As we approach the excitement of a new CBA, lets talk about what we can do once free agency starts. I know there will be a ton of FA posts, but its always good to get some discussion and ideas out there.
I'm a n00b when it comes to the CBA stuff, so if I got ANYTHING wrong, please let me know. I don't know if I'm doing this right or not, so let me know and I'll update as we go along.
In 2009, the salary cap was set at $128,000,000. In 2010, we had an uncapped offseason. As far as I know, the new CBA will have an established salary cap. After each year, the salary cap number has increased by a minimum of $7,000,000.
As of right now, the Giants have $126,600,000 in committed salary cap considerations in 2011. That's in the top 5 highest payrolls in the NFL, according to ESPN.
According to our friends at BloggingtheBoys (they've got plenty of great information explaining salary cap stuff), the salary cap is estimated to around $140,000,000 to $150,000,000. However, the salary cap is split into the team salary portion (about $90,000,000 - the one we care about; calculated from the figures presented by JimmyK's website, BloggingthebEAST) and the benefit section (~20-30 million; variable).
We won't know for sure what the real numbers are, but negotiations are currently underway to set the the team salary portion at close to $128,000,000. According to my calculations, like I said, we have about $89,750,000 in team salary. That would seem like we have a lot to splurge on!
However, it doesn't include prorated signing bonuses, which also count against the cap. I encourage you to visit this link at BloggingtheBoys for an explanation on how these signing bonuses affect the salary cap. A Cliff Notes version is just taking the signing bonus and dividing it by the # of years and adding that on top of the cap for the year.
I don't have the time to look up the signing bonuses for each player, but we have to assume that players like Eli have somewhere in the neighborhood of about $2,000,000 in prorated signing bonus cap hits per year, and we have players that don't have much of anything in terms of signing bonus cap hits. We can then make a ballpark estimate of about $21,250,000 in prorated signing bonuses added on.
Jerry Reese will have to be very creative with the way he twists the dollar and manages the roster in order to make room to sign not only our own draft picks, but also our free agents (let alone other FA targets).
Okay, so lets look at money we need to commit to our rookies. Based on last year's salary (we'll be spending a little bit less because of our draft position compared to last year), we can estimate the salaries for this year:
1) Prince Amukamara - $500,000
2) Marvin Austin - $435,000
3) Jerrel Jernigan - $405,000
4) James Brewer - $350,000
5) Greg Jones - $305,000
6) Tyler Sash - $305,000
6) Jacquain Williams - $305,000
7) Da'Rel Scott - $285,000
Projected Cap Hit: $2,485,000 without signing bonuses
Last year, Jason Pierre-Paul received a deal of 5 years, $20,000,000 with $10,000,000 coming as a signing bonus.
I predict Prince to get a deal around the neighborhood of 5 years, $18,000,000 with about $8,000,000 coming as a signing bonus. Therefore, we would have a prorated signing bonus cap hit of an additional $1,600,000. I will estimate that an extra $2,250,000 in prorated signing bonuses will be doled out to the rest of our draft picks.
Therefore, if we add EVERYTHING together:
$89,750,000 in committed salaries +
$21,250,000 in prorated bonuses (est.) +
$2,485,000 in rookie committed salaries (est) +
$ 3,850,000 in rookie prorated bonuses (est) = $117,335,000 est. in total salary commitments including rookies.
Whew. That leaves us with $10,665,000 to play around with in free agency. That seems significantly less than what I'd like, but remember, this is all estimation.
Our Free Agents
Now we come to the fun stuff. Remember, we can't just cut someone and have their base salary just lopped off the salary cap. The prorated signing bonus comes to bite us in the ass. We take their prorated bonus per year x by the years left, and we take that cap hit if we cut them. That is something to keep in mind.
Our free agents and approximate costs of re-signing them (estimated based on reports and comparable salaries):
Ahmad Bradshaw - $4,600,000 with $1,750,000 prorated signing bonus = $6,350,000 salary cap hit
Steve Smith - $1,800,000 with $950,000 prorated signing bonus = $2,750,000 salary cap hit
Kevin Boss - $1,000,000 with $500,000 prorated signing bonus = $1,500,000 salary cap hit
Jim Sorgi - $900,000 with $200,000 prorated signing bonus = $1,100,000 salary cap hit
Michael Clayton - $405,000 with no signing bonus = $405,000 salary cap hit
Kevin Boothe - $450,000 with no $100,000 prorated signing bonus = $550,000 salary cap hit
Barry Cofield - $5,250,000 with $2,000,000 prorated signing bonus = $7,250,000 salary cap hit
Mathias Kiwanuka - $2,000,000 with $950,000 prorated signing bonus = $2,950,000 salary cap hit
Dave Tollefson - $405,000 with $100,000 prorated signing bonus = $505,000 salary cap hit
Keith Bulluck - $450,000 with $100,000 prorated signing bonus = $550,000 salary cap hit
Chase Blackburn - $405,000 with $100,000 prorated signing bonus = $505,000 salary cap hit
Gerris Wilkerson - $375,000 with no signing bonus = $375,000 salary cap hit
Deon Grant - $900,000 with $200,000 prorated signing bonus = $1,100,000 salary cap hit
Michael Johnson - $405,000 with no signing bonus = $405,000 salary cap hit
As you can see, it would be impossible to try and sign most of these people. Cofield is asking for at least Chris Canty money. A cap hit of over $7,000,000 would be a tough pill to swallow, especially at a "loaded" position. I think a much wiser move would be to retain Kiwanuka, and take a $3,000,000 hit instead.
We also see the concern in trying to retain two RBs at $4,500,000+ each. Add in the cap hit with Da'Rel Scott and D.J. Ware, and we have over $10,000,000 invested in that one position for the year. That's ridiculous. Hopefully Brandon Jacobs would be willing to restructure his contract.
In any case, I propose we retain the following: Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith, Kevin Boss, Kevin Boothe, and Kiwanuka. Add together the cap hits of these guys and it comes out to be $14,100,000. Subtract the $10,665,000 from our free money and we are $3,435,000 in the red. And that's with losing Sorgi, Clayton, Grant, Johnson, Cofield, Blackburn, Bulluck, Tollefson.
Use this link at BloggingtheBeast to look at current salaries look at who we can cut to make room. If we are to keep Brandon Jacobs at his current salary, I'd look at the current players to cut:
Madison Hedgecock - $1,000,000
Devin Thomas - $550,000
Jake Ballard - $405,000
Shawn Andrews - $3,000,000
Shaun O'Hara - $3,500,000
Alex Hall - $555,000
Michael Coe - $555,000
Aaron Ross - $1,249,000
Chad Jones - $405,000* (Not sure since he's been on the injury list if he counts, but I counted him in my earlier calculations so I will take him out here).
Money recouped: $11,219,000 (Again, prorated signing bonuses probably will cut into this, but for the sake of not having to look up and prorate signing bonuses, I'll just assume not)
A few words: I did not want to cut some players, like Shawn Andrews or Aaron Ross, but they are simply not worth their contracts. With the addition of Prince, Aaron Ross instantly becomes our dime cornerback. He's supremely talented, but $1+ million is ridiculous for an injury prone dime cornerback. I'll keep Bruce Johnson, who has a manageable contract and pretty good upside as our dime corner. Shawn Andrews has a $3+ million contract that scales sizably (though not guaranteed, I believe it still counts towards the cap) which is also ridiculous for an injury prone backup guard.
Money Available Now: $11,219,000 - $3,435,000 (our "debt" from the previous column re-signing our priority free agents) = $7,784,000
Other Free Agents
Now you can see why Nnamdi Asomugha would be quite ridiculous to try and obtain. He wants $14,000,000/year. The cap hit from that also would include a massive prorated signing bonus which would bring the total cap hit he brings to basically $16,500,000. In order to sign him, we would need to free up another $10,000,000. The most obvious would be to cut Corey Webster, who has an $8,000,000 salary this year. Probably him and cut Jacobs would be just enough to sign him.
You tell me, would cutting Brandon Jacobs, Corey Webster plus crippling any cap space for other pressing needs is worth signing Nnamdi? I definitely don't think so. There are a few free agents out there, that I WOULD pursue, however.
Undrafted free agents
Henry Hynoski, FB - $285,000 salary cap hit.
No brainer here from my point of view. We need a fullback and he was one of the best available.
Kendric Burney, CB - $285,000 salary cap hit
After getting rid of Michael Coe and Aaron Ross, we need depth and Burney is the BPA.
Available Money left now: $7,784,000 - $285,000 - $285,000 = $7,214,000
Pro Free Agents
Probably one of the most underrated centers in the league because of where he plays, I've been beating the drum to sign this guy for quite some time. He's 6'3 308lbs, and is only 27. He was the 3rd best pass protecting center in the NFL according to ProFootballFocus and was the only lineman to receive a positive rating by PFF on the Cardinals. Imagine how he'd do on our squad, where he can take advantage of being around superior guards to help him out. Plus, he fulfills arguably our largest need. Definitely would sign this guy.
Probable contract: $2,200,000/year plus $750,000 prorated signing bonus, so available money now: $4,264,000
We all were not satisfied with our linebacking corps last year, and it was a frequent point of discussion at BBV. Although I like Jonathon Goff, I feel like he doesn't have the range to be good enough MLB in our scheme, and that moving him over to SAM would play to his strengths the best. If we can sign one of these two guys, I'd be a very happy camper. Hopefully, $3,000,000/year is good enough.
Probable contract: $3,300,000 plus $900,000 prorated signing bonus
Available Money left: $64,000. Jerry Reese treats the team to dinner.
After all of this, the team undergoes plenty of change. Lots of depth gone, but its time for our young ones to step up.
Jim Sorgi, Michael Clayton, Deon Grant, Michael Johnson, Barry Cofield, Chase Blackburn, Keith Bulluck, Dave Tollefson, Madison Hedgecock, Devin Thomas, Jake Ballard, Rich Seubert, Aaron Ross, Michael Coe, Alex Hall and Shawn Andrews.
Henry Hynoski, Kendric Burney, Lyle Sendlein, Stephen Tulloch (or Barrett Ruud)
Your turn! What do you think of the way I played the Jerry Reese game? What would you differently? Any other FA ideas?