Aug 042013
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (August 24, 2012)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

August 4, 2013 NFL Salary Cap Update: Before I list everything a quick FYI about the New York Giants’ cap number. They are not what the NFLPA Top 51 League Cap Report website says they are right now. I don’t want to repeat myself about what I wrote regarding this situation already on my Giants cap blog. You can read about it HERE.

The Giants are currently $2,656,846 under the NFL salary cap (disregard the $2,251,846 figure seen on their website). Here’s how they stand in comparison to the rest of the league (assuming their numbers are accurate, which I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t because of the simple errors that I’ve seen there this past week):

Click on a column to sort

NFL Team Cap Numbers - 8/4/2013

RANKTEAMCARRYOVERTOTAL CAP SPACE
19Arizona$3,600,110.00 $5,755,040.00
15Atlanta$307,540.00 $7,683,068.00
17Baltimore$1,182,377.00 $6,904,459.00
3Buffalo$9,817,628.00 $21,810,064.00
8Carolina$3,654,825.00 $12,808,380.00
28Chicago$3,236,965.00 $1,637,767.00
5Cincinnati$8,579,575.00 $17,017,219.00
1Cleveland$14,339,575.00 $27,070,339.00
14Dallas$2,335,379.00 $8,480,326.00
11Denver$11,537,924.00 $9,287,063.00
22Detroit$466,992.00 $5,113,453.00
6Green Bay$7,010,832.00 $14,564,348.00
29Houston$2,422,689.00 $1,446,769.00
18Indianapolis$3,500,000.00 $6,163,781.00
2Jacksonville$19,563,231.00 $22,916,605.00
32Kansas City$14,079,650.00 $82,492.00
7Miami$5,380,246.00 $14,374,685.00
24Minnesota$8,004,734.00 $4,400,972.00
10New England$5,607,914.00 $10,092,269.00
21New Orleans$2,700,000.00 $5,173,260.00
27NY Giants$1,000,000.00 $2,656,846.00
13NY Jets$3,400,000.00 $8,648,580.00
20Oakland$4,504,761.00 $5,558,452.00
4Philadelphia$23,046,035.00 $19,261,143.00
23Pittsburgh$758,811.00 $4,476,513.00
26San Diego$995,893.00 $3,127,666.00
16San Francisco$859,734.00 $7,436,766.00
25Seattle$13,265,802.00 $3,352,772.00
31St. Louis$247,347.00 $139,088.00
9Tampa Bay$8,527,866.00 $11,513,471.00
12Tennessee$12,867,893.00 $9,245,356.00
30Washington$4,270,296.00 $1,338,440.00
  • Keep in mind that the Giants probably still have to make a little bit more room under the cap before the Top 51 Rule expires in a little over a month.
  • In the Giants’ case, it may not be for much; as things stand now, it may only be for about $1 million, maybe even less.
  • Someone like Steve Weatherford could be an ideal restructure, since doing so could add as much as another $738,750 in salary cap space to the Giants’ present total without doing too much damage to their long-term salary cap structure (something that the Cowboys, to give a pertinent example, have become notorious at doing lately).
  • They have until midnight New York time on Thursday, September 5th to do so (this is when the Top 51 Rule expires).
  • Teams will have to include the cap numbers of the 52nd and 53rd players on their 53-man rosters at that point.
  • By that time, clubs will have reduced their rosters to a maximum of 53 players; this will have taken place no later than by 6:00 pm New York time on August 31st.
  • After the Top 51 rule ceases to be clubs will also have to count the players on IR, the 8-man Practice Squad, the PUP list, and those players who have received Injury Settlements in training camp/preseason as the result of any injuries that prevented them from continuing to play (this is the case for Antonio Dennard & Jeremy Horne at this point).
  • Any additional Dead Money that results from players being cut in training camp will also factor into this equation.
  • A conservative guess is that this will cost teams between 2 and 3 million dollars around the league depending on their specific situations; this is why teams with less than $2 million dollars could be swimming in dangerous cap waters as September 5th approaches.
  • This is why late summer cuts, especially to middling veteran players on teams who still need to make cap room – like the Bears, Texans, Redskins, Rams, & Chiefs – should not come as a surprise towards the end of August.
  • Check out an article from overthecap.com by Jason Fitzgerald regarding the subject of late Summer cuts.

“Pay Cut or Be Cut: The Reality of August Football” – August 2, 2013

Jul 082013
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (May 11, 2012)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

July 8, 2013 NFL Salary Cap Update: Here are the NFL salary cap space rankings for all 32 teams in the league as of Monday morning, July 8, 2013. The New York Giants are $3,308,682 under the NFL salary cap as of this date:

Click on column to sort

CAP SPACE RANKTEAMPREVIOUS YEAR CARRYOVERTOTAL CAP SPACE
10Arizona$3,600,110.00 $10,640,331.00
20Atlanta$307,540.00 $6,299,287.00
21Baltimore$1,182,377.00 $6,049,823.00
5Buffalo$9,817,628.00 $18,665,064.00
12Carolina$3,654,825.00 $9,716,115.00
30Chicago$3,236,965.00 $1,637,767.00
4Cincinnati$8,579,575.00 $19,967,981.00
1Cleveland$14,339,575.00 $31,739,610.00
15Dallas$2,335,379.00 $8,124,208.00
9Denver$11,537,924.00 $10,697,563.00
29Detroit$466,992.00 $1,894,653.00
8Green Bay$7,010,832.00 $16,327,631.00
28Houston$2,422,689.00 $2,808,949.00
18Indianapolis$3,500,000.00 $6,935,290.00
2Jacksonville$19,563,231.00 $23,035,816.00
25Kansas City$14,079,650.00 $3,562,128.00
7Miami$5,380,246.00 $17,635,103.00
17Minnesota$8,004,734.00 $7,011,654.00
14New England$5,607,914.00 $9,215,519.00
22New Orleans$2,700,000.00 $5,173,260.00
26NY Giants$1,000,000.00 $3,308,682.00
11NY Jets$3,400,000.00 $9,964,235.00
16Oakland$4,504,761.00 $7,628,004.00
3Philadelphia$23,046,035.00 $22,466,188.00
23Pittsburgh$758,811.00 $4,403,813.00
27San Diego$995,893.00 $3,127,666.00
19San Francisco$859,734.00 $6,423,721.00
24Seattle$13,265,802.00 $3,712,328.00
32St. Louis$247,347.00 $214,088.00
6Tampa Bay$8,527,866.00 $18,278,471.00
13Tennessee$12,867,893.00 $9,245,356.00
31Washington$4,270,296.00 $1,413,440.00

What can we look forward to between now and the start of training camp?

There are 18 days left until the start of training camp on July 26th, and there are exactly 59 days left until the Top 51 rule expires on Thursday, September 5th at 12:00 am New York time.

The Giants are reportedly thisclose to signing Victor Cruz before the start of training camp. The odds are that both sides will officially come to terms at the last minute on July 24th or 25th, so that Cruz’s agent (Tom Condon, also the agent for Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning) can get as much as he possibly can out of the Giants before the team  is allowed to fine Cruz $30,000 per day for missing training camp if he doesn’t report on time on July 26th. They’ll likely get it done by then, rendering the possibility of fines moot. Cruz is patiently playing this as expected so far, as are the Giants.

The Giants will also need to sign their remaining two unsigned draft picks (1st rounder Justin Pugh, and 4th rounder Ryan Nassib). Approximately 87% of the draft picks in the league have signed contracts as of June 30th, 8 days ago according to this tweet by Ralph Vacchiano:

Here are the contract figures for most of these players from overthecap.com.

These two rookie deals should be finalized before the start of training camp, with Pugh’s deal being the only one of the two to have an effect on the team’s salary cap now since we’re still in the Top 51 phase of salary cap accounting. Both will eventually count against the Giants’ cap though once the Top 51 rule expires on September 5th since Nassib is a shoe-in to make the team, pending an act of God, or a season-ending injury during the preseason thereby causing his salary to split.

I would also expect to see a move made by the club with respect to clearing more space under the salary cap before the Cruz signing is announced. I’d expect to see a restructure done to either punter Steve Weatherford’s contract (which ends after the 2016 season) and/or Eli Manning’s contract at some point within the next three weeks. This would allow more space for the Cruz signing and to give the Giants the added cap space that they need in order to cover regular season expenses. If Eli’s deal is restructured now, then you can bet your bottom dollar that his contract – which ends after the 2015 season – will be extended in 2014 in order to make more room for Cruz and Nicks, and in anticipation of JPP’s unrestricted free agency in 2016.

To keep informed of the latest salary cap news as it impacts the Giants, follow my Giants salary cap blog (nygcapcentral.com), or me on Twitter (@NYGCapCentral) as the offseason continues, and we head into training camp and the preseason. It is likely that we will see  more cap moves made, not only by the Giants, but the entire league. Some clubs that are approximately $5 million or less under the cap now still need to clear up more room in order to sign some of their remaining first round picks and prepare for additional regular season operational expenses starting on September 5th. These regular season operational expenses include the following:

  • 52nd and 53rd players on the 53-man roster
  • the Practice Squad
  • players on Injured Reserve
  • the PUP list
  • additional Dead money incurred in training camp as the result of cuts
  • grievances & injury settlements
  • extra money (“fudge money”) needed in case of emergencies during the regular season

Check out this YouTube video by Jason Fitzgerald from overthecap.com which gives an excellent synopsis of how the salary cap works, particularly this section (starting at the 33:06 mark to the 34:42 mark) which describes what I just mentioned above with respect to how the salary cap rules change once the Top 51 rule ceases:

We will also likely see the remaining free agents of note, like fullback Vonta Leach and defensive end John Abraham, sign with teams that have cap room to spare. Check out the following lists of remaining free agents:

You can keep an eye on the Salary Cap as it continues to change here (NFLPA Top 51 League Cap Report). We’re going to see more moves made to the Giants’ roster, as noted above (the signings of Pugh, Nassib; new deal for Cruz; & the very likely restructures for Eli and/or Weatherford). Here are the cap numbers for almost every player on the Giants’ roster as of this time, courtesy of overthecap.com:

The fact that Tom Condon is the agent for Victor Cruz and Eli Manning (as well Tom Coughlin incidentally) is an important factor to keep in consideration as contract negotiations take place and are then put in effect through the supposedly soon-to-be-made announcement with regard to Cruz’s new deal, and the probable contract restructuring of Eli’s contract that would be needed to help make more room for Cruz, and give the Giants the cap-breathing room they’ll need once the Top 51 Rule ceases on September 5th, heading into the regular season.

May 232013
 
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Ryan Nassib, New York Giants (May 22, 2013)

QB Ryan Nassib – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Potential Signing Issues for Giants Remaining 2013 Draft Picks: As a precursor to this article, I recommend reading A Primer on Some Rookie Contract Negotiating Sticking Points, by Jason Fitzgerald at overthecap.com. Jason’s site is in my opinion the premier source for information on the salary cap.

*****

Now, on to New York Giants business. Five of the Giants’ seven 2013 draft picks from last month’s draft have signed contracts with the Giants. They are as follows:

  • 2nd round pick, Johnathan Hankins, DT (Ohio State)
  • 3rd round pick, Damontre Moore , DE (Texas A&M)
  • 5th round pick, Cooper Taylor, S (Richmond)
  • 7th round pick, Michael Cox, RB (Massachusetts)
  • 7th round pick, Eric Herman, OG (Ohio)

The New York Giants’ remaining unsigned 2013 NFL Draft picks are as follows:

  • 1st round pick, Justin Pugh, OT/OG (Syracuse)
  • 4th round pick, Ryan Nassib, QB (Syracuse)

What are the issues with the New York Giants?

We should see a relatively quick resolution for the remaining unsigned players since their salaries are basically slotted. Jason Fitzgerald points out in the article above that picks 17 to 22 will have only a partially guaranteed salary in the 4th year of their deals. This is applicable to Justin Pugh since he was the 19th overall pick in the first round.

The issue with 4th round pick Ryan Nassib will be salary splits. Salary splits are essentially protection for the club if the player in question winds up on Injured Reserve. What happens is that players get paid less than their base salary of $405,000 if they get hurt. It applies differently to players in rounds 3 through 7. The players drafted in round 3 will have less of an issue to deal with regarding splits than their counterparts drafted in round 7.

Continue reading »

May 202013
 
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Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (December 30, 2012)

Ahmad Bradshaw – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The NFL Salary Cap and the New York Giants: In today’s NFL, the salary cap rules all. The NFL salary cap is an opponent that many front offices have simply dealt with on an intermediate level, a few have mastered, and a few more have fallen to ruin against as a result of mismanagement. It has risen $88.392 million over the course of 19 years from $34.608 million back in 1994 to $123 million in 2013. Over that time, we’ve seen the New York Giants deal with it to varying degrees. George Young clearly had issues dealing with it, when a bloodletting took place in its first year, when in the Spring of 1994 Giants fans experienced their first casualty of the cap era: the release of Phil Simms, who incidentally was coming off of the second Pro Bowl year of his career in 1993, which turned out to be the final season in his distinguished career (This Day in Football: Giants cut Phil Simms). Reality quickly sunk in for Giants fans with respect to the cap: “if Phil Simms could get cut, then anybody can.” The cap’s influence on free agency was a reason why players like Dave Meggett, Myron Guyton, and Mark Collins walked in free agency as well despite the Giants still wanting to retain them.

Once Ernie Accorsi took over as GM, things started to clear up cap-wise. That then carried over to this regime headed by GM Jerry Reese and Assistant GM (formerly titled cap analyst) Kevin Abrams. We now see a team that is shrewdly managed, with solid drafting and wisely signed free agent additions. What we also see as a result of the cap is the know-how that is required to keep a team with a franchise QB in his prime years competitively balanced when it comes to knowing when to let certain veteran players walk in free agency. The New York Giants did that this offseason with Kenny Phillips and Osi Umenyiora. The ins and outs of navigating the NFL salary cap are numerous though. The best thing to keep in mind when it comes to understanding the underlying motivation for people in NFL front offices is younger and cheaper. That is why it is important to find talent via the draft, rookie free agency, and through prudent veteran free agent acquisitions (something which is often overlooked by many fans). Keeping track of these ins and outs is something that is also key. Following these moves as they are made is not difficult. However, what can be difficult at times is understanding how these decisions are arrived at. This brings us to mapping out roster distribution and cap numbers.

There are several rules that teams – specifically cap analysts – must adhere to when it comes to assisting in team building and roster management. They revolve around the Top 51 rule, when it is in effect during the off-season (which is 7 to 8 months of a calendar year), and the regular season salary cap rules from a team’s first regular season game to its last regular season or post-season game of a given year. Here is an article for it that explains it well, along with some other basics:  Explaining The NFL’s Salary Cap” by Dan Durkin.

What is also important to understand, but from a fan’s standpoint, is the fact that cap numbers are not the same as salary. A cap number is calculation of how the money that a player earns counts towards the salary cap, and includes within it a portion of any number of bonuses, along with whatever guaranteed base salary a given player receives (a.k.a. “cap spending dollars” as opposed to “cash spending dollars”). A player’s salary has nothing to do with the calculations that are taken into account to come up with a given player’s cap number. Instead it has to do with a player’s “Paragraph 5” salary. I refer readers to this excellently written article by Jason Fitzgerlad from overthecap.com regarding the matter: A Guide to the NFL Salary Cap.

I’ll also provide a direct link to the Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed upon by the players and owners: 2011 NFL CBA (agreed upon on August 4, 2011). This latest CBA has been the source of much discussion since its ratification almost two years ago, and there has been a lot analysis regarding what the players gained (mostly lost) since it has been in effect. I’ll table an article on that though for some time in the future. What needs to be mentioned regarding the understanding of the cap itself is that it is not covered enough in the mainstream media. What we see regarding its implications is only touched upon very briefly at best. There’s nothing sexy about it to those who cover the team. It is indeed a shame that this is the case because in actuality there is no single more important factor in play when it comes to understanding how a team is built both in the short-term as well as the long-term, and what factors go into determining a team’s decision making regarding its personnel. It is for this reason that you see specialized websites specifically for the discussion and analysis of the salary cap with respect to the league as a whole and for specific teams.

One such website that stands out for the overall discussion of the league as a whole is overthecap.com. It includes both quantitative as well as qualitative analysis of the salary cap as it pertains to the entire league. I have a personal salary cap blog that I started up this month titled New York Giants Salary Cap Central which is my recent attempt to replicate this quantitative and qualitative approach that Jason Fitzgerald has done with his website, except it’s for a specific team, the Giants. There is also spotrac.com, but it lacks in any kind of qualitative discussion (at the least the free part anyway). It also directly lifted the numbers from overthecap.com, as per this article: Site News: Explaining my issues with another website.

Hopefully, a cap section on BBI can function to serve the purpose of gathering information from different places that serve to facilitate the increased understanding of how the cap works and its effect on the Giants’ overall decision making with respect to putting together their roster as whole. It’s one thing to list the order of the cap numbers on the team in such a section – which I intend to do – but it’s another thing to qualitatively break down and analyze patterns that are related to each player’s overall cap situation with respect to the Giants and their long-term and short-term plans for each player. Each year situations change, but teams try their best to control how players fit into the overall scheme of their plans. Hopefully, a cap section on BBI can serve to accumulate a decent enough amount of information so Giants fans who frequent the website can understand how the Giants’ cap situation reflects and determines the moves they make.

Personally, I look forward to spearheading the creation of such a section here on BBI. Currently, there is no other website on the internet which focuses on such a specific topic. In the coming weeks and months that will change for the better. Websites that focus on the cap for the other teams in the NFC East will be linked here, so that fans understand how the inter-divisional competition fares with respect to their respective cap situations. I encourage people to read and ask questions about the information contained herein; questions will serve to help to drive the content that is put out in this section, and make it a truly interactive experience for readers, rather than one which driven by individual whims alone (that’s what my cap blog linked above is for). It will be fun to integrate this new section on the cap here on BBI. My hope is that readers will find it equally fun and interesting to read.