There is now another veteran tight end heading into 2022 NFL free agency. Kyle Rudolph, 32, signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the New York Giants last March in the hopes of providing them another valuable offensive target for quarterback Daniel Jones. One year later, they've decided it best to part ways with the two-time Pro Bowler, having released him just ahead of the new league year opening on March 16 -- Rudolph announcing the move via social media. The release frees up $5 million toward the Giants salary cap, a much-needed gain as the club was more than $12 million over the cap prior to the move.
Rudolph will now head to free agency with plenty of time to test the waters in the first wave, but first wanted to send the Giants a heartfelt thanks for adding him to their roster in 2021.
"Fans, thanks for taking me and my family in this past year!" he wrote on his Twitter and Instagram accounts. "Certainly not the year any of us expected, but a year we will never forget. We're appreciative of the Mara and Tisch Families for giving us the opportunity to be a Giant. Thanks to everyone in the building who took in and helped this old guy who needed to relearn everything about a new organization.
"Finally, my teammates, in my 11 years in this league I'm not sure I've been around a closer group of guys! We may not have got the results we deserved, but that didn't keep us from going to work together everyday! Looking forward to what's next!!"
A former second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2011, Rudolph became a staple in that team's offense before the eventual emergence of All-Pro tight end Adam Thielen. Following the addition of Thielen in 2017 via undrafted free agency, Rudolph's numbers tapered off and he'd go on to part ways with the Vikings following the 2020 season.
He isn't the playmaker or red zone threat he once was, but he's still got some tread left on his tires that could be used in a rotational capacity for a team needing capable (and mostly durable) depth at the position.