Saturday, June 29, 2013

Here's my 2nd attempt at predicting the Giants' 53-man roster to start the 2013 season as of today

First off, here's my post on this subject from May 28th:
Here's my projected 53-man roster for the Giants at this time, for when the Top 51 rule ceases

Now--back in the present--here's my guess as of today how the opening night 53-man roster will wind up, along with each player's respective cap impact (projected impact in the cases of unsigned draft picks Justin Pugh & Ryan Nassib; 1st rounder Pugh having been selected 19th overall, & 4th rounder Nassib having been selected 110th overall):

I've got the Giants cutting the 3 players in highlighted in orange above (Ramses Barden, Adrian Tracy, and Mike Patterson) once the 3 guys I've got projected to be on the PUP List at the start of the season mentioned below come off it, sometime between weeks 7 & 10.

Here is the positional breakdown, along with the 3 players on the PUP List:

I've got starting FB Henry Hynoski, last year's promising 7th round pick DT Markus Kuhn, & starting DE Jason Pierre-Paul starting the season on this list. I'm 99% sure that Hynoski and Kuhn will start the year on the PUP List. I'm not sure about JPP though, but I know that the Giants like to err on the side of caution with their players (unlike the Eagles), which is why I listed him here, even though it's probably only slightly less than about a 50/50 chance he winds up going on this list based on Willie McGinest's recovery time from this same injury in the past.

Chris Canty started the season on the PUP List last year, which is a somewhat comparable situation. The Giants are notoriously good for keeping outsiders in the dark regarding their players' injury situations though. This, combined with the Giants' propensity to err on the side of caution (unlike the short-sighted Eagles, Redskins, and Cowboys as documented in the past) makes me think that the PUP list makes sense for JPP, even if he doesn't need the full 6 to 9 weeks before playing in an actual game once the regular season starts.

Here's my positional numbers analysis:

  • I've got Bear Pascoe highlighted in green above because he'll probably fill in for Hynoski while he's out (which he's done before), while also doubling in his normal role as a TE/H-Back, unless of course the Giants bring in a young and cheap fullback off of someone else's roster to fill in a la Madison Hedgecock in 2007 (forget about Vonta Leach; he's asking for too much, and his agent is using the Giants at this point to get as much money as possible out of the Dolphins).
  • I've also got the Giants keeping 3 QBs; It is very likely that that number will go back down to 2 again in the 2014 season, but in 2013 they need Carr (who's a free agent after this season) since Nassib is too green to be Eli's immediate/primary backup.
  • RB is normal, as is OL; I wouldn't be surprised though if the Giants keep 8 OL though instead of 9.
    • Incidentally, I've got Diehl starting the season as the starting RT until Pugh isn't as wet behind the ears, but that's another story.
  • At WR, I've got the Giants carrying 6 players until Barden gets cut after Hynoski comes back; I've also got the Giants dropping a player on the Practice Squad (take your pick which one) because if they do cut Barden, and only go with 5 WRs, they'll want at least 1 WR on the Practice Squad that's familiar with the Giants' complex system, and be ready to play. Brandon Collins fits that description to a tee. Patricia Traina tweeted me back after I asked her what would happen to Brandon Collins to start the season while he's suspended the 1st 4 games games by the NFL saying that h'ed wind up on the Reserve list (a la Tyler Sash to start the season last year, and then Will Hill after him when they both got suspended by the league for using PEDs).
  • I don't think going with 5 WRs for most of the season, after starting out with 6 is going to be as big of a problem as I originally thought, since Barden as the 6th WR is almost always inactive on game days due to his inability to play Special Teams.
  • The 3 Specialists are a given (the kicker, punter, and Long snapper, and will be on the team).
  • The LB situation is interesting; I had the Giants keeping 7 before, but now I've got them keeping 6. This lack of numbers is somewhat mitigated however by rookie DE Damontre Moore's ability to play the Joker position that Kiwi played in the past for the Giants. Moore played it in college, so it should work out smoothly, and actually give them 6 LBs plus a quasi LB counted amongst the ranks of the DEs. The Giants will almost certainly keep at least 1 LB on the Practice Squad because of the lack of numbers on this projected 53-man list.
  • Amongst the DEs, I've got Adrian Tracy being cut after JPP comes back; Kiwi will be playing DE full time this year, but his experience in the past playing the Joker position will come in handy if needed, but that role will go to Damontre Moore, as he goes between the D-Line and that Joker position that he played in college and which the Giants employ under DC Perry Fewell.
  • The most notable DT that I've got being cut is Marvin Austin. Once 2nd year DT Markus Kuhn comes back off of the PUP list, I've got him replacing Mike Patterson, who I have the Giants cutting, unless one of their other DTs or other players gets hurt first. It wouldn't surprise me if Shaun Rogers gets hurt either, making the Giants' decision for them numbers-wise due to his injury history.
  • A lot of the time, these numbers situations get figured out on their own, due to the physical nature of the game; Attrition is a part of the NFL, as much as anything else. The Giants will be happy to have the three guys they've got on the PUP list ready to come back and contribute from that point of view.
  • I've got the Giants keeping 5 Safeties now too, instead of 4, which I had them keeping before. Ryan Mundy was talked up by the coaches a lot during OTAs and mini camp; that to go along with the idea that I have listed above regarding the Giants keeping 6 LBs. That doesn't take into account though Damontre Moore's ability to play Kiwi's vacated Joker position, and that the Giants like to use their 3 safety lineup often. Mundy is a guy who seems to be able to slide into that role that Deon Grant owned here in 2010 and in down the stretch in 2011.
  • At CB, I've got the Giants keeping the conventional number of 5. If T2 gets hurt again, his salary will split from what I understand, so while I've actually got him making the team, I wouldn't be shocked if rookie UDFA Charles James makes it in his place. James is a guy who might sneak onto the 53-man opening day roster if T2's injury acts up on him and if James can excel playing Special Teams, something T2 doesn't do---and quite frankly may not be able to do considering his extensive injury history of 3 ACL tears (1 in college and 2 in the pros).

Here are the cap calculations:

This cap space number includes the cap numbers for the 3 players who I've got projected as winding up on the PUP List: JPP, Hynoski, & Kuhn. Their cap numbers are as follows:

I'm pretty sure that Kuhn's salary splits on this list, and I think the same apples to the contracts of Shaun Rogers and Terrell Thomas.

Here's my guess for the 8-man Practice Squad to start the season too (these players count against the salary cap; they each earn $6,000 a week for 17 weeks, including the bye week):

  • NOTE:
    • Once Brandon Collins is eligible to return to the Giants after week 4 off of his league mandated 4-game suspension, as the result of his use of illegal PEDs, he's a guy that seems earmarked for the Practice Squad, especially if the Giants plan on carrying less than 6 WRs at any point in the regular season.
    • Collins would have to displace one of these 8 players on the list above though; guys who look to be safe (just my guess here) are Herman, Clement, James, & Sabino.


  • I've got the Giants cutting Ramses Barden, Adrian Tracy, and Mike Patterson when the 3 guys mentioned above on the PUP list are ready to come off it sometime between weeks 7 and 10. Tracy would be cut for JPP, Barden would be cut for Hynoski, and Patterson or maybe even Shaun Rogers would be cut for Kuhn (Rogers wouldn't surprise me at all if he got the axe instead of Patterson, baed on his injury history).
  • I also wouldn't be surprised to see Kuhn wind up on IR too after spending time on the PUP list to start the year. If that happens, then Kuhn's salary will split, and the Giants will gain $177,000 in cap space; His cap number will be reduced from being $491,474 to being $314,474.
  • Brandon Collins, as noted above, is a guy who makes perfect sense to be added on to the Practice Squad after he completes his stay on the Reserve list for the first 4 weeks of the regular season due to the Giants' potential lack of numbers at the WR position in this hypothetical scenario.
  • The most notable cuts include Marvin Austin, Tyler Sash, Eric Herman, Etienne Sabino, Charles James, Ryan Torain, Adewale Ojomo, Justin Trattou, Matt McCants, special teams ace Alonzo Tweedy, & Chase Clement.
  • I've got Clement, Herman (as long as he doesn't get picked up by another team), James, Tweedy, McCants, and Sabino--among others winding up on the Practice Squad.


The additional dead money stemming from some of these cuts ($346,500) added on to the present estimated dead money total that I have now of $6,872,765 is $7,219,265. The extra dead money in this fictional scenario is broken down as follows:

Marvin Austin: $311,509
Eric Herman: $13,988
Tyler Sash: $19,670
Chase Clement: $833
Adewale Ojomo: $500

*The total amount of dead money for 2013 for these 5 players is $346,500 as noted above.

What this realistic hypothetical scenario tells us is this: the Giants are going to need to clear more space under the cap in order to cover regular season operational expenses. The Giants would be $374,655 in the red in this scenario I laid out to start the regular season, which obviously can't happen since teams can't be over the cap. I already posted about possible players who could help the Giants to clear more space under the cap---either voluntarily or involuntarily.

The Practice Squad and the 52nd & 53rd players on the roster count here, when the Top 51 rules ceases. IR is also part of this cap equation. Who knows how that will shape up. The Giants will need to clear somewhere between 1 to 2 million more in cap dollars before the Top 51 Rule ceases 68 days from now at midnight NY time on September 5th.

  • With this knowledge in hand, would it be surprising to see a late summer cut to a veteran player who we wouldn't otherwise expect in order to meet this salary cap need? The answer would be no, based on the information outlined and discussed herein.
  • A tacked on voidable year to Justin Tuck's contract would also not be out of the question since it would help save money in 2013, and pass on whatever is saved as dead money to 2014 after Tuck leaves via free agency.
  • Restructuring of Steve Weatherford's contract could also help the Giants make more room under the cap.
    • If the Giants did a simple restructure with Weatherford's deal like they did earlier this offseason with Mathias Kiwanuka, then they could save as much as another $738,750 in cap space this year, with $246,250 being added on to Weatherford's cap number in the last three years of his deal after this season from 2014 through 2016.

A guy that I wouldn't be surprised to see let go, if things work out at S because of the numbers there at present, is Stevie Brown. This is just my opinion, mind you, but Stevie is an UFA after 2013, and his cap number and cap savings are the same: $2,023,000. Cutting him in August would also give the Giants the right amount of additional cap space that they would need to cover regular season operational salary cap expenses. Will it happen? Probably not, but something like this shouldn't come as a surprise considering the Giants' current cap situation (pending any other moves of course).

A restructure to Steve Weatherford's contract, or an extension or restructure to Eli Manning'd contract (next year seems more likely for Eli though for an extension) wouldn't be out of the question to help in the increased cap room department. Keep in mind that the Victor Cruz situation is still ongoing as well. Will his cap number change that much (plus or minus) from his current $2.879 M cap number if he agrees to a new deal with the Giants? This variable will also factor into the Giants' cap equation for 2013.

  • I'm going to make another mock 53-man list on the following two approximate dates:
    • near the end of July--a couple of days after training camp starts--when things have settled down for clubs.
    • and finally at the end of August, between the 75 man cuts and the final 53 man cuts.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

List of Giants' cap numbers for all players on the 90-man roster as of today

Here they are:


Here is how I got the math done to arrive at the Giants' current cap number of $3,308,682:


Now, here are the cap numbers for the rest of the team that DO NOT currently count against the Giants' salary cap since we're in the Top 51 Rule phase of salary cap calculations. This expires on Thursday, September 5th at midnight EST. after that teams will have to account for the Practice Squads and the 52nd and 53rd men on the 53 man roster, to go along with any players who are on the PUP List or Injured Reserve. Here goes:

PLEASE NOTE: Once Justin Pugh (1st round OT/OG out of Syracuse) and Ryan Nassib (4th round QB also out of Syracuse)--the Giants' only remaining unsigned draft picks sign with the team, their estimated expected cap numbers will be $1,517,436 for the former, and $519,114 for the latter as per 2013 NFL Draft Rookie Contract and Salary Cap Estimates -

Only Pugh's contract will  count against the team's cap while the Top 51 Rule is still in effect. Once it ceases though, Nassib's will count on the cap too since he's virtually guaranteed of making the team, unless something crazy happens. Keep in mind that players who wind up on IR still count on a team's salary cap (this is where salary splits come into play for certain players).

Right now, Nassib and Pugh only count the league minimum of $405,000 (which doesn't qualify them to coutn against the cap yet since they're not on the team's list of their top 51 cap numbers), even though they haven't signed yet. Once they do sign, their cap numbers will change as explained above.

On a side note, CB Antonio Dennard is on the Reserve/Injured List. This explains why the Giants have 91 players listed on the Current Contracts column for the League's Top 51 Cap Report that I frequently refer to and cite here. The Giants are not the only team with more than 90 current contracts. There are eleven other clubs with such an issue (four teams with 92, and seven with 91). The Redskins, Cowboys, Seahawks, and Cardinals all have 92. The seven clubs with 91 current contracts, other than than the Giants, are the Falcons, Panthers, Lions, Colts, Steelers, 49ers, & Rams.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Desmond Bishop signs with the Vikings

As I thought, Bishop has signed with the Vikings earlier this afternoon. Check out this article by Ed Valentine on the subject:
"Desmond Bishop signs with Minnesota Vikings" - by Ed Valentine on Jun 24 2013, 3:15p

Check out this tweet by Ian Rapoport on Bishop's salary:

NFLPA Minimum and corresponding Split Salaries between 2011 and 2020

Here are the Minimum salaries and their corresponding split salaries for the years 2011 all the way through to the end of this latest CBA, in 2020:

  • I downloaded this pdf from the NFLPA website, and thought I'd share. Split salaries apply to players who get injured and wind up on IR.
  • Splits apply to undrafted and drafted players first or second year players (those drafted specifically in rounds 3-7; players drafted in rounds 1 and 2 get their paragraph 5's guaranteed).
  • This also applies to veteran players who are on their last legs, so that the team is protected in case they wind up on IR.
  • Players who are oft-injured, and have significant injury histories--like Terrell Thomas, who has a split in case he winds up on IR--have salary splits in their deals in many cases too.
  • As I understand it, injured fullback Henry Hynoski DOES NOT have a salary split in his contract, since he is entering his third year.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The wisdom of the selection of Ryan Nassib

Wellington Mara was often quoted saying that "you hope for the best, but prepare for the worst" when it came to various situations that involved the Giants as it related to the business of the NFL. Sentimentality aside, make no mistake about it: in the end, it's just that----a business. The Nassib selection makes more sense than the potential he has to function as trade bait in 2 or 3 years when you take into consideration these factors:

A guy like Ryan Nassib wasn't just drafted to be used as trade bait in 3 years, even if that's what eventually happens (which I think it will). It also serves the purpose of helping to transition away from an established star who may or may not want to renegotiate his deal, or becomes too full of himself with respect to what he think he's worth--not that Eli Manning is those things. In fact, he's the antithesis of such a player (see Brett Favre for the polar opposite of Eli).

Jason touched upon this issue at the end of his podcast today, so I figured I'd use it as a talking point/writing prompt here. Check out what Jason had to say regarding this specific point near the end of his podcast this week. Check out the link HERE at the 50:48 mark

Young Quarterbacks drafted onto teams with established QBs like Eli serve three purposes:

1 - leverage to pressure the established starter into taking less money if the team and the established QB attempt to renegotiate the terms of his contract via an extension, so the veteran QB doesn't have all the negotiating power.
2 - leverage to give you the option to move on from the established star starting QB (e.g., Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay with Brett Favre).
3 -It helps to lower a team's overall cap number, which allows for more spending at other positions, a la the 49ers and Colts now; it's no coincidence that most recent Super Bowl Championship teams didn't have QBs who were making a ton of money yet.

You can't get caught with your pants down in the NFL. Look what happened to the Colts in 2011. They were lucky enough to have not one but two franchise QBs to fall back on as a consolation prize for such a miserable year (Andrew Luck and RG3), after big brother Peyton's neck caused him to miss the season. Not every team that stinks it up is lucky enough to land a guy like Luck, or like Tim Duncan for the Spurs, to make a cross-sports analogy, when San Antonio stunk and subsequently tanked the 1996-1997 season.

On the flip side, you have the Packers who did the prudent thing, and drafted a QB who fell into their laps, in 2005, when they took Aaron Rodgers with the 24th overall pick. Favre, who was 35 and at the end of his prime at the time of the drafting of Rodgers, was a guy who was still playing well, but the value was too good for Green Bay to pass up.

Smart organizations take young Quarterbacks they have a conviction on, especially when their starters are in their 30s. Even Bill Walsh got Steve Young to compete with Joe Montana when Montana was still the best QB in the NFL--the same Joe "God" who many people think is the best QB in the history of the NFL (an opinion I happen to share by the way).

Eli is 32 now, and is in the "wheelhouse" of his prime, to quote Jerry Reese, so the drafting of Nassib isn't quite like the Rodgers/Favre situation; however, it is still very prudent. Eli hasn't missed a game in his career since he started his first game in 2004 (hopefully it stays that way). There is no guarantee that that streak will continue indefinitely. Starters who are entrenched are always a play away from losing that distinction. Look at what the Mo Lewis hit on Drew Bledsoe did for the career of Tom Brady, and the Patriots franchise.

You never know what's around the corner, so it makes perfect sense for the Giants to have done what they did when they woke up on day 3 of the draft, and still saw Ryan Nassib on the board within striking distance for them to obtain. All it cost them was their 6th round pick, a decision I'd wager that they would make 100 times out of 100 if given the chance to do over again considering the circumstances.

P.S. Take a gander over at where this issue, and other cap related things are being discussed today.

Cap adjustment reference chart for the 5 variables that factor into the adjusted baseline cap spending limit figure for each team

This stems from a post that I made over at, my favorite website (which I have linked to the right by the way) to discuss Giants football:


Salary Cap adjustments made to each of the 32 teams in the league are UNIQUE to them, thereby resulting in DIFFERENT adjusted cap baselines, as Jason Fitzgerald refers to them here on this Caponomics video on YouTube:

Caponomics 101 video - Cap Adjustments at the 23:57 mark

I discussed this in a post I made 15 days ago on June 8th. Click HERE to read about it.

Official Salary Cap Space for all 32 teams as of June 23, 2013

As of today, the Giants are still $3,308,682 under the cap. Here is where all the rest of the teams in the NFL stand, including the Giants, with respect to their cap space, both dollar-wise and ranking-wise with respect to other teams. They are also listed in alphabetical order for reference purposes further below.

I. Cap space ranking (most cap space to least cap space):

II. Alphabetical order

This is significant to take note since free agents veterans who are still out on the market now (Vonta Leach and Desmond Bishop) can't obviously just sign with whoever they want. The cap rules all in the NFL, so the ability of teams to sign these players is best linked to the cap space available. Keeping that in mind, it makes sense that the team that Leach is most associated with is the Dolphins (who are ranked 7th in cap space in the league with $17,635,103 in cap space to spare).

The Vikings are the team rumored to be the favorite to sign Bishop of the three that are rumored to be in play--the Giants and Chiefs are the others. Minnesota has the most cap space of the three teams in play for Bishop with $7,131,654 in cap dollars to spare, ranking them 17th in the league. Bishop is rumored to favor the Giants, as indicated in the excerpt below from this article:

According to him, the Giants are the ideal situation, and he’s hoping that their offer is going to be the one that convinces him to finally sign with a team for the 2013 season. At the moment, it looks like the Vikings and the Giants are in the lead for his talents. Minnesota could really have themselves a complete look on defense if they manage to plug the final hole they have with Bishop, while the Giants could make do with a quality linebacker just as much.

We'll see what happens going forward since cap space is at a premium for the Giants. There are 33 days to go until training camp. While things are quiet for the players and coaches now, the front office is going to be busy signing their remaining two unsigned draft picks (Justin Pugh and Ryan Nassib), possibly extend Victor Cruz--on their terms only.

They have until midnight EST on Thursday, September 5th to get further under the cap if necessary (which it will most likely be) since that is when the Top 51 Cap Rule expires. A rule of thumb to keep in mind is this; teams that are less than $5 million under the cap at this time--of which there are currently 10, are probably good to go with respect to entering the regular season with regarding to salary cap operating space, provided that they've signed all their draft picks, particularly their 1st and 2nd draft picks since they displace contracts in this Top 51 phase of salary cap accounting calculations.

While things are quiet now for most who work in and cover/follow the NFL, they aren't for most front office personnel around the league, specifically cap analysts, and even more specifically those who work for teams that need to create more space, of which the Giants are probably one. Here are two decent links to read regarding Kevin Abrams, who used to be the Giants' Salary Cap analyst, and is now their Assistant GM:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Players who would be willing and able to help the Giants get further under the cap

I mentioned this topic yesterday, so I'll get right to it. These 5 players immediately stand out with respect to this question:

  1. Antrel Rolle (2 years left on his deal; 2013 & 2014 cap numbers of $9.25 M)
  2. Chris Snee (2 years left on his deal; 2013 cap # of $11 M & 2014 cap # of 9 M)
  3. Steve Weatherford (4 years left on his deal; 2013 cap # of $2.5 M & 2014 cap # of 2.7 M)
  4. Eli Manning (3 years left on his deal; 2013 cap # of $20.85 M & 2014 cap # of 20.4 M)
  5. Justin Tuck (1 year left on his deal; 2013 cap # of $6.15 M)

I'm trying to touch base with Jason Fitzgerald, one of my senseis, from regarding what would be best for each. So far, he says he wouldn't extend Rolle, which makes sense considering his age (he'll turn 31 on December 16th, in what will be his 9th year in the NFL).

I'd aim to restructure Rolle, Snee, & Weatherford; try for an extension for Eli (even though this is more likely to happen next year); and go the voidable year route for Tuck, who is in the final year of his deal, a la Osi last year, and Webster this year. Depending on what Cruz's new cap number is going to be for 2013--assuming he and the Giants come to terms on a new contract for him by the end of July/beginning of August--I'm guesstimating that the Giants are going to have to make somewhere between $2 million to $4 million dollars in cap room.

I'll have a better estimate after next weekend, after I put together my second projected possible 53-man roster for the 2013 Giants, based on who's on the roster at the moment. I'd estimate that that figure will be closer to the smaller estimate, for what it's worth. I'd assume that Cruz's cap number would be smaller in the first year of his new deal (2013), if it were agreed upon, before escalating in subsequent years. Fortunately, the Giants don't have too much committed to salary in 2014 yet. The figure that is listed by Jason Fitzgerald over at for the Giants with regard to 2014 is $104,100,847. Of course, that figure will shrink once the contracts of star WR Hakeem Nicks is up.

Hopefully, by 2014 the Giants will have worked out an extension for Eli Manning, thereby creating even more space under the cap--which the Giants will require to get their affairs in order (It helps a great deal of course that Tom Condon is not only Eli's agent, but Tom Coughlin's and Victor Cruz's agent as well). The 5 players mentioned above will be pivotal figures going forward with respect to the overall structure of the Giants' team salary cap. They're ranked as follows in 2013, with respect to their cap numbers:

  1. Eli - ranked #1 on the team (cap number of $20,850,000)
  2. Snee - ranked #2 on the team (cap number of $11,000,000)
  3. Rolle - ranked #3 on the team (cap number of $9,250,000)
  4. Tuck - ranked #4 on the team (cap number of $6,150,000)
  5. Weatherford - ranked #13 on the team (cap number of $2,500,000)

Tuck's figure can go bye-bye all together since he's only got one year left on his deal. If he is left to just finish out his contract as is, then there will be no leftover dead money, which is always something that team's relish when it comes to salary cap space after one of their bigger expiring contracts is finally off the books. As it stands now, the Giants have very little dead money on their cap for next season, if any at all--something which they'd like to maintain, if they can.

While Eli's and Tuck's contracts look pretty cut and dried, those of Snee, Rolle, and Weatherford will require more finesse to deal with since they're much more likely to be restructures. I have a hunch too, that one of either Snee or Rolle--whoever they don't deal with this year--will be released next year, a la Boley, Canty, and Bradshaw about 4 and a half months ago.

The best thing going for Weatherford is this: he's a punter. As such, his longevity will help him and the Giants, should they agree to an extension at some point in the future right before his contract ends (which is 2016 at this point). He'll turn 31 on December 17th, and is entering his 8th NFL season. He keeps himself in magnificent shape, and should be able to kick well into his 30s. Look at the lackluster shape that Jeff Feagles kept himself in; he kicked 22 seasons in the NFL until the year 2009, when he he was 43.

A guy like Weatherford is a prime candidate for an extension 2 to 3 seasons from now, near the end of his current contract. If the Giants restructured him now, they could gain as much as $738,750 in cap room for 2013, but the real money is tied into the Rolle and Snee, not him. I'm fascinated by what will happen to the Giants' cap situation in 2013 and 2014 for a couple of reasons:

  1. They've got the contracts of Cruz and Nicks getting ready to potentially expire, to go along with that of JPP. These 3 players, along with Eli Manning, are the Giants' "core players."
  2. The Giants' Minimum Salary Benefit contracts are also the most numerous on one team in the entire league (the Giants have 11 MSB contracts at this time). They're probably going to have to adjust the team's overall makeup in 2014 because of these situations

As the offseason moves along, and we near the date on which the Top 51 rule will cease, I'll provide updates and possible scenarios and opinions on how the Giants can lighten their salary cap burden, before it becomes too much to bare.

35 more days to go until Training Camp starts up on July 26th at the Timex Center here in Jersey

Here's a little itinerary of things I'll be focusing in on writing about over the next week, or so as we approach the start of training camp during this lull in the NFL schedule:

  1. Players who the Giants can turn to for cap help, which I'll write about tonight.
  2. Listing the team cap situations for all 32 teams around the league sometime this weekend.
  3. My second attempt at coming up with a 53-man roster and practice squad for salary cap purposes, probably sometime between next Friday and next Sunday.

As more things come to mind, I'll list them here first, before writing them. I often come up with a list of things, and write them down, but forget to cover them as much as I originally intended to, but hopefully this way my thoughts will be out there for myself and the reading audience to see, so I don't forget as often as I did before.

If anyone has a topic or questions that they'd like me to cover, feel free to leave comments on any of the posts, or e-mail me ( or

You can also tweet me here:


Giants interested in free agent Linebacker Desmond Bishop

The Packers released Bishop 4 days ago (read about it HERE). He saved them $3,664,000 in cap space when they released him this past Monday, as can be seen below (contractual information courtesy of

The Giants are one of four teams that have shown interest in Bishop. They are the Vikings, Chiefs, Giants, & Jaguars. He already met with the first two clubs. These two local articles are nice quick reads on the situation:

Looking at the Giants' cap situation--which is what this site basically is for--it's easy to tell that the Giants don't have much room under the cap to do a lot. As of today, the Giants are $3,308,682 under the salary cap (source: TOP 51 LEAGUE CAP REPORT). The most that they'd probably be able to offer Bishop, who is set to turn 29 near the end of July is a Minimum Salary Benefit (MSB) contract. Bishop has six accrued seasons, as per, and would receive $715,000 in pay plus a signing bonus of no more than $65,000 in order to allow the club that signs him to still be eligible for the reduced salary benefit on their overall team salary cap; see below:

If Bishop agreed to this kind of deal for a season, he'd get $780,000 in salary, while only counting $620,000 against a team's salary cap, saving the club $160,000 in salary there. The perceived savings wouldn't end there though due to the fact that we're in the Top 51 phase of cap savings calculations, in which the Top 51 rule is in effect. Bishop's MSB cap number listed above would displace the 51st ranked cap number on the team now, which happens to belong to Spencer Paysinger. You would subtract Paysinger's cap number of $556,000 from Bishop's cap number of $620,000 in this hypothetical scenario and get $64,000. The Giants' team cap number would then decrease by that $64,000 amount, resulting in an adjusted cap number of $3,244,682.

It's a move that would make sense for Bishop if the  market out there for him is thin. He missed the 2012 season due to a hamstring injury, which the Packers placed him on IR for. They didn't really need to release Bishop to save money against the cap since they were about $13,143,631 comfortably under the cap on Monday, and are now $16,327,631 under the cap today. Here are the cap statuses of the other 3 teams rumored to be interested in Bishop:

Jaguars: $26,410,652
Vikings: $7,131,654
Chiefs: $3,562,128

As can be seen, the Jags have plenty of room to spare whereas the Chiefs are in roughly the same situation as the Giants. The Vikings have room, but still have to sign all three of their first round draft picks (Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, & Cordarrelle Patterson), which will cut into their cap number, while the Chiefs still need to sign the #1 overall pick in the entire 2013 draft, OT Eric Fisher, which will also cut into their cap by about $4,034,636 according to the pick by pick salary cap estimates for players picked in the 2013 draft from (click HERE). Don't forget that the Giants' cap number will go down by about a million bucks (slightly less actually at $961,436) once first round pick Justin Pugh signs too. 

By looking at these numbers, it's obvious that the Jaguars are the team that would offer Bishop the best chance at a high salary for 2013. The thing Bishop needs to consider though if he decides to go to Jacksonville is this: they stink, and would he be willing to wallow on an awful team and waste away a chance to highlight his skills? The question that must be asked though regarding Jacksonville's reported interest is this: why would they really want to sign him? Do they need a player who missed the 2012 season that badly?

If the Jaguars are not in the equation, then in my opinion the Giants have a real shot at him. With the Giants, Bishop would at least have an opportunity to showcase his talents on a good team, Kawika Mitchell style a la 2007, when he signed a one-year deal with the Giants, and then departed the following season to sign a long-term deal with Bills. It'll be interesting to see what gets done going forward on this front, and who signs him, if in fact he does not come to terms with the Giants. It's pretty evident that he would improve the talent level on this roster at the LB position. It certainly bares keeping an eye on in this dead time of year.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

All quiet on the western front: Giants' cap number remains the same

The Giants remain $3,308,682 under the salary cap, as per the Leagues' Top 51 Cap Report, since my previous post last Saturday. We are now in a quiet phase of the off-season with respect to team activities. Minicamp and OTAs ceased last week for the former, and the week before that for the latter. While there aren't anymore team activities, there is still work to be done before the beginning of training camp on July 26th, as indicated in my previous post.

Giants front office's to-do list before the start of training camp on July 26th

The following pieces of business--contractual in nature--are on the Giants front office's to-do list:

  1. The Giants will also need to sign 1st round pick Justin Pugh, OT out of Syracuse.
  2. The Giants will need to sign 4th round pick, QB Ryan Nassib, also out of of Syracuse.
  3. If they're going to reach terms with Victor Cruz's agent, Tom Condon (also Eli Manning's and Tom Coughlin's agent) on a new contract for his client Cruz, it'll most likely have to get done before the start of training camp on July 26th.
  4. Cap restructures/extensions.
These 3 contractual items will have an impact on the Giants camp. Pugh's contract will lower the Giants' cap number by slightly less than a million bucks, as I've written about before many times on this blog, both during the Top 51 phase of the salary cap and the after it ceases at midnight EST on September 5th. Nassib's contract though won't count against the salary cap until the Top 51 rule ends since he's guaranteed a spot on the team barring an act of God. The cap numbers for each are listed here, from a post I made 16 days ago:

Cruz's cap number right now is $2,879,000. This will probably change if the Giants and Cruz agree on a new deal for him going forward. How much it changes in 2013 if an agreement is reached by both parties is the key question though since the signings of Nassib and Pugh are looked at as being inevitable. Cap numbers are at their lowest at the beginning of new contracts (see Will Beatty's contract numbers courtesy of

It was broken down in this article by Jenny Vrentas a few months back when it went down.

The reason I bring up Beatty's contract is because it is a good example of a cap number being low at the start of a new deal for a young player beginning his second contract coming off of his rookie deal, something which Cruz will be doing if an agreement is reached. If an agreement is reached, I suspect that Cruz's 2013 cap number wouldn't increase a great deal over it's present number listed above. My guess, based on Beatty's situation, would be that Cruz's cap number wouldn't increase any more than 1 to 2 million dollars, with his cap impact being felt in 2014 and on. This will then lead to more cap room needing to be created before the start of the regular season, when the Top 51 rule ceases.

Cap restructures or extensions won't be needed until the Top 51 rule ends on Thursday, September 5th at midnight New York time, as posted above. Last year the Giants got more breathing room under the cap before the Top 51 rule stopped going into effect on September 4th, when Chris Snee helped the team out--and himself in the process--by agreeing to restructure his contract to give the Giants an extra $3 million dollars in cap space right before the Opener against the Cowboys. They may need to this same thing this year before the regular season begins, for roughly the same amount of money. The Giants made this move with Snee last year on the last day that the Top 51 rule was in effect: in other words, they did this at the last second before they would have begun the season over the cap.

Snee needs to be appreciated from this standpoint because he has helped the Giants many times in the past by agreeing to restructure his contract whenever they needed his help, as is evident by looking at his $11 million dollar cap number now--the second highest on the team after Eli Manning's, as well as the residual effect of his frequent restructurings in the past. The question is who will be willing and able to restructure his contract this year to help the Giants out before the Top 51 rule cessation deadline of September 5th this year? I'll cover this tomorrow.

P.S. Hint: the list is short. Just look at the cap numbers HERE.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Giants' official salary cap number update & important dates to keep in mind regarding the Victor Cruz situation

As of today, the Giants are officially $3,308,682 under the salary cap. This information is as per the League's Official Top 51 Cap Report.

We'll see how the victor Cruz situation impacts this number going forward if he agrees to a new deal before or right around the start of training camp, which begins on July 26th. the Giants are off until that time, so there will be plenty of time for Cruz and his agent, Tom Condon (who is also Eli Manning's and Tom Coughlin's agent), to talk turkey with the Giants' front office.

If Cruz doesn't report to camp on time, he'll be subject to fines. This is because he is now officially under contract by the team, as a result of his signing his tender for $2,879,000. If Cruz isn't in camp by August 6th, then he will lose a year's worth of eligibility towards unrestricted free agency. This happened to Titans RB Chris Johnson in 2011, even though it didn't really affect him that much. Here's an article about the topic:

"After Tuesday, Training Camp Holdouts Lose Year Toward Free Agency" - by Joel Thorman  @JoelThorman on Aug 9 2011, 10:52 am


The two dates to keep in mind for Giants fans going forward with respect to this situation are the following:

  1. July 26th
    • The start of training camp.
    • If he does not report on the first day, he'll be subject to $30,000 in daily fines.
  2. August 6th
    • The date he can lose his eligibility for Unrestricted Free Agency in 2014 if he is not in training camp.

For what it's worth, Joel Corry feels that Victor Cruz will eventually cave in as per this twitter conversation between himself and Patricia Traina:

Odds are that the Giants are going to have to free up some money under the salary cap too, not necessarily for Cruz's new deal, but to give the team more breathing room under the salary cap for when the Top 51 Rule ceases. I addressed this issue a little over a month ago, back on May 10th in this post:
What happens when the Top 51 rule ceases?

I'll say this: I don't think the Giants are going to cave in when it comes to how they're going to go about their business with respect to the Cruz and Nicks situations. They'll set a price, as I wrote about yesterday, and then stick to it pretty closely. If reports are true about the Giants increasing their offer to $8 million while Cruz is looking for $9 million, then salary guarantees, as opposed to bonus money, as Joel Corry states above will be key.

Up until now, I was thinking more about incentives being central to the situation, but what Patricia and Joel are saying about salary guarantees really does make sense when you think about it, since those guarantees are now being used more often, as Joel states. Keep an eye on how this situation changes because I have a hunch--just my opinion--that it'll carry over to the mid to latter part of July.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Giants were supposedly going to reduce the Cruz tender from $2,879,000 to $630,000

This is according to Aditi Kinhawbala's tweet a short time ago:

If this were to have taken place on Monday, then the Giants would have gained $2,249,000 in cap space ($2,879,000 - $630,000). If Cruz's tender amount were to be dropped to $630,000 on Monday, then the Giants' cap number would have jumped from being $3,308,682 to $5,557,682---a much healthier cap figure. Generally speaking, teams with cap figures above $5 million are in good enough shape to begin the regular season since that amount of cap space now corresponds to a good enough number to deal with regular season operational expenses.

Lots of people--including myself--didn't think the Giants would do this, so Cruz's decision to sign the tender today to protect himself in case the Giants did decide to go this route proved the be the correct move (assuming of course that this was going to happen, which we have no way of knowing for sure unless someone in the giants' front office admits to it--which they obviously won't). If the Giants were able to gain this extra cap space, it would have given the Giant a more realistic chance to go after the services of FA Fullback Vonta Leach. Reportedly, the Giants have already told Leach's agent to keep them in the loop regarding his client's situation. If they had this extra room next week, who knows what would have happened on this front.

Going forward, the Giants will have to deal with both of their starting WRs potentially becoming Unrestricted Free Agents after next season if they aren't extended before then. As long as Cruz shows up at the start of training camp on July 26th, he won't be subject to any fines, but if he doesn't then the game could get ugly then. The only reason Cruz wasn't fined for missing OTAs and mini-camp was because he wasn't under contract. Although he counted against the cap at $2.879 M the moment the Giants tendered him, the fact that he didn't sign it protected him from potentially being fined for missing OTAs and mini-camp. Stevie Brown and Andre Brown--the Giants' other two Restricted Free agents this offseason signed theirs after waiting a little but, but had much less leverage then Cruz since they're not considered players with big money potential and were facing stiffly increasing competition in training camp.

Any way you slice it, Cruz will be a Giant in 2013 unless he decides to sit out the upcoming season and forgo a year of fee agency eligibility by not being with the team in training camp 30 days prior to the beginning of the NFL regular season on Thursday, September 5th, something which he will most certainly not do. We'll probably see Cruz with the club by that August 6th Unrestricted free agency eligibility deadline for 2014 for that reason alone. After that though, things may get interesting. We'll wait and see what happens with this rumored Cruz extension, but one thing is sure: the Giants set a price limit on their players, and don't go beyond it, as indicated in this tweet by Ms. Kinkhabwala:

Victor Cruz is signing his RFA tender today

He's actually at the Giants' facility now according to various twitter reports. Signing his tender only means that Cruz protects himself from not receiving that first round Restricted Free Agent (RFA) tender salary amount of $2,879,000 should the Giants decide to use their 24 hour window on Monday, June 17th reduce it down to $630,000. Read this part of Joel Corry's recent article on Cruz below for further details:


By waiting to sign his tender now, Cruz also protected himself from being fined by the Giants at the team's completed mini-camp that ran from Tuesday, June 11th to yesterday. It's a smart business for him in that sense. What it opens him up to though is being fined in training camp, which is something he would want to avoid since he's not a big money player to begin with, and because of the Giants' track record of dealing with hold outs in that past. Just go ask Michael Strahan. Joel Corry writes about that too from his article already linked above. Here's what he said about that:


Hopefully, from both the Giants' and Cruz's perspectives these actions are leading up to an agreement for a new deal before training camp. Once camp starts, then things have a chance to begin to get ugly, as the Giants will be able to levy fines on Cruz at that point since he will be considered under contract, which he is not now. Once he signs his tender today (which he may already have as reported earlier), then things will get interesting. If press reports are truly accurate about the deal being on the "2-yard line" are true, then this will get done. USA Today's Mike Garafolo is saying that the Giants "aren't any closer" to a long-term deal, so take that for it's worth as well.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Giants reportedly spoke to recently released Pro Bowl FB Vonta Leach's agent last night

Check out this article on the situation by Dave Hutchinson in today's Star Leger:

Leach is entering his tenth year in the league, and will turn 32 near the beginning of November. If he signs a Minimum Salary Benefit (MSB) contract, he stands to make a veteran minimum of $840K in salary for players with 7 to 9 years worth of accrued seasons (Leach has 9).


In addition to that minimum base salary (paragraph 5 money), Leach would probably get a $65 K signing bonus, which is what the Giants have done with their 11 MSB players--the most in the league. He could potentially stand to make a salary of $905 K, with a $65 K bonus included, and only count $620 K against the salary cap. You wouldn't subtract that $620 K cap figure from a given team's cap though if he signs. You would subtract the difference between Leach's hypothetical $620 K cap number from that of the 51st ranked cap figure on the team, which in many cases is somewhere between $480 K and $555 K. If we take the low number, than the displacement differential would only be $140 K. Subtracting only $140 K from a team's cap number for a player like Leach is a no-brainer, particularly if there is a glaring need on the roster for a Fullback. There is no question that he should be able to find a job in the league under those circumstances.

His agent's job is to look for team's with openings on their rosters, whether through dearth of talent, lack of depth, or otherwise. It would also help if those teams have some cap room, so his agent could negotiate some extra dough for him. Odds are though that he'll probably wind up getting the MSB I mentioned above, unless he gets a team with salary cap room, like the Dolphins, to fork up some dough (he would reportedly prefer to return to Houston, but the money might not be right). Here are two good articles on the topic, one from Miami and the other from Houston:

It'll be interesting to see what happens, but either way I'd consider it highly doubtful that he signs with the Giants, for two reasons:

1. Leach is NOT a stop gap type of FB; he's arguable the best blocking FB in all of football, hence there would be more of a demand for him, than that of the Tony Fiammettas and Evan Rodriguezs of the league. 

2. Even if Leach winds up signing a MSB contract, he will want to go somewhere where he can showcase himself for 2014 when he re-enters the FA market. Leach can only do that if he is the undisputed starter on a team WITHOUT someone looking over his shoulder, ready to take his job from him. He can't do that on a team like the Giants where the starter is expected to return early in the season after missing a few weeks at the start.

Besides those two reasons, teams don't usually care more than 1 FB in today's NFL. I would have loved Leach on the Giants if Hynoski wasn't here, but that ship sailed already (they tried to sign Leach to an offer sheet before the 2007 season). My money is on either the Dolphins, or the Texans. Going back to the Ravens makes little to no sense for Leach, especially because Baltimore drafted his replacement this past April in the 4th round, in the person Kyle Juszczyk out of Harvard.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Adjustment made to the Giants' Dead Money list

Thanks to some help from Jason Fitzgerald from, I figured out that the discrepancy in cap numbers over the last week or two on the NFL's Top 51 Cap Report was due to dead money added on to the cap from the release of RB Jeremy Wright.

The Giants signed Wright as an Undrafted Rookie Free Agent (UDFA) on May 10th, and waived him on May 31st, as per, a favorite website of mine which I write Salary Cap Articles for under the handle of "Optimus-NY". Read about the list of transactions HERE.

Jason helped teach me how to decipher why the discrepancy was there as I indicated above. It turns out tat the Giants gave Wright a $5,000 signing bonus. The only other two UDFAs who the Giants signed this year after the draft who they gave signing bonuses too were as follows:

  1. WR Marcus Davis out of Virginia Tech--who they cut during rookie camp between May 11th and May 13th after giving him a relatively whopping $15,000 (Davis was then signed by the Jets).
  2. The other is blocking TE Chase Clement out of LSU, who got a $2,500 and is still on the Giants 90-man roster.

NOTE: The dead money numbers I have compiled below are just educated guesses based on numbers I've seen from and, along with figures I specifically recall dating from when Osi Umenyiora had a Voidable year tacked on to the final year of his contract last Spring.

I have the Giants' dead money figures estimated as follows (including Wright's updated dead money figure):

Check out this excellent article on how to play the cap game in the offseason, & hurt the competition

The article below, while almost two months old, is outstanding nonetheless. It references former Giants Ahmad Bradshaw, Plaxico Burress, and even LT in passing at the beginning. Check it out below:

"How Bill Belichick Screwed The Steelers" by Nik B√łnaddio on Apr 15th, 2013

The main thrust of the article is how former longtime Giant and current Patriots Head Coach, Bill Belichick, turned the screws on one of his main competitors in the AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Belichick did so by signing RFA WR Emmanuel Sanders to a one-year offer sheet.

The Steelers, who have had lots of cap trouble this offseason, (now being $4,438,618 under the cap) are in bad shape unlike the comparatively healthy Patriots (who are now $8,391,859 under the cap), tendered Sanders at the original tender level amount, which in Sanders' case was the third round. The three tenders are for a first round pick, a 2nd round pick, and the original round that the player was drafted in. their corresponding tender amounts are as follows, as per Albert Breer's tweet about 5 months ago:

The Steelers drafted Sanders out of Southern Methodist University in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft with the 82nd overall pick. They made a tactical error in electing NOT to tender Sanders at the 2nd round level.

It would have cost them $700,000 more than the original tender, but as it turned out, the Patriots made them pay approximately $1.2 million more than that original tender amount when they agreed with Sanders to the $2.5 million offer sheet that he signed with them on April 10th, which the Steelers ultimately matched 4 days later.

This helps to explain why the Giants offered Andre Brown a 2nd round tender instead of the original round tender that I was speculating that he'd get:

I was wondering why the Giants paid Brown more than they had to, but after looking at this whole Emmanuel Sanders affair--who'll probably bolt Pittsburgh next offseason with their cap being as tight as it is--it makes sense. It's better to pay a little more, and be prudent, than to get caught with your pants down by your competitors. You can bet that teams in direct competition with the Giants (read good teams in the NFC, especially NFC East teams) would have loved to do the same thing to the Giants that the Pats did to the Steelers.

Look at what happened to the Redskins and Cowboys the last two offseasons, with all the cap room each team had to give up. Washington gave up $18 million in cap room each of the last seasons, while Dallas gave up $5 million. That cap space was divided up 28 ways, and redistributed throughout the league (only the Saints and Raiders didn't benefit from this since they committed minor cap infractions of their own). You can bet good money that the Cowboys and Redskins would ESPECIALLY love to stick it to the Giants, particularly with Giants' co-owner John Mara, who is also a prominent member of the NFL Competition Committee, being painted as the main reason behind those two clubs being penalized--their own negligence aside of course.

In summary, we can see how direct competition is not just something which exists during the regular season, but is also prevalent at all times, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This competition extends off the field during free agency, the Draft, Rookie Free Agency, the waiver wire--with the salary cap being the main thread that runs through all of these subdivided mediums of competition.

Giants' cap number & unofficial list of free agents

The Giants' official salary cap figure has not changes since the last time I posted it a three days ago. The Giants are $3,308,682 under the salary cap now as per the League's most up to date TOP 51 CAP REPORT.

That number will obviously change once Justin Pugh signs. Once that happens, it should go down approximately $961,436 (Pugh's expected cap number of $1,517,436 - the 51st ranked cap number on the team now belonging to Spencer Paysinger of $556,000). If all things stay as they are now, then the Giants' cap number in that instance would be $2,347,246.

As stated previously numerous times here, Nassib's cap number will not effect the Giants' salary cap at this time due to the Top 51 Rule being in effect. Once the Top 51 Rule ceases on Thursday, September 5th at midnight EST, then team salary caps will include the 52nd and 53rd men on the roster, to go along with the practice squad, players on the PUP list (expect Kuhn and maybe even Hynoski to be on that list, with the possibility of JPP being on it also), and IR. Since Nassib will be on the team come opening day, his cap number will count then, but won't until then, assuming of course that he signs with the team and he stays off of IR.


Here is an unofficial list of NFL Free Agents from Adam Caplan, including FB Vonta Leach, who was released by the Ravens yesterday. Check out this article by Mike Garafolo on the topic yesterday in USA Today:

Here are unofficial lists of players on OFFENSE & DEFENSE:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Official Cap numbers for all 32 teams in the NFL

Here are the official cap numbers for all 32 teams in the league as per this link: TOP 51 LEAGUE CAP REPORT

Here they are listed in a more readable format, first in order of most cap space to least cap space:

Now here they are in alphabetical order for reference purposes:

  • As can be seen, the Giants rank 26th in overall league cap space with an official salary cap number of $3,308,682 as of today.
  • Once 1st round pick Justin Pugh signs, that number will go down by about a million dollars.
  • I'm going to assume that the Giants are not done tinkering with this roster yet, but a Minimum Salary Benefit (MSB) player or two won't have much of an impact on the team's cap number going forward. (about a $60,000 dent in the cap per player due to the player with the 51st ranked cap number being displaced off of the roster for salary cap accounting purposes).
  • The Giants will still need to make more cap room on the roster before the cessation of the Top 51 rule at midnight on Thursday, September 5th.
  • I'm estimating that the Giants need to make about another $1 to $2 million dollars of room under the cap, without the rumored Victor Cruz extension.
  • If Cruz's extension takes up more cap room under the salary cap then his current $2,879,000 tender does then that difference between the two figures (if there is a significant one) will necessitate even more room be created underneath the cap. Hopefully it's not a lot, and Patricia Traina's information about his first year cap number under that new deal being lower than the one he is currently on the books for in 2013 proves true.