Introduction to the 2015 New York Giants Salary Cap Series

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This offseason, I’m going to go through the Giants salary cap and discuss what they should do to prepare for the 2015 season. I think this will be a great teaching tool for myself to learn more about the salary cap and to engage with you guys on some of the lessons to learn in the cap.

I’m also going to discuss an ongoing experiment I’m doing where I look at the percentage teams spend on each position and try to find a correlation between spending and performance on the field. Of course, with injuries, these numbers can sometimes go out of whack and you’ll also see what a bad contract can do to a team’s salary cap.

For example, it’s becoming increasingly important to spend your money on defensive ends, but when a team like the Buccaneers go out and give Gerald McCoy, a defensive tackle, a contract that’s bigger than Ndamukong Suh’s, then you put yourself in a tough situation with the cap. As good a player as McCoy is, he can’t provide the kind of performance that warrants the Bucs spending 16% of their salary cap on him in 2014. As good as he is, is he more valuable than basically every quarterback in the NFL? And, because of McCoy’s contract, the Bucs used 29.7% of their cap on the defensive line in 2014.

Another example of this is the Jaguars who had five defensive linemen making over $4 million in 2014, Roy Miller made $3 and Andre Branch made another $1.4 million. Due to spending on the defensive line, they only spent 6% of their cap on defensive backs. At a time where 12-win teams are spending 18% of their cap on DBs and the average team is spending 14.3%, it’s clear that the Jaguars are taking an unbalanced approach.

These are the some of the questions I hope to raise in the coming months as I try to dissect the Giants cap situation. I look forward to it and I hope you do too.

Attached at the bottom of this article are the Excel sheets I will be referencing throughout this offseason that look at positional spending for Offense, Defense, the Giants, and will break down spending on 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.

In the next few weeks, I will also break spending on the offensive and defensive lines as well as linebackers into each position.

Now, I’ll get into some of the information we need to look at regarding the New York Giants as they head into the 2015 offseason.

Main Free Agents:

  • Henry Hynoski, FB
  • Jerrel Jernigan, WR
  • Larry Donnell, TE
  • Daniel Fells, TE
  • James Brewer, OG
  • John Jerry, OG
  • Adam Snyder, OG
  • Dallas Reynolds, OG
  • Mike Patterson, DT
  • Jason Pierre-Paul, DE
  • Mark Herzlich, OLB
  • Spencer Paysinger, OLB
  • Jacquian Williams, OLB
  • Walter Thurmond, CB
  • Zack Bowman, CB
  • Chykie Brown, CB
  • Stevie Brown, FS
  • Quintin Demps, FS
  • Antrel Rolle, SS

2015 Giants Free Agents

Giants that were on the on the IR this year:

I think that this is something we should keep in mind because of all the talent they had injured this year. Due to this, so much of what we have in our minds for what the Giants need to do might already be on their roster, but were just injured.

Offense:

  • David Wilson, RB (retired)
  • Michael Cox, RB
  • Peyton Hillis, RB
  • Victor Cruz, WR
  • Jerrel Jernigan, WR
  • Marcus Harris, WR
  • Geoff Schwartz, OG
  • James Brewer, OG

Defense:

  • Robert Ayers, DE
  • Mathias Kiwanuka, DE
  • Jon Beason, MLB
  • Jacquian Williams, OLB
  • Prince Amukamara, CB
  • Walter Thurmond, CB
  • Trumaine McBride, CB
  • Bennett Jackson, CB
  • Cooper Taylor, FS

 

 

Without looking too closely at the cap, that’s something we’ll do later, I want to share some of my thoughts on what I think the Giants could use heading into 2015. The excitement Odell Beckham Jr. created will carry the Giants and fans into this offseason feeling much better than we all felt in October. With all the injuries they’ve had these last two years, Tom Coughlin and the crew have a lot to be proud of. I know the average fan is upset about two disappointing seasons in a row, but what are the Giants supposed to do when they lead the league in games missed by starters two years in a row?

Something worth noting is that GM Jerry Reese told reporters at his year-end press conference that they’re not going to go out and spend a bunch of money in free agency like last offseason when they spent $116.3 million.

This year, the Giants would have had a great draft class this year just with Odell Beckham, but they got three guys who look like they’ll be long-time contributors in Weston Richburg, Andre Williams and Devon Kennard.

As seen above, the Giants have almost $32.6 million in expiring contracts, but they’ll still have to restructure contracts heading into 2015 as they have $119.9 million of the $140 million expected cap already locked into current players. To make the moves the Giants will want to make in free agency and the draft, they’ll need to restructure contracts like Eli Manning who will be a $20.4 million cap hit in 2015, which is the last year of his contract. Some of the larger contracts that the Giants could get creative with are those of Victor Cruz, Will Beatty, and Mathias Kiwanuka, but the one that would make the biggest impact would be Eli Manning’s contract.

Manning had his best statistical season since 2011 with 4,410 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and only 14 interceptions, a far cry from the 27 he threw last year and a number that could improve with another year in this system. It’s especially impressive that he played this way due to the amount of injuries around him this year.

Manning will be 34 next season, but with the talent at the wide receiver position, talent that’s locked into contracts for the next three or four years, I see no reason why the Giants shouldn’t resign him to a new four or five year deal. For Manning, it makes sense for him to try to work out another long term deal this year as well because of the good season he had, rather than gambling on himself next season, which he’ll be 35 at the end of.

With that said, below are the positions that the Giants need help at, in my upcoming pieces, I’ll break down what I think they should do at each position whether it’s through the draft or free agency.

  • Pass rusher (DE or OLB)
  • ILB
  • RB
  • DT
  • FB
  • FS
  • SS
  • CB
  • TE

Again, moving forward, I’ll break down what I think the Giants should do at each position and below are the Excel sheets that I’ll be referencing moving forward. Save them for yourself so that you can come up with your own theories regarding salary cap spending for the NFL or for your favorite team.

Click on the images to enlarge them:

Figure 1: 2014 End of Season Offensive Positional Spending

2014 Offensive Positional Spending

Figure 2: 2014 End of Season Defensive Positional Spending

2014 Defensive Positional Spending

Figure 3: 2014 End of Season Defensive Positional Spending (with Base Defenses)

2014 Defensive Spending with Base Defense

Figure 4: 2015 Giants Salary Cap Against League Averages

2015 Giants Cap vs. League Averages

@ZackMooreNFL

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  • Drew Jordan

    I’m certainly interested to see if there is any correlation between positional spending and team success.

  • McGeorge

    Its a good idea.

    Given low number of games played (16 per team) and the high injury rates, I think this type of analysis must be based on a sample size of at least 5 seasons.

    • Great point McGeorge, I know that I won’t see real correlation for a few years, but I’m trying to compile the stats from 2011 on since that’s when the most recent CBA was signed.

      • fiscalconsoclib

        When will we see the next installment?

  • Bill Keating

    The appearance of four smudged and illegible tables at the end of the column suggests to me that the content of the future columns will be from a careless and sloppy person.

    • Eamonn

      You can click on the tables in order to see them enlarged in your browser. I rather think it is unfair and more than a bit rude to refer to someone you have presumably never met as careless and sloppy when they have taken the time out of their week to research, write and post this detailed and well-thought out article online for free. This is compounded by the reality that your justification for said accusation – already made tenuous by the fact that it is predicated upon one single sample of work – is demonstrably erroneous. But then you already knew that before you posted, didn’t you?

      • Lol thanks Eamonn, ya Bill, you can just click on them.