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Rashad Jennings released by Giants to free up more cap space

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The Giants keep making moves.

NFL: New York Giants at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are staying busy on Monday afternoon. Not only have they released former Pro Bowl wide receiver Victor Cruz, but they have also released running back Rashad Jennings.

Giants GM Jerry Reese said, “Rashad is a pro’s pro, on and off the field. He came to work every day and did everything we asked him to do, and always worked extra to get better at his craft.”

Jennings was the team’s starting running back this season, in an offense that struggled mightily in that department. In 13 games during the 2016 season, Jennings rushed the ball 181 times, accumulating 593 yards and three touchdowns. It was Jennings’ lowest total yardage since 2012, when he played in just 10 games for the Jaguars.

The Giants offense was 25th in the NFL this season, despite having some good weapons around Eli Manning like Odell Beckham Jr. It wasn’t a great complement to the team’s 10th ranked defense that played great down the stretch.

The move might come as somewhat of a surprise to Jennings, who told NJ.com on January 31 that he expected to be back with the team. "I expect to be back," Jennings said. “And I definitely want to be back. I've got one more year on my contract, and I've got a lot to prove. I look forward to doing it in New York again."

He was also pretty critical of the team’s offense after their Wild Card loss to the Packers. "We stalled out. We didn't finish,” he said via Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com. “We didn't finish our drives offensively. We did not put up points like we needed to offensively. Quite frankly, I felt like we left our defense hanging in some areas.”

Jennings was due to make $2.5 million in 2017, which was the final year of his four-year deal that he signed with the Giants back in 2014. He was going to count over $3 million against the cap. Between releasing him and Cruz today, the team has created $10 million in cap space.

The Giants still have Paul Perkins, who they selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and took over as the team’s main back in the final few weeks of the regular season. Perkins played in 14 games, starting one of them. He had 112 carries on the year and 456 rushing yards, showing some promise for the Giants.

However, it seems clear the team will be targeting a running back this offseason. Adrian Peterson had mentioned the Giants as a possible suitor if things don’t work out in Minnesota for him.