Normally, a player so low on the depth chart wouldn't have a cap number as high as T2 presently does if he makes the 53-man roster on opening day ($1,450,000). T2 is an interesting case though. He was arguably an elite DB, and the best CB on the team, when he got injured in a preseason game against Chicago 2 years ago in the Meadowlands (click HERE to read a brief article about it). The Giants had big plans for him going into what turned out to be a championship season. The next year he came back only to re-injure himself. He is now trying to become only the second player on NFL history to come back from a third ACL injury (the first being on college), with Thomas Davis of Carolina from last year being the first one to do it.
When the Giants took Thomas off of the PUP list 4 days ago (August 6th) it signaled that the Giants' medical staff feels that Thomas can now show the coaching staff what he can do in practice and during their 4 preseason games before the final cuts are made on August 31st. That gives Thomas 25 days to make what is essentially going to be his last stand as a either a Giant or a player in the NFL. This 3 and a half week long period could very well be his Thermopylae. Check out T2's contractual breakdown here (courtesy of overthecap.com):
Interestingly, Thomas's contract includes a salary split (e.g., his $630,000 being reduced to $358,000, a savings of $272,000) in case he winds up on Injured Reserve again for the third straight year. Check out two articles on the situation below:
- "Giants' Terrell Thomas signs one-year minimum contract with playing-time incentives" - by Jenny Vrentas/The Star-Ledger | February 12, 2013
- "Giants save $1.55 million in Terrell Thomas’ Contract Renegotiation" - by Jason Fitzgerald of overthecap.com | February 12, 2013
Here's the what would happen cap-wise for T2 under the following 3 scenarios:
- If T2 DOES make the Giants' final 53-man roster, then his cap number for 2013 would be $1,450,000.
- If T2 DOESN'T make the Giants' final 53-man roster, then his remaining dead money would count against the Giants' cap number for 2013. That amount would be $785,000. As a result, the cap savings for the Giants would be $665,000--a significant sum considering the fact that the Giants are very close to the non Top 51 cap threshold. This makes him vulnerable.
- If T2 winds up on INJURED RESERVE, then his salary would split. His base salary would be reduced from $630,000 to $358,000. His prorated bonus of $785,000 would still count on the cap though, as would the $35,000 workout bonus. This would bring his cap number in this scenario to a total of $1,178,000. This would save the Giants $272,000 against T2's cap number if he made the 53-man roster.
What is also significant to take note of is that as a potential 5th CB/Safety hybrid, Thomas isn't a Special Teams standout. This is where his competition (Charles James, Trumaine McBride, and Junior Mertile) have an edge on him. This is also in addition to the fact that all of these players have very low cap numbers for the 2013 season--cap numbers which are more in keeping with what a 5th CB should be making on a cap strapped team like the Giants. It must be duly noted that the Giants have worked with Thomas all this time for a reason, and that they would like to get a return on their investment. It is for this reason that one can make the argument that Thomas's spot on the roster for 2013 is there for him to take--unless another injury denies him that opportunity.
Pay attention to Thomas's playing time during preseason, and how coaches talk him up compared to the three young CBs mentioned above (James, McBride, and Mertile). In case Thomas gets hurt, then look out for which one of these 3 young Corners plays best on Special Teams during the remainder of training camp and the preseason to be the player to take Thomas's roster spot. It will certainly bare watching what happens in these next 21 days. Thomas's professional career will likely depend on it.