Current Estimated 2016 Cap Space: $42.9 million
Expected 2016 Cap Space: $57.8 million
Estimated Rookie Cap: $5.942 million
Players Under Contract: 53
Pro Bowlers: 1
Unrestricted Free Agents: 20(4 with 50%+ playtime)
Draft Selection: 10
Salary Cap Breakdown
Free Agents to Re-sign
I would look to keep Jason Pierre-Paul but only if he comes on another one year contract worth in the realm of $8 million. JPP’s talent can’t be denied but he didn’t resemble the pre-hand injury player last season when he saw the field. You can not do a long term deal…Robert Ayers is worth the investment as a second tier, $4 million a year type situational rusher…There is no reason for Josh Brown not to come back next year…Both Jasper Brinkley and Cullen Jenkins could be cheap depth options, though Jenkins could always opt to retire…Zak DeOssie could return as long snapper.
Free Agents to Let Walk
If the price gets above $7 million I think the Giants need to let Prince Amukamara go. It is a tough decision because he is clearly talented, but he is hurt too often and is inconsistent. It’s a deep free agent year for corners and I could see the benefit of finding a new player…Rueben Randle is far too inconsistent to sign for number 2 money. Like Amukamara it could be a situation where you see if a market develops for him before completely walking away…There is probably no pressing reason to bring back anyone else. Players like George Selvie don’t make enough impact while those like Jayron Hosley probably make a negative one.
Contracts to Modify
The big questions for the Giants center around two pricey players in Victor Cruz and Will Beatty. The two combine for over $14 million in salary and $19 million in cap charges. The Giants could consider massive pay cuts for both players to keep them on the roster…Geoff Schwartz ended the season on IR again which probably means the Giants will approach him about either taking a pay cut or more likely rolling some of his salary into incentivized roster bonuses.
Players to Consider Releasing
Also mentioned in the section above, Victor Cruz is clearly on the chopping block. He is rarely healthy and at this point who knows if that burst that made him so good years ago even exists. The team saves $6.1 million in cap by moving on…Will Beatty never lived up to his contract which makes cutting him a possibility. His release saves $$4.2 million…The Giants learned the hard way to never trust the health of Jon Beason who has missed a ridiculous 51 games over the last five years, only once playing in more than 5 games. Cutting him creates $4.5 million in cap…Rashad Jennings could be an odd man out if they upgrade the running back position.
The Giants only possess a few large contracts, and Expected Contract Value deems it more likely than not that the team will terminate three of them, thereby allowing the team to preserve the associated True Cap Space. With few releases expected and an above average Commitment Index position, the Giants are in a position to make large net gains in roster talent. It will be interesting to see if the team continues to diversify its contractual risk across a number of small contracts or instead concentrates the risk in a smaller number of larger contracts. A strategy based around a higher volume of smaller contracts would likely result in a smaller aggregate commitment/risk and greater future optionality, even if the aggregate stated value is equal to that of a smaller number of larger contracts.
Expected Contract Outcomes – Expected Contract Value 2.0 utilizes an algorithm based on a player’s contract characteristics, age, position and 2015 performance to forecast probabilities as to the outcomes of contract termination decisions. The lower the Expected Outcome, the more likely the player’s contract will be terminated in 2016. A pay cut is treated as a termination. We have applied ECV 2.0 to all contracts scheduled to count $2 million or more against the 2016 salary cap with the exception of exercised 5th year rookie options. Expected Savings is the calculated by multiplying the probability a player will be released by the cap savings realized by the team upon such release.
|Player||Position||Expected Outcome||Expected Savings|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||REC||99.9%||($1,987)|
|Expected Change in Cap Room||+$14,867,528|
True Cap Space – Realizable Cap Space depicts the total amount of salary cap space potentially at the team’s disposal in 2016, and True Cap Space makes further adjustments to take into consideration amounts that are accounted for in practical terms. Most True Cap Space will be used on players currently under contract as a result of the team choosing to not release them.
|True Cap Space (2016)|
|Adjusted Salary Cap||$161,240,106|
|Prorated Signing Bonus Amounts||($28,545,868)|
|Realizable Cap Space||$132,694,238|
|Fully Guaranteed Salary||($6,975,701)|
|Minimum Salary Cap Holds||($21,150,000)|
|True Cap Space||$104,568,537|
Commitment Index – Commitment Index identifies the degree to which a team has “mortgaged its future” by measuring its net future salary cap commitments as a percentage of the average net future salary cap commitments of all teams. A Commitment Index Score of 100% is average, and a negative Commitment Index Score indicates that the team has more current salary cap space than future salary cap commitments. The Commitment Index Score of every team in the league changes to at least some degree with every transaction executed by any team in the league, so Commitment Index Score is measured as of a specific point in time (in this case, January 11, 2016).
|Commitment Index (2017+)|
|Prorated Signing Bonus Amounts||$42,354,729|
|Fully Guaranteed Salary||$6,579,872|
|Current Cap Space||($42,472,206)|
|Commitment Index Score||37%|
|League Rank (1st = Most Committed)||20th|
With Eli Manning signed to a big contract for the next four years and Odell Beckham under the rookie wage scale for a few more seasons I expect the Giants to be major players in free agency. They fired Tom Coughlin, in part, because they finished with a losing record so I don’t expect them to move into any rebuilding mode now. The Giants have tried to get by with a roster filled with lower tier depth players which has left them somewhat depleted when it comes to higher level starters. They can fix that this winter.
The Giants defense was always built behind a strong pass rush but they have fallen behind in that regard in recent years. The recent contract for the Eagles Vinny Curry could make the position too expensive to consider, especially because there is really only one 43 end out there that has a higher upside in Olivier Vernon otherwise they need to look at productive players in different defenses and hope it translates. Expect the Giants to draft a possible rusher and I would not be shocked if they watch the situations with the DeMarcus Ware types and cross their fingers on a one year deal while a younger player develops.
This is a strong year for safeties and I would be surprised if the Giants did not make a big play for Eric Weddle or Eric Berry, if available. Tashaun Gipson would be another name but he may be less of a sure thing. Reggie Nelson, like Weddle, could be a nice veteran addition. If they don’t come out of free agency with a significant upgrade expect the defensive struggles to continue.
Linebacker is a major need for the defense but free agency may not be the solution for that. Danny Trevathan might be the best fit for the team if the Broncos don’t bring him back. Other names like DeMario Davis don’t really address the problems.
Defensive tackle is another spot where they team can upgrade with Jaye Howard of the Chiefs maybe being the best possible fit for the team. Veteran Haloti Ngata might be a upside addition at the right price, but they really need to get younger not older, especially if they do go after a late career defensive end. Steve McCledon could be a sneaky upside addition if they think he can be more than a rotational player.
The Giants are lucky to have a number 1 receiver so now their goal is to find a more consistent number 2, which free agency seems to be filled with. Marvin Jones, Rishard Matthews, Jermaine Kearse, Mohamed Sanu, etc… will all be out there and the goal is to find the one who meshes best with Beckham.
Expect the team to look at some of the free agent offensive linemen with Mitchell Schwartz being the best right tackle available and Andre Smith being the best older veteran option. Joe Barksdale could be the best affordable option. I don’t think this will be as high on the priority list and they may be a later mover if prices come in lower than expected.
Right now the Giants have a bunch of running backs, but none have been able to really stake a claim to the job. While Jennings had the big finale, if they can grab Alfred Morris of the Redskins I believe that would be an upgrade. Shane Vereen is already locked in as the third down back so Morris would be a great fit, the only issue is money. The fact that they paid Vereen over $4 million means anyone else will ask for more and that could prove to be a block.
If they don’t keep Amukamara expect the Giants to target someone in free agency. Sean Smith would be the best available and the Giants may prefer that to the younger types, many of whom come with the same question marks as Amukamara.
Overall the team needs a defensive overhaul if they intend to compete for the playoffs in 2016 and a few pieces on offense to make them more efficient. They play in a poor division which helps them, but if they intend to make that run at the playoffs they won’t be able to do that if they just use the draft this year and minimum salary or low cost veterans to fill in the gaps. Those are wonderful players to provide depth but they won’t provide the boost needed for 16 games. If the Giants are not active in free agency I would say that it is an admission that the talent base on the team is poor and they need a year to rebuild parts of the roster before they jump into free agency.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.