The New York Giants are in a worse salary cap bind heading into the 2013 season that originally reported. Initial estimates had the Giants at $4.7 over the estimated $121 million cap for next season. That number is actually $9.15 million over, nearly double the initially reported estimate, according to National Football Post salary cap analyst Joel Corry.
Corry said Tuesday that the Giants top 51 players in terms of salary total approximately $131.15 million. Subtract the $1 million salary cap surplus the Giants will carry over into 2013 and that leaves the Giants $9.15 million over the cap at the current time.
What can the Giants do to get under the cap? They can either re-structure the contracts of some highly-paid veteran players, or release them. Here is a look at how much the Giants could save against the cap by releasing highly-paid veteran players entering the final years of their contracts.
Corey Webster 2013 cap number: $9.845M Dead money charge: $2.595M Cap Savings: $7.25M
What is 'dead money'? Corry defined dead money as "a cap charge for a player no longer on the cap. It's normally just signing or option bonus proration." In Webster's case, Corry said the veteran cornerback "has restructured his contract twice so he has his original bonus proration and the bonus proration from each restructure."
We know that Webster had an awful season in 2012, and Corry repeated something we have heard before when he said Webster "could be a pay cut candidate." He also added that Webster "might be in for a rude awakening in free agency. His best bet salary-wise could be another year with the Giants at a reduced rate."
Re-structuring contracts is another way to improve the salary cap situation. Quarterback Eli Manning has a $20.85 million cap hit for 2013 and safety Antrel Rolle has a cap number of $9.25 million. Corry sees both as obvious candidates for re-structuring.
The Giants also have to figure out how to handle negotiations with wide receiver Victor Cruz, a restricted free agent. The Giants could franchise him at a cost of $10.357 million against the cap, which Corry said "would be a waste." They could also give him the first-round RFA tender, which would count $2.879 million against the cap.
Ideally, of course, the Giants and Cruz will come to a long-term contract agreement before the start of the 2013 season.
"Cruz can't expect to be treated as a UFA when he's a RFA," Corry wrote in an e-mail. "Just to ballpark the deal, it should fall somewhere between Pierre Garcon (5 years, $42.5M with $20.5M in guarantees) and Vincent Jackson (5 years, $55,555,555 with $26M guaranteed)."
No matter you look at it the Giants obviously have a lot of decisions to make before the 2013 league season opens in March.
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