The New York Giants front office has had a quiet offseason, with few big roster moves — which is largely a result of the team’s disastrous cap situation.
The NFL has a $208,200,000 base cap on salaries this upcoming season, and the Giants have $6.8 million of space currently remaining. When the team, however, gives out 51 roster spots, including to whichever players the team selects in the coming NFL Draft, they are projected to be $5.7 million over the cap limit, according to the data-tracking site Over The Cap.
That makes the Giants the team with the worst financial situation in the league, and will force them to shed big-money players to save money.
The NFL, unlike other major sports, gives franchises substantial flexibility to restructure contracts, and to release players to avoid contractually obligated payments. Still, the situation for Big Blue has put a damper on the prospect of building out a better roster.
Defensive end Leonard Williams, who the team acquired in a 2019 trade with the Jets, leads the roster in expensive contracts, as he is slated to make $27.3 million this coming season, which accounts for 13.21% of the total salary cap.
Cornerback James Bradberry commands a similarly high salary cap hit at $21.9 million — making Williams and Bradberry alone worth nearly a quarter of the team’s total cap space.
Unlike many other teams, which often dole out their biggest contract to their quarterback, Giants passer Daniel Jones is still on his rookie deal, and is set to earn $8.4 million against the cap next season — and could potentially command a bigger-money deal on his next contract.
Jones is entering his 4th year in the NFL, and, while the Giants could exercise their 5th year option written into Jones’ deal, his bill will eventually come due — forcing the Giants to find enough cap space to pay him, if they want to keep him.
They may not want to keep Jones, however, with newly-hired General Manager Joe Schoen using this year to examine the quarterback’s long-term viability as the team’s starter.
But, their current-cap space troubles have made it hard to build a potent offense around Jones.
The wide-receiving core, led by Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton, is serviceable, but is not near the elite-tier of NFL pass catchers, and they lost tight end Evan Engram in free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rumors have also swirled that the team is looking into possibly trading Pro Bowl Running Back Saquan Barkley in a salary-saving move, which would take away Jones’ most dynamic offensive threat, and leave the cupboard dry in the running game.
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The offensive line for the Giants is relatively good, but they did allow a troubling 38 sacks last season, and just 4 yards per attempt in the ground game.
Meanwhile, the team’s defense is solidly in the middle of the league in most statistical categories, and they’re a far-cry from the Big Blue Wrecking Crew of the 1980s.
All told, the Giants have very little room to improve their roster that went 4–13 last season with big-name targets in free agency and the trade market.
One silver lining, however, is the arsenal of draft capital the team has collected in the upcoming NFL Draft on April 28 — as the team boasts the 5th and 7th overall picks, as well as 7 selections in the later-rounds.
That will infuse the roster with young players, but, barring a historically good draft, the team’s financial situation figures to keep them resigned to mediocrity in the coming year.