FanPost

Roster Predictions with Salary Cap 2012-2014

This post not only looks at the upcoming season's roster and salary cap issues, but also the two following seasons as well. I was particularly interested in reviewing 2013 because so many of our key players are free agents then. Also, the moves made this year affect future years. But why three? It's because I'm a religious man. Does not the holy book say "Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three."

For easier review and discussion below I divided up the post into sections by year. For each year I list a 53-man roster, which may be a player name or a generic identifier like "5th CB", because it does not matter who the particular player is, just that there is a slot for someone who should be making a minimum salary. I lumped most of the LBs into piles that I'll let the coaches sort out, I'll stick to predicting the approximate cap cost, so don't read anything into who is where. After the player name is an identification if they are a free agent and the specific type. In these first two columns, parentheses indicate that the player or his original free agency status has been replaced. The next column is a brief description of the action in that player slot for the offseason. This covers a variety and combination of actions such as cut, re-signed, reworked, drafted, new free agent. If a player is cut or contract reworked I will provide the old cap number that would have applied. Details on new contracts and drafted player names will appear separately below. The next column is their cap increase from the previous season as listed in their contract as of today. I wanted to show some of the big jumps that affect our cap number; this column becomes less relevant with time. The last column will be the cap number for that season. At the bottom of the roster I will add the roster cap number, the dead contract number (see next paragraph), an allowance for players on injured reserve (or more accurately, their replacements), and the cost of the practice squad to achieve a final cap number. This will be compared to the anticipated cap number, which right now on mostly consensus speculation will be 4% higher in 2012, meaning that NFL revenue increased by 8%. I used this same increase for 2013 and 2014.

Everyone understands the concept of salary. You do this work, you get this much money. But the key factor in salary cap number crunching is signing bonuses. Signing bonuses in the NFL are paid out in a particular year (typically all in the first year of a new contract), but are prorated to count against the salary cap equally throughout the length of a contract (except that the new CBA limits the prorating to five years). The player gets their money up front, and the team gets to lower their immediate cap number, because they can usually offer a very low salary in the first year since the signing bonus replaces salary. So for a 4-year contract for $24 million which includes a $8 million signing bonus, the salaries might be 1, 5, 5, 5 while the cap numbers would be 3, 7, 7, 7 and the actual cash paid out is 9, 5, 5, 5. The signing bonus also impacts releasing players during their contracts. If a player is cut before the end of their contract, and there is remaining signing bonus money that is to be counted against future salary caps, it all becomes counted against the current year's cap. This is called "dead" money. So signing bonuses can be a tactic that players use to become too expensive to be cut. Eli and Baas are in that situation now. Of course, if a player thinks he can get a better contract, he may want a lower signing bonus number and a higher salary number to increase the chance he is let go.

But here are the cap hits from potential player cuts over the next few years:

2012

2013

2014

(in millions of dollars)

Baas

6.8

5.1

3.4

Boley

2.8

1.4

Canty

4.2

2.8

1.4

Diehl

1

0.5

Jacobs

2

Rolle

6

4

2

Snee

4.5

2.25

Tuck

3.6

1.8

Umenyiora

0.75

Webster

4.5

1.75

Roster or workout bonuses are a different story that does not really affect my cap calculations. They are all counted in the year paid. The general concept is that by forcing a team to make an early payout, which will then count against the cap, you are increasing the likelihood that the team will keep the player and pay the remainder of his salary due (otherwise they lose their down payment for nothing) or you are forcing them to cut the player early, giving them the best chance for finding a new team. If they make the payment but later cut him, the player gets to keep the roster bonus to help make up for missing time in free agency.

So here's the main event:

2012

Player/Slot

Status

Action

Increase

Cap Number

(all numbers in millions of dollars)

Manning

2.25

15.2

Carr

UFA

re-sign

1.25

Bradshaw

1.75

4.5

Jacobs

cut - Draft 4th - due $7

2

0.685

Ware

1

Scott

0.5

Hynoski

0.5

Nicks

2

Cruz

0.5

Manningham

UFA

Draft 3rd

-1.5

0.5

Barden

0.75

Jernigan

0.6

Thomas/Hixon/6th WR

UFA

minimum contract

0.675

Ballard

ERFA

IR - Draft 1st

1.75

Pascoe

RFA

re-sign

1.25

Beckum

IR - Hopkins from PS

0.375

Beatty

0.75

McKenzie

UFA

Ugoh

-6

0.675

Brewer

0.465

Diehl

cut - Draft 6th - due $4.3

0.375

Snee

2.25

7.75

Petrus

0.5

Boothe

0.5

1.5

Baas

2.25

5

Umenyiora

cut - due $4.65 - LB spot

0.75

0.5

Tuck

1.25

7.5

Pierre-Paul

0.25

3.75

Tollefson

UFA

minimum or rookie FA

0.375

Trattou

0.5

Canty

0.5

7.67

Joseph

1

Austin

0.85

Bernard

UFA

re-sign

1.25

Goff

UFA

re-sign

1

Boley

0.5

5.65

Kiwanuka

rework - due $5.5

2.5

3.5

Williams

0.5

Jones/Blackburn

0.5

Sintim/Herzlich

cut Sintim - due $1.25

0.5

Paysinger/Tracy

1 LB gets Osi's slot

0.5

Webster

1.5

8.75

Thomas

UFA

re-sign

1

Ross

UFA

Draft 2nd

-1.5

0.685

Amukamara

-0.5

1.75

5th CB

0.565

Rolle

5.5

9

Phillips

0.25

2

Grant

UFA

Draft 5th

0.375

Sash

0.5

Martin/special teamer

UFA

re-sign

0.675

Weatherford

UFA

re-sign

1.5

Tynes

1.5

DeOssie

1.1

Roster Cap Number

14.5

113.995

Dead Contracts

4.15

IR Adjustment

5

Practice Squad

0.75

TEAM SALARY

123.895

Salary Cap

124

Cut: Jacobs, Diehl, Umenyiora

Not Re-signed: Manningham, McKenzie, Ross, Grant, role players not taking minimums

Re-signed: Carr (3 years $4.25 million), Pascoe (1 year $1.25 million), Bernard (2 years $2.5 million), Goff (3 years, $5.5 million - annual 1, 2.25, 2.25), TThomas (1 year $1 million), Weatherford (4 years $7.5 million, $2 million signing bonus), role players taking minimums

Reworked: Kiwanuka (5 years $40 million, $7.5 million signing bonus), starts this year

Drafted: 1st - Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson - Witten-type player, more agile than fast, blocker but not a pile pusher, good hands

2nd - Brandon Boykin, CB/RS, Georgia - Our new nickel CB, fast with good return skills, small but tough, good tackler

3rd - A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois - Speed WR fills Manningham's role

4th - Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State - Between the tackles strong runner

5th - Neiko Thorpe, FS, Auburn - Tall CB converted to FS last year

6th - Blake DeChristopher, G/T, Virginia Tech - power run blocker that can pull, college RT but NFL guard

This is not going to be popular. But as you can see we have large increases to the cap numbers of players under contract. And the new CBA lowered the salary cap from the 2009 level. So teams near the top need to shed money. There is no space for additions, especially because I am saving cap room for 2013. Kiwanuka gets extended because it saves cap room this year, and the early signing bonus allows us to get a lower overall price. He will be playing more DE. Osi and Diehl are gone simply because they are the cheapest to shed. Jacobs is not worth his salary. We don't have the cap room to be patient with Sintim, and he is a free agent next year anyway. Everyone loves Tolly, but if some team shows him a little money, it would be hard for us to match. There are certainly ways to move around a quarter million here, a quarter million there. But this should illustrate the seriousness of our situation.

The league and draft boards are filled with QBs, so Carr is never going to get a starting shot again. But you find a backup you like and pay him decent money or you wind up like Indy last year. Guarantee his contract to keep him around. Guarantee most of Weatherford's deal too to keep him. Goff starts out low so we can cut him if he fails. Pascoe needs to get a decent payday since he is the only experienced TE on the roster, although I am bringing over Hopkins from the practice squad. But the $1.25 million protects Pascoe because it would cost a team a 6th rounder to sign him away. Bernard could probably get less, or be let go for the savings. But he had some good snaps this year, so I kept him around with a little raise to keep him from wandering off.

Where Brewer was drafted in the 4th last year, you expect a starter at right tackle. So it's going to have to be him. We can't afford to keep Diehl around as an option, and is a draft pick this year going to start? Draft a right tackle in the 2nd, and Thomas' knee can't cut it, all of a sudden Rolle is back at nickel and Sash is starting. Trust in Reese that the less visible draft picks last year will perform. You don't have a choice. There will be competition for the starting CB, MLB, and LG jobs.

2013

Player/Slot

Status

Action

Increase

Cap Number

(all numbers in millions of dollars)

Manning

2.25

17.5

Carr

1.5

Bradshaw

0.75

5.25

(Jacobs)

(UFA)

replaced by 4th

0.85

Ware

UFA

low pick or UDFA

-1

0.375

Scott

0.55

Hynoski

0.5

Nicks

0.25

2.25

Cruz

RFA

re-sign

3

(Manningham)

replaced by 3rd

0.6

Barden

UFA

minimum or low pick

0.465

Jernigan

0.7

Thomas/Hixon/6th WR

minimum contract

0.675

(Ballard)

(RFA)

replaced by 1st

1.25

Pascoe

UFA

Draft 4th

0.4

Beckum

UFA

Bllrd/Psco/Hopk/Beck

1.75

Beatty

UFA

re-sign

4

(McKenzie) Ugoh

0.81

Brewer

0.55

(Diehl)

replaced by 6th- due $4.6

0.5

Snee

cut - Draft 2nd - due $8.75

1

0.75

Petrus

0.5

Boothe

UFA

re-sign

1.5

Baas

1.25

6.25

(Umenyiora)

(UFA)

Draft 1st

2

Tuck

reworked - due $8.3

0.8

5.8

Pierre-Paul

0.5

4.25

Tollefson

minimum, rookie FA, or LB

0.5

Trattou

or LB

0.5

Canty

0.25

8

Joseph

1

Austin

0.25

1

Bernard

1.25

Goff

2.25

Boley

0.25

6

Kiwanuka

(UFA)

9

Williams

0.55

Jones/Blackburn

0.55

Herzlich

or low draft pick

0.5

Paysinger/Tracy

0.55

Webster

reworked - due $9.25

0.5

4.75

Thomas

Draft 5th

0.4

(Ross)

replaced by 2nd

0.85

Amukamara

0.5

2.25

5th CB

0.675

Rolle

cut - Draft 3rd - due $9.25

0.25

0.6

Phillips

UFA

re-sign

3

(Grant)

replaced by 5th

0.465

Sash

0.55

Martin/special teamer

re-sign

0.675

Weatherford

2

Tynes

UFA

re-sign

1.5

DeOssie

UFA

re-sign

1.1

Roster Cap Number

7.8

113.49

Dead Contracts

6.25

IR Adjustment

6

Practice Squad

1

TEAM SALARY

126.74

Salary Cap

128

Cut: Snee, Rolle

Not Re-signed: Ware, more than one TE, role players not taking minimums

Re-signed: Cruz (4 years $28 million, $8 million signing bonus), someone at TE, Beatty (3 years $14 million, $3 million signing bonus), Boothe (2 years $3 million), Phillips (5 years $30 million, $10 million signing bonus), Tynes (3 years $4.5 million), DeOssie (3 years $3.3 million), role players taking minimums

Reworked: Tuck (2 years $10 million, $6 million signing bonus), Webster (3 years $13 million, $6 million signing bonus)

Drafted: 1st - William Gholston, DE, Michigan State - In a loaded pass rusher draft, a prototypical Giants DE falls to us - or Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina

2nd - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama - The next Snee, agile and strong

3rd - Rashard Hall, S, Clemson - Good size, athletic

4th - Michael Williams, TE, Alabama - The best blocking TE in years, 6-6 270

I think this year will make people happier. We resigned all of our key guys. Let's hear some celebration. "Oh baby Reese, Reese got what we need..." Phillips is expensive but the safety talent out there is awful. Cruz probably gives us a small discount to stay near his family and play with Eli, and because he is a RFA. Beatty has not proven himself as a top tackle yet, I'm watching Joe Staley this offseason to get an idea of where Beatty's value lies. But money needs to be found for these guys. I fought long and hard with the numbers to keep Canty. Snee, Webster, and Tuck are all in the last and most expensive year of their deals. Snee was the one to go because his position can least justify the high salary. That leaves Boothe, Petrus, DeChristopher, and Warmack to fight it out for the two guard spots. Tuck will likely retire soon, as I can see him, like Strahan, recognizing when he is done. His new deal and Webster's were designed to pay them the same amount of cash this year, but extend them at lower salaries in future years to flatten out their cap numbers. Both are at the age where they have seen the last of increasing pay. Rolle is gone because it makes no sense to use 10% of your cap on the safety position. At this point he will likely be the highest-paid safety in the league. I'd rather keep KP over him.

There are some ways to free up more cap space. They could keep Christian Hopkins as the third TE and let the older TEs go; I put in a generous cap number. If Goff does not win the starting MLB job he can also be cut to save money. Also, Eli's annual raises over $2 million each year have to be renegotiated. It eats up half the cap increase. If he wants to keep his WRs, he's got to make the cap room available. Maybe he enables us to keep Snee for one more year. Or he antes up if our WRs get better offers.

Usually the Giants are drafting players before they are needed. But the new salary cap and our past free agent moves have limited our ability to do that. Snee and Rolle are being replaced by picks in this year's draft, although I do not necessarily think the draft picks start right away. There's a good pool of competition at guard, and at safety you have Sash, Thorpe (last year's fifth), and possibly even Chad Jones in the mix. Not ideal but something you have to do for a year. Even if they find a way to keep Snee I think they still draft Warmack, unless Petrus has proven himself, but he is a free agent next year and we cannot afford to give him a big raise if he does play very well.

2014

Player/Slot

Status

Action

Increase

Cap Number

(all numbers in millions of dollars)

Manning

2.1

19.6

Carr

1.5

Bradshaw

0.25

5.5

(Jacobs)

replaced by 4th

1

(Ware)

Draft 3rd

0.6

Scott

0.65

Hynoski

0.65

Nicks

UFA

re-sign

3

Cruz

8

(Manningham)

replaced by 3rd

0.75

Barden

minimum or low pick

0.55

Jernigan

0.8

Thomas/Hixon/6th WR

minimum contract

0.81

(Ballard)

replaced by 1st

1.75

Pascoe

replaced by 4th

0.5

Beckum

3rd TE

1.75

Beatty

4

(McKenzie) Ugoh

0.81

Brewer

0.65

(Diehl)

(UFA)

replaced by 6th

0.55

(Snee)

(UFA)

replaced by 2nd

1

1

Petrus

UFA

minimum or low pick

0.75

Boothe

1.5

Baas

0.5

6.75

(Umenyiora)

replaced by 1st

2

Tuck

(UFA)

-6.75

6

Pierre-Paul

reworked - due $4.5

0.25

6.325

Tollefson

rookie FA or LB

0.55

Trattou

0.65

Canty

cut - Draft 2nd - due $8.25

0.25

0.75

Joseph

UFA

re-signed

2.5

Austin

0.25

1.15

Bernard

UFA

re-signed

1.25

Goff

2.25

Boley

UFA

Draft 4th

-6

0.4

Kiwanuka

9.5

Williams

0.65

Jones/Blackburn

0.65

Herzlich

or low draft pick

0.5

Paysinger/Tracy

0.65

Webster

(UFA)

5

(Thomas)

replaced by 5th

0.5

(Ross)

replaced by 2nd

1

Amukamara

-0.25

2

5th CB

Draft 1st

2.25

Rolle

replaced by 3rd - due $9.25

0.7

Phillips

6.5

(Grant)

replaced by 5th

0.55

Sash

0.65

Martin/special teamer

0.675

Weatherford

2

Tynes

1.5

DeOssie

1.1

Roster Cap Number

-8.4

122.12

Dead Contracts

1.4

IR Adjustment

6

Practice Squad

1

TEAM SALARY

130.52

Salary Cap

132

Cut: Canty

Not Re-signed: Boley

Re-signed: Nicks (5 years $38 million, $10 million signing bonus), Bernard (1 year $1.25 million), Joseph (3 years $9 million) - not really sure on this last one, figured the cap number I gave could also cover a larger deal with signing bonus

Reworked: Pierre-Paul (5 years $55 million, $15 million signing bonus)

Drafted: 1st - CB - The future replacement for Webster

2nd - DT - The replacement for Canty

3rd - RB - The future replacement for Bradshaw

4th - LB - Lots of LB contracts expiring, could use a higher pick for once

Canty's run ends in the final year of his deal, not a huge surprise. Boley should be replaceable by someone in our stable of linebackers, although possibly we could work out a short deal to keep him for less money. The big key was securing our franchise players, Nicks and JPP. Nicks could probably get a little more money, but adding $500k a year does not affect my numbers. I resigned JPP a year early. I originally started working on a new contract him for him as a way to save money in 2014, but the end result paid him more. I kept it anyway. Starting him a year early allows us to get better contract terms. Possibly the contract gets renegotiated during the season, which would push off the cap hit until 2015.

The draft returns to the Reese of old, grabbing players before they are needed. I debated leaving a high pick open as an "emergency pick", assuming that one high draft pick from an earlier year was a bust. This could certainly still be done, as most of these picks could be pushed back a round or saved on a need basis for next year. But I felt it was more valuable to see where I would go if I could. You may notice that I have not been guessing at lower round players. This is because I decided to assume that none would be valuable starters for the franchise, and the picks would be used as needed to fill depth at certain positions such as OL, WR, and LB.

While I did not analyze 2015 in detail, it should be noted that there will be a lot of pressure to meet that salary cap since the new Nicks and JPP contracts will kick in full force. Coming off the books to help pay for those will be Bradshaw and Tuck, both of whom should be done based upon their injury history. Maybe we can keep Bradshaw around for cheap. You also have expiring contracts from the huge roster class from the 2011 draft. Amukamara, Austin, Brewer, JWilliams, and Hynoski are starters on my roster, and perhaps one or two of the other linebackers as well. Webster is the only potential cut that I see, although Baas will finally be cheap enough (in terms of dead money) to be a cut option. Eli will be a free agent in 2016, so I think that contract will have to be reworked if not done previously. At this point he may be the highest-paid player in football. He will probably have to shave about $5 million a year off his cap number to keep the team running strong.

A note on player contracts. They are difficult to predict with great accuracy with the new CBA rules still kicking in. The cap is in place, but the floor is not in full effect until 2013. Right now we will be seeing player dumping to get under the cap, which will gradually give way to larger signings to make the floor. The underlying fact, however, is the teams that have been willing to spend money can no longer spend it, and the teams that are cheapskates are unlikely to spend a dime more than they have to. So I do not see a great change in player salaries from where they are today. I think the really high contracts, except for QBs, disappear, since for the most part the big free agent signings have been busts. I see it being more likely that teams will cluster good players in the $5-$10 million range as I have done here.

Right now only a handful of WRs are making more than $9 million a season, guys like the two Johnsons, Fitzgerald, and Marshall. Greg Jennings is at the bottom of that list making $9 million even. This helps me think a number of around $8 million was reasonable for Nicks and Cruz. I think factors such as the two Super Bowl wins and playing with Eli give us a cushion where other teams would have to offer more than $1 million more a season to take them away. Cruz is also a local product with nearby family, and we could give him as low as $2.5 million in his RFA season to keep him, because I don't see teams giving up the money plus a first round pick to snatch him away. Also, several years of strong drafts at WR should continue to depress salaries at the position. In 2011 there was no action except for Sidney Rice, and that did not produce good results. We'll see what Manningham draws this year.

This whole scenario shows no major free agents signing with the team because of our lack of cap space. Sure, we could let one of our expensive free agents go and sign someone cheaper. But I think we will continue to search the bargain bin for players willing to take league minimum. We had a lot of success with our low-cost signings last year. Players seem to continually choose the Giants over other teams. With the second Super Bowl win under Eli under our belts, I think you will again see lots of interest from players looking to win a championship before they retire. So we may be able to fill some important holes with veterans willing to get paid less to win.

If you have any questions, let me know. I have all of the information in one large spreadsheet so that I can run various scenarios, also plan to keep this updated on a consistent basis into the future so I don't have to do all of this work again.

FanPosts are written by community members. This is simply a way for community members to express opinions too long to be contained in a comment.

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