Giants to Release WR Kenny Golladay

The Giants are releasing Kenny Golladay at the start of the new league year according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. While the Giants releasing Golladay isn’t surprising as this was a foregone conclusion before last year even began I just wanted to do a quick post explaining why some releases like Golladay’s will not take place until the start of the new league year.

When a player has a guaranteed salary for the upcoming league year as part of his contract the salary cap treatment of that salary is not the same as the salary cap treatment of a signing bonus when a player is released. Technically we are still in the 2022 league year so the post June 1 rules apply for releases. That means that when a player is cut on February 28 all of the prorated bonus money accelerates into the 2023 league year, but what about the guaranteed salary?

Guarantees are never deferred to a future league year and will always accelerate into the current league year. So for Golladay, who has a $4.5 million fully guaranteed roster bonus, his release would trigger $4.5 million accelerating into the 2022 league year. The books are closed for 2022 and teams have no cap room so if the Giants went to release Golladay the league would not allow it for cap purposes. Once the new league year starts on March 15 the $4.5 million would then only impact the 2023 cap and the release would be allowed by the NFL.

The only way really around that would be for the Giants to convert the $4.5 million to a signing bonus, prorate it over the remaining years of the contract and then release him. That would then have the $4.5 million treated like a prorated bonus rather than a guarantee, but the Giants would lose all rights to any offset privileges they may have if they converted the salary to a bonus. Because the Giants are well under the 2023 salary cap they can afford to wait and carry Golladay’s $21.4 million cap charge into the new league year. It might be different if they were in a situation like the Buccaneers or Saints where cap space is at more of a premium.

Golladay will leave the Giants with $14.7 million in dead money and create $6.7 million in cap room once it becomes official. It will likely be remembered as one of the worst free agent signings in modern NFL history.