Sunday, July 21, 2013

Justin Pugh & Ryan Nassib are probably going to sign on the first day of training camp, as per Patricia Traina

The always informative and tapped in Patricia Traina of has been on the money regarding the Giants this offseason (check out here website linked above). She was spot on about the new Cruz deal, when she suggested that it might actually lower the Giants' cap number in 2013--it did so by giving the Giants an additional $349,000 in cap room. If she says something contract related, I listen, and recommend that others do the same. I tweeted the following two days ago, & got this response Patricia:

This is something that Giants fans have wondered about in recent days. With training camp starting 5 days from today on July 26th, speculation had begun among some fans regarding when this would get done. I tweeted yesterday that 231 of 254 2013 draftees had signed contracts with their respective teams--that's approximately 91%. of the players selected almost 3 months ago in this year's draft. Two of the remaining 23 are Giants: Pugh and Nassib. This might frustrate Giants fans when factoring in the slotted nature of signing draft picks now (for the most part--offset language aside).

The issues with unsigned first round pick Justin Pugh (OT/OG out of Syracuse), & unsigned fourth rounder Ryan Nassib (QB also out of Syracuse) are as follows:

  • 4th year guaranteed money is the issue at hand for Justin Pugh (chosen 19th overall), which all of the picks who were chosen 14th through 21st received, as pointed out in this article by Mike Florio from PFT:
  • Jason Fitzgerald wrote a great article about this subject back on May 10th on his website,
  • It looks like this is just the agent waiting to see if the Giant will blink, but as Patricia states in the tweet posted above, it doesn't look like the Giants will budge on either front (Pugh's or Nassib's).
  • Nassib's situation is simpler, with it being about salary splits.
  • Nassib, chosen 110th overall, is fighting for only one year of salary splits (2013 only), with the Giants fighting for two (2013 and 2014), as stated in Jason's superior article above.

Once Pugh signs his projected cap number will decrease the Giants' current cap number of $3,657,682 by $961,436, resulting in a new cap number of $2,696,246. Pugh's projected cap number for 2013 is going to be $1,517,436 while Nassib's is going to be $518,400. This is as per Jason Fitzgerald's pick-by-pick 2013 NFL Salary Cap estimates on, and Joel Corry. Here's what he tweeted me two days ago:

The Pugh cap number would be in the Giants' top 51 list of cap numbers. Salary displacement of the 51st cap number, belonging to Spencer Paysinger ($556,000), would take place. Paysinger would no longer count against the cap, but the difference between his cap number and Pugh's--listed above as being $961,436--would factor in. This is how the new cap number of $2,696,246 was determined (I subtracted $961,436 from the Giants' current team cap number of $3,657,682 listed above).

Nassib's cap number, on the other hand, will not factor into the Giants' cap until the top 51 rule ceases at midnight NY time on Thursday, September 5th. He's a shoe-in to make the team (pending a crazy injury or an act of God). This is why his contract won't count yet against the Giants' cap. Check out the remainder of the tweet above regarding this situation:

Nassib's value to this team FAR exceeds his salary though when you look at what he can provide this team with going forward besides just being an adequate backup to Eli in 2014 (he's not ready yet in 2013, which is why the Giants will carry 3 QBs this year, and then let David Carr walk, ceding the primary backup QB position to Nassib next year). He can function as trade bait in 3 years if Eli is still going strong, provided that he's shown enough to possibly be a starter in the league. Look at the Rob Johnson trade for reference in the late 90s with the Coughlin led Jags. Nassib can also function as insurance against Eli in case his salary demands get crazy (which they won't), and most importantly possibly be Eli's successor.

Of these 3 scenarios, the first one is what people and the Giants' management would like to see be the most prominent. that would mean Eli will still be going strong 3 years from now, and that Nassib has shown enough to warrant being traded elsewhere in exchange for a high pick--while not taking many if any snaps under Center as the Giants' starting QB. This is why the preseason will important to him. It will allow him to showcase his stuff, as many young backup QBs have done in the past on their way to being traded elsewhere. The odds of Eli going down for an extended period of time in the regular season increase as he gets older (he'll be 33 on January 3rd of 2014). It's nice to have a young gun in the bullpen in case things go sideways--even if the odds of them doing so are still relatively low when you consider how exceedingly durable Eli and his brother have been for the larger parts of their careers.

In summary, at this time next week, we should expect to see the Giants be $2,696,246 under the cap after Pugh and Nassib sign on the first day of training camp on July 26th---a difference of $961,436 from their current number of $3,657,682. After that, I wouldn't be surprised to see a small restructure take place with Steve Weatherford's contract that would give the Giants an additional $738,750 in cap space (raising his cap number by $246,250 though from 2014 to 2016), raising the total cap space number listed above back to what it is close to being now, but that's a topic for another post.

Potential salary cap ramifications regarding the Will Hill situation

I tweeted Joel Corry this morning asking him if a player's salary is guaranteed if he's on the 53-man roster on week 1 if he has less than 4 years of accrued experience? He said that it is not (see below):

Jason Fitzgerald further drove home the point about younger players--specifically those with less than 4 years of accrued experience--being used more frequently on rosters during times of roster upheaval on account of their decreased cap value:

The reason I asked this is because I'm trying to determine how the Giants' 2013 salary cap would be affected if Hill does in fact make the team. There are two scenarios: one in which Hill makes the team despite his 4-game suspension to start the year, and one in which he does not.

If Hill doesn't make the team...

then the answer is simple. They would be rid of his bonus free contract, in which his 2013 cap charge of $480,000 comes completely off the books, which in turn renders this post null and void. There would be no dead money on the books at all if they cut him, wiping Hill cleanly away cap-wise. Safeties Ryan Mundy and Cooper Taylor--the former being a veteran, an the latter being a rookie--help to make the Giants' decision easier with regard to letting go of Hill, if in fact that is what happens. I suspect that the Giants knew of this for a while, making the drafting of Taylor and the signing of Smith more logical.

  • The cap hit in 2013 for Mundy is $620,000--a difference of $140,00 on the negative cost side between Hill's $480,000 cap number.
  • The cap hit in 2013 for Cooper Taylor is $451,813--a difference of $28,187 on the positive savings side between Hill's $480,000 cap number.

If Hill does make the team...

then things become interesting. This is why I asked the question I did at the top of this post. A player who plays the same position as Hill with less than 4 years worth of accrued experience--like Tyler Sash for instance (who only has 2 years of accrued experience)--could take his spot on the roster, while Hill is serving his 4-game suspension to start the 2013 season. In that case, since players are paid over the course of 17 weeks in the NFL, only 4/17ths of Sash's base salary ($130,588) would count against the cap, while 13/17ths of Hill's base salary for 2013 ($367,059) would count against the cap, as per Jason Fitzgerald's tweet to me after I asked him yesterday:

Such a situation would cost the Giants approximately $37,317 in added cap room. this figure is obtained by subtracting Hill's salary and cap number for 2013 (that doesn't include any bonus money) of $480,000 from the sum of the figures in the previous paragraph about Hill's and Sash's adjusted base salaries totaling $497,647. The difference would be $17,647. I then added the bonus money, which becomes dead money from Sash for 2013, which is $19,670. (Another $19,670 is added on to the Giants' dead money in 2014 in this scenario). This gives me the total of $37,317 stated above.

Any way you slice it, if Hill makes the team, the player who'll take his roster spot on the opening day 53-man roster would have to have less than 4 years of accrued experience, in order to minimize cap costs. Credit goes to Patricia Traina of and BBI poster fkap for informing me about this salary cap nuance about players with less than 4 years of accrued not having their contracts guaranteed for a full year even if they make an opening day roster (see this thread here for discussion on the matter: BBI thread - Will Hill Suspended 4 Games - jintz4life : 7/20/2013 2:05 pm).

This could open the door for players with less than 4 years of accrued experience to make the opening day roster, should Hill make the team. Players who fit into this category would also need to be able to play Special Teams, since that is what backup safeties like Will Hill have to do. Players who fit this description that are on the Giants' 90-man roster now include (3rd year S) Tyler Sash, (UDFA rookie LB) Etienne Sabino, (2nd year LB) Jake Muasau, (UDFA rookie S) Alonzo Tweedy, & (2nd year DB) Laron Scott.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. It wouldn't be shocking to see Hill just be cut outright if he doesn't come to camp and shine during July and August, as well as in preseason games. He should at least be able to prove himself valuable on STs, as he did last year. My hunch right now is that they keep him. 3 Giants' safeties are vulnerable next year: Rolle because if his exceedingly high cap number, Stevie Brown because he'll be an unrestricted free agent next year, and Ryan Mundy because he'll also be an unrestricted free agent next year. This is why the Giants need to inject some youth at the position.

Getting rid of Hill would go against the Giants' forward thinking philosophy. They drafted Taylor this year. He and Hill would help the Giants to get younger at the Safety position, while being inexpensive, AND cost controlled--not something to take lightly in today's salary cap dominated league. The Giants will need all the space they can get in the upcoming 2 or 3 years due to the impending second contracts for Hakeem Nicks and JPP having a more profound impact on the Giants' salary cap in future years--assuming of course that the Giants sign them. Just like the catchphrase of HBO's "The Wire", everything is connected. Stay tuned.

Vonta Leach info

Here are three links regarding veteran free agent fullback Vonta Leach, widely regarded as the best blocking fullback in football:

To me, it looks like the best bet for Leach is to go back to the Ravens who have a $2 million offer on the table for him, with an additional $1 million in potential incentives. We all know that in situations like this that pride plays a BIG role in what players decide to do. In the immortal words of Marsellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction, "That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride." (click on the link).

The Giants won't be bringing him on, and as Patricia Traina pointed out on a thread on discussing Leach, the Giants won't waste unnecessary money on a position that is on the field less than half the time. The most they've spent on the position in recent years was $1.1 million on Madison Hedgecock. They're not going over that number for anyone, even if he's as good as Leach. It goes against their football business model---plain and simple. Pascoe should be able to fill the void left by Hynoski's injury while he recovers. 

Hopefuly Hynoski is healthier sooner, rather than later, making this discussion a moot point. This, however, is not a luxury that decision makers like GM Jerry Reese can afford. All possibilities have to be considered, & contingency plans have to be made for every possible scenario. It's chess, not checkers, as the saying goes. Besides, Leach's best bet at this point is to return to Baltimore since they have the best deal on the table for him. He knows their playbook as well, which is significant. He can play well this year, after beating out the rookie that the Ravens drafted in the 4th round out of Harvard (Kyle "Juice" Juszczyk) to play fullback and H-Back--which he should be able to do since he's the best blocking FB in the game, and go back on the free agent market next March instead of in the late summer, like this year when teams had shot their wad.

Check out these links to this podcast by Greg Cosell reviewing the 2013 NFC East draft class

Here's a direct link to the podcast itself first:

Here is a link to the article:

Greg Cosell is one of my favorites along with Jason Fitzgerald and Joel Corry. Cosell is an intellectual voice in an ocean of hype. Do yourself a favor and give this podcast a listen, even if it's in a piecemeal fashion (a little over 20 minutes a day for 3 days) if you don't have a lot of time on your hands. Enjoy!