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Saturday, May 21, 2022
Home Sports NFL Giants face tough decisions, short-term pain to fix salary cap

Giants face tough decisions, short-term pain to fix salary cap


Brian Daboll’s New York Giants‘coaching staff is almost complete – at least unofficially. That means it’s time for Daboll, GM Joe Schoen and the rest of the staff to start building the Giants for 2022 and beyond.

The first step is the incredibly unpleasant task of removing players from the roster to not only get the Giants under the 2022 salary cap, but get them enough room to sign their rookie class make offseason and in-season roster moves.

Schoen does not want a repeat of 2021, where the Giants pinched pennies by restructuring every possible contract over the season’s final few weeks, and did not even bother to fill a few roster spots in order to save a little money.

Over The Cap has the Giants at an estimated $ 23.292 million over a projected $ 208.2 million cap for 2022. Schoen has said he wants to shave roughly $ 40 million from the cap, trying to get the Giants to a point where they have around $ 20 million to operate .

If you read a variety of Giants sites, and I know many of you do, you know I am a bit late to the party when it comes to a full-blown look at potential cap casualties. Others have already done a good bit of the heavy lifting. I am going to take advantage of that by using a piece from Dan Duggan of The Athletic as my jumping off point. I’m going to use the players he discusses, add my thoughts on those players, then perhaps add some other ideas of my own.

I am not going to deal with re-structures. We are purely going to talk about cut / trade candidates.

CB James Bradberry

2022 cap hit: $ 21.9 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 12.1 million (post June 1 $ 13.5 million)
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 9.7 million (post June 1 $ 8.363 million)

I do not want to see Bradberry cut or traded. Good cover cornerbacks are a necessity in the NFL, and new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s aggressive pressure schemes place an even higher priority on having cornerbacks who can hold up in man-to-man coverage. The Giants aren’t running Patrick Graham’s keep everything in front of you zone coverages and trying to fool quarterbacks with disguise any more.

Thing is, to get where the Giants need to be cap-wise I do not see how Bradberry can stay. He’s too good to simply cut. If I’m Schoen, I let teams around the league know Bradberry is available and take the best offer I can get. It’s a step back on the field in 2022, but long-term a move that has to be made for the Giants to get healthy.

RB Saquon Barkley

2022 cap hit: $ 7.2 million
Cap savings if traded: $ 7.2 million
Dead money if traded: $ 0

Duggan writes “Expect Barkley to return with Schoen forced to make a decision on the running back’s long-term future next offseason.”

Maybe Dan has information I do not have. Maybe that is just his opinion. I do not know. I do know that I disagree. On last Friday’s ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast, I said I think Barkley’s best value to the Giants right now is as a trade chip. I repeated that stance on Sunday. Here is what I wrote:

“The Giants are at yet another beginning. Barkley is now a fifth-year running back with a long history of leg injuries. It’s probably going to take Schoen and Daboll a couple of years, maybe more, to get this right.

Barkley is soon going to be a running back looking for a second contract – probably a big one. My guess at this point is Schoen is unlikely to give him that big-money deal.

“That means Barkley’s best value to the Giants right now could well be as trade bait. If the Giants can get a couple of mid-round picks in exchange for him that they can use to replenish their roster, that might be best for everyone. ”

LB Blake Martinez

2022 cap hit: $ 14 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 8.5 million
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 5.5 million

Duggan suggests a pay cut. I hate it, but I’m in the “move on” camp. Yes, I understand that Martinez is really the “brain” of the defense. I know he was badly missed in 2021. He is not the most athletic linebacker in the world, though, and coming off a torn ACL is not going to help. I’m not sure how well he fits into Martindale’s scheme. In my view, the Giants are either moving on from Martinez this year or next. Might as well do it now. Again, short-term pain.

TE Kyle Rudolph

2022 cap hit: $ 7.4 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 5 million
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 2.4 million

Cutting Rudolph and taking the $ 5 million in cap savings is a no-brainer. Maybe Rudolph could have helped a good team with a functional offense in 2021. If it was, he was wasted money.

WR Sterling Shepard

2022 cap hit: $ 12.5 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 4.5 million (post June 1 $ 8.5 million)
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 8 million (post June 1 $ 3,995 million)

Shepard has been a good player for the Giants. He is their only tie to the 2016 playoff team. In my view, though, he has to go.

This is “the best ability is availability” argument. Good player or not, the Giants have to stop paying big money to guys who can not get on the field regularly. Shepard has played a full season once in the last five years. He has played in only 29 of 49 regular-season games the last three seasons.

You can argue that the Giants need him to help the evaluation of Daniel Jones. He can not help, though, if he does not play.

P Riley Dixon

2022 cap hit: $ 3.1 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 2.8 million
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 320K

We already discussed this in detail. Bye, Riley!

WR Darius Slayton

2022 cap hit: $ 2.6 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 2.5 million
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 59K

Slayton has a cap hit of $ 2,598 million in the final year of his rookie deal, untenable for a player who has seen his performance decline the past two seasons. Still, you can not cut everyone and maybe a new offense with Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka in charge can pull better play out of Slayton. Duggan suggests a re-structure of his final year, and I like that idea.

TE Kaden Smith

2022 cap hit: $ 2.5 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 2.5 million
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 0

I like Smith and think he was under-utilized by the Giants the past two seasons, but with a cap hit of $ 2.5 million and a knee condition that Duggan says “may have reached the point of no return,” he’s expendable. You just can not pay that to a guy who is really a third tight end.

S Julian Love

2022 cap hit: $ 2.7 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 2.5 million
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 193K

In my view, Love should not go anywhere. The previous coaching staff viewed him as “duct tape” for any problem that popped up in the secondary. I think Martindale will end up seeing him the same way.

OL Nick Gates

2022 cap hit: $ 3 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 2.1 million
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 879K

Duggan points out that cutting Gates would actually end up costing the Giants money in the long run due to an injury protection benefit. Still, under the current circumstances they can not pay him three million. A pay cut that keeps him with the organization while he rehabs his horrific leg injury is likely the best solution.

RB Devontae Booker

2022 cap hit: $ 3.1 million
Cap savings if cut / traded: $ 2.1 million
Dead money if cut / traded: $ 1 million

Booker was better than expected in 2021. Still, can not pay a backup running back $ 3.1 million. Gary Brightwell and the recently-signed Antonio Williams can probably do that job. If the Giants keep Barkley, they have to move on from Booker. If they decide trading Barkley is the best course of action, perhaps that changes.



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