In an expected move, the Giants decided not to exercise the 2020 club option for veteran S Antoine Bethea, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed on Wednesday. The Giants have until 4 p.m. when the new league year officially kicks off to do so.
By declining the option, the Giants are adding $2.75 million to their cap space, which is sitting at just under $17 million right now after all the signings.
Bethea had a solid season with 110 tackles, one interception, six passes defended and two fumble recoveries. However, at age 36 next season and being someone former defensive coordinator James Bettcher wanted after playing with the Cardinals, the Giants are moving in a different direction.
There is also the fact that Bethea was terrible in coverage last season. When he was defending, quarterbacks went 29-for-40 for a 143.4 passer rating. Yeah, that's not good.
Moving forward, the Giants do have a couple options to fill the free safety slot next to Jabrill Peppers at strong safety. In house, Julian Love, the team's fourth-round pick last season, converted to safety and played pretty well to garner some interest. However, new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham may want someone more experienced at first, as Love gets used to the position change.
Anthony Harris was someone on the Giants' radar, according to ESPN's Jordan Raanan, but the Vikings franchise-tagged him so they could figure out a trade instead of just letting him walk. So the Giants should be considered out on that.
Maybe Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, a veteran who has shown consistent play for the past six seasons, could be an option. He's not too expensive and had two interceptions while producing a 67.0 opposing quarterback rating last season. Much better than Bethea.