Saturday, January 11, 2014

Primer for important dates to keep in mind leading up to the start of Free Agency

Here are some significant dates to keep note of as we head towards the start of Free Agency and the new league year exactly two months from today:

Source: "2013-2014 NFL Calendar: All the Dates You Need To Know" (by Tim @battleredblog) via NFL Communications

The dates that stand out since the end of the season are December 30th and February 3rd (the day after the Super Bowl). The players who were drafted by the Giants in 2011 that are still on the team who they can now extend or renegotiate are as follows:

  1. 1st Round - Prince Amukamara (CB)
  2. 3rd Round - Jerrel Jernigan (WR)
  3. 4th round - James Brewer (OT)
  4. 6th round - Jacquian Williams (OLB)

These 4 players are the only ones left still on the roster out of the 8 who were picked in that year's draft (click HERE to see who all 8 picks were). Da'Rel Scott technically finished the season on Injured Reserve for the Giants, but he is not under contract in 2014 for the Giants since he was cut earlier in the year, and then re-signed after clearing waivers. He won't even be a Restricted Free Agent (RFA).

The Giants have 7 RFAs going into the off-season. Three of them are listed above in Jernigan, Brewer, and Williams. The other 4 are as follows (they were all signed as Undrafted Rookies in 2011):
  • Henry Hynoski (FB)
  • Mark Herzlich (LB)
  • Spencer Paysinger (OLB)
  • Jim Cordle (C)

The importance of December 30th besides the avenue of being able to extend players drafted in the 2011 Draft now being open to team (the Giants have 4 left as indicated above) is that restructures and extensions to other players already under contract could also be made. The Bears have been very busy in that regard with the Tim Jennings, Robbie Gould, and Jay Cutler signings/extensions. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Giants do something similar with Eli Manning and/or Antrel Rolle after the straighten out their issues with the coaching staff anf front office.

Teams were also allowed to begin to sign players to deals for 2014 season on December 30th. What typically happens is Reserve/Futures signings begin to be made the day after the regular season for non-playoff teams like the Giants. Right now, the Giants have 52 players under contract. They had 39 as of the end of the regular season on the evening of December 29th. They have signed 13 players to Futures deals since then, raising the amount of players they have under contract to them in 2014 to 52. The Giants began this process on the day after the season ended, on December 30th, when they signed all 8 players who ended the regular season on their Practice Squad to to Reserve/Futures deals in 2014. Those 8 players are:
  • Kendrick Adams (DE)
  • Steven Baker (OL)
  • Kendall Gaskins (RB)
  • Marcus Harris (WR)
  • Travis Howard (CB)
  • Junior Mertile (CB)
  • Chaz Powell (FS)
  • Ross Weaver (CB)

All 8 of these players have cap numbers (and salaries) that are equivalent to the absolute league minimum in 2014 (this is due to them not having earned an accrued season yet towards Free Agency in their respective careers). That figure is $420,000. Here are the other league minimum figures for 2014 that correspond to accrued seasons:

Four of the other five players who the Giants signed to Futures deals a few days ago, on January 7th (the Brandon McManus signing was first reported on Monday, January 6th), are as follows (click HERE to read an article about them from, and HERE to read about what Ed Valentine wrote about them on
  • Spencer Adkins (LB) - 2014 cap number & salary of $645,000 (3 accrued seasons)
  • Troy Kropog (OL) - 2014 cap number & salary of $645,000  (3 accrued seasons)
  • Daniel Fells (TE) - 2014 cap number of $570,000 & salary of $730,000  (4 accrued seasons; Minimum Salary Benefit contract)
  • Preston Parker (WR) - 2014 cap number & salary of $570,000  (2 accrued seasons
  • Brandon McManus (K/P) - 2014 cap number & salary of $420,000  (no accrued seasons)
    • Note: all salaries are courtesy of the NFLPA's record of active salaries per team for the 2014 season, with the corresponding cap number being reflective of the amount of accrued seasons
    • So far none of these Futures signings have been reported to include signing bonuses of any kind, hence these bare bones cap figures for each of them.

For a full list of the cap numbers for all 52 of the players who are under contract to the Giants in 2014, along with their cap numbers, please click on the link below compiled by Jason Fitzgerald from

February 3rd is the first day teams can cut players to make room under the cap for 2014, so don't expect Chris Snee---someone who is expected be cut (or retire)---go until at least then. Last year, the Giants cut Michael Boley, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Chris Canty only a few days after Super Bowl 47. They cut Michael Boley 2 days after the Super Bowl last year on February 5th (click HERE to read about it). They cut Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty the following day---3 days after the Super Bowl last year on February 6th (click HERE to read about it). Look for the Snee situation to get resolved very shortly after this year's Super Bowl on February 2nd, especially since the Giants will be needing the $7.25 M in cap savings that they'd get from cutting Snee.

February 17th is the first day clubs can designate franchise and transition tag players for 2014. March 3rd is the last day that teams can designate Franchise or Transition players. Hakeem Nicks was a candidate for this before, and in fact may still be, but it looks a lot less likely that that will be the case now after taking into account how this past season went with the Giants. I wrote about an option that the Giants had with regard to trading a franchised player, if they actually did franchise Nicks almost three months ago. Click below to read it:
February 19th-25th is when the Indianapolis Combines will take place (along with rampant tampering---continue reading below to see what I mean).

Keep in mind that an announcement regarding the cap possibly going up from $126.3 million, as reported b Joel Corry HERE, to $128 million could also be made before the start of Free Agency by late February or early March (Joel Corry wrote about that HERE as well).

Clubs can officially begin to contact the agents of players who are scheduled to be Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) starting on March 8th. This is farcical in many ways. Teams used to make signings literally minutes after the start of Free Agency, so in order to combat this perception of rampant tampering--which was actually reality, and still is the case by the way--the NFL has officially allowed teams to begin contacting players a few days prior to the start of free agency. This way it looks less suspect. The fact of the matter is this: teams are constantly in contact with player agents, wither trough 3rd parties or via back channels. The week of the Indianapolis Combine is famous for team officials and player agents walking down the street and talking shop all week in Indianapolis. Check this article detailing the matter from February of 2008 by Pat Yasinskas: If everyone's doing it, free-agent tampering is OK: The scouting combine allows teams to get a head start on free agency, even though the practice is technically against the rules, writes Pat Yasinskas.

March 11th at 4 pm EST is significant with respect to Restricted Free Agency tenders as well (RFAs). That's when the Giants will have to make decisions regarding their own 7 RFAs that I wrote about above. Here are last year's tender rates (expect this year's to be a little higher for each):

This information was tweeted by Albert Breer last year just a few days short of today's date (4 to be exact). The odds are that the same information for this upcoming 2014 season will be made available at around the same time this year, which is only a few days away.

The Top 51 Rule salary cap accounting rule will also begin to take effect at 4 pm EST on March 11th as well. I'm going to list the cap numbers for Giants players under contract for 2014 in my future posts as if the Top 51 Rule is already in effect, so hopefully that will make things easier for people to understand beforehand. Right now, as indicated above, the Giants have 52 players under contract in 2014  (this will continue to go up before March 11th since more Futures signings will inevitably made, along with RFA tenders being announced as well). Free Agency will begin with a bang at 4 pm EST as well on March 11th, with the first week including lots of dollars being thrown at players who may or may not deserve them. After that though, the market will begin to come back down to earth, with wise teams taking advantage of the buyer's market at that point.

It will be interesting to see what happens, but based on previous history, I'd expect to see the giants target someone, and sign them right near the atart of FA that they deem to be an essential signing at a position of need (the OL would be a logical place to start). Off the top of my head, a player like Kansas City's UFA RG Jon Asamoah would seem like the kind of player they would go after. OTs are more expensive than OGs are, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Giants make a quick signing right at the start of FA with a player like Asamoah, and then letting the market settle down and come back to them, before they make any other signings.