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Three Giants Picked For “Perfect” 53-Man Roster Under Salary Cap

BBV’s Dan Pizzuta offers his own “perfect” team

New York Giants v Washington Redskins Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

In a fun exercise Wednesday at, Bill Barnwell constructed his perfect 53-man roster that fits under the $167 million salary cap. There were some ground rules laid out concerning that amount of players allowed from each of the past four draft classes: five from 2014, six from 2015, nine from 2016, and one from each round of 2017. Also there needed to be four undrafted free agents who have yet to receive a second contract. There was a requirement of at least one player per team, but there was also a limit of no more than three players from any one team.

Barnwell maxed out on New York Giants by selecting Odell Beckham Jr., Weston Richburg, and Landon Collins.

All three make a lot of sense, but it’s possible at least two of those players don’t make it to the team next year. Beckham is set to cost just $3.31 million against the salary cap this season, per Over The Cap. Next season with the fifth-year option, Beckham’s cap hit will more than double to $8.46 million. Of course, that’s still greatly below what Beckham would be worth on the open market or just with a simple extension from the Giants. However, Barnwell did not select a wide receiver with a cap hit exceeding $6.18 million, which was the total for Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders.

Richburg, another product of the 2014 draft class, will count for just $1.55 million against the cap in 2017. But unlike Beckham, he won’t get a fifth-year option and is a free agent after the season. For the selection to Barnwell’s team, Richburg was the clear choice at center since it appears there was no thought into looking into centers already on their second contracts. Richburg is the best one still on a rookie deal. But with a new contract in 2018, he will likely get closer to the Travis Frederick/Ryan Khalil tier and there wouldn’t be as much of an advantage selecting him.

Then there’s Collins, who will remain on of the NFL’s best bargains through the 2018 season. He’ll count for $1.67 million against the cap this season and that bumps up to just $1.95 in the final year of his rookie deal.

Where this does become dangerous for the Giants is when these new deals need to get done. After the free agency spending of late, there could be some restructuring needed to fit some of these new contracts under the cap. So far the Giants look to be in good shape with a projected $23 million in cap space for 2018.

As a result of this exercise, I spent way too much time trying to put together a roster of my own. On the first pass, I ignored (read: forgot about) the rule of at least one player per team and that resulted in six Giants selected. After reworking the roster, Davlin Tomlinson (DT, 2017 second-round pick), Zak DeOssie (long snapper), and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (veteran CB) had to be left off the roster. I also bypassed Richburg completely while paying up all across the offensive line.

The third Giant I did include in the final team might be a surprise: Andrew Adams. He fits in as cheap safety depth and also counts as one of the four undrafted free agents needed for the roster.

Below is how my team turned out. Some of these picks are similar to Barnwell, that’s not by design, he just happens to be really good at what he does. This roster, which I believe complies with all the rules, comes in at $165,681,896, $1.34 million under the salary cap.


QB - Marcus Mariota (TEN, $6.6M), Matt Moore (MIA, $2.15M), Joe Callahan (GB, $540K)

RB - David Johnson (ARI, $800K), Duke Johnson (CLE, $830K), Benny Cunningham (CHI, $855K), Jonathan Williams (BUF, $600K), Chris Carson (SEA, $481K)

WR - Odell Beckham (NYG, $3,31M), Pierre Garcon (SF, $6.43M), Mike Evans (TB, $4.66M), Willie Snead (NO, $615K), Eric Weems (TEN, $1.25M), Mack Hollins (PHI, $624K)

TE - Rob Gronkowski (NE, $6.75M), Martellus Bennett (GB, $3.85M), Austin Hooper (ATL, $753K)

OL - Alex Mack (ATL, $9.05M), Kyle Long (CHI, $8M), Zach Martin (DAL, $2.85M), Mitchell Schwartz (KC, $6.9M), Laremy Tunsil (MIA, $2.83M), Alejandro Villanueva (PIT, $3.13M), Dion Dawkins (BUF, $760K), Pat Elflein (MIN, $699K)


EDGE - Michael Bennett (SEA, $10.76M), Joey Bosa (LAC, $5.88M), Chris Long (PHI, $1.85M), Danielle Hunter (MIN, $793K)

Interior - Aaron Donald (LAR, $3.23M), Al Woods (IND, $1.88M), Andrew Billings (CIN, $599K), Michael Pierce (BAL, $543K)

LB - Whitney Mercilus (HOU, $6M), Christian Kirksey (CLE, $5.16M), Haason Reddick (ARI, $2.45M), Shaq Thompson (CAR, $2.4M), Su’a Cravens (WAS, $1M), Tyler Matakevich (PIT, $556K)

CB - Chris Harris (DEN, $9.87M), Jalen Ramsey (JAX, $5.31M), James Bradberry (CAR, $900K), Terence Newman (MIN, $3.58M), Captain Munnerlyn (CAR, $2.5M), Justin Bethel (ARI, $3.5M)

S - Earl Thomas (SEA, $10.4M), Landon Collins (NYG, $1.67M), Don Carey (DET, $930K), Andrew Adams (NYG, $540K), Xavier Woods (DAL, $505K)

Special Teams

K - Justin Tucker (BAL, $4.3M)

P - Marquette King (OAK, $2.55M)

LS - Tanner Pudrum (NYJ, $695K)