Tae Crowder is free.
Crowder’s slide down the linebacker depth chart with the Giants was finalized Tuesday when he waived, potentially clearing Landon Collins from the practice squad’s waiver list.
In three years, Crowder made 31 starts and exceeded fair expectations for Mr. Irrelevant, the nickname for the last pick in the NFL draft.
After the surprise release of Blake Martinez at the end of training camp, the 25-year-old Crowder became the Giants’ primary middle linebacker. He remained the starter for the first eight games before the Giants moved to a combination of Jaylon Smith and rookie Micah McFadden on the inside.
Crowder’s role gradually diminished until he played zero defensive snaps on Dec. 4 against the Commanders. “Release me #TheReaper,” he tweeted after the game. The words were widely interpreted as a request to be released, which Crowder later said was not the case and pointed to simply wanting to beat his teammates. Crowder said he apologized to head coach Brian Daboll for the distraction in the locker room.
However, not much has changed. Crowder was a healthy scratch last game and is now on waivers.
Collins, who appears to be the Giants’ best second-tier running back, came off the practice squad to play in three games, the maximum allowed. If he is going to play again this season, he should be added to the 53-man roster.