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: