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.