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Schoen and the Cap


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Giants GM Joe Schoen: New York has 'some tough decisions' to make on roster to get below salary cap

Published: Feb 21, 2022

New Giants general manager Joe Schoen has a lot of work to do in New York, and some -- OK, much -- of it will not be easy.

Schoen is tasked with lifting the Giants out of what is now a half-decade run of losing defined by a revolving door at head coach that has produced nothing but disappointment. Gone are former GM Dave Gettleman and the last of his head coach choices, Joe Judge, but a roster makeover won't be as swift.

Gettleman went shopping in 2021, and retirement called him from the table before the bill came due. Schoen is stuck with the tab and now needs to figure out how to maneuver the Giants into a financially solvent position entering 2022, starting with shedding roughly $12 million in existing salary to get under the league's projected $208.2 million salary cap.

"First off, we have to get underneath [the cap], we have to make some tough decisions here in the near future just to get in a place where we can sign draft picks and be below the cap," Schoen said, via the New York Post. "There's a fine line, because you can't purge."

To be fair, the Giants aren't in the worst cap situation in the NFL. Five teams (Vikings, Rams, Cowboys, Packers and Saints) are currently over the cap worse than the Giants.

The key difference, though: Most of those teams believe they have rosters that can contend immediately. The same can't quite be said for the Giants, who will have to make a few of those tough decisions regarding a few household names.

James Bradberry is the first player who comes to mind thanks to his 2022 cap number of $21.8 million. Only a handful of corners in the entire NFL carry a higher number into the upcoming season, and while Bradberry is clearly New York's top defensive player, the Giants' current situation is going to require a restructure at minimum (which wouldn't be the first instance in Bradberry's time with the Giants). A trade involving Bradberry (with a post-June 1 designation) would clear $13.5 million and extract value out of a contract that will expire after 2022.

 

But it would also make the Giants worse than they already are.

Bradberry isn't the only defender with a large cap number entering 2022. Leonard Williams accounts for the largest, but he's entering the second year of a three-year deal that includes $19 million in guaranteed money for 2022. He's not going anywhere.

Adoree' Jackson joined New York on a three-year deal that included a cap-friendly first year that is suddenly not as welcoming in 2022. Jackson's cap number jumps from $6.7 million to $15.2 million, accounting for the fourth-highest number on the team, but cutting him before June 1 would actually cost the Giants over $3 million in dead cap. A trade would save $6.26 million before June 1 and over $10 million after that date.

Right behind Jackson is Blake Martinez, a tackling machine and a key part of New York's defense whose loss to injury significantly hindered the Giants in 2021. Cutting him would clear $8.5 million, but again, make the Giants worse.

 

Perhaps most important to this equation are the players whose presence hasn't made New York significantly better in the last couple of seasons. Saquon Barkley is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie deal after a 2021 season that was indisputably his worst in the NFL. Barkley came off an ACL tear to average 3.7 yards per carry and score four total touchdowns in 2021, leading many to question whether he still has the ability that once led Gettleman to spend the second-overall pick on him in the 2018 draft.

The bad news on Barkley: The Giants are going to have to play this out or find a trade partner interested in taking on $7.2 million in guaranteed salary for one season of Barkley. Otherwise, they're carrying that number in 2022.

Kenny Golladay's cap number leaps from $4.47 million in 2021 to $21.15 million in 2022 and will remain steady around that mark for the duration of his deal with the Giants (through 2024). That price bought the Giants 37 catches for 521 yards in 2021. Schoen can't just cut Gettleman's gamble loose, as it would cost New York additional cap space ($2.45 million in dead cap) if it occurred before June 1. A trade would be more feasible, but if you thought Odell Beckham was untradeable at his number (about $5 million lower than Golladay's 2022 number) during the 2021 season, then you'd know Golladay isn't going anywhere until the summer at the very least.

 

Injuries factored into our evaluation of a lot of these players. Golladay has had his medical struggles in recent seasons, as did teammate Sterling Shepard in 2021. He's another one who could be on the move, though a departure wouldn't make the Giants better anywhere but on the books (by about $8.5 million after June 1).

"The players were paid those contracts they're making because at some point they were performing to a certain level," Schoen said. "Whether they were overvalued or maybe they got more than how they're performing or not, that's where you're gonna have to free up money."

Signing picks will include two first-round, top-10 selections. Those two alone will cost the Giants close to $11 million in cap space.

With all of this in mind, it's easier to understand why the Giants are positioning themselves to continue with Daniel Jones as their quarterback in 2022. Schoen doesn't have much of a choice when attempting to remedy the team's cap situation left behind by Gettleman.

"I don't want to purge the roster, because we still want to find out what Daniel Jones can do, we want to find out what Saquon can do," Schoen said. "We got some good pieces on defense. The fine balance, the fine line is cutting players that can really help you win but you also got to get under the salary cap, then you're gonna have the draft picks."

Those are the tough decisions and necessary sacrifices ahead for the Giants, and some decisions -- like on the future of tight end Kyle Rudolph, whose release would save the Giants $5 million immediately -- should be easier than others. The most important part of Schoen's statement was its closer: Then you're gonna have the draft picks.

Expect the Giants to get younger with their nine picks this spring. They'll likely have some empty lockers to fill once Schoen is done pruning this tree.

 

https://www.nfl.com/news/giants-gm-joe-schoen-new-york-tough-decisions-salary-cap-roster

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DG swung for the fences and cowardly retired to avoid what he deserved.

I will give him credit for making attempts rather than sitting around at 3-13 while 50 million under the cap.  That said, looking at some of these contracts coming off last season...it's embarrassingly bad when you can't even cut a guy to save a dollar.

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34 minutes ago, gmenroc said:

DG swung for the fences and cowardly retired to avoid what he deserved.

I will give him credit for making attempts rather than sitting around at 3-13 while 50 million under the cap.  That said, looking at some of these contracts coming off last season...it's embarrassingly bad when you can't even cut a guy to save a dollar.

You think he chose to retire? I don't.

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I think Gettleman retired simply because he went around the last day saying his goodbyes and his failures is what kept it low key when you compare it to Ernie Accorsi.  I don't think Jerry Reese went around saying goodbye to everyone when he got fired.  Dave knew he failed and for all we know, his cancer might have returned.

I think Dave Gettleman tried his best and he had nowhere near the success with the Giants that he did with the Panthers.  The misses at Head Coach are really what led 19 wins in 4 years, never mind free agency and the draft.   Giants will be out of trouble with the salary cap easily in the next few months.  

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I almost think you completely trade and/or cut bait with everyone on the roster and start over. Eating the dead cap now and trading down to the mid-first round or so to acquire additional next year picks doesnt sound like the worst idea given our cap situation and shitshow of a roster. 

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2 hours ago, Sephiroth said:

I almost think you completely trade and/or cut bait with everyone on the roster and start over. Eating the dead cap now and trading down to the mid-first round or so to acquire additional next year picks doesnt sound like the worst idea given our cap situation and shitshow of a roster. 

I think you take the guys you can.

Picks 5 and 7 can land some of the best talent in the draft, guys like Linderbaum and Hamilton who have best of the position value.

Trading down to the bottom/mid of round one or stacking day three picks just gives us camp bodies and bench guys we could just get from signing undrafted players. Find guys who you think are going to fit into the team your trying to build.  

Next year we won't compete, we are going to be carrying dead cap from the cuts and a completely gutted roster, as well as dead weight at QB and RB IMO. 

Best bet is the rookies get a year to develop and hopefully we can sign a RT for longer than two years and a IDL player as well. 

Then go after it in 2023 when we have 100+ million in cap space.  

This is kind of like Gettys first year, we are going to purge 30 to 40 players from this team and start from a blank slate. 

There's really no other way to build a team.

Unless you think you can win while you rebuild lol 

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7 hours ago, CrazedDogs said:

You think he chose to retire? I don't.

No, I dont.  But I think he should've accepted his firing, i.e. what he deserved, as opposed to putting up the charade of retirement.  #cowardly

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2 hours ago, BlueInCanada said:

I think you take the guys you can.

Picks 5 and 7 can land some of the best talent in the draft, guys like Linderbaum and Hamilton who have best of the position value.

Trading down to the bottom/mid of round one or stacking day three picks just gives us camp bodies and bench guys we could just get from signing undrafted players. Find guys who you think are going to fit into the team your trying to build.  

Next year we won't compete, we are going to be carrying dead cap from the cuts and a completely gutted roster, as well as dead weight at QB and RB IMO. 

Best bet is the rookies get a year to develop and hopefully we can sign a RT for longer than two years and a IDL player as well. 

Then go after it in 2023 when we have 100+ million in cap space.  

This is kind of like Gettys first year, we are going to purge 30 to 40 players from this team and start from a blank slate. 

There's really no other way to build a team.

Unless you think you can win while you rebuild lol 

I don't think winning while rebuilding is necessarily possible, but you can certainly start finding pieces.  Linderbaum and the best OT you can get would be big stepping stones to keeping Jones, or the next QB, upright.  We like to compartmentalize...do this, then that...but it's more fluid and dynamic than that.

Expectations next year are low, any way you slice it.  And free agency this year will likely be boring and mostly uneventful unless you get hyped up on restructures and departures...which you should because it sets us up going forward.

Just saying that we can take positive steps now while keeping expectations tempered.

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14 hours ago, Tempest said:

I think Gettleman retired simply because he went around the last day saying his goodbyes and his failures is what kept it low key when you compare it to Ernie Accorsi.  I don't think Jerry Reese went around saying goodbye to everyone when he got fired.  Dave knew he failed and for all we know, his cancer might have returned.

I think Dave Gettleman tried his best and he had nowhere near the success with the Giants that he did with the Panthers.  The misses at Head Coach are really what led 19 wins in 4 years, never mind free agency and the draft.   Giants will be out of trouble with the salary cap easily in the next few months.  

He made some spectacularly bone-headed decisions… spending 2nd overall pick on a RB without a capable OL (talk about putting the carriage before the horse)… the Leonard Williams signing… failure to resign  players on the team who were producing…. The disaster that’s the head coaches…. Wow just fucking wow.    

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1 hour ago, Nas said:

He made some spectacularly bone-headed decisions… spending 2nd overall pick on a RB without a capable OL (talk about putting the carriage before the horse)… the Leonard Williams signing… failure to resign  players on the team who were producing…. The disaster that’s the head coaches…. Wow just fucking wow.    

hey it worked for the Lions and Barry Sanders!

(checks Super Bowl history.... zero rings for Lions....)

wait..... never mind....

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Schoen's decisions in terms of cuts/trades shouldn't be complicated:

Cuts: (+$38M): Bradberry, Martinez, Shepherd (post June 1), Rudolph, Slayton, Dixon, Ximines (possibly Love +$2.5M too)

Trade: (+$7.2M): Barkley

That gets you to about $34-35M under the cap, and more than enough to invest in an actual OL with one upper tier OL (e.g. Laken Tomlinson) and one decent veteran (e.g. Brandon Shell, Morgan Moses).

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1 hour ago, mastershake said:

Schoen's decisions in terms of cuts/trades shouldn't be complicated:

Cuts: (+$38M): Bradberry, Martinez, Shepherd (post June 1), Rudolph, Slayton, Dixon, Ximines (possibly Love +$2.5M too)

Trade: (+$7.2M): Barkley

That gets you to about $34-35M under the cap, and more than enough to invest in an actual OL with one upper tier OL (e.g. Laken Tomlinson) and one decent veteran (e.g. Brandon Shell, Morgan Moses).

I don't know if it's a problem of the cap as.much as it is getting people in the door.

Id love a veteran RT but is he going to give the Giants any sort of deal on his first year or even want to come to a team that's been a dumpstir fire for 10 years.

We literally cut Zeitler because.of his cap hit and he goes and signs a piss cheap contract to go play with the Ravens.

I don't think the Giants have that luxury.

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48 minutes ago, BlueInCanada said:

I don't know if it's a problem of the cap as.much as it is getting people in the door.

Id love a veteran RT but is he going to give the Giants any sort of deal on his first year or even want to come to a team that's been a dumpstir fire for 10 years.

We literally cut Zeitler because.of his cap hit and he goes and signs a piss cheap contract to go play with the Ravens.

I don't think the Giants have that luxury.

One would have to hope the fact that there's a new front office regime and new coach in Daboll in town running the show, that this would entice some to want to be a part of this.

But yeah, the giants are a depressing franchise right now, with 2022 likely to be a transitory year.

Realistically I don't see Schoen trading Barkley, so 2022 is a year where we're turning over the roster and finally figuring out that Jones and Barkley aren't the future here; I already know that aren't the future, but it hasn't dawned on giants management yet.

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4 hours ago, mastershake said:

Schoen's decisions in terms of cuts/trades shouldn't be complicated:

Cuts: (+$38M): Bradberry, Martinez, Shepherd (post June 1), Rudolph, Slayton, Dixon, Ximines (possibly Love +$2.5M too)

Trade: (+$7.2M): Barkley

That gets you to about $34-35M under the cap, and more than enough to invest in an actual OL with one upper tier OL (e.g. Laken Tomlinson) and one decent veteran (e.g. Brandon Shell, Morgan Moses).

Is Martinez that expensive?   He's pretty good.  

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21 minutes ago, Nas said:

Is Martinez that expensive?   He's pretty good.  

He's a ~$14M cap hit, and if we cut him ~$5.5M dead cap, therefore the cap savings of cutting him is ~$8.5M.

Purely for health reasons I'd cut him. Do we know he'd return to full form and his prior form in 2022? I don't think we do. I don't think you commit this level of cap space on this chance. They need to bring in a defense that doesn't rely on him being the MLB.

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I'd love it if there we some kind of analysis done on all the mid-season 2021 cap moves DG made (i.e. he scrambled to restructure a lot of existing contracts to push salaries out of 2021 into 2022). E.g. Bradberry, Leonard Williams, Martinez, heck he was even trying to restructure Riley Dixon and Kyle Rudolph if I recall correctly.

I wonder what the total $ value of that stupidity is. It's gotta be above $10M. Probably closer to $20M.

DG really fucked over his successor. 

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16 minutes ago, mastershake said:

He's a ~$14M cap hit, and if we cut him ~$5.5M dead cap, therefore the cap savings of cutting him is ~$8.5M.

Purely for health reasons I'd cut him. Do we know he'd return to full form and his prior form in 2022? I don't think we do. I don't think you commit this level of cap space on this chance. They need to bring in a defense that doesn't rely on him being the MLB.

Fingers crossed they get some sort of physical on him soon. At least the injury was early in the season, they may be able to get a sense on if he could come back in full by now. Hate to lose Martinez, he is a heck of a player. 

I way underestimated his level of play too, I was so wrong about that signing.

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5 hours ago, mastershake said:

Schoen's decisions in terms of cuts/trades shouldn't be complicated:

Cuts: (+$38M): Bradberry, Martinez, Shepherd (post June 1), Rudolph, Slayton, Dixon, Ximines (possibly Love +$2.5M too)

Trade: (+$7.2M): Barkley

That gets you to about $34-35M under the cap, and more than enough to invest in an actual OL with one upper tier OL (e.g. Laken Tomlinson) and one decent veteran (e.g. Brandon Shell, Morgan Moses).

I wouldn't cut Love, he's a bargain. 

Hate to cut Bradberry, but I think we have to.

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3 hours ago, mastershake said:

One would have to hope the fact that there's a new front office regime and new coach in Daboll in town running the show, that this would entice some to want to be a part of this.

But yeah, the giants are a depressing franchise right now, with 2022 likely to be a transitory year.

Realistically I don't see Schoen trading Barkley, so 2022 is a year where we're turning over the roster and finally figuring out that Jones and Barkley aren't the future here; I already know that aren't the future, but it hasn't dawned on giants management yet.

If and thats a big IF, Barkley can bounce back and we can give him a contract akin to something like 7 to 8 million a year, for two or three years, but heavy in injury outs, I'd have no problem with it.

It gives Daboll a playmaker, and the new QB some security.

However if he bounces back and say some team comes calling at week 5 or 6 offering a third then pull the fucking trigger.

If he doesnt bounce back then we wouldn't be able to trade him for peanuts anyways, I don't even think we could trade him now for a 5th.

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24 minutes ago, gmenroc said:

Yeah..Bradberry had a down year, so it's restructure or cut...which sucks...because that will ultimately make our defense worse

Bradberry is still a very good corner, the problem is he's not going to fit into Wink's system well.

Wink schemes pressure, which usually means leaving the secondary in man coverage, your corners need to be able to stick to their man, and although Bradberry can do it occasionally, he can't do it all the time.

Bradberry was once a great man corner, but having to cover the best WRs for 7 years in the NFL he's run out.

Also if anything I think Bradberry is the most tradable player on the team, who could easily entice a team like the Chiefs who have a need at corner to give up a second.

 

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