Free Agency Thoughts: New York Giants


Key Additions: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ($7M per year), Geoff Schwartz ($4.2M), Walter Thurmond ($3M), JD Walton ($3M), Rashad Jennings ($2.5M), Jameel McClain ($2.3M), Robert Ayers ($1.9M)

Key Re-Signings: Jon Beason ($5.7M per year), Stevie Brown ($2.8M), Trumaine McBride ($1.4M) , Josh Brown ($1.3M)

Key Losses: Linval Joseph (Vikings), Justin Tuck (Raiders), Hakeem Nicks (Colts), Kevin Boothe (Raiders), Keith Rivers (Bills)

Major Cuts: David Bass ($5M cap savings- June 1)

Free Agency Thoughts:

The Giants were one of the most active teams in free agency, adding 7 starting quality players to the team. This was a different approach than last season for the Giants and really for most teams in the NFL. Last season the Giants attempted to piece a team together with a large amount of minimum salary contracts to supplement the core talent. The team never fired so this year they hit free agency more aggressively but, for the most part, targeted the lower tier of available players to do so rather than signing the highest priced talent.

Of the new players they signed, Geoff Schwartz was the best signing. He is a quality player and fills and immediate need. If things do not go well it’s at worst a two year contract, but if things do go well they could have a top 10 veteran guard at a mid starter price. He should being some instant stability to what was a poor line in 2013.

Jon Beason fit incredibly well in the organization when he came via trade last year and was someone they had to keep. I would have liked to have seen less signing bonus money, but they do have over $3 million in gameday roster bonuses to protect them from injury, something Beason has struggled with.

Walter Thurmond at $3 million was another good signing. It’s a one year contract where you know you will get the best out of the player. This is not unlike the Raiders signing of Tarell Brown where there is really no downside to the decision. He should be a very productive third corner for the Giants.

Re-signing Stevie Brown was something they had to do. He was terrific in 2012 and his injury in 2013 probably hurt the team greatly. He has the ability to take advantage of mistakes on the field and essentially they are paying him $1 million for a look at his health in the summer. If healthy he is a bargain.

The Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signing was a head scratcher at the price and contract construction. He talked about retiring and only had one other real option which was the New York Jets. The Jets had been tight with money all season and represented little threat and I tend to think the Giants were just bidding against themselves. To fit him within the cap they had to give him a large signing bonus which probably guarantees him three years on the team with a significant amount of dead money the following season if cut.

Why the Giants selected JD Walton to take over at center is a mystery. They must have designs on drafting a center and Walton simply being a one year stopgap or veteran backup. Brian De la Puente, now on the Bears, was a superior player and came in much cheaper. The Giants were linked to him early and perhaps he thought too highly of himself which took the Giants out, but that would have made more sense on almost every level.

Of the lesser free agent signings I think Jennings fits the passing situation need the team wants. That said they overpaid for him and a $2.25 million signing bonus is a bit rich, but Jennings has limited wear on his body so perhaps the Giants see more upside. Still it is a high number to bank on a player who just one season ago was not wanted by most teams on a low dollar contract and it is not as if he lit the world on fire in Oakland.

Robert Ayers is a decent upside potential signing and fits in with what most former first round types would get. The Giants have incentives in the deal which they will gladly pay if he develops into a better pass rusher….Jameel McClain will likely be lost in the shuffle, but it was a low risk contract.

Losing Linval Joseph was a mistake. He signed a top 10 positional contract in Minnesota, but he was a young player that was very important to the teams’ better play in the second half of last season.  Perhaps the Giants did not feel he was a strong enough pass rusher to justify the contract, but it is a risky move to abandon the player.

None of the other losses should concern the team. While the loss of Tuck probably has some hurt feelings, the fact is his production had been declining for years before he played much better in his walk year and much of the standout production came in his two games against the Redskins. That’s not something the Giants could pay much for. I think everyone knew the time was over for Hakeem Nicks and the Giants.

Overall Grade: C+

The Giants got better this offseason but I question the cost of doing so, in particular the Rodgers-Cromartie contract that is very player friendly for a player who is by no means a sure-fire bet. They would have been better off committing to Joseph and finding another second tier cornerback. The Giants pushed a few guys into a paycut and did not rework the contract of either Eli Manning or Antrel Rolle, which was a good move since both could be on their way out next season.

I think the team has added far better depth for next season, some of whom bring some upside on lower cost contracts. The way they approached the offseason tells me that they are unsure of where they are right now and how competitive the team can be. Most of this feels like a team making keeping their fingers crossed and taking one last chance with this group. I think they are at a position where I could see them getting hot, if Manning is on a good year, and going deep in the playoffs or just completely falling apart and having to sort through a veteran roster for at least one more year before they can get younger and competitive, likely with a new GM, head coach, and QB.

2014 New York Giants Offseason Salary Cap and Financial Report


Welcome to one of the newest additions to the Over the Cap website: the offseason Financial Scouting Report, which should help serve as a guide to a teams’ offseason planning for the 2014 season.  This will be our fifth report and will break down some thoughts on the New York Giants. Each report will contain a breakdown of the current roster, a look at performance from 2013, salary cap outlooks, free agents, salary cap cuts, draft costs, extension candidates, and possible free agent targets. The hope is to do a report for all 32 teams by the start of Free Agency, if time allows. Thus far we have covered the Jets, Dolphins, Texans, and Cowboys.

Because the report contains some graphs and charts and over 5,000 words it is available for download as an Adobe PDF file that you can read at your leisure offline and keep for a handy reference during the year rather than as a blog post. The report is free for download and reading, but if you find the report useful and would like to help OTC continue to grow and add content like this we would appreciate the “purchase” of the report for just $1.00 by clicking the Paypal link below or the one within the report. Also if using any of the graphs or salary data please just add a reference to OTC when doing so.

giants fin report




Giants Gain $1.25 Million in Cap Space With Snee Restructure


I don’t any firm source on this, but based on NFLPA records it seems as if the Giants have again restructured the contract of G Chris Snee by passing along $2.5 million of his $4.2 million base salary in the form of a signing bonus.The Giants cap was so tight after the signing of FB John Conner ($60,000) that they were in a position where they had to make a move just to function for the rest of the year. Snee has always been the teams go to guy for restructures and they went there again.

It does not seem any other changes were made to the contract and essentially the Giants are simply deferring $1.25 million in cap charges to 2014 when their salary cap books are a bit cleaner than they are in 2013. Snee’s cap next year should be $11.75 million with a dead money charge of $4.5 million if released. With the Giants in the middle of a very disappointing season he could be one of many veterans let go after the season, but for now he’ll give the Giants some much needed breathing room.

If I hear anything more on the contract I will pass it along.

View Chris Snee’s Contract and Salary Cap Page

Follow @Jason_OTC


Giants Restructure Contracts of G Snee and P Weatherford


I had discussed yesterday how the Giants were the final team left that was required to make salary cap related moves to become cap compliant and now we have the details of what the team did.

The Giants once again went to their “go to guy” when it comes to contract restructures in G Chris Snee, whose restructuring of his contract is almost an annual ritual. Snee reduced his base salary for 2013 by $2. 5 million, the difference of which will be prorated over the remaining two years of the contract. This created $1.25 million in cap room for the Giants.

The second move the team made was restructuring P Steve Weatherfords contract. Again this was a minimal reshuffling of money to just give the Giants whatever minimal room they required to comply with the salary cap in 2013. The Giants converted $900,000 of Weatherford’s salary into a bonus that will be prorated over the remainder of the contract. The Giants gained $675,000 in cap room with the move. Weatherford’s cap charge will rise by $225,000 in each remaining season he is with the Giants.

View Chris Snee’s Salary Cap and Contract Page

View Steve Weatherford’s Salary Cap and Contract Page

View Steve Weatherford’s Interactive Cap Chart


Camp Position Battles: David Wilson vs. Andre Brown



2013 Cap Hit – Wilson: $1,519,205; Brown: $2,023,000

Amount Remaining on Salary – Wilson: $6,684,502 ($5,382,979 guaranteed); Brown: $2,023,000 ($0 guaranteed)

The salaries for the New York Giants’ top two running backs subtly represent the different areas they are in their respective careers. Wilson, 22, is entering the second year of his 4-year rookie deal. Brown, 26, has been through multiple teams’ training camps before finding a nice role with the Giants.

This is less of a position battle because both guys will see plenty of action on the field this season (For what it’s worth, both will be drafted before Round 10 in fantasy leagues this year.) What makes this situation interesting, however, is Coach Tom Coughlin’s relationship with running backs in general. Coughlin (generally) doesn’t care about a contract or what the front office’s expectations for a particular player are.  If Wilson’s fumbling problems resurface or he struggles to find holes in opposing defensive lines, the percentage of carries will tilt in Brown’s favor. If Wilson can show a little more of the electricity on display during his time at Virginia Tech and holds on to the ball, Coughlin will (perhaps begrudgingly) reward him with the ball.

The majority of the carries could prove to be great experience for Wilson, who figures to be on the roster until at least 2015. Brown could be gone next summer (and should he have a productive season, likely will be gone). But if the coaching staff believes Brown will give the Giants a better shot to win, he will see much more than his current third-down back role with the team.

Look for Wilson to have a bigger role early, but for Coughlin to lose trust at the season goes along. Brown was clearly a player that Coughlin enjoyed utilizing in different sets and situations before he went down with injury last season. Luckily for the Giants, I am not the coach. If it were up to me, I would be sending Henry Hynoski up the gut with the ball on downs one to three.

Andre Brown #35 RB, New York Giants


Andre Brown #35 RB, New York Giants


And here we go.  David Wilson is an explosive back with the upside of a high end RB1 in the NFL.  Although Tom Coughlin could give any General a run for their money on the topic of discipline, Wilson’s ability alone made his absence in the backfield a mystery.  Everyone (and I mean everyone) claim it is a product of his early fumble and subsequent drop of a Manning pass.  The drop I can understand, but I find it hard to believe that the coaching staff thinks that Wilson is a fumbler.  Guys with fumblitis do not get granted Kick Returner status.

The reason that Wilson will not get the time on the field that his ability dictates, is because he is terrible in Pass Pro.  Pass Pro are the schemes that offenses use to protect the QB on pass plays.  Along with scheme, a player must have the ability to block the defender that he is assigned.  Take it from a former RB, the great college and NFL backs make this look astoundingly easier than it is on the field.  First a read must be made at the line by eight different guys.  These reads are then communicated among the offensive personnel (ever play telephone as a kid?) including the RB who is usually 7-8 yards deep in the formation. Imagine being that far away and trying to keep up with the communication, all along not tipping any information to the defense.  Granted on obvious passing downs this isn’t an issue, but watch how many times there is a missed assignment on non-obvious passing downs. We have heard all spring into the summer how the Giants feel that Wilson has improved on his Pass Pro.  Considering yesterday’s report, I find it hard to believe that the Giants truly feel this way.

This brings us to Andre Brown, a man who has bounced around a bit since being drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL Draft.  He signed his 1 year, $2 million tender in March which makes him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.  He is a devastating runner.  One that can wear down a defense when given a healthy dose of him.  He makes you think of a UPS truck when he is running which is why the slogan “What can Brown do for you?” follows him.  It will be extremely interesting to see him when he is called upon in this hot hand setup.  Brown is the orphan, while Wilson is the crowned prince.  Disney usually makes Brown the victor in these battles.  I believe this real life battle will go the same.

Estimated New Contract: New York Giants 2 years, $6 million

Contract Year Series, Hakeem Nicks


Hakeem Nicks #88 WR, New York Giants

by Paul Carrozzo

When analyzing contract possibilities, we must remember that there is an ultimate bottom line to war that is waged between the player and the franchise that presently employs him. The franchise stands to benefit from the player’s heightened urgency through increased production on the field that given year. The player’s motivations are aligned with the organization as a good year means a bigger payday. Many times we see a team over pay for past performances similar to Joe Flacco’s blockbuster deal signed after he brought the Ravens a Super Bowl. “Past performance is no guarantee of future results” is the disclaimer on almost every investment prospectus. You would think that the men that own $1B+ franchises would be well versed in the concept and hence heed the warning. Or maybe the exact reason they are billionaires is because they have thrown caution to the wind in prior endeavors.

Hakeem Nicks came to the Giants as the 29th pick of the 2009 draft. The 6’1″ 210 lbs Nicks plays bigger than his frame would suggest. He has been a target of criticism for is inability to stay on the field, but can be dominant when in games. The Giants recently committed $46mm to another of their receivers, Victor Cruz, which will only increase the scrutiny from the New York media. Rueben Randle is an electrifying deep threat that will also be pushing Nicks for targets. When healthy, Giants quarterback, Eli Manning, likes to exploit the mismatches that Nicks creates on the outside.

Competing for WR free agent money in the offseason will be Kenny Britt of the Tennessee Titans and Jeremy Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles. If Nicks can put up a full season of solid production I can see him in the getting paid as a Top 10 WR. If the Giants choose to franchise him after the season, he will cost $11mm for one year. Even if he has a terrible season, given his age and talent, he will command a minimum of $6mm APY.

Estimated New Contract: 5 years, $47.5mm