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Cap casualties: Names to consider as teams began whittling away at their salary caps

Could the Giants find some bargains as teams trim players for cap puposes?

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
Preston Smith
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

We now know that the 2021 NFL salary cap should land somewhere between $180 and $185 million, the first time since the cap was instituted in 1994 that it has actually gone down. With less than a month to the March 17 start of the free agency signing period that means many NFL teams, including your New York Giants, have work to do to both get under the cap and create room to sign free agents.

Per Over the Cap, the Giants have a mere $906,000 in cap space currently. Thirteen teams are over the cap. That means that over the next few weeks we are going to see a number of veteran, quality players sacrificed by their teams to create cap space.

Here are three lists of players who could be hitting the market as cap casualties:

2021 NFL free agency: 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo among 25 potential big-name cap casualties - CBSSports.com

2021 AFC cut candidates: Viable releases and potential surprises

2021 NFC cut candidates: Viable releases and potential surprises

Notable names

Let’s go through some of the names who might be of interest to the Giants.

Landon Collins

I am not mentioning Collins as a player the Giants should pursue if he hits the open market. There would be zero reason for them to do so.

I mention Collins because the fact that Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com lists the ex-Giant as a potential cut by the Washington Football Team is evidence that the Giants were absolutely right to not compete with the six-year, $84 million ($44.5 million guaranteed) deal Washington lavished upon Collins before the 2019 season. He isn’t, and never was, worth that kind of money.

Jamison Crowder

He isn’t a No. 1 receiver, or even really a top-tier guy. If the Giants strike out in their effort to land a big fish from the wide receiver pond, Crowder might be a consolation prize. CBS Sports calls him “solid rather than spectacular.” NFL.com’s Rosenthal refers to him as “reliable.”

Riley Reiff

Reiff could be on his way out as Minnesota’s starting left tackle. He has experience at both tackles, could compete with Matt Peart and if he doesn’t win the right tackle job could fill a swing tackle role.

Preston Smith

If the Packers dump Smith, the 28-year-old should draw some interest. He had 12 sacks with Green Bay in 2019. I could see the Giants kicking the tires here.

Steven Nelson

He has been a good starting cornerback in the league for both the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. If Pittsburgh lets him go, he would upgrade the spot opposite James Bradberry. So, he’s on the list.

Go through the lists provided. Tell me who you believe the Giants should be interested. Oh, and please don’t say Von Miller. If the Broncos let him go, Miller is going to land with a team that is already a title contender. Be realistic, please.