In early April, I wrote an article on the Odell Beckham Jr. contract situation that has since led to the opportunity to work with Pat Leonard at the New York Daily News on an article later in April and I had a conversation with Anita Marks on ESPN New York a couple weeks ago on the topic, so I thought I’d expand on this topic here.
Wanted to share an article written by Pat Leonard that appeared in last week’s New York Daily News where we go over how the Giants could feasibly sign Odell Beckham to an extension before the 2018 season.
You can click here to go to the article on their website or check out the article below.
Zack Moore is a writer for OverTheCap.com and author of the recently released book titled, “Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions,” which is now available on Amazon. You can follow him on Twitter @ZackMooreNFL.
Over the last week or so there have been reports that the Giants have had conversations in regards to potentially trading Odell Beckham, Jr. While I’m generally an advocate for saving costs at wide receiver, especially when you have a first tier quarterback, the Giants are in a position where a) Beckham is what makes Eli Manning a first tier quarterback at this point in his career, b) Beckham might be the best wide receiver in the NFL or on the brink of becoming that, c) the Giants may be moving on from Manning in the near future, which makes keeping Beckham even more important, and d) I’ve constructed a potential contract for him that wouldn’t breach 9% of the cap, which is a very reasonable cost for the best receiver in the NFL. Also, if I have to choose between keeping Beckham or keeping Manning at this stage in his career, I move on from Manning.
As of this weekend it sounded like the New York Giants and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul were about to come to a compromise of sorts on his hand injury and allow him to return to the active roster once he signed his one year Franchise tender this week. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder the two sides had very different opinions of his readiness and no agreement could be reached. JPP has seemingly returned home and the Giants likely wont have their star pass rusher for some time. I wanted to explore what are likely some of the issues here with the two sides to see where things may have broken down.
Continue reading Some Thoughts on Jason Pierre Paul’s Contract Stalemate »
The veteran releases continue, this time with the New York Giants releasing DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka was scheduled to earn $4.85 million in salary and carry a $7.45 million salary cap charge, which was the 4th highest charge on the team. The Giants will save $4.85 million in cap space by releasing him.
The move should come as no surprise. Kiwanuka had to agree to a pay cut last season to remain on the Giants. His salary was reduced last year from slightly over $4 million to $2.25 million, which resulted in a $5.5 million cap charge. Nothing really changed to expect the Giants to consider him at more than double the salary and an extra $2 million in cap charges.
Since this was the final year of his contract there would really be no benefit to reducing his salary unless the Giants really wanted to keep him as a player, which they seemingly did not want to do. He’ll be free to explore his options in free agency as soon as the transaction is processed by the NFL. Kiwanuka would be eligible to sign a minimum salary contract with a team.
The Giants will carry a $2.625M cap charge for Kiwanuka this season. The Giants should now have somewhere in the ballpark of $23 million in cap room for the start of the new league year. They can potentially create more room by working on a lower cost contract for Victor Cruz that reflects his injuries and declining performance, rleasing Jon Beason, and extending Eli Manning. You can read my thoughts on the Giants offseason here.
Estimated 2015 Cap Space: $15.9 million ($140M cap limit)
Players Under Contract: 67
Pro Bowlers: 0
Unrestricted Free Agents: 19(6 with 50%+ playtime)
Draft Selection: 9
Salary Cap Breakdown
Free Agents to Re-sign
Jason Pierre-Paul is one of the most difficult free agents to judge. He has immense talent and is very young, but he is also incredibly inconsistent and I do believe there is a worry about what happens once he signs a long term contract. He would seem like a franchise tag player to try to get another year out of him before they see where the team is headed in the future…Antrel Rolle led the team in defensive snaps plays and is clearly the defensive leader of the team. On a veteran team, which the Giants will still be in 2015, that type of player probably needs to come back unless the team is ready to turn the roster over, something the Giants don’t seem inclined to do. They need to aim for a shorter term contract…Henry Hynoski and Daniel Fells are low cost veterans likely earning around the minimum making them easy decisions to keep.
Free Agents to Let Walk
Stevie Brown has talent, but struggled this year and was benched for a portion of the season. Brown gives up a number of big plays and if the staff doesn’t have faith in him it is time to move on…Brown’s replacement, Quintin Demps, eventually lost the job back to Brown late in the season. If he can’t beat out Brown it means he won’t be back in 2015…The Giants took a chance on Walter Thurmond but Thurmond quickly got injured and landed on IR for the third time in his career. They won’t take that risk this season….John Jerry struggled for most of the season and should not be back in 2015 even as a depth player. They need to find younger backups.
Contracts to Modify
If the Giants want to make a run at any free agents in 2015 and keep Pierre-Paul they need to rework the contract of Eli Manning who has a $19.75 million cap hit. Manning is a free agent in 2016 an if they intend on him being the QB in the future then he needs to be extended now…I would strongly consider extending Prince Amukamara before he can further improve and command more money when he hits free agency in 2016. His injury should have no bearing on how he plays and the time is right. He has a $6.9 million salary which will become guaranteed in March and this is the time to get that rolled into his new contract as part of the guarantee. As a comparison Richard Sherman only received $12.4 million in full guarantees so the Giants would only be looking at guaranteeing an extra $2-4 million over what they are already prepared to pay anyway if they get the deal done now. This is the way to maintain roster flexibility in the future…I would not be surprised if the Giants attempt to lower the salary of Victor Cruz. Cruz has landed on IR each of the last two seasons and this last one was a devastating injury. Cruz’ importance to the offense has declined greatly and they can threaten his release to improve their leverage. Cruz has the second highest cap charge on the team at $8.13 million and they can probably cut a few million off that figure.
Players to Consider Releasing
Give Mathias Kiwanuka credit for being a good soldier and bouncing around between defensive end and linebacker like a ping pong ball, but he has never been anything more than an average player. He’s had his pay slashed before, but at this point it’s time to find a better option. Robert Ayers was far more effective last season. Releasing Kiwanuka saves $4.825 million in cap room…Jon Beason played in 15 games in 2013, but just a total of 9 games in 2011, 12, and 14 because of injuries. He was a nice add for the Giants two years ago but with his injury history they should move on even though a small portion of his salary is guaranteed. That should give them another $3.5 million to work with….Expect David Wilson’s retirement to be official, taking his $1.3 million salary off the books.
It seems as if it is more of the same old song and dance with the Giants in 2015. They dealt with injuries again in 2014 and likely believe those injuries derailed the season. While dealing with injuries is certainly difficult, it seems as if that has been a way to rationalize too many seasons recently. They need a healthy season to let them decide once and for all what direction to take the team.
The Giants are always an interesting offseason team to watch because they seem to almost exclusively stick to their best player available philosophy in the draft. Because of that the Giants are not going to necessarily fix a position of weakness but instead add to a strength or have a bridge ready for the future. When you follow that pattern I think in free agency you have to have as many voids filled as possible, often with some very economical signings, going into the draft.
That said, I don’t think the Giants can really justify a big free agency run because of all the questions surrounding the future direction of the team. Any big moves made this year may negatively impact the team in the future. Considering Pierre-Paul may have a long term contract and Manning may be in line for one, the Giants are not really in a position to throw money frivolously at outside players. My guess is at the end of the day the Giants believe that getting players back like Geoff Schwartz and Amukamara or having a fully healthy Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is essentially the same as a big free agent splash. I think it would be stunning if they went after Ndamukong Suh. The Giants roster is more or less a pretty equitable positional salary distribution and a player like Suh would probably blow that all up.
Fitting in with their future cap situation and draft strategy my guess is the Giants will target as many minimum salary veterans as possible in free agency. I think their basic thinking will be to develop their draft picks from 2014 and 15 at certain spots and anywhere a void remains stick a professional veteran rather than a reclamation project or questionable younger player. If there is one position where I do believe they will hit free agency it is at running back where there will be a number of relatively cheap options. I would wonder if they would consider a veteran like Frank Gore to provide a steady presence. That would be a very old backfield, but it would also give the Giants more reliability at the position, something they are looking for.
I would expect the biggest upgrades to come in the draft with help coming on the offensive line and secondary. If there is a player they believe will be an elite pass rusher they will certainly consider that regardless of the presence of JPP. I would not be surprised if they land another wide receiver to pair with Beckham either. Even if they make the turn away from Manning, having two young receivers to pair with a young QB is a smart option. They may not have a long term player to pair with him right now.
This is certainly an important offseason for New York. They have trended down for the last few years and they can’t really hold off much longer on deciding if this is an Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin team or a team in need of a new voice. A poor offseason should see big changes in New York while a solid one will put them in contention for the playoffs.
[adsenseyu1] For those of you who enjoy the Power Rankings I do during the season here is a look at the efficiency rankings of all the Super Bowl champions. For those unfamiliar with the rankings what these percentiles measure is the percent a team either scores or prevents an opponent from scoring above or below their schedules average for the season. So for example a team with a scoring efficiency of 25% means that team scored 25% more points per game than their opponents gave up that season. A defensive score of 25% means that a team held their opponents to 25% below their normal scoring output on the season. The stats are for regular season only.
While most people consider the 1985 Bears the greatest team of all time they actually only rank 4th on this system. The top team is the little praised Redskins who really dominated the league in 1991. The team’s opponents allowed just 19 PPG while the Redskins scored over 30. It’s the top performing scoring unit in the history. The defense wasn’t a slouch either holding teams to 24% below their averages.
The 1996 Packers, who looked like they were going to be the next dynasty franchise, ranked second with a tremendous all around tea. The 73 Dolphins rank 3rd and were far superior to the undefeated team in 1972 that faced a much easier schedule. The 75 Steelers fill out the top 10. The worst SB champions have been the 70 Colts, 11 Giants, 07 Giants, 01 Patriots, and 87 Redskins, though it’s the bottom 4 that are teams that really surprise as being on the list of champions.
The most productive scoring came from the 91 Redskins, 77 Cowboys, 98 Broncos, 09 Saints, and 94 49ers. Only two teams had a below average scoring output and those were the 01 Patriots and 02 Buccaneers. The 90 Giants, 00 Ravens, and 81 49ers would round out the bottom 5. Defensively the best unit was not the 85 Bears or 00 Ravens but the 73 Dolphins who just edge ot the 02 Buccaneers, who I think people forget when discussing the great defensive teams. The 66 Packers, 85 Bears, and 75 Steelers are the other best ranking teams. At the bottom of the list are the 06 Colts, 11 Giants, 09 Saints, 07 Giants, and 98 Broncos, all of whom were below average.
Perhaps not so surprisingly is that no teams from the current era are close to the top of this list as the NFL is filled with parity and a lack of dominant teams that can run all the way to a title. The 2004 Patriots just cracked the top 10 and the next closest team is the 00 Ravens at 19 and 10 Packers at 22. Of the 13 lowest ranking teams, 6 are from 2001 onwards.
The current era will be represented better by either the Seahawks or Broncos either of whom would rank in the top 20. The Broncos would have the best scoring output of any team on this list but would also grab the “title” for worst defense and it would be by a wide margin. It would be unlikely to see either mark broken anytime soon. The Seahawks defense would rank 9th all time, which is pretty impressive considering the way the rules have skewed to the offenses in this era.
The table below should be fully sortable.
Super Bowl Champion Rankings
|2||1996||Green Bay Packers||45.84%||32.45%||78.29%|
|6||1984||San Francisco 49?ers||36.26%||28.10%||64.36%|
|7||1966||Green Bay Packers||18.57%||43.55%||62.12%|
|8||1999||St. Louis Rams||39.72%||22.12%||61.84%|
|9||1994||San Francisco 49?ers||48.21%||10.52%||58.73%|
|10||2004||New England Patriots||31.97%||26.73%||58.70%|
|11||1969||Kansas City Chiefs||16.30%||40.95%||57.25%|
|17||1989||San Francisco 49?ers||27.18%||25.88%||53.06%|
|22||2010||Green Bay Packers||12.70%||33.37%||46.07%|
|25||1967||Green Bay Packers||16.18%||28.73%||44.91%|
|27||2009||New Orleans Saints||50.80%||-6.76%||44.04%|
|29||2002||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-2.94%||45.79%||42.85%|
|31||1986||New York Giants||13.39%||27.10%||40.49%|
|33||1990||New York Giants||1.17%||36.89%||38.06%|
|34||1968||New York Jets||33.21%||4.01%||37.22%|
|35||2003||New England Patriots||12.74%||23.67%||36.41%|
|37||1981||San Francisco 49?ers||6.42%||24.07%||30.49%|
|39||1988||San Francisco 49?ers||19.16%||8.88%||28.04%|
|44||2001||New England Patriots||-1.54%||12.58%||11.04%|
|45||2007||New York Giants||9.94%||-0.61%||9.33%|
|46||2011||New York Giants||15.29%||-7.09%||8.20%|
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