Michael Boley, Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty are gone. The great New York Giants salary purge of 2013 in in full swing, with general manager Jerry Reese swinging an unforgiving and unsentimental ax.
All three players jettisoned thus far were key contributors to the 2012 Super Bowl victory. Bradshaw, in fact, played a role in two Super Bowl titles. All three played leadership roles -- particularly Bradshaw and Canty.
Still, the NFL is a salary-cap driven league. It's not even a 'what have you done for me lately?' league. It's an 'are you worth the money we have to pay you next year?' league. Bradshaw gained 1,015 yards last season and was an on-field leader, but the Giants decided they couldn't pay him $7.75 million over the next two seasons.
It seems inconceivable that the purge is over. The moves have, according to most accounts, gotten the Giants under the anticipated salary of cap -- proejected to be in the range of $120.9 to $121.1 million. The Giants are, again according to the commonly accepted math, somewhere around $118.5 million. And there is no doubt they need to get lower.
They need cap room to sign Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, Martellus Bennett and any other free agents -- their own or players from other teams on the market -- they want to have on the roster next season.
The Giants will, of course, get a little relief when the contract of Osi Umenyiora expires and they release Terrell Thomas, owed $3.8 million next season. Even then, however, they will have work to do.
That brings me -- finally -- to the question that is really the key one at this point. Who's next? I started doing these one at a time this week, but at the pace Reese is swinging his ax I think it's best to take care of the rest of it in one post.
There are only three logical candidates, and we have discussed all of them in varying degrees since the 2012 season ends. Those candidates, of course are David Diehl, Corey Webster and Justin Tuck.
A prediction? If I were Diehl or Webster, I would turn off my phone.
Webster is owed $7 million in base salary for 2013, the final year of his contract. Spotrac lists him as a $9.975 million cap hit overall, including bonuses. Considering that Webster, statistically, was one of the worst cornerbacks in the league in 2012, there is no way the Giants pay him that kind of money in 2013.
The argument for keeping Webster -- at a reduced salary -- is that the Giants simply don't have much depth at the cornerback position. Beyond Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley the Giants have only Justin Tryon, and there are already several holes to fill. Releasing Webster creates another one. Regardless, if I was Webster I wouldn't want to be taking calls from anyone connected with the Giants.
Diehl is owed $4.475 in base salary and is a $7.825 million cap hit for 2013, the last year of his contract. We know he is often scorned by readers at BBV, and we know Pro Football Focus almost always grades him among the worst players at whatever position he lines up at during a given season.
There is an argument to be made for keeping Diehl in 2013. There is uncertainty with left tackle Will Beatty and left guard Kevin Boothe both being free agents. Diehl, of course, has played everywhere but center during his Giants' career and the positional versatility could make him a valuable reserve.
There is also the 'who plays right tackle if Diehl is gone?' question.
The Giants have options there, including 2011 fourth-round pick James Brewer and last season's fourth-round pick Brandon Mosley. There is also the draft, of course. Also, the possibility that the Giants could re-sign less expensive veteran Sean Locklear to play one of the tackle spots -- or to be the backup at both.
Still, with the way Reese has been swinging his ax the past couple of days it seems unlikely Diehl escapes the chopping block.
Your thoughts, Giants' fans?