, Williams played for the Arizona Cardinals and Russell for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Smith, a rookie free agent from New Hampshire, signed with the Giants on Aug. 15, one week after he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jarren Williams is a rookie free agent from Albany who joined the Giants on Aug. 2. He was previously with the Cardinals.
Tinker was the third player added to the team on Wednesday. He last played six games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018 but missed the entire season in both 2017 and 2019.
QB (2): Daniel Jones, Colt McCoy
RB (4): Saquon Barkley, Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman Jr., Eli Penny
WR: (5): Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate III, Darius Slayton, Corey Coleman, C.J. Board,
TE (3): Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, Levin Toilolo
OL (9): Will Hernandez, Kevin Zeitler, Spencer Pulley, Andrew Thomas, Cameron Fleming, Nick Gates, Shane Lemieux, Chad Slade, Matt Peart
DL (6): Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, B.J. Hill, RJ McIntosh, Austin Johnson
OLB (6): Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden, Oshane Ximines, Kyler Fackrell, Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin
ILB (5): Blake Martinez, David Mayo, Devante Downs, TJ Brunson, Tae Crowder
DB (10): James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, Corey Ballentine, Jabrill Peppers, Julian Love, Darnay Holmes, Xavier McKinney, Isaac Yiodom, Sean Chandler, Nate Ebner
Special Teams (3)
K: Graham Gano
P: Riley Dixon
S: Casey Kreiter