According NYG Cap Central last night, the New York Football Giants will be limited by salary cap concerns if the team seeks to bolster its roster in the wake of injuries to safety Stevie Brown, offensive tackle David Diehl, and running back Andre Brown. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, teams must have their entire roster, practice squad and injured players under the cap by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 4th.
OvertheCap.com explains the new rule, "By 4 PM on September 4 the cap valuations change. For salary cap purposes rosters expand to include everyone under contract. At a minimum that pushes the roster to 53 players plus a Practice Squad, which every team fields. The cost of two players adds at least $810,000 to the roster and a PS costs a team another $816,000. For teams that have players on Reserve lists such as PUP or IR the salary for the players who are replacing them will now count. For some teams that can be an additional four to five players that will now be accounted for. It quickly adds up and it all adds up by Wednesday."
Taking this rule into account, NYG Cap Central stated, "After adding in the practice squad, injured reserve, injury settlements, the entire 53 man roster and the physically unable to perform (PUP) list they'll be about $2.5 million over [the salary cap]."
Therefore, while various outlets state the G-men appear to have $3.2 to $3.3 million left under the cap, and with veterans like Kenny Phillips, Brandon Jacobs, Jonathan Dwyer and Willis McGahee as unsigned free agents, the fact is that currently New York has no money to ink any of these players, unless a current player or two restructures his contract.
NYG Cap Central highlighted the situation, if nothing changes, last night, "[The team] will need another $2.5 million in space plus $1 million in 'breathing room' by Wednesday at 4 pm. They'll probably turn to Snee again."
There are very few options for the Giants to turn to for cap relief. For example, of the ten ten paid players on Big Blue's roster, Victor Cruz, Matthias Kiwanuka and Will Beatty are already operating under new contracts. In addition, Cruz's contract is very cap friendly this season as well.
Don't expect another Eli Manning restructuring until next season, when a restructuring would most likely come with an extension.
Center David Baas has been injury prone in his tenure with New York, it remains doubtful that the Giants would extend a contract that already expires in 2016.
Corey Webster already restructured his contract, and David Diehl and Justin Tuck are in the final year of their contracts. That seemingly leaves only Antrel Rolle and Chris Snee available for restructuring.
For his part, Rolle has never had his deal restructured, and because New York has had salary cap issues over the period that he has been a Giant, it is reasonable to assume that the veteran safety has been approached by the team in the past, and declined.
NYG Cap Central believes that a Snee restructure makes the most sense, "Snee can give them give them as much $2.93 million more in cap space. His deal has two years left on it, and his base salary in 2013 is $6.7 million. Snee's $6.7 million base can be reduced to as little as $840,000. That's a $5.86 million difference. Divide that by two and you get the $2.93 million gain."
And while fans clamor for a big name or two to be brought in before playing Dallas on September 8th; less than $3 million has to last the entire season, and Big Blue also has to account for Will Hill's salary when he comes back from suspension in four weeks. So is it worth it to bring in a veteran safety for what will amount to a three-week audition?
The Giants' salary cap risk only grows if the team considers an injury-prone player like Kenny Phillips, assuming as well that Phillips would accept the veteran's minimum salary ($715,000). If he injures himself again, his salary will count against the cap in one shape or form; fully guaranteed if he's on the roster on opening day.
On the running back side, Willis McGahee, as a ten-year NFL veteran would command a $940,000 salary which would be guaranteed if on the roster on opening day as well. Signing the injury prone McGahee, before opening day especially, would pose a risk given both a guaranteed salary and injury history.
One player who might make sense at running back is Keiland Williams, late of the Washington Redskins, if he is healthy after suffering a sprained shoulder in the 'Skins final preseason game. Williams could contribute on special teams, by all account is good in pass protection, and caught 39 passes out of the backfield in his rookie year (2010). As a four-year veteran, Williams cap hit would be only $714,000, and he also comes with a knowledge of an NFC east rival's playbook. This signing would have to occur after week one, however, or his salary would be guaranteed.