East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - The New York Giants released middle linebacker Mike Barrow on Wednesday.
Since arriving in New York as free agent prior to the 2000 campaign, Barrow has led the team in tackles in each of the last three seasons. Barrow stepped in the middle of New York's defense in 2000 and was an immediate impact, helping the Giants advance to the Super Bowl that year.
"This is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever been a part of in football," general manager Ernie Accorsi said. "But in this system, when a player's salary cap number is so high that it begins to strangle your opportunities to improve multiple areas of your team, it has to come to this, as anyone can see by observing the transactions in the league."
The Giants and Barrow were unable to reach an agreement on a restructured contract that would have helped the team get under the cap.
Barrow, 34, played in all 16 games last season, recorded a career-high 177 tackles, including 122 solo. A second-round draft choice of the then Houston Oilers in 1993, Barrow played with the Oilers and Carolina Panthers before joining the Giants.
In his 11-year career, he has 1,219 tackles, recording more than 100 tackles in seven of the last eight seasons. With the move, New York will most likely have three new first-team linebackers in 2004.
On Friday, New York signed former Philadelphia Eagle Carlos Emmons, replacing a departed strong side linebacker Brandon Short. Just three days later, Barrett Green joined the Giants from the Detroit Lions. Green will replace weakside linebacker Dhani Jones who signed with the NFC East rival Eagles on Tuesday.