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Report: 2018 NFL salary cap set at $177.2 million

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We have a projected figure, so now what, Giants fans?

NFL: New York Giants-GM Dave Gettleman Press Conference Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

According to Field Yates of ESPN, NFL teams have been advised that the 2018 salary cap will be $177.2 million, which is about $800,000 less than what Over the Cap projected.

The Giants were left with $365,321 in carry over space from 2017, an amount that at one point hovered around $10 million until injuries started depleting the surplus, which means that the Giants are currently projected to have approximately $24.2 million in space (less any adjustments made in the postseason accounting for things such as playing incentives, etc.)

The Giants, as we know, have yet to cut any players to make additional space, such as receivers Dwayne Harris ($4.05 million) and Brandon Marshall ($6.156 million), two players whose names have come up as potential cap cuts.

As Ed and I discussed on a recent LockedOn Giants podcast, there are a couple of potential reasons why the Giants haven’t made the move yet, reasons which likely tie into one another.

First, until free agency begins, the Giants don’t need to make a move now. By waiting, they also aren’t necessarily tipping their hand too far in advance regarding what positions they might be planning to target in either the draft or free agency (though that shouldn’t be too hard to figure out based on the personnel and the dollar-value of the contracts involved.)

Now let’s take a look at some of the rumored pending free agents that have been linked to the Giants.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

G Andrew Norwell, Carolina

According to various reports from the Combine, the Giants are believed to be planning to make a run at Panthers guard Andrew Norwell, who per Spotrac has an estimated market value of $11.7 million per year.

In trying to figure out what Norwell’s first-year cap figure might actually be, I used Browns guard Kevin Zeitler’s contract for comparison, a 5-year, $60 million deal with $23 million guaranteed and a $12 million signing bonus.

Using those figures and a $6 million base salary, Norwell could end up costing the Giants around $8.4 million in the first year of his deal, though it needs to be stressed that it all depends on how the Giants structure the contract, assuming, of course, both sides agree to a new deal.

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

K Graham Gano, Carolina

Dan Duggan of NJ Advance Media reported that the Giants have interest in Gano, who lat year had his best season for Carolina.

However, according to a report by The Charlotte Observer, the Panthers are expected to designate Gano as their franchise player, a move that would cost them $4.9 million according to the new franchise tag numbers released.

The Giants will no doubt bring additional competition in for Aldrick Rosas and Marshall Koehn, the latter who signed a reserve/future contract. But that competition probably won’t be brought on board until after the inital wave of free agency.

NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Kirt Dozier-USA TODAY Sports

CB Patrick Robinson, Eagles

Eliot Shore-Parks of NJ Advance Media reported that the Giants have an interest in Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson. Was that rumor born as a result of another report that has cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie moving to free safety?

It’s hard to say, but my best guess is if the Giants re-sign Ross Cockrell and get Eli Apple back on the right path, I can’t see the Giants going hard after Robinson.

I could, however, see them using a draft pick on a corner — a league source told me that Gettleman likes to draft corners — he drafted six corners during his tenure as Panthers general manager, including three in the 2016 draft.