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Exploring a potential three-way trade involving the Giants, Denver and Buffalo

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The Bill are believed to be interested in moving up in the first-round to the Giants’ spot. Here’s one way they can do it and how such a move might impact the Giants.

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Wouldn’t it be awesome if the New York Giants could swing a trade down in the first round, pick up some extra picks and still get a premium player from their board?

Such a possibility might indeed exist in what could be a three-way trade involving the Bills and Broncos as potential trade partners.

The idea, as noted by ESPN’s Rich Cimini in his mock draft, would have the Bills trading from No. 12 to No. 5 with the Broncos, and then swapping places with the Giants at No. 2. This chain of events would put the Bills ahead of their AFC East rivals, the Jets, who jumped up to No. 3 in a trade with the Colts last month with the likely intention of drafting a quarterback.

If the Bills are worried about the Jets grabbing the quarterback they want, it would make perfect sense to get ahead of them in the draft.

From the Giants perspective, it doesn’t make much sense to trade down nine spots and out of the top 10, but if the Broncos were a willing trade partner, it would make more sense for the Giants to slide down to No. 5 if the Bills can engineer a trade with Denver to get into that spot.

What would it take for such a move to be executed? Would the Giants do it and who might they grab if they did move down from No. 2. And what kind of impact would it have on their salary cap?

Let’s try to project some answers to these questions. For this exercise, I’ve used the 2018 NFL Draft Interactive Trade Chart found at Drafttek.com.

Buffalo (No. 12 overall) trades with Denver (No. 5 overall)

According to the chart, the Bills would have to put together a package equaling or exceeding 1,700 points to move up in the draft to No. 5 overall, currently held by the Broncos.

Here is what a potential trade package might look like.

Proposed Bills Trade to Denver

Pick No. Points Value
Pick No. Points Value
No. 12 (1st round, 2018) 1,200
No. 56 (2nd round, 2018) 340
Conditional third round pick, 2019 (#) 100-256 (*)
TOTAL POINTS 1640-1796

Trade Notes

*Depending on where the Bills draft next year.

# Condition could be tied into the number of snaps the Bills’ first round pick plays in 2018. If that player meets a certain minimum, the third-round pick can bump up to a second rounder in 2019.

Buffalo (No. 5 overall) trades with Giants (No. 2 overall)

According to the chart, the Giants No. 2 overall pick is worth 2,600. The Bills would have to send the Giants No. 5 (1,700) and No. 22 (780) plus their other second-round pick (No. 53, worth 370 points) to deliver equal or greater value to move up.

In this scenario, the Bills assure themselves of having a first- and third-round pick in this draft, something they probably wouldn’t have if they had attempted to trade directly with the Giants.

Proposed Bills Trade to the Giants

Pick No. Points Value
Pick No. Points Value
No. 5 (1st round, 2018) 1,700
No. 22 (1st round, 2018) 780
No. 53 (2nd round, 2018) 370
TOTAL POINTS 2,850
Proposed Bills Trade to Giants

To recap, the overall cost for the Bills to move up the draft board to the Giants spot at No. 2 in my scenario is as follows:

  • Both first-round picks
  • Both second-round picks
  • A conditional third-round pick in 2019

The cap effect

Let’s pretend that this scenario comes to fruition and that the Giants actually do end up dropping to the fifth overall slot in the first round plus get picks 22 and 53. What kind of effect would that have on the cap?

The obvious answer is that it would increase the amount of money the Giants need to sign their rookie class if they were to keep all those picks. even if they didn’t keep all those picks, the Giants would still be looking at needing to put aside more money to get the rookie class signed.

Per Over the Cap, the Giants’ current draft haul—Picks 2, 34, 66, 69, 108 and 139—will cost them approximately $9,754,014 in cap space for 2018. However, since the Top 51 rule remains in effect until the start of the regular season, the effective cap space (amount of which the actual Top 51 highest contracts changes) would be approximately $6,874,014.

Note: The formula used to arrive at this amount, per OTC, is total Rookie Pool - ($480,000 x number of picks). However, once the Top 51 rule ends, all rookie contracts will count under the cap.

Now that we have a baseline regarding the total the Giants need to sign the rookies and the effective cap space, let’s see how much those numbers chance if the Giants were to acquire additional picks and drop three slots, as proposed in this article.

Picks 5, 22, 34, 53, 66, 69, 108 and 139 would cost the Giants $12,507,820 in the first year cap hits (2018). The effective cap space would be $8,667,820.

As of this writing, Over the Cap has the Giants with $4,809,322 in cap space for 2018 (the NFLPA’s public cap report has them with a little more space, $4,880,156). Regardless, that’s not nearly enough to cover the effective cap space needed for the draft class in either the stay-put or trade down scenarios.

It’s assumed that the team is waiting for receiver Brandon Marshall to pass a physical so they can optimize the potential savings cap savings following the termination of his contract.

That savings would be $5,156,250; if they were to cut Marshall prior to him being able to pass a physical, they’d likely be on the hook for up to $1.5 million paid out as an injury settlement, which would mean a reduced cap savings of $3,656,250.

Now what?

Despite the finances, this should not stop the Giants from potentially engaging in a trade-down scenario if the offer is the right one.

The Giants can use the extra draft capital to trade up in subsequent rounds, particularly on Day 2 which covers the second and third rounds.

In fact, it might behoove them to split their draft bounty between this year and next year to ensure they have some extra picks in the event they don’t’ qualify for 2019 compensatory picks.

Regardless of what the Giants do, it’s not so much about the quantity of draft picks; it’s all about the quality and getting as many contributors as possible.