Saturday, April 5, 2014

Giants sign 2 more players; roster total rises to 76; Futures Deals explained

Yesterday, the Giants signed veteran Tight End Kellen Davis (inactive for Seattle in the Super Bowl) and WR Travis Harvey, who spent part of last year with the Titans. Davis---a chronic underachiever---was drafted in 2008 in the fifth round out of Michigan State, and has 6 accrued seasons. Harvey, has no accrued years, and went undrafted last year out of Florida A&M.

Davis will serve as much needed veteran depth at TE; while not starting material, he adds a skill-set that is missing from this current crop of Tight Ends: the ability to man up and block his man one-on-one at the point of attack. He could easily be cut in training camp though if any draft picks impress in training camp, in combination with their young Tight Ends (Robinson and Donnell).

Davis and Harvey were signed to one-year deals. Davis was signed first, and is most likely going to receive a Minimum Salary Benefit (MSB) contract. Since he has 6 accrued years, his actual cash salary will be $730,000 plus up to $65,000 in an added signing bonus, for a 2014 total cash number of $795,000. His cap number, on the other hand, would be $635,000. This contract displaced the 51st ranked cap number on the team at the time he was signed, which belonged to DT Markus Kuhn's cap number, which came out to be $581,474. The difference between these two numbers---$53,526---is the amount of cap space which was used up for this signing due to the Top 51 Salary Cap Accounting Rule being in effect. The estimate for the Giants' cap number that I have at this point is now $4,609,903.

The Top 51 Rule has been in effect since the start of the 2014 league year from 4 pm EST on March 11th, and will cease at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014. After the Davis signing was leaked, the signing of WR Travis Harvey leaked. It's considered to be what is known as a Futures deal. Here's a good article by Ty Schalter of from about 2 months ago on the subject:

Harvey's signing won't count against the Giants' salary cap since it wont fall into the Giants' top 51 cap numbers. His cap & cash number will be the same, and will most likely only be for $420,000 since he has no accrued years despite having spent some time with the Titans last year in Training Camp. This is the absolute league minimum for players in the NFL. Here is the list for players and the salaries that correspond to their accrued years:

Harvey is the 15th player on the Giants' roster, which has 76 players at the moment (90-man limit), who is categorized as a Futures signing. 13 of those Futures signings don't count against the cap, while 2 do (Spencer Adkins & Troy Kropog, who have cap & cash numbers of $645K). 8 of these 15 signings were on the Practice Squad last year. 11 of the 13 who don't count against the cap have cap & cash numbers of $420,000---as in the case of Harvey. Two who don't count against the cap who have cap numbers higher than $420,000 are Preston Parker & Daniel Fells. Parker's cap & cash numbers are the same, $570,000, whereas Fells's are not. Daniel Fellas has a cap number of $570,000 and a cash number of $730,000.

What do the cap numbers of Davis & Harvey mean for the immediate future? Both of these players could easily both wind up being cut in Training camp if their competition impresses the coaching staff, as indicated by their contracts. The Giants have improved their depth at E and WR with these two signings. They will still most likely draft or sign an UDFA Tight End or two to help improve the quality of the Tight End position despite this signing. Harvey will have a shot to compete for the 6th WR spot or a spot on the Practice Squad, since he still has eligibility to qualify being on it.

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