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Off-Season Exploration (LONG)

CMicks3110 : 11/16/2013 3:14 pm
So, when the Giants were 0-6, I began gaming out possible off-season moves and scenarios. While the Giants have, to an extent, climbed back into the division race, I took my scenario planning deeper, looking at possible cap room maneurvarbility, cuts and restructures, re-signings, and potential free agent targets. So, while it is EXTREMELY pre-mature, I find these excersises stimulating and we be very interested in hearing your thoughts on what I see us doing in the off-season.

I am going to begin with the premise that we finish the season slotted to draft 9th overall, which is where we are scheduled to draft right now. Meaning that we roughly finish between 5-11 and 6-10. With a schedule that includes tough games against Washington, Dallas, Seattle, Detroit, and San Diego, that is certainly within the realm of possibility, especially with how poorly our offense has been playing.

So, given the fact that ownership has indicated they expect Coughlin back and because Coughlin is as loyal as he is, i'm going to assume the coaching staff will remain the same, which does effect my scenario planning

CURRENT ROSTER

i'm going to begin this excercise by looking at which players I expect to are under contract. I have starred (*) players that I believe have a 95% chance of being on the roster next year, i've included restricted free agents in this list. They are as follows:

QB-Manning*, Nassib*
RB-Cox*, Wilson* (assuming he's healthy)
FB-Hynoski, Connor
WR-Cruz*, Randle*, Jernigan
TE-Robinson*, Donnell, Myers
T-Beatty*, Pugh*
G-Brewer*, Mosley*, Snee
C-Cordle, Baas
DT-Hankins*, Jenkins*, Kuhn
DE-Pierre-Paul*, Moore*, Kiwanuka
LB-Williams*, Paysinger*, Herzlich, Bradford,
S-Hill*, Taylor*, Rolle,
CB-Amukamara*, Hosley*, Webster, James,
P-Weatherford*
K-
LS-DeOssie*

Of the 38 players under contract, I believe that 23 will almost certainly be on the roster.

SALARY CAP MANUEVERING

According to overthecap.com, the Giants have $17 million in cap room going into the off-season. This number is misleading since there are sure to be a few cuts and restructures that will clear quite a bit of cap room.

Restructures:

Eli Manning has a 20.4 million dollar cap number. I think we can expect an extension that at the very least clears 40% of that cap number, just to be conservative. (for example, if he got a contract identical to Tony Romo's, his cap number in year 1 would be only 11.8 million.) So, let's use that as a starting point.

+8.6 million in cap room

Cuts:

Chris Snee: Snee is done, his hips are shot; great giant, but clearly physically unable to play anymore.

+7.25 million in cap room (4.5 million in dead money)

David Baas: Similar to snee, although not quite as physicially worn down, but clearly not an effective player anymore. I've heard Optimus opine that Baas will be designated a June 1st Cut, so if this is the case, you spread out his bonus money between this year and 2015. In this scenario, the Giants still gain cap room.

+5.00 million in cap room

Mathias Kiwanuka: In my view, he is an extremely overrated player. According to PFF, he has a -12.8 rating, and 4th worst of players who've played at least 25% of the snaps in the league. Further, he will be 31 years old, and will amost certainly not get any better moving forward. I believe that Kiwanuka should and will be cut, even if we have to eat some dead money.

+1.800 milllion in cap room

Brandon Myers: This one is a no brainer. He has contributed nothing in the run game and is a liability in pass protection. He is an average receiver with little ability to separate; His skill set might be useful in a peyton manning type offense, but not in this one. He is axed.

+3.25 million in cap room

Corey Webster: According to overthecap, webster is under contract. He has done next to nothing this year, and was pretty bad last year. While his cap number is not good, coming off a bad season, the giants might want to continue the move away from older veterans, to newer, younger, hungrier players with something to prove.

+1.00 million in cap room

Antrel Rolle: This is the toughest nut to crack. Rolle will be 31, he is still a super productive player, and a leader on defense. However, his cap number is 9.25 million and there are several really strong safeties on the free agent market. If we have a season where we finish 5-11 or 6-10, I am inclined to cut him loose, and either try to re-sign at a lower price or move on to another safety.

+7.25 Million in cap room

So, after all these moves, that leaves us with an additional 34.15 million more in cap room or 51.9 million in total cap availability.

After these moves, our roster is fairly thinned out however,

QB-Manning, Nassib
RB-Wilson, Cox
FB-Hynoski, Connor
WR-Cruz, Randle, Jernigan
TE-Robinson, Donnell
T-Pugh, Beatty
G-Mosley, Brewer
C-Cordle
DT-Hankins, Jenkins, Kuhn
DE-JPP, Moore,
LB-Paysinger, Williams, Bradford
S-Hill, Taylor
CB-Amukamara, Hosley, James
PK
P-Weatherford
LS-DeOssie

That is 31 players, meaning we have to fill 21 spots.

RE-SIGNING FREE AGENTS

I think we will re-sign several of our free agents. The major free agents are:

Beason, Boothe, A.Brown, S.Brown, Hillis, McBride, Nicks, Patterson, Tuck, Thomas, Rivers.

VET MINIMUMS

I think we can probably re-sign Boothe, Hillis, McBride, Patterson, and Rivers for veteran minimum deals. I don't see much interest coming from the outside and they are steady rolle players that can provide solid depth.

-3.9 million

SHORT-TERM INEXPENSIVE DEALS

I further think we can re-sign Thomas, Stevie Brow, and Justin Tuck for relatively inexensive short-term deals. I don't see other teams breaking the bank for these players.

I'm going to say that we can get each on 1 to 2 year deals for a cap count of 2 mil per player, or 6 million overall

-6 million


With these re-signings are roster now looks like this:

QB-Manning, Nassib
RB-Wilson, Cox
FB-Hynoski, Connor
WR-Randle, Cruz, Jernigan
TE-Robinson, Donnell
T-Pugh, Beatty
G-Boothe, Mosely, Brewer
C-Cordle
DE-JPP, Moore, Tuck,
DT-Hankins, Jenkins, Kuhn, Patterson
LB-Paysinger, Williams, Bradford, Herzlich,
S-Hill, S. Brown, Taylor
CB-Amukamara, Thomas, Hosely, James
PK
P-Weatherford
LS-DeOssie

After these moves, we will have about $42 million in cap room to spend on major free agent re-signings, free agent signings, and the draft.

Looking at our roster, we have a need for an impact Defensive Lineman, an impact Interior offensive lineman, and an impact Linebacker, a starting tight end, another running back, cornerback, safety, and a placekicker.

We have 4 major free agents that we woudl love to have back at the right price, they are as follows:

Beason
Nicks
Joseph
An. Brown

before going into how to spend the remaning cap space, lets remove the draft slot money, which would likely take up between 6 to 7 in cap room. Leaveus us with about 35-36 million in money to spend in free agency.

HOW WOULD YOU SPEND $35-36 MILLION IN CAP ROOM

At positions I pointed out as needs, here are the players I would target

RB: Andre Brown, Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, Toby Gerhart, Ben Tate, Jonathan Dwyer, LeGarrette Blount.

WR: Anquan Boldin, Jacoby Jones, James Jones, Jeremy Maclin, Emmanuel Sanders, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Mario Manningham, Golden Tate,

TE: Jimmy Graham, Jeremichal Finley, Dustin Keller, Brandon Pettigrew, Fred Davis, Andrew Quarless, Dennis Pitta,

OT: Brandon Albert, Jordan Gross, Eugene Monroe, Michal Oher, Rodger Saffold, Jared Veldheer

OG: John Greco, Zane Beadles, Jon Asamoah, Matt Slauson,

OC: Alex Mack, Roberta Garza, Jonathan Goodwin, Manny Ramirez,

DT: Linval Joseph, Henry Melton, Randy Starks, Paul Solial, Peria Jerry, Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, Jay Ratliff, Terrance Cody, Tyson Jackson, Jason Hatcher, Ziggy Hood

DE: Jared Allen, Michael Johnson, Lamarr Houston, Michael Bennett, Greg Hardy, Anthony Spencer, Brian Orakpo

LB: Wesley Woodyard, Akeem Jordan, James Anderson, Jon Beason, Karlos Dansby, Jonathan Vilma, BrandoN Sppikes, D.J. Williams, Perry Riley,

S: Jairus Byrd, Antoine Bethea, Donte Whitner, Ryan Clark, Nate Allen, T.J. Ward, Taylor Mays,

CB:
Aqib Talib, Charles Tillman, Brent Grimes, Tim Jennings, Vontae Davis, Sam Shields, Chris Cook, Alterraun Verner, Brandon Browner,

PK:
Aqib Talib, Charles Tillman, Brent Grimes, Tim Jennings, Vontae Davis, Sam Shields, Chris Cook, Alterraun Verner, Brandon Browner,




I think with nearly 35 million to spend, and 12.5 million in dead money coming off the books next year. I think we could sign 4 major free agents and around 3 above league minimum free agents. You could give each major free agent a first year cap number of $5 million, on average, and the mid levels a cap number of 2.5 on average, which would still leave about 7.5 million leftover for other low level signings, and or cap flexibility that could be rolled over to next year. With that said: here is who i would pick as the major signings:

DE-Greg Hardy
DT-Linval Joseph
S-T.J. Ward
G-Jon Asamoah

Mid-Level Signings

LB-Jon Beason
RB-Andre Brown
WR-Jeremy Maclin


I would not keep Hakeem Nicks, I think injuries have sapped him of some of his speed, and I think he is not content in New York. I would go into the draft and get another receiver there and I think Maclin would sign in New York for a short-term deal to up his value again. I think we need a deep threat to keep defenses on their heels and neither cruz, nicks, or randle is a true deep threat. Maclin would do this.

I think that Beason is a priority, but I don't think he'll be that that expensive. He says he wants to stay in New York, he's been productive for 4 games, but he hadn't been in a couple of years, and linebackers in recent years have not been super expensive. Andre Brown is similar to Beason, he's valuable, but no other team is going to break the bank for him.

As for the four major signings; I think that Asamoah is the best guard on the market and we need one. I think we can slide Boothe over to Center, and pick put Brewer, Mosley, or a draft pick in at left tackle making our o-line solid.

I love T.J. Ward, I think he can replace rolle. He is young, fast, intelligent, and a rising star. I think he's a difference maker that can help make the secondary one of the best in the NFL.

I also really like Hardy, he's young, big, strong against the run, and a real force rushing the passer. With him and JPP at the ends, Hakins and Joseph in the middle, we'll have a really power o-line.



What are your thoughts?
Me personally,  
Giantology : 11/16/2013 3:22 pm : link
I think the offseason is still a long ways away. Things are going to change drastically, even from now to Week 17.

Many of the free agents you list will not become free agents. I'm really not sure some of the guys you think will re-sign for the vet min will actually re-sign for the vet min, likewise with some of the "short term inexpensive" deals. Cutting guys like Kiwanuka who are at a relatively low cost and provide pretty good depth don't really seem like a good idea.

And what if any of the names on your post get injured? It changes things drastically.

Our season is practically on the line right now, so this doesn't seem like the best time to bring it up. But I appreciate the effort and thought put into it
I rolled my eyes  
ZGiants98 : 11/16/2013 3:23 pm : link
when I first clicked on this, but you did a really nice job. Very well thought out. I think the Giants are going to have a hard time cutting Rolle. Also, I think we'll at least make Nicks a pretty fair offer. He wants to move on and take a better offer it will be up to him.
Who's going to be our TE  
ZGiants98 : 11/16/2013 3:25 pm : link
btw?
Very well done  
The Natural : 11/16/2013 3:27 pm : link
so much can change between now and the end of the year. I'd like to see your perspective after the season is over.
I think we bring in a stop-gap TE option  
CMicks3110 : 11/16/2013 3:36 pm : link
such as Andrew Quarless or Fred Davis, and then draft someone in the 2nd to 4th round. I really like C.J. Fiedorwicz out of Iowa. He is a really strong blocker and has solid hands and separation ability.

I would love Jimmy Graham and we have the cap room to get him, but New Orleans will almost certainly find a way to keep him despite their cap woes.
Also  
CMicks3110 : 11/16/2013 3:37 pm : link
I forgot to mention, I want Graham Gano, the placekicker for Carolina. He has a monster leg and has gotten much more accurate. He can be our kicker for the next decade and I think Josh Brown is at best, a slightly below average kicker.
Yeah, we'd all love Jimmy Graham  
Giantology : 11/16/2013 3:42 pm : link
But there's no way he's leaving NO. And even if he did, someone would outbid us.
Shoring up the OL is our top priority  
SGMen : 11/16/2013 3:49 pm : link
I think Snee, Baas, Diehl are all most certainly gone.

I also think Myers is gone at TE and that may be a position of need. It all depends upon how the youngsters do down the stretch here.

Lets face it, if both Snee and Baaas had played to past levels of success we'd be maybe 6-3 right now!
Overall I like this but  
giantgiantfan : 11/16/2013 3:57 pm : link
there a few WTFs in there. Anquain Boldin is 33 today and will be 34 next year and he was the first WR on your list? Explain that one..
the list of each free agent  
CMicks3110 : 11/16/2013 4:03 pm : link
is from Overthecap, it wasn't in any particular order i put together, i think it was sorted by who has the highest salary this season.
The saints are going to franchise Graham  
Jay on the Island : 11/16/2013 4:17 pm : link
if they can't work out a long term deal.

The most intriguing player on that list for me is C Alex Mack. The Giants offensive line would play much better if they had a stud center. They could draft a guard in rounds 2 or 3 and let the pick compete with Boothe, Mosley, and Brewer.
I can't see the Giants spending a lot on Hardy  
Jay on the Island : 11/16/2013 4:20 pm : link
with his off the field concerns and with JPP's contract expiring after next season. I do have a gut feeling that they try to sign Maclin to a 1 year prove it type deal if they lost Nicks in free agency. I know Reese was high on him during the draft.
Good job CMicks3110  
Optimus-NY : 11/16/2013 4:27 pm : link
I just want to point out a few things...


I. A restructure is not the same as an extension. Both result in creating more cap room in a single given year, but a restructure is more short sighted, whereas an extension is done with long-term goals in mind, usually with a franchise type of player (i.e. a vet QB like Tom Brady this past off-season). Eli and the Giants will almost certainly come to terms on a restructure for the final two years of his deal (2014 and 2015)/extension this off-season, despite what's been happening performance-wise (elements largely out of his control, but that's another discussion).

Keep this in mind when projecting cap numbers for players: look at the dead money column, as below:



The cap number for a player who agrees to a restructure/extension can not be less than his dead money amount for the first year of that extension under the terms of the previous contract. The Dead Money amount in 2014 is $7 M and his cap number as of now for 2014 is $20.4 mill, making that a difference of $13.6 mill. You did the math fine---no problem at all. I just wanted to point this out to those who are unaware of this factor. The lowest Eli's cap number can be next year is $7 million based on the contractual breakdown above from overthecap.com.

Tom Condon, Easy E's agent (as well a Tom Coughlin's and Victor Cruz's), will want a real money raise for 2014 from the terms of this current deal ($15,150,000 base salary + $500 K workout bonus = real salary of $15,650,000 in 2014). Eli's bonus will assuredly be more than that $15.65 M figure, so it won't be an issue). The next deal he gets is going to help set the stage for the Giants to contend for the next 5 years since that is the proration limit in the current CBA, unlike the previous one.

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II. Myers and Webster are under contract next year, but won't be back. They have what are known as "voidable years" next year. Myers's contract is essentially 4 consecutive one-year deals. I'd bet almost anything that those two are gone next year.

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III. Draft slot money does not take up as much as is often reported ($6.7 M for the sake of argument in this scenario). After the season ends the salary cap accounting rules change. They go from the regular season rules (which take into account all 53 players on the 53-man roster, players on I.R., Injury Settlements, the Practice Squad, & the PUP list) to the "Top 51 rule".

The Top 51 rule only takes into account the top 51 cap numbers on your team. Of the players who are drafted, only those in the first 2 or sometimes 2 rounds fit into the top 51. Additionally, when they are added on to the Top 51, salary displacement takes place. Due to these 3 factors (the top 5 rule, only 2 or 3 drafted players fitting into the top 51, and salary displacement), only about 1/2 to 1/3 of that figure you stated in this hypothetical scenario will count against the cap.

So instead of the rookies taking up only $6 to $7 million of cap space, they'll take up $2 to $3.5 M in cap space. It's an important distinction. Of course this will change once the regular season salary cap accounting rules kick in the day before the first regular season game of the season takes place on Thursday Night.

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IV. You might want a link for people to see the work that was already done compiling this info. by Jason Fitzgerald on the players who are already under contract next year at OverTheCap.com for the Giants in 2014. According to Jason, the Giants have 35 players under contract in 2014, with only $389,298 in Dead Money (this will increase) and $107,694,673 in Active Salary. The total salary figure he has is $108,083,971 (see below):

NFL Estimated Salary Cap Spending- 2014 - ( New Window )
Forgot to add  
Optimus-NY : 11/16/2013 4:31 pm : link
If any of you guys wanna have some fun, then click on the link below from OverTheCap.com:

Salary Cap calculator


It's a salary cap calculator, and you'll probably wind up not getting any work done if you use it during the work week. Besides that, it's awesome. Enjoy.
TE,WR,OT  
jLefty : 11/16/2013 4:38 pm : link
A big domninant TE,A fast, tall WR to go deep, and a stud tackle'.How we get them I'll leave to Reese etc. Poster does a helluva job with his in depth analysis.
BRIAN DE LA PEUNTE...  
NYGiants89 : 11/16/2013 5:31 pm : link
Guys keep an eye on him! Saints current center. He is the lynchpin keeping together that offensive line even after they have lost numerous starters over the years. He is not a big name so we could nab him as an UFA for a cheaper deal. Something like 4-5 mil a year.

Last season, he graded out as the second-best overall center by PROFOOTBALLFOCUS. I know we don't always all agree with their grading system but for offensive line they do a good job. The year before he was their 12th best and this year he is only rated as their 16th best center, however, the entire Saints line is struggling comparatively and it is taking a toll on his play.

The Saints will be on primetime TV this weekend. Please take a look and watch this guy play
Keep this in mind regarding Baas if he's a post-June 1st cut:  
Optimus-NY : 11/16/2013 6:08 pm : link
The Giants wouldn't see his cap money freed on their books until June 2nd (actually 8 am ET on the first day after June 1st that's a weekday).
SEEYA  
Glover : 11/16/2013 9:43 pm : link
Kiwi, & Tuck. Nicks can go see if he can get a better contract. Terrell Thomas-yawn. Interesting FAs you mentioned: Ben Tate, Pettigrew, Pitta,Melton, Solia, and TJ Ward.
Good read.
Unless they're drafting a RB they end up massively high on and think  
Riggies : 11/16/2013 9:49 pm : link
can learn whatever offense they're running next year really quickly, I don't see how they bring Brown back. He's become a good RB when healthy, but it's only a matter of snaps before he gets injured again and Wilson is a big time question mark behind/next to him (and he's not going anywhere). You can't go Brown/Wilson/Hillis and not be setting yourself up for a disaster at the position.

I also don't think an extension for Eli is anywhere near the sure thing it's been widely suggested. His cap hit obviously sucks, but locking themselves into a good number of years, at a high dollar, with him after how he'll be coming off of a year and a half of piss poor play at age 33 (barring some incredibly unlikely turnaround this season) isn't wise. If he doesn't take a pay cut (unlikely) and they don't draft a QB high (even more unlikely), I can easily see them trying to ride out another big cap hit season with him, where if he bounces back, he gets an extension, lowering the hit for 2015, but if he doesn't, they'll be in an easier spot to move on from him. They'll just tinker with other guys' contracts again if they have to, even if it's not necessarily prudent.
you have a big hole at your  
Reb8thVA : 11/17/2013 12:54 am : link
Starting CB opposite of Prince. Sign Browner.
Riggies,  
Blackbeard : 11/17/2013 1:08 am : link
If they don't extend Eli (based on failing talent {?}),
who replaces him?
Is Nassib that good?
How soon would a rookie be ready?
Free Agent? Who?
Not extending him (yet) doesn't mean they're cutting him.  
Riggies : 11/17/2013 2:16 am : link
The only way they part ways after this season is if they draft a QB high and that's highly unlikely right now.

It just means they would take another short term cap hit in order to avoid tying themselves to a guy whose current/future ability is going to rightfully be in question after what's probably going to be a season and a half of flat out sucking, entering his mid 30s. If he bounces back in 2014, they can then extend him then, to lower the 2015 hit and set up any years beyond. If he unfortunately doesn't, his current deal is pretty swallowable for 2015, to cut him before then.

Frankly, this was a really crappy time for Eli to fall off like this (even though it's hopefully not permanent), because extending him now should have been a no brainer... instead it's either a gamble, that could potentially cripple them for years or they have to take a probably unexpected major hit on the cap chin for another year, when they need that money to help dig out of the hole they've dug themselves with the interior OL (amongst other moves).
O.K.  
Blackbeard : 11/17/2013 10:18 am : link
I think we will see the real Eli when the OL gets fixed.
Blackbeard - I agree  
Optimus-NY : 11/17/2013 10:37 am : link
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Riggies does bring up an important point though  
Optimus-NY : 11/17/2013 10:43 am : link
It all depends on how the Giants view Eli, and if they think his struggles have more to do with the circumstances that he's been placed in (i.e., bad O-Line), or if they think his struggles are more intrinsic. I think they'll opt for the former of the two, but it is important to consider both options in case they don't extend Eli. Always follow the money if you want to see what a team REALLY thinks about a player. Joel Corry wrote an article this week in which he mentioned the possibility of the Giants not extending Eli. Check it out below:


Salary cap kings of 2013 - Quarterbacks dominate the list, with a little help from some of the game’s marquee defenders. | Joel Corry - November 14, 2013 - ( New Window )
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