After being limited to just 12 games last season due to a calf injury, New York Giants defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins agreed to a pay cut with the team that will bump his salary from $2.2 million down to $1 million.
The move will reportedly save the team a much-needed $825,00 in cap space as the Giants attempt to retain Jenkins’ fellow teammates and defensive difference makers safety Antrel Rolle and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
The 34-year-old had his name tossed around earlier this offseason as a potential cap casualty after finishing the 2014 season with just 16 tackles and one sack. The injury marred season ruined for Jenkins what had been a strong first season with the Giants in 2013, when he recorded 31 tackles and five sacks.
An excellent big body in the trenches, Jenkins can play both defensive tackle and defensive end in a pinch. At 6’2″ and 305 lbs, he uses his impressive size and bull rush to handle interior offensive lineman and force pressure up the middle on opposing quarterbacks, often allowing for his teammates to make the play off the edge.
Entering his 12th season in the league, the Giants were no doubt concerned his age would become a factor in the continued decline in play that began with his calf injury last year. Yet Jenkins remains a gritty player who does the thankless jobs on the line and, with his new affordable salary, he becomes a steal for New York both on the field and with his leadership in the locker room.
Jenkins will battle for the starting slot alongside Jonathan Hankins at the defensive tackle position against 2014 third-round pick Jay Bromley, German born seventh-round pick from 2012 Markus Kuhn, and, should the Giants choose to bring him back, former Philadelphia Eagle, Mike Patterson.
Jenkins joined the Giants in 2013, after having spent time with the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles, on a three-year, $8 million deal. The cap savings New York will get from this new contract will undoubtedly allow him to remain with the team as well as help the team deal with the 19 unrestricted free agents they will have on their plate this offseason.