The 2014 NFL salary cap will be set at $130 million, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. That is up from $123 million in 2013, and $4 million more than the $126 million cap that had been projected.
What should the New York Giants do with the extra cap space? Below, I will put on my GM hat and suggest what I would -- and would not -- do. First, let's establish exactly where the Giants are in relation to a $130 million salary cap.
Over The Cap lists the Giants as currently having $16.288 million in cap space. That number could increase if Chris Snee retires or is cut, David Baas is released or the Giants make any other salary-cap cuts or re-structure expensive contracts like those of Eli Manning or Antrel Rolle.
So, now what should the Giants do with their extra spending money? Here are my thoughts.
What They Should Do
-- They should jettison both Snee (a $6.8 million cap savings) and Baas (a $1.775 million cap savings) and make a bold bid for Cleveland Browns' two-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. The 28-year-old Mack is the best interior lineman on the market, and the organizational chaos in Cleveland obviously has him concerned about staying there. The Giants should make the choice easy for him -- forget Cleveland, come to New Jersey. Mack's presence would go a loooong way toward shoring up the weak interior of the Giants' offensive line.
-- They should use some of their new-found money to make a big bid to keep defensive tackle Linval Joseph, even if they have to part ways with defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka (a $1.8 million cap savings) to do so. Joseph is entering his prime, the Giants were outstanding at defensive tackle in 2013, and a three-headed monster of Joseph, the emerging Johnathan Hankins and veteran Cullen Jenkins would be pretty imposing. The Giants should make it as difficult as they can for Joseph to go elsewhere.
What They Should Not Do
-- Overspend to keep veterans Justin Tuck and Jon Beason. Both players were outstanding in 2013, and bringing both guys back would help the Giants immensely. That, I think, is especially true with Beason. Both Tuck and Beason, however, have tons of mileage on their NFL tires and are short-term solutions for the Giants.
-- Get in an expensive bidding war for a running back. Ben Tate might be a terrific No. 1 back, but there is likely to be a huge bidding war for his services. That might also be the case for some of the other backs on the market. Fix the offensive line and any running backs the Giants put back there will look much better. I have advocated waiting to re-sign Andre Brown in the event the Giants can upgrade, and I still think that is advisable. Brown, however, might be just fine -- and his price tag is likely to be lower than many of the backs on the market. Bringing back Brown and bringing in a veteran on a minimum contract or drafting a back in the middle rounds (or both) might end up being the way to go.