The move creates $6 million in cap space for the Giants, $10 million if he is designated a post-June 1 cut. Tate was to make $8.5 million and count $11 million against the cap in 2021.
The Giants also cut veteran linebacker David Mayo on Wednesday, a source told ESPN. Mayo suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee last August and was placed on injured reserve for the entire season.
Tate, 32, caught 35 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns last season. It was the least productive season since his rookie year, in part because he missed four games and started just four, serving as the Giants’ third receiver behind Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.
The lack of playing time and opportunities led to some frustration following a prime-time loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 2. Tate was caught on camera yelling “throw me the ball!” after his spectacular leaping touchdown grab late in the fourth quarter to put the Giants in position to tie the score.
His wife, Elise, ranted that night on Instagram about Tate’s lack of opportunities, and Tate later liked a tweet that suggested he should be cut and given an opportunity to sign elsewhere.
Tate did not travel with the team to the following week’s game against the Washington Football Team, but Giants coach Joe Judge was extremely complementary of Tate’s team-first approach the remainder of the season.
The Giants signed Tate to a four-year deal worth $36.3 million with $22.95 million guaranteed after trading Odell Beckham Jr. in 2019.
The former Notre Dame star has 695 career catches for 8,278 yards and 46 receiving touchdowns. He’s also tied for first in yards after the catch (4,248) with Antonio Brown since entering the league in 2010.