The New York Giants are already flush with salary cap space, having $58.623 million to spend currently under an estimated 2016 cap of $155 million per Over The Cap. Only three NFL teams have more cap room than the talent-starved Giants. Like anything else, though, no matter what you have you always would like to have more. So, let's look at ways the Giants can increase their salary cap space.
Cutting wide receiver Victor Cruz ($9.9 million cap hit) or, at least, re-structuring his contract is an obvious move. The Giants would save $6.1 million against the cap by cutting Cruz, If they were to designate Cruz as a post-June 1 cut they would save even more, $8 million against the cap.
While it seems like the Giants would like Cruz, who has missed 26 straight games, to make a comeback with them next season doing something to drastically lower his cap hit seems like a no-brainer.
Let's look at some of the other players who could be in jeopardy if the Giants choose to look for more cap relief.
The 30-year-old running back is entering the third year of a four-year, $10 million contract. The guaranteed portion, $2.98 million, has been paid. Per OTC, the Giants would save $1.687 million against the cap if they cut Jennings and would have $1.125 million in dead money. Designating Jennings as a post-June 1 cut would save the Giants $2.25 million against the cap.
Be aware, though, that when you designate a player as a post-June 1 cut his salary does not come off the books until that date. So, it would not save the Giants any money for the money free-agent bonanza.
Jennings is coming off the best season of his career, leading the Giants with a career-high 863 yards rushing. Would the Giants cut him? Probably not, but there are two scenarios under which it could happen.
If the Giants were to sign an expensive free-agent running back like Lamar Miller or Doug Martin, Jennings would become superfluous. Mock drafts often peg Ohio Sate running back Ezekiel Elliott for the Giants with the 10th overall selection. Again, that would make Jennings expendable.
Newhouse is entering the second year of a two-year, $3 million contract. The Giants could save $1.55 million against the cap with only $400,000 in dead money by cutting the journeyman offensive tackle.
Would the Giants cut Newhouse? If they still see him as a viable swing tackle, the role he was originally signed for, the answer would be probably not. If they believe in Bobby Hart and Brett Jones, or plan to aggressively try to pursue upgrades on the right side of the line in free agency and the draft, perhaps they would.
Jerry, 29, is entering the second year of a $3.3 million contract. Almost identical to Newhouse, the Giants could save $1.5 million against the cap by cutting Jerry with $400,000 in dead money.
Jerry has started 24 games for the Giants over the past two seasons and as of now would be considered the starting right guard going into 2016. Would the Giants cut him? Again, if they believe Hart or Jones could do that job or they want to pursue upgrades in free agency or the draft, perhaps they would.
The veteran backup linebacker and special teamer is entering the final year of a two-year, $2.6 million contract. The Giants could save $1.2 million against the cap by cutting him and would incur only $200,000 in dead money.
Would they cut him? That may depend on how the new coaching staff feels about his value. At a cap number of $1.4 million Herzlich isn't terribly expensive, but many have been expecting the Giants to part ways with Herzlich for the past couple of years. If they can give that roster spot to a rookie or a veteran willing to play for the minimum salary they would likely consider parting ways with Herzlich.