The New York Giants have a new general manager in Dave Gettleman and a new head coach in Pat Shurmur. The players they inherited were selected from the previous regime of Jerry Reese and, to a lesser degree, Ben McAdoo.
Gettleman and Shurmur have a vision of the direction they want the team to go in. In addition to decisions that must be made over players entering free agency, they must also decide whether or not to keep players who are not scheduled to enter the open market.
The Giants, naturally have to take a player’s on-field performance into consideration. They must also consider how keeping or cutting a player will affect the team’s bottom line from a financial standpoint.
The term “dead money” is used frequently this time of year. People who follow the NFL know dead money is not a good thing, but they may not know exactly what it is. Dead money, in laymen’s terms, is the salary cap space a team must allocate to pay a player once they’ve been cut. The purpose of dead money is to make sure that every dollar a team spends on players’ salaries eventually makes its way to that team’s salary cap. Teams try to have as little dead money on their books as possible.
The term “cap number” is also thrown around considerably. A player’s cap number is often different from the amount of money he was actually paid. The most common reason is because teams often prorate (or spread) signing bonuses throughout the life of a contract.
Here is a list of players the Giants may consider cutting, along with their guaranteed 2018 salary, bonuses, their cap number, savings against the cap (if applicable), and dead money (if applicable).
All monetary figures come courtesy of the website Over the Cap.
Cornerback Eli Apple
Guaranteed 2018 salary: $1,827,484; Bonuses: $2,304,952 prorated; Cap number: $4,132,436; Savings against the cap: N/A; Dead money: $4,609,904
Apple’s 2017 season was marred by suspensions and confrontations with coaches, executives, and teammates. It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which he remains on the team, especially when his play somewhat regressed when he was actually on the field in ’17. Apple is already the subject of trade rumors, though the Giants would not get back equal value for the mercurial cornerback.
Offensive lineman Ereck Flowers
Guaranteed 2018 salary: $2,397,522; Bonuses: $2,181,697 prorated; Cap number: $4,579,219; Savings against the cap: N/A; Dead money: $4,579,219
Flowers, like Apple, is a first-round draft pick. He has been wildly inconsistent during his Giants tenure. Spending the bulk of last offseason at the team’s facility working out did nothing to improve his game. He did himself no favors when he asked out of the regular season finale due to what many in the Giants organization believed was a phantom injury.
His running mate, Bobby Hart, has already been released. Flowers is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Giants may give Flowers another chance to prove himself before looking to deal him. If the Giants do deal Flowers, they won’t get equal value for him.
Wide receiver/return specialist Dwayne Harris
Guaranteed 2018 salary: $3,225,000; Bonuses: $800,000 prorated, $25,000 workout; Cap number: $4,050,000; Savings against the cap: $2,450,000; Dead money: $1,600,000
Harris’ 2017 season was cut short when he suffered a season-ending foot injury in the same game that saw Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall suffer the same fate. Harris will be 31 when the season starts. He is predominately a special teams player who hasn’t justified his salary with his production. The Giants may want to move on.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins
Guaranteed 2018 salary: $10,150,000; Bonuses: $2,000,000 prorated, $100,000 workout; Cap number: $13,000,000; Savings against the cap: $7,000,000; Dead money: $6,000,000
Jenkins was a Pro Bowler in 2016, a 11-5 playoff season. Last season, when the franchise set a record for losses, Jenkins checked out early. He didn’t return to the team after the bye week and was suspended after he didn’t offer an explanation why. Jenkins’ effort was a question mark even before having season-ending ankle surgery.
The Giants could part ways with Jackrabbit as a means of sending a message to the rest of the team. However, he’s too good. Jenkins is one of the NFL’s best corners when he plays to his potential. The Giants aren’t (or shouldn’t) cut off their nose to spite their face just to make a point.
Offensive lineman John Jerry
Guaranteed 2018 salary: $3,050,000; Bonuses: $800,000 prorated, roster $250,000, workout $25,000; Cap number: $4,125,000; Savings against the cap: $2,525,000; Dead money: $1,600,000
Jerry is the only offensive lineman to start every game for the Giants in each of the last two seasons. He started off slow in 2017 but eventually got it together enough to be a key contributor to the o-line. Jerry’s price tag and durability should mean the Giants will keep him around. If anything, he provides more options along the offensive line, something the Giants needed plenty of last season.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall
Guaranteed 2018 salary: $5,000,000; Bonuses: $1,000,000 prorated, $500,000 roster; Cap number: $6,156,250; Savings against the cap: $5,156,250, Dead money: $1,000,000
Marshall’s first season with the Giants didn’t go according to plan. He only played in five games with 18 receptions for 154 yards. It was the first time in his career Marshall didn’t score a touchdown in a season. Marshall is third among active players in receiving yards (12,215) and touchdowns (82) He will also be 34 on Mar. 23 and coming off a season-ending ankle injury. The Giants already have Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard. If Marshall does return the Giants, his contract would need to be restructured with money on the back end.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Guaranteed 2018 salary: $6,480,000; Bonuses: $2,000,000 prorated, $20,000 workout; Cap number: $8,500,000; Savings against the cap: $6,500,000; Dead money: $2,000,000
Rodgers-Cromartie had the best of times and worst of times in 2017. When he was on the field, he played well, exactly what you would expect from a savvy veteran. However, Rodgers-Cromartie also bickered with the coaching staff and served a suspension. He was contrite and showed that veteran leadership when Eli Apple started beefing with pretty much everyone.
Rodgers-Cromartie can still play at a high level and will probably benefit from the coaching change. At the same time, he will be 32 on Apr. 7 and the Giants could use the savings from releasing him on other areas of team need.