Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star Ledger again gets the jump on a Giants contract with her report of David Diehl accepting a massive paycut to remain on the team in 2013. The move saves the Giants at least $3.475 million in cap room.
It should be no surprise that the Giants are restructuring contracts to gain cap relief. While I dont yet have the deals for David Carr (minimum salary benefit contract) and Kevin Boothe (likely a minimum salary benefit contract) uploaded the Giants only had an estimated $1.25 million in cap room prior to those deals being signed. Factoring those contracts in would probably put New York at just $800,000 in cap room, second worst in the NFL to only the Dallas Cowboys, prior to Diehl’s paycut.
The Giants are also in a somewhat unique situation in that they have a superstar Restricted Free Agent sitting out there in Victor Cruz. Now that the dust has settled in free agency and the cap situations of teams has become more clear the Giants need to be proactive in protecting their interest in Cruz. The Giants need to be aware of the possibility, no matter how slim, that a team can jump in at the last minute and make Cruz an offer that is difficult for the Giants to match.
Once an offer sheet is signed by a RFA the prior team has 5 days to match the offer. With the Giants cap situation the way it is reworking so many deals in a 5 day span to match a frontloaded offer sheet for Cruz could prove difficult. With an additional $3.5 million in cap room plus the $2.89 million in space already allocated to Cruz, the Giants can now match an offer sheet up to $6.35 million in year 1 cap money without worrying about restructuring another deal. With the cap as tight as it is that eliminates over half the league from even considering the move.
Additionally this now gives the Giants a base number in year 1 cap space to really work with as they try to work out an offer to extend Cruz themselves.I would think in a negotiation it is far better to work with real numbers rather than hypotheticals. A player accepting a paycut is a big hypothetical so having that complete is big for both sides. It gives the two sides a number to work with and one the Giants will likely paint as a maximum value with other restructures being earmarked to sign the rookie class.
Stevie Brown also signed a contract with the team the other day. Brown was set to count for just over $2 million as a 2nd round tendered RFA. Terms of that deal have not been made public but it would not surprise me if the signed contract is less than $2 million in cap. I would expect the Giants to look into reworking the contracts of Chris Snee and Antrel Rolle before approaching Eli Manning for further cap relief. Because of Manning’s high cap charges in 2014 and 2015 any restructures in 2013 could make those seasons very difficult to deal with without a full blown extension. With the salary cap barely rising and QB contracts escalating so fast teams like the Giants and Steelers may wait as long as possible to extend their star QB’s. With Aaron Rodgers set to be a free agent in 2015 and the Packers having a reputation of being very tough negotiators, teams may see that contract as an opportunity to set the market straight before accepting the Joe Flacco contract as the new reality.