I. Most cap space to least cap space:
II. Alphabetical order:
As can be seen above, the Giants are $251,536 under the cap. They are ranked 31st in the league in available salary cap space. Only the St. Louis Rams have less room under the cap now than the Giants do with $103,482 in available cap dollars.
As I usually state, these figures are the closest that we can possibly know of since the NFL Management Council is the only body that is truly 100% accurate. Those numbers are very difficult to get a hold of, as Jason Fitzgerald from overthecap.com has said over the past summer. The figures that the NFLPA shares on it's public website are sometimes subject to data entry errors, and slow processing of actual numbers that have already been put in with the league itself. For our purposes though, they are sufficient (knowing where teams stand in proximity to each other as well as themselves in the recent past).
Incredibly enough, we're coming up on week 12. There are only 5 weeks remaining in the regular season after this week's upcoming games. With the season being approximately two thirds of the way over, the Giants have enough room to barely skate by. If they have a rash of injuries that forces them to place three or more players on Injured Reserve in the next two weeks, then they'll have to make some more room under the cap. Hopefully that doesn't happen.
The least amount of cap space that a player would cost after this week, from week 13 through the end of the season (5 weeks) would be $119,118. This figure is the result of prorating the bare league minimum of $405,000 for 5 weeks (I'm not counting this upcoming 12th week). The most that a player could count is $185,294. This figure is obtained by prorating the amount of $630,000 over the 5 weeks between week 13 & week 17. This figure of $630,000 is the minimum paragraph 5 salary for players with 3 years of experience, as per the table below:
Players with 4 or more years of accrued service are also listed above. The reason they don't count at the rates listed above is because of the Minimum Salary Benefit (MSB). What the MSB does is that it allows vested veterans (players with 4 or more accrued years) whose minimum paragraph 5 salary figures are between $715,000 & $940,000 in 2013 to still receive their salaries if they sign with a team, but only count against the cap at rate of $555,000---the rate of a player who only has two vested years. That's why I didn't go above $630,000 when I was calculating the possible range of rates that the Giants would have to give players in week 13 if they were forced into signing someone due to injury to somebody on their active 53-man roster. For a more comprehensive look at how the Minimum Salary Benefit works. Please click on the link below:
Teams don't give out bonuses to anyone at this point that they're bringing in off the street, or off of waivers after they've cleared it (a la Ed Reed and the Jets last week). If they happened to give a player a signing bonus of more than $65,000 then the MSB designation goes away. That's not happening until the off-season, but it's something to keep in mind as a general matter of fact regarding caponomics in the NFL. As transactions occur in-season, they almost always only are paragraph salary transactions, and usually involve players with less than 4 accrued season.
The following five players currently on the the 53-man roster who were in-season acquisitions either claimed off of waivers, or signed as "street free agents" are as follows (only Bradofrd wa claimed off of waivers): Brandon Jacobs, Peyton Hillis, Dallas Reynolds, Allen Bradford, & John Conner. Only Jacobs and Hillis are vested veterans out of this group. Termination Pay is potential problem with only Jacobs though out of these two since Hillis will receive it from the league as a result of being released by Tampa Bay after being on their 53-man roster on week 1 of this season. Here is an article on the subject:
Jacobs would have less incentive than usual to use his one-time only claim to termination pay if the Giants waive him for some reason in the coming weeks (doubtful since he'd sooner wind up in I.R. first, and because he has a salary split in his contract). The Giants would probably go to a player that is on the cheaper side of the options they have open to them if push actually came to shove. This is part of the reason that you see Practice Squad players being lured to sign on with other teams in-season, joining their 53-man rosters. This is why the Packers paid QB Scott Tolzien as if he was a member of their 53-man roster when he was on their Practice Squad.
The Packers promoted him to their 53-man roster on November 5th, as per this article from two weeks ago on NFL.com. As indicated in that article, Green Bay also increased Tolzien's salary from the Practice Squad minimum of $6,000 per week to a base salary of player on the 53-man roster--$544,999 to be exact. This was done so as to make sure that he would not be tempted to sign elsewhere. If any more moves are made, they may very well be made with the Giants' pro personnel department looking at players who stand out on other teams first before bringing in a "name player" to fill a hole. Let's hope that the injury bug has taken a little vacation for this club for a while as they continue to try and climb back into the NFC East race.