NFL free agency is beginning a full month early for the New York Giants as veteran wide receiver Sterling Shepard became an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.
After taking a pay cut last year, Shepard had a clause added to his contract that included an automatic void 72 hours after the Super Bowl.
When Sterling Shepard took a pay cut last offseason, his new contract included an automatic void three days after the Super Bowl. So he becomes a free agent today. The Giants will carry a $4.3M dead money charge for Shepard in 2023.
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) February 15, 2023
Shepard, who turned 30 last week, has played in just 10 games over the past two seasons and is coming off back-to-back serious leg issues.
In 2021, Shepard ended his season on IR with a torn Achilles tendon. Last year, he tore his ACL in September, ending his season.
Despite going down hurt, Shepard remained around the team this past season and was a regular cheerleader on the sidelines.
“We wanted him around. (General manager) Joe (Schoen) and I wanted him around. He’s a great teammate. He provides a lot of juice. He’s out here at practice every day,” head coach Brian Daboll said in January. “He’s one of the better leaders that I’ve been around — very selfless. I wouldn’t know how he feels. Certainly, I believe that he wishes he could play. But he comes out here with a great attitude. He’s our music guy. So, he’s been great. Very fortunate for him to be here.
The Giants love Shepard but it remains to be seen if they bring him back in some capacity in 2023 considering their salary cap constraints. However, with his market likely limited, a return may be in the best interest of both he and the team.