FanPost

Navigating the Salary Cap: An Offseason Plan for the Giants in 2013

David Diehl - Jeff Zelevansky

(Author's Note: Make sure you have some time before reading this. You have been warned...haha.)

With the combine just days away as of this post, the focus of NFL fans is turning towards the 2013 NFL Draft, as we all begin to scour mock drafts and "Big Boards" to get a feel for where certain players will fall or which players fit our favorite teams.

But before we can have the draft, NFL teams must navigate free agency (also known as Dan Snyder's favorite time of the NFL year). Not only is March 12 the start date of free agency in the NFL (at 4 PM EST); it is also the date by which NFL teams must be in compliance with the dreaded salary cap, all but certain to sit at $121,100,000 for 2013, a measly $500,000 increase from last year's $120,600,000. I think we've all seen the effects of such a small increase in the cap the last two years, as teams are parting ways with older, more expensive players seeming like never before in order to get below that $121.1M number. The way a lot of these contracts were drawn up (look at the Giants' recent terminated contracts as examples), I gotta think NFL front offices were expecting the cap to continue to increase, because prior to 2011, teams really didn't have these kinds of cap issues to worry about. Anyway, I digress, and the point is that the salary cap is going to be like a specter lurking in the back of the minds of GMs across the NFL for the next month or so.

Before I get started, I wanna tip my hat to Jason Fitzgerald and overthecap.com, a terrific web site that provides as accurate a breakdown of NFL contracts and salary cap numbers as I can find. I pulled a lot of the numbers I'm going to use in this post from that site. For those who have an interest in monitoring the Giants' (and other teams') cap situation, I suggest you take a look there for yourselves.

WHERE THE GIANTS ARE RIGHT NOW

According to overthecap.com, the Giants currently (as of David Buehler's contract) sit at $4,077,113 under the cap. This would be a perfect number for them to be at, y'know, in mid-April just prior to the draft. Instead, this is where the Giants sit, and while they have 58 players under contract right now, this is with virtually none of the Giants' own free agents re-signed, let alone without any outside free agents or their draft picks. I don't think I'm raising any eyebrows when I say Jerry Reese's work in creating cap room is not done.

I'm sure Reese will find a couple more players like Shaun Rogers who he can sign to vet-minimum one-year deals between now and March 12, but for now, let's just look at the ERFAs and RFAs, who have set cap values based on either their experience level (ERFAs) or what tender value the Giants assign to them (RFAs).

THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (ERFAs)

The Giants have three ERFAs - Jim Cordle, Adrian Tracy, and Justin Trattou. For those who don't know, they are exclusive rights free agents because their contracts have expired with less than three accrued seasons in the NFL. This status essentially means they have to take the Giants' offer (if they extend an offer, in the form of the tender) if they wanna play in the NFL in 2013. Because all three players have two accrued seasons, their tender levels are each $555,000. For players who know the system and could be key backups in 2013, that's a manageable price to pay, so expect the Giants to tender all three. Now, what works out nice for the Giants in terms of the cap, is that these three combined salaries will actually only add $450,000 onto their current team cap number. The reason why is that a team's cap number is the sum of just the top-51 cap hits on the team. Right now, the Giants have ten players who make $405,000 (the lowest cap hit possible, I believe) sitting at the bottom of their "51," and so for each of the three ERFAs that is brought back, his $555,000 basically takes the place of one of the $405,000 cap hits, leading to an added hit to the cap of just $150,000. Multiply that by three for each ERFA, and you get $450,000 of added cap money. This would put the Giants at $3,627,113 under the cap.

THE RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (RFAs)

Now, we move to the RFAs - Victor Cruz, Andre Brown, Stevie Brown, and Ryan Torain. These guys are restricted because their contracts expired with less than four accrued seasons in the NFL. I'm not gonna go into the process of explaining the different tender levels, since I assume most of you know about it already, but I will list the values that I've seen associated with each level:

1st Round Tender

2,878,628

2nd Round Tender

2,023,088

Original Round Tender & Right-of-First-Refusal Tender

1,323,000

Of the Giants' RFAs, obviously Cruz would get the 1st round tender, and I think to be safe, both Andre and Stevie would get the 2nd round tender. If the Giants even want to bring Torain back, they could probably just do what they did with Pascoe (who was also a RFA), which is just sign him to a one-year, minimum-type deal. Keeping in mind that those other three are once again taking the place of three $405,000 cap hits on the "list of 51," and the Giants suddenly find themselves $2,082,691 over the cap. That approximately $4 million in cap space is suddenly wiped out, and the Giants find themselves once again needing to clear space just to get back under the cap for March 12...and they still have yet to touch any UFAs, either from their own roster or someone else's, and would still need space for their draft picks.

A MOVE LONG OVERDUE?

I think most Giants fans expect it's a matter of "when, not if" David Diehl gets cut, and we'll do the deed in this exercise. Cutting Diehl removes $4,825,000 from the cap, but then just as the additions above took the place of $405,000 deals at the bottom of the "list of 51," the opposite naturally occurs with a cut of someone else. So factoring in the added $405,000 of one of the minimum guys, cutting Diehl really only saves a net amount of $4,420,000, but it does get the Giants $2,337,309 under the cap. Obviously, there is more to do though, because this probably isn't even enough to get all the draft picks signed, let alone take care of some important UFAs.

I think everything up to this point is expected to happen. This is where we have to start doing some guesswork as far as what moves the Giants make. In anticipation of other moves to be made, I'd propose "breaking the glass" for at least one contract restructure, "due to emergency." I know this is something that's gotten the Giants into some of their cap troubles this offseason, but I think if you can limit it to one or two players who you know will not be cut (and accelerate any dead money into one offseason), then the damage won't be as bad. That's why I don't wanna restructure someone like Antrel Rolle, who could be a cap casualty next year, as could players like Mathias Kiwanuka, Chris Snee, and David Baas, depending on their performance in 2013. But there's one player on the roster who has a huge base salary this year and who is in no danger of being cut anytime soon, and I think you all know who I'm referring to.

ONE LAST (HOPEFULLY) RESTRUCTURE

If the Giants were to convert $9 million of Eli Manning's $13 million base salary in 2013 into a "signing bonus" this year and prorate that amount over these last three years of his deal, it would save the Giants $6 million in 2013, which would put them $8,337,309 under the cap in this scenario. The downside, of course, is that his cap hit in 2014 balloons to $23.4 million, and his 2015 cap hit spikes to $22,750,000. However, two things make this pill easier to swallow, IMO: 1) the Giants only have about $82 million currently committed to the 2014 cap, and $46 million committed to the 2015 cap, and although they only have 41 and 12 players under contract for each year, respectively, they have some room to play with (and this is without considering those potential 2014 cuts I mentioned earlier), and 2) the Giants are likely to extend Eli's contract before the 2015 season (or even 2014 season), so they might be able to lower his cap number that year by virtue of an extension that will be needed soon anyway (this would probably involve backloading his deal somewhat to have huge cap hits to years that he may not even get to, as he'll be approaching 40 as this decade draws to a close).

Anyway, restructuring Eli's contract gives the front office some room to play with when it comes to bringing back some of their own UFAs. Before we get to the big fish though, let's try and get some of the vet minimum guys signed, and see where we are with the cap and how much room we have to play with for the big-name players to bring back.

TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT: VET MINIMUM OFFERS

We've recently heard that the Giants want to bring back Chase Blackburn, but only if it's for the veteran minimum. For a player with Blackburn's experience level (7 years), this would be $840,000 for one year. If another team wants to give him something more, I say they're welcome to it, because I wouldn't go any higher than that to bring him back.

Another vet that could/should be brought back on the minimum is David Carr. It would be $940,000 to bring him back, and I'd be OK with that, and have Carr compete with Curtis Painter (already signed) for the #2 job behind Eli, with a lower-round or undrafted rookie brought to camp to either develop as the #3 guy or just to serve as a camp arm.

With Ahmad Bradshaw gone, the Giants will need to reinforce their depth behind David Wilson and Andre Brown, and I think they can help that by bringing back Kregg Lumpkin, even if it's just for training camp to get a better look at him, and let him compete with Da'Rel Scott and any other young guys the team may bring in. Given that Lumpkin could be had for a minimum of $715,000, I don't see why the Giants shouldn't bring him in this offseason.

And finally, I think Justin Tryon has dropped enough in people's eyes to the point that he would re-sign with the Giants for the minimum, which is also $715,000 for him. Even if Corey Webster is brought back, this team needs CB depth, and Tryon at least knows the system and can give you significant snaps in camp, plus he has some value as a gunner on special teams.

I think this is probably as far as I'll go for bringing back players for the vet minimum. Keeping in mind that for each one of these signed contracts, the lowest on the "list of 51" is removed from counting towards the cap, the Giants now sit at $6,747,309 under the cap. This number looks manageable, but without even looking at the bigger FAs the Giants would like to bring back, there's one more thing I'd like to look at, and that's what we'll need for signing our draft picks.

ACCOUNTING FOR THE ROOKIES

Overthecap.com recently posted rookie pool amounts for each team, calculated based on the previous two rookie class contracts under the current CBA, and the rules in the CBA that stipulate how much of the player part of the revenue pie goes towards the rookies. I'll just skip ahead to the values for the Giants' current picks (note: this does not account for compensatory picks, so these values are subject to change, but not significantly).

Cap Hit

1st Round Pick (19)

1,517,436

2nd Round Pick (49)

732,855

3rd Round Pick (81)

548,813

4th Round Pick (114)

513,716

5th Round Pick (154)

451,813

6th Round Pick (189)

430,966

7th Round Pick (227)

418,988

If you look at the last few values, you'll see that they are all very close to the $405,000 values that we've been taking out of the cap amount as new, more expensive contracts are added. The total amount of these values is $4,614,587, but - spoiler - this is not the number we're going to use when it comes to accounting for the rookie against the cap. We'll get to that later, but for now, the Giants have to at least allow for the $4,614,587, because we don't currently know exactly what that number will be. I'm saying all of this because these contracts could take the place of $405,000 deals, $480,000 deals (the next step up on the "list of 51" on the Giants), or even slightly bigger deals. Since we don't currently know, it's better to just play it safe.

So even though the Giants technically have $6,747,309 in cap space, they really only have about $2.1 million after accounting for the rookies. With significant UFAs left to bring back, we're going to need significantly more. And from where I'm sitting, there's only one quick way to get that number down significantly.

A TOUGH, BUT MAYBE NECE$$ARY, CUT

This is not a move I'm crazy about making, but given his pay vs. performance in 2012, he has to at least take a pay cut this offseason, if not be cut. I'm talking, of course, about Corey Webster. For all we know, the Giants could be talking to him right now about taking a pay cut, but I have no idea what he'd be willing to accept. For now, I'm going to let him go, and see where we are later on in terms of cap space. We're now technically $13,592,309 under the cap, but remember the rookie deals to come...and I also acknowledge the CB depth is now incredibly shaky, at best.

OPENING UP THE MARA AND TISCH CHECKBOOKS

PART I - BEATTY

We can now finally move to what many have probably been waiting for. Let's look at Will Beatty's situation. The Giants would have enough to tag him and still have several million more to play with, but depending on how late in free agency this were to take place, why not just get the deal done and move on to your next priority? If Beatty is talked about as a candidate for the franchise tag though, let's use that number - $9.6 million - as something to start from.

I'm sure most of you know about how contracts can be manipulated to have low cap hits in the first few years, and have backloaded salaries on the tail end. This is pretty common in the NFL, and you'll see it here too.

In order to try and figure out a fair deal for Beatty, I looked at some other higher-level contracts for LTs in the NFL. Not the bloated, blue-chip level contracts like Jason Peters or Joe Thomas, but something like Duane Brown's deal, which was a 6-year, $53.4 million extension signed last August. The deal included $22,080,000 guaranteed, including a $12,500,000 signing bonus. His contract breakdown by year is given here.

How about a 5-year, $42.5 million contract for Beatty? We'll guarantee him $16 million, including a $10 million signing bonus. Below are contract details:

Year

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Base Salary

2,500,000*

5,000,000**

6,500,000

7,750,000

7,750,000

Workout Bonus

250,000

250,000

250,000

250,000

Roster Bonus

2,000,000

Cap Hit

4,500,000

7,250,000

10,750,000

10,000,000

10,000,000

*Guaranteed; **3,500,000 of 2014 base salary guaranteed

The cap hit from the signing bonus isn't shown, but I figure you all know how that works; just divide the total signing bonus by the number of years on the contract, and assign that value to each year (in this case, it's $2 million per year). As for the other bonuses, I'm a fan of implementing workout bonuses, just as a carrot for the players to try and make sure they continue to put in the work in the offseason with the team. I also used the roster bonus as something of a "checkpoint" to see where Beatty is after two years. The hope, of course, is that he continues to develop into one of the best LTs in football. As much as the Giants are making Beatty their top priority right now, it will be very comforting if/once he's under contract for the next few years. I think this is a fair deal, and although the last three years have significant cap hits, those three years also have little or no other money committed by the team yet, and if he's truly their franchise LT, this is the kind of money you have to expect to pay him. Plus, they could always cut him before the 2015 season starts and save money against the cap, if they wanted.

Officially, the Giants still have $9,497,309 left under the cap, so let's move to the guy I think who should be the second priority for this team in terms of their own free agents - Kenny Phillips.

PART II - KP

Yes, Phillips. I know he's got that troublesome knee history, and some Giants fans are resigned enough to letting him walk this offseason that they believe it's just better off to let him go, rather than commit significant money to him. Maybe I'm being naïve here, but I can't get past what he means to this defense, and how much better (at least it seemed) they were when he was on the field last year, as opposed to when he wasn't. He does things no other safety on the roster can do, and is the living definition of what a "safety" is in the NFL: a very good last line of defense. When healthy, he's easily a top-10 safety in this league. I think the Giants would be foolish to not even really try to bring him back. Besides, Rolle could be a cap casualty next offseason, Brown could be a one-year wonder (and is only under contract for one-year in this scenario anyway), and Will Hill still is a ways off from being a capable starter, IMO. The safety position was a strength for the Giants last year, but it very well could be a long-term issue if the Giants don't handle their business well enough this offseason.

The deal I worked off of for KP's deal was that of Tyvon Branch, who signed his deal almost a year ago exactly, after receiving the franchise tag from the Oakland Raiders. It's a four-year deal, worth $26.6 million, with $17.6 million guaranteed, including a $5.6 million signing bonus. Here is his contract breakdown.

Putting on my Jerry Reese (or probably more appropriately, Kevin Abrams) hat, I've decided to sign KP to a 4-year, $25 million contract, with $7 million guaranteed, including a $6 million signing bonus. Here's a further breakdown:

Year

2013

2014

2015

2016

Base Salary

1,000,000*

1,500,000

6,000,000

6,500,000

Workout Bonus

250,000

250,000

250,000

250,000

Roster Bonus

3,000,000

Cap Hit

2,750,000

6,250,000

7,750,000

8,250,000

*Guaranteed

If I had a better gauge of how receptive KP would be to having injury clauses in his contract, I would probably include one or more in the deal, but for the purpose of this post, I just decided to write up a sizeable roster bonus after this season. If KP ends up noticeably deteriorating or having problems with the knee again, the Giants can cut him before the 2014 roster bonus is due (let's say the third day of the 2014 league year, for argument's sake) and still save $1.75 million against the cap that year. I could have thrown an option bonus in there, similar to what the Giants did with Terrell Thomas last year, but I think this can protect the team well enough, and he isn't coming off a torn ACL (and entirely lost season) like T2 did, so I don't think the Giants could get away with something like that as much and may need to show slightly more commitment to KP. I think this is a happy medium and works for both parties. If everything works out, and he can play for another four years, our secondary looks a lot more stable than it did before this deal, IMO.

With $7,227,309 left in space under the cap, we seem to be in relatively good shape. Before I go further, I should probably mention that KP's deal is the first in our scenario that will effectively replace a $480,000 contract on the "list of 51," as the ten $405,000 deals that were on this list originally have all been replaced, and the next lowest deals are at $480,000. This is just for those keeping track at home, and if there was some question as to how I got the cap space number I got. For example, KP's contract actually adds just $2,270,000 to the team cap number on the "list of 51," since it takes the place of a $480,000 deal.

Anyway....Let's see if we can't bring back another notable UFA: Martellus Bennett.

PART III - TBU

For the record, I have TBU slated as the #3 priority behind KP because I feel TBU is more easily replaceable. The Giants won the Super Bowl with a rookie Kevin Boss and a hobbled Jake Ballard, and they've shown they can still be a top-level offense without a TE of TBU's caliber. I happen to think someone like Anthony Fasano could come in here for the upcoming season and put up adequate numbers at the position, and I don't think we'd lose too much in the blocking aspect. But I think we can all agree that TBU still has untapped potential in this offense, and could really blossom into a dangerous passing game threat for Eli, especially in the red zone. This move is about surrounding Eli with as many quality weapons as possible while he's in the prime of his career, and if we have the cap space (we do in this scenario), then I say go for it.

I think Greg Olsen's contract is a good place to start for figuring out a fair deal for TBU. I also used some of Marcedes Lewis' contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, since he was tagged before signing his deal, although it was two years ago now. Olsen's contract was an extension of his then-current deal when he was traded from the Chicago Bears to the Carolina Panthers in 2011. With extensions, it's sometimes hard to figure out exactly what the terms are, because they may or may not involve changes to the year(s) left on the current deal. It appears that Olsen's extension was for somewhere around 4 years and $24 million, with a $2.5 million signing bonus, and a $2.5 million option bonus in 2012. Here's a year-by-year breakdown.

Let's go with a 5-year, $28.5 million deal for TBU. He'll get a $6.5 million signing bonus, as part of his $7.5 million in guarantees. He also has a $3 million option in 2015. Following is the contract breakdown:

Year

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Base Salary

1,000,000*

2,000,000

4,000,000

5,000,000

6,000,000

Workout Bonus

250,000

250,000

250,000

250,000

Option Bonus

3,000,000

Cap Hit

2,300,000

3,550,000

6,550,000

7,550,000

8,550,000

*Guaranteed

I talked about maybe having an option bonus in KP's contract...well, there's one in TBU's deal, and it admittedly comes from a concern in the back of my mind about how TBU will perform once he's not playing for a contract. I don't think he's like that, but for the Giants to pay significant money for a TE, he had better produce well enough and earn it, and the option bonus acts as something of an "out" in case he doesn't. If you care to know, it counts against the salary cap basically the same way a signing bonus does (at least I think it does), so once it kicks in, it counts as $1 million against the cap in each of the last three years of the deal.

After re-signing the "Big Three" UFAs, the Giants have $5,407,309 in space under the cap. I wanna take a moment to say that these contracts above are obviously just guesses based on deals for players who I feel fall pretty good in line with what the Giants have, or at least where their contract levels fall. For all we know, these guys may be looking for more than this, or be willing to take less. These sample contracts are just meant to be discussion points, and to show that I think the Giants can keep all three of these guys if they really want to, and without a bunch of other contract restructures.

PART IV - ANYONE ELSE?

Remembering the cap space needed for the rookies, and keeping in mind other areas of need - especially on defense - I think this is a good place to stop with re-signing any current Giant UFAs. I'd like to be able to bring someone like Kevin Boothe back, but he's said he wants to test the market this time and see what other teams feel his value is, and I worry some team will overpay for him. He'll be 30 when the season starts, and I don't know if investing several million in Boothe is the best way to go about spending the cap space we do have, given the needs on defense and the draft picks to be signed. I'm also comfortable enough to part ways with...

  • Lawrence Tynes (Buehler or, more favorably, a rookie takes over for him),
  • Osi Umenyiora (shouldn't require an explanation),
  • Sean Locklear (his knee was shredded pretty bad, as I recall, and he'll be 32 when the season starts),
  • Keith Rivers (if he came back on a minimum-type deal, I think we could find room for him, but I think someone else will believe they can get something out of him and offer him more),
  • Rocky Bernard (keep reading),
  • Domenik Hixon (likely too expensive to keep as a 4th WR),
  • Ramses Barden (I think someone will give him a shot for more than the vet minimum, and I don't think it makes sense for the Giants to spend more than that to keep him),
  • Travis Beckum (Adrien Robinson is the new high-upside young draft pick on the block),
  • And anyone else I forgot to mention...for obvious reasons...lol.

I probably could have saved a lot of space on that and just said any of the lower-tier UFAs that won't take the vet minimum or close to it won't be back, or probably shouldn't be back. Anyway...

BARGAIN HUNTING

Now that we have our own house in order a little, let's take a dip into the league-wide UFA pool and see what we can find with the cap space available to us ($5,407,309).

PART I - DT

One thing I've noticed this offseason is that if you're in need of DT help, this could be one of the best offseasons to be looking for it. Not only are there a ton of quality prospects in the draft that we've all heard about or touched upon, but there is also a nice crop of free agents at the position, and depending on which type of DT you're looking for, you're sure to have your pick. It's always good to have a buyer's market in a position of need for your team.

For the Giants, I think it's simple enough to say that we need a young replacement for the guy we just cut a little while ago in Chris Canty; someone who has great size and length and can really get after the QB as a 3-tech DT. Linval Joseph is a rock as the 1-tech to occupy blockers and be a force against the run, and Rogers gives us some depth there as well. Austin is pegged right now as the 3T, it seems, but can he be relied upon from the get-go in 2013, or even going forward this season and beyond? I don't think any of us really knows.

I've seen many of you mention Glenn Dorsey and Sammie Lee Hill as options, and Ed even did features on each player and how they could fit with the Giants. I would be fine with either player, and both should come relatively cheap. Cheaper, maybe, then the player I'm gonna suggest, but I think this guy fits perfectly into my description of what we need above. Many of you probably don't know much about him. I'm talking about Desmond Bryant of the Oakland Raiders.

Getting past the eerily similar name to a known nemesis within the division, I happen to think Bryant is our ideal choice to replace Canty as the 3T on the d-line. For those who value this, Pro Football Focus gave him their 6th-highest grade for a DT in 2012, with 15 combined sacks and hits (5 sacks, with 4 more in 2011) and 16 defensive stops in run defense as well. He also happens to be their highest-graded DT in free agency this offseason. Oh, and he's also 6'6" and 311 pounds...almost identical to Canty's size. The guy has produced in both facets of defensive play (though he's known more as a pass-rushing force), but has done so in relative obscurity while toiling away on a barren Raiders roster. Perhaps the Giants can use that to their advantage, and maybe get him for more of a bargain than he should be available for.

The problem with looking at these players outside of the Giants is that it's tougher to gauge their real value (though I'm sure the Giants feel the same way when they're negotiating with these guys, and that's probably why Reese has overpaid for outside Fas in the past). I look at someone like Brodrick Bunkley, who got a 5-year, $25 million deal with the Saints last year and think maybe Bryant can be had for something a little less. Brandon Mebane also got a 5-year deal worth $25 million with Seattle two years ago. Since Bryant is less known (but perhaps as effective, or even more so), he could be had for less.

I think something like a 4-year, $18 million deal may be able to bring him to NY. Something like a $4 million signing bonus sounds about right for this kind of deal. I also threw in a $1 million roster bonus in 2014, just as a checkpoint to see if he's really worth the life of that contract. Below are the details:

Year

2013

2014

2015

2016

Base Salary

750,000

2,500,000

4,250,000

5,000,000

Workout Bonus

250,000

250,000

Roster Bonus

1,000,000

Cap Hit

1,750,000

4,500,000

5,500,000

6,250,000

We also have to keep in mind that Joseph is entering the last year of his contract, and right now, he's the only sure thing at DT we have, so this move would not take the Giants out of the running for another DT early in the draft, IMO. What this move does do, however, is help to alleviate a pressing need prior to the draft. There are more needs though, but with just $4,137,309 left under the cap and draft picks still to sign, our available spending room is almost dried up.

PART II - CB

Even before Webster was cut, CB was a need. But the need at CB may be most pressing at the slot position right now. Jayron Hosley was simply not up to the task of playing significant snaps on defense last year, but struggled especially when asked to play inside. Outside of Rolle, I don't know if anyone on this team is really capable of playing that position, and I think the Giants and Perry Fewell really wanna get away from using Rolle there. Maybe with another year, Hosley gets better on the outside. He's really not that small for a CB; just smaller than what the Giants normally get for that position. In fact, the guy I'm gonna suggest is even smaller, and while he won't inspire a lot of faith in the team's CBs after Prince Amukamara, he should come cheap and has had some nice success in the slot in the past year.

I cheated on this a little bit, because PFF suggested this, but I think Captain Munnerlyn is at least someone worth looking into. He's been a starter off and on for Carolina, and while he's never been great or even consistently good, I don't think he'd embarrass himself. He played the fourth-most snaps at nickel CB in the NFL in 2012, and only allowed 0.87 yards per snap in coverage (Prince gave up 0.86, for refence). This obviously wouldn't be a long-term solution, and the Giants are almost sure to draft a CB high this year even if Webster survives through the offseason. But this is an immediate need, and the Giants won't be getting an immediate starter in the draft, and any CB that is even well-known on the free agent market is likely to get more than what the Giants can offer.

Again, tough to figure out a market value for a nickel CB that people don't know much about, but I think a 2-year deal worth something like $3 million should be enough. I'd like to have the second year, just to allow for the eventual draft pick or even Hosley to further develop. I don't think Webster would come back for something so small.

Here are the details of the proposed contract for Munnerlyn (I gave him a $600,000 signing bonus):

Year

2013

2014

Base Salary

800,000

1,100,000

Workout Bonus

250,000

250,000

Cap Hit

1,350,000

1,650,000

I originally had my sights on Leodis McKelvin, but I feel like because of the fact that he came into the league as an 11th overall pick in 2008 and could also be paid more because of his return abilities, he may get overpaid by someone. I would be happy with McKelvin if the Giants got him though, for both CB play (he held up well when he started last year) and as a punt returner, but the Giants may have to settle for someone like Munnerlyn.

STILL ENOUGH FOR THE ROOKIES?

The magic number now is $3,267,309 under the cap. However, I mentioned before that the Giants would need $4,614,587 for their rookies. So the team appears to be in trouble, and headed towards maybe another cut or contract restructures....Not so fast.

That $4,614,587 is the (assumed) cap charge for the Giants' draft class, but that doesn't represent the change in the team's total amount committed to the cap. That "list of 51" thing is a wonderful thing.

See, when the Giants sign their 1st round pick, he will count $1,517,436 against the cap, but that signing will also take one of those $480,000 deals off the "list of 51," leaving the net change to the cap amount as $1,037,436. Rather thatn type this all out, I'll show you the differences for the rest of the rookies in a chart below:

Cap Hit

Amt of Lowest Deal

Remaining on "List of 51"

Net Change to Cap

1st Round Pick (19)

1,517,436

480,000

1,037,436

2nd Round Pick (49)

732,855

480,000

252,855

3rd Round Pick (81)

548,813

480,500

68,313

4th Round Pick (114)

513,716

491,474

22,242

5th Round Pick (154)

451,813

555,000

-

6th Round Pick (189)

430,966

555,000

-

7th Round Pick (227)

418,988

555,000

-

4,614,587

1,380,846

As you can see, the last three draft picks won't even factor into the cap under this scenario, unless the Giants were to start cutting the three ERFAs tendered when we started this whole thing, plus all the guys on $480,000 contracts. As you've seen throughout this whole thing, once you have more than 51 players on your roster, you only count the 51 highest paid deals towards the cap, and if the 51st guy is cut, everyone below him on this list just moves up.

WRAP-UP AND LOOKING DOWN THE ROAD

So, finally, when all is said and done, the Giants come out of all of this with $1,886,463 in cap space for 2013, and were able to bring back Beatty, KP, TBU, add a starting DT and (at least) slot CB in free agency, tender their three notable RFAs and their ERFAs, bring back some solid depth in Blackburn, Carr, Lumpkin, and Tryon, and sign all of their draft picks. Of course, this all came at a price of restructuring Eli's contract and cutting Diehl and Webster, and as it stands currently, neither Nicks nor Cruz have new contracts. But what we've got accomplished gives the Giants a little wiggle room for potential negotiations (remember, Cruz already counts almost $3 million against the 2013 cap here, and the Giants could give him a contract where he isn't counting much more than that against the cap). I think you always wanna save yourself about a million or so for emergency in the offseason anyway.

Also, I was able to crunch some numbers and figure out the amount committed to each season's cap from 2013 to 2016, based on the deals I handed out and any existing contracts. I'll list them here:

Year

Amount Assigned to Cap

2013

119,213,537

2014

113,578,355

2015

86,598,335

2016

42,977,305

Those numbers don't include any rollover from previous years (except for the 2013 number, of course, since that's already known to be $1 million), because we don't know what the official cap will be beyond this year (and even the one we hear now still technically isn't official, supposedly). Still, even if the cap continues to barely increase over the next four years, we still look to be in decent shape, with maybe about $10 million in 2014 and an abundance of space beyond that. And as mentioned before, players like Rolle, Kiwanuka, Baas, and even Snee could be cap casualties in the next year or so based on their performance in 2013. So considering who was brought back, I'd say it looks pretty good.

Now I'll ask you all: are you pleased with the way this turned out? Was this beneficial in understanding some of the workings of the cap? Would you do anything differently? Did I screw up and forget something pretty crucial? Were the contracts I gave out too ridiculous? Did I spend way too much time on this (I refuse to answer that...haha)?

Let me know what you think. I'm open to discussing all of this, and may "revise" some things via the comments section if necessary.

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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