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Giants pursuit of Dez Bryant unlikely even after Brandon Marshall release

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Yes the Giants have a little more cap space after releasing Brandon Marshall. But right now it’s not as much as you think.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you’ve probably heard that the New York Giants terminated the contract of receiver Brandon Marshall, designating him as “Failed Physical” on the league transaction report.

What does the move mean for the Giants salary cap? And does this transaction clear the way for a potential Dez Bryant signing?

Read on for the answers.

What Are The Cap Implications?

Marshall was due to count for $6,156,250 against the cap, $1 million of which was his prorated signing bonus. Had he had his contract terminated without the “failed physical” designation, the Giants would have saved $5,156,250 on the transaction.

However, thanks to the “Failed Physical” designation, Marshall is eligible to receive an Injury Protection fee (aka Injury Settlement) which per Article 45, Section 2 of the current CBA, is an amount “equal to 50% of his Paragraph 5 Salary for the season following the season of injury, up to a maximum payment of…$1,150,000 in the 2017–18 League Years.”

This means that instead of saving $5,156,250 on the transaction, the Giants are actually saving $4,006,250.

That injury settlement payout will comment starting in Week 1 of the regular season. However, if Marshall signs with another team, the Giants will be off the hook for the full amount.

For example, if Marshall signs with another team before the season begins, the Giants will receive a cap credit for this year worth the $1.15 million. If Marshall signs with another team in Week 4 of the 2018 season, the Giants will receive a prorated credit of $71,875 per week.

So That’s Enough to Sign Dez Bryant, Right?

In theory yes—except the Giants, who had $4,880,156 million in cap space prior to the Marshall transaction—still need to put aside $9,754,014 to sign their rookie draft class—and that total could change if the Giants trade away picks or acquire additional picks.

For now, let’s assume the Giants stand pat. Due to the Top 51 rule, they actually need just $6,874,014 in functional cap space for the rookie class, this because for every rookie the Giants sign, that will push someone who is currently in the Top 51 out of the Top 51.

With all that said, let’s do a little math. If we add the Marshall savings to the cap space the NFLPA shows the Giants as having, that comes to $8,886,406 of free space.

Now let’s deduct the functional cap space needed for the rookie class from that total. That leaves the Giants with $2,012,392 in projected space.

Is that enough to sign Bryant were there an interest (which, by the way, all indications I’ve been getting say there isn’t)?

Bryant is a nine-year veteran who per the proposed NFL Minimum Salary table for the 2018 league year would have to earn a minimum of $915,000 (and who among us thinks Bryant would realistically play for that low of a base salary?)

Even if he agreed to a one-year MSB (Minimum Salary Benefit) deal which would drop his base salary cap hit down to $630,000 plus whatever bonuses he received (the maximum on the bonuses on a MSB is $90,000 so the most he’d count for against the cap on a MSB is $720,000), that would leave the Giants with an estimated $1,292,392 in cap space.

Could the Giants get by on such a low amount? Considering they’d likely gain some cap space once final roster cuts are made at the end of training camp, sure, there’s a chance.

But if they’re looking to add a receiver to the mix, they might be better off dipping into the rookie pool instead.