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Giants’ three-year cap health ranked 10th by PFF

Joe Schoen has put the Giants in a good position cap-wise

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New York Giants Offseason Workout
Joe Schoen
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen faced a daunting task last offseason. Taking over a team seemingly bereft of both talent and cap space, it was his job to sort out the mess and return the Giants to their respectable and winning tradition.

According to Pro Football Focus, Schoen has done a pretty good job in both respects. Their three-year cap analysis shows that the Giants are in the 10th-best shape among teams in terms of overall cap health from 2023-25.

Now, explaining exactly what that means starts getting into the gobbledygook of the salary cap, but let’s try to break it down a bit. The PFF breakdown takes into account five separate categories and then attempts to compare each category individually to the league average. The final ranking is a weighted summary of those five categories.

Here are the categories and reasons for inclusion.

Top 51 veteran valuation

in the offseason, only the 51 highest-paid players on a team’s roster count against the salary cap. This is so that teams can field a 90-man roster. Although it would seem that an expensive veteran core makes it difficult for a team to succeed, there is some correlation between having that core and team success. The Giants ranked 11th in this category.

Active draft capital

Along with the veterans, though, it’s important for a team to have successful players on rookie contracts. Using a weighted formula, Over the Cap projected each rookie-contract player’s potential surplus value based on previous draft position results. In theory, a team with more active draft capital should be in a stronger cap position, as they should be receiving more value from cheap contracts.

However, in practice, projected surplus value does not always translate into actual value. The Giants ranked second in this category, boosted by players like Andrew Thomas, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, and Deonte Banks. Whether Thibodeaux, Neal, and Banks can actualize their potential is a different story.

2023-25 effective cap space

The actual cap space numbers that Over the Cap provides may be a bit overstated, but the rankings will not change based on that. This valuation utilizes effective cap space to account for how many players the team has under contract.

For example, a team can head into the offseason with $40 million in cap space but only 40 players under contract. Effective cap space will subtract the minimum cost to sign the remaining players to fill out the roster.

The Giants rank 14th in effective cap space over the next three seasons. Obviously, the big contracts given to Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence will have some effect, but the large active draft capital gave the Giants leeway to give a couple of big contracts. However, a potential Saquon Barkley extension this offseason and an Andrew Thomas deal down the road could have an impact on this ranking.

Total prorated money (including void money)

This talks about money that has been pushed into the future via signing bonuses, which spread over the length of the contract, as well as dead money. As PFF explains, both of these numbers are sunk costs that can no longer be moved around to future seasons. Therefore, having more prorated and dead cap tightens future flexibility.

The Giants ranked 17th in this category. They still have dead money from Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard (void), and Kadarius Toney on the books in 2023. In 2024, Leonard Williams, Adoree’ Jackson, Tyrod Taylor, Graham Gano, and A’Shawn Robinson all have void money. Robinson also has some void money in 2025.

However, 17th is not a terrible position to be in. One of the reasons Schoen may have chosen not to extend Williams or Jackson this offseason is to avoid pushing even more prorated money into the future. He is trying to walk the line between winning now and retooling.

2024 free agent valuations

This section projects the average market growth of each position and then assigns a value to each pending free agent accordingly. It is not trying to forecast how well the player will perform in their walk year.

The Giants actually ranked 32nd in the NFL in this category. With Williams, Jackson, Barkley, Robinson, and Xavier McKinney set to be free agents, the Giants’ projected free-agent class will be very expensive. However, it’s possible (albeit unlikely) that none (or at least very few) of those players will be on the team in 2024.

Barkley is the X-factor of this offseason. Obviously, if he signs a deal, he won’t count toward the free agency projection. If he doesn’t, he and McKinney will be interesting case studies for next season, giving strong indications of what Schoen’s preferences are in roster building.


The Giants’ combination of a lot of young talent, a few key bookend stars, and a reasonably flexible future cap landed them 10th on the overall list. ESPN may have trashed the Giants’ offseason and roster, but PFF appears to have a stronger outlook.

However, it’s important to note that the active draft capital section boosted the Giants’ prospects. For that to have a true impact on their play, Thibodeaux, Neal, McKinney, and Azeez Ojulari will need to take big steps forward, while the top three rookies must become early contributors. Otherwise, merely having a bunch of cheap contracts on the roster means little if those players don’t perform.

The Giants currently have all 11 of their 2022 draft picks still on the 90-man roster and another seven from 2023. They also have five from 2021 and seven from 2020. While not all of those players will make the 2023 squad, that is a large number of role players garnered from the draft. The question is if the other top picks can work out anywhere close to what Thomas has given them.

NFC East

The other NFC East teams had similar rankings.

  • Eagles: 15th
  • Cowboys: 12th
  • Commanders: 9th

All four teams were in the top half of the rankings, clustered within six slots of each other. The Eagles have a very strong Top 51 and active draft capital but have the most prorated money of any team in the NFL. Dallas has a strong Top 51, while Washington has a lot of cap space and little prorated money, but it is offset by large free-agent valuations.

In other words, the Giants don’t have much of an advantage in this area over any of their rivals. However, the fact that they rank so highly in active draft capital means that there is potential for growth. Considering that the Giants have a well-respected coaching staff, there is hope that at least a portion of those young players could provide the expected surplus value.

What does this all mean? Ultimately, since it projects so far out into the future, it may not be all that useful in determining how solvent a team is cap-wise. Still, having a top-10 ranking can’t be a bad thing.