Friday, August 23, 2013

Projected 53-man roster on opening night: ROUND 5

Here are my last 4 attempts at predicting the Giants' opening night 53-man roster in Dallas on September 8th:

I was originally going to do this yesterday, but I wasn't feeling well. Here is my latest semi-educated guesstimate based not on what I would do, but what I think that the Giants will do. Without further ado, let's go ahead and unveil my fifth shot at this, only this time I'm returning an estimated salary cap number for when the Top 51 Rule expires in 13 days on September 5th:

Now here's an estimate of how the mix of players listed above all work out with respect to the Regular season cap rules:

I've got the following allocation of players per position listed here:

  • The Injury Settlements are marked with a question mark because that is the one figure that I'm not able to factor into the cap equation closely. Since the Giants have 5 players who they've categorized so far this summer as being "waived/injured" (CB Antonio Dennard, WR Jeremy Horne, WR Kris Adams, OT Chris DeGeare, & WR Keith Carlos). My guess is that the settlement for each is $100,000 a piece, making the total for all 5 about $500,000. For more info on Innjury Settlements, read the articles that I linked on my August 14th blog post below:
  • If you subtract this $500,000 figure from the estimated $928,287 that I've got the Giants being under the cap, then you'll get about $428,287.
  • This means that if any player goes on IR (which counts fully against the cap), then the Giants are in cap trouble for this season.
  • Odds are that they've got some restructuring agreements with specific players (Steve Weatherford & Chris Snee are ideal candidates) in case they need more room under the cap when the Top 51 Rule ends on September 5th, which is after the 53-man roster is set.
  • Keep in mind that last year the Giants had $1,000,000 in extra cap space left for emergency purposes in case they needed it, so they're close to where they were in that regard last year in this scenario.
  • Last year Chris Snee helped the club to create more cap room right before the seaosn opner when he agreed to a restructuring that helped the Giants to have the cap room necessary to cover regular season operational expenses.

  • Many fans are unaware that the reason that Snee's cap number is so high this year ($11 million) is because of his previous agreements to help the team get under the cap; he's done it on more than a few occasions too.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if Snee helped the team out again this year, if necessary, or if Steve Weatherford did the same (the Giants could net as much as an extra $738,750 as a result of such a move).
  • Check out what I wrote about the Weatheford cap help subject in this post from this past June 29th:
  • 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.

  • The roster spot battle that had me going back and forth was the one for the 5th DT. I had Marvin Austin making it over Mike Patterson as the 5th DT mostly due to his yet to be fully tapped potential and his draft status (2nd round pick, like Clint Sintim). They're going to give Austin every opportunity to succeed or fail based on his draft status alone. Two years is too early for them to give up on one of their highly drafted players. I had Patterson ahead of Austin for a bit, but the logic of some of the posters on this thread debating the topic sealed my decision for me:

Forget Kuhn - he's staying on PUP.
Big Blue Blogger : 9:46 am
Much was made of a throwaway comment from Coughlin that he had heard Pierre-Paul and Kuhn are getting close. Pierre-Paul will almost certainly be activated, which is the only part of the statement that should matter to anyone. Kuhn? Not even worth discussing. The only reason to activate him now would be to get a look at him in practice before cutting him. I doubt the Giants would do that, and even if they did, he's out of the Week 1 roster discussion anyway. Patterson vs. Austin is more interesting. I'm fairly sure that if the competition is close, they will keep Austin and release
Patterson. It's not just that Austin is a second-round pick who may still have upside. To me, it doesn't make good business sense to carry a vested veteran on the Week 1 roster if he's going to be a healthy scratch. I don't think the fifth DT will dress vs. Dallas, and I wouldn't want to guarantee Patterson's salary (even with a discounted cap number) when I might have to cut him soon to open a roster spot for depth at another position.
 At some point, if it looks like Austin has plateaued, they might waive him and bring Patterson back. Patterson would also be a potential mid-season replacement for an injured DT. If another team picks him up in the meantime, so be it. A guy who isn't getting a shirt for the opener can't be all that central to the team's plans.
Obviously, if Patterson is way ahead of Austin on merit, and if he figures more prominently in the rotation that I have assumed, then it's a different ballgame.

  • I also think that Tyler Sash will hold onto a spot on the roster at Safety until Will Hill comes off of the Reserve/Suspended list after week 4. At that point I expect a roster exemption to be requested by the Giants, and granted giving them an extra week to make a move.
  • To me Hill will take Sash's spot on the roster; it should be noted that players with less than 4 years worth of experience like Marvin Austin & Tyler Sash don't count fully against the cap for the year if they are released at any point over the course of the season. Players with more than 4 accrued years of experience do count though, which is why teams try not to make moves in-season with players that have more than 4 years of experience, so as to lessen their salary cap impact if they have to make a roster move.

  • We've also seen Henry Hynoski removed from the PUP List, leaving only Jason Pierre-Paul and Markus Kuhn on it; JPP is supposedly likely going to come off of it too in the coming days. I expect Kuhn to start the year this list, and be eligible to come back between week 7 and week 10. It's then that Marvin Austin could be vulnerable again if he doesn't show anything until that point to the Giants' coaching staff and front office.
  • I expect to see about 5 roster spots decided over the course of the coming week, in which there will be the Giants' last 2 preseason games and final 2 practices before they begin to prepare for the Cowboys on Opening Night in Dallas on September 8th.
  • My sixth & final official guess at the 53-man roster will be a week from today, the night after the Giants' 4th and final preseason game in New England. Keep an eye out for injuries and JPP's PUP list situation potentially changing between now and then.

  • Some notable & semi-notable cuts from the list above include the following:
    • QB - Curtis Painter
    • RB - Ryan Torain
    • TE - Larry Donnell
    • WR - Ramses Barden
    • OL - 2013 7th round pick OG Eric Herman
    • DL - DT Mike Patterson, DE Adrian Tracy, & DE Justin Trattou
    • LB - Kyle Bosworth
    • *S - I think Tyler Sash makes the final 53 for now, but once Will Hill is eligible to return from his 4-game suspension he may very well be released.
    • CB - Trumaine McBride

  • I think that the Practice Squad will include these 8 players from the roster from the 29 who are eligible on the roster (click HERE to read that list), unless they nab players from other teams. Here's an educated guess at those make it (same as last time):

  • The two players on the Reserve/Suspended list above interesting to keep note of, as the are going to come off that list at the same time (right after week 4). I think Hill returns to the roster in place of Sash, while Collins is a candidate to go on the Practice Squad.
  • Remember that in 2013, the rate that Practice Squad players earn per week is $6,000 (at minimum) over the course of 17 weeks.
  • This total of $102,000 per player x 8 players = $816,000
  • Keep in mind though that teams can pay players more than this if they choose to do so.
  • I'll be happy when my guesses are all over next week at this time because it's gotten a little crazy trying to keep up with the numbers and player news. Almost there.

As the Giants' roster stands now, 29 players are eligible for the Practice Squad

Here are the 29 players on the team who are eligible for the Practice Squad in 2013:

This list includes all 7 Giants draft picks from this past April's draft (names in bold print). It also includes 8 Undrafted Rookie Free Agents (UDFAs) as well; they are the players in highlighted in blue print. 5 of these (Clement, James, Mertile, Sabino, and Tweedy) were already signed going into training camp. 3 more were picked up in recent days (Harris, Sinkfield, & Holtz). The remaining 14 are guys who have already had shots in the NFL, but who have been unable to accrue a full season in the NFL yet. If they had, then they wouldn't be eligible for the Practice Squad. Check out the rules from this great link by Brian McFarland from last year on who is eligible for the Practice Squad:
This article clears everything up if you have any questions. The only player whose practice squad eligibility that I struggled to identify was that of Selvish Capers. He's already spent 3 seasons on the "Taxi Squad": one with Washington in 2010 (just 3 games, but that's all that's needed to count as a year on a team's Practice Squad in the NFL), and the last two seasons with the Giants. The maximum number of years that a player can be on a team's Practice Squad is 3, which is how many Capers has already spent. As a result, Capers is no longer Practice Squad eligible. It's basically time for him to crap, or get off of the bowl, to use some nasty bathroom humor.

For a link to the CBA describing the Practice Squad eligibility click HERE and go to Article 33, Section 4. For convenience's sake, here it is below:

The only draft pick from this past April's draft who seems like he's destined for the Practice Squad is their first 7th round pick, OG Eric Herman (assuming he clears waivers if he's waived of course; he would have to be signed to a club's 53-man roster, which seems unlikely considering his uneven performance thus far in training camp and preseason). The other 6 draft picks all look to have secured spots on the team. Only 5th round pick, S Cooper Taylor stands a chance of getting placed on Injured Reserve. The 8 UDFAs on the 90-man roster now are all ideal candidates for the Practice Squad as well.

This leaves 15 other players who have failed to accrue an NFL season yet, who are no longer rookies, thereby making them eligible for the practice squad this year again. There are seven players who spent time on the Practice Squad last year that are on this linked list who are eligible to be on it again this year (not all though of course: Capers is not eligible, David Douglas was signed off of last year's Practice Squad to Tampa Bay's active 53-man roster, and Craig Marshall is no longer with the club), if they are waived and not picked up by anyone. They are as follows (Click on each player's name below for background information on each player w/respect to their Practice Squad history, & their recent history):
All 7 of these players who were on the Practice Squad last year, and who are still eligible to be in it again this year, were UDFAs a year ago. The other 7 players who are still Practice Squad eligible, and who were not on the Giants' practice squad last year are as follows (Once again, click on each player's name below for background information on each player w/respect to their Practice Squad history, & their recent history)::
These 7 players mentioned immediately above either had a cup of coffee with the Giants last year at some point (Muasau & Talley), played elsewhere, or were outside of football for a spell.