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New York Giants salary cap: How much money do they have to spend?

Truth is, right now we don't know.

Jon Beason
Jon Beason
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

How much salary cap space do the New York Giants have after cutting Geoff Schwartz and Will Beatty on Wednesday and announcing the retirement of Jon Beason? The Giants currently have the third-most cap space of any NFL team, but the truth is we really don't know the exact amount the Giants have to spend.

Sure, we CAN put a number on it. After Wednesday's moves most reports, including my own, estimated that the Giants had somewhere between $52 and $55 million to spend under the 2016 salary cap. Spotrac currently estimates that the Giants have $58.07 million in cap space.

Why the difference? Well, because we don't actually know what the 2016 salary cap will be. That will be determined between now and when free agency begins on March 9. Most cap estimates have used a generic figure of an estimate league-wide cap of $150 million per team. Spotrac is estimating the cap to be $154 million, thus the additional space.

Contracts and their actual value can be tricky, as well. There were discrepancies Wednesday in the reports about the cap savings generated by Beason's retirement. We reported the savings as $4.5 million while some outlets reported the savings as $5.1 million. That's because there was $600K worth of "53-man roster bonuses considered as not likely to be earned" for 2016 in Beason's deal. With that money not considered realistic, my sources indicate the savings as $4.5 million, though coming up with the $5.1 million figure is certainly understandable and defensible.

What is the reason for diving into a little bit of cap/contract minutiae? Am I trying to look like a cap expert or make those whose math is slightly different than mine look wrong? Neither. I'm not a cap expert, and as I have already said there are more ways than one to assess the value of some contracts.

Point is, the cap is fluid. Figuring out exactly what teams have to spend is impossible right now, especially since we don't know what the final cap number will be. What we do know is that whatever that final number is the Giants look like they will be among the teams with the most to spend. Which is a good thing, because they are among the teams with the most work to do in order to improve their roster.