Giants could soon get a big influx of cap space with looming retirement

New York Giants tight end Darren Waller (12) makes a catch in front of Philadelphia Eagles safety Tristin McCollum (36) during the second half at MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are tight on salary cap space after spending money throughout an incredibly productive offseason. General manager Joe Schoen utilized the salary cap well, adding talent to the lineup on both sides of the ball in an effort to get his team to bounce back from a disappointing 6-11 record last season.

More cap space could be on the way, however, as the Giants are expected to get an answer soon regarding veteran tight end Darren Waller’s future with the team. Waller has been mulling retirement all offseason long, but his decision could come soon, and if it comes after June 1st, that would have major implications on New York’s cap space.

How much cap space would the Giants receive from Darren Waller’s retirement?

Darren Waller, nyg, Giants
New York Giants tight end Darren Waller (12) catches the ball on day two of mandatory minicamp at the Giants training center on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, in East Rutherford.

Waller’s current cap figure of $14.1 million is the fourth-highest among all tight ends in the NFL this season. That could soon change, however, as Waller’s absence from OTAs seems to indicate he is leaning toward hanging up the cleats.

A player’s retirement clears the same amount of cap space as releasing that player. So, if Waller were to retire before Saturday, June 1st, the Giants would receive $6.7 million in cap savings with a $7.4 million dead cap hit in 2024.

However, if Waller’s decision to retire comes in post-June 1st, the Giants’ cap savings would balloon to $11.6 million with a $2.5 million dead cap hit. The delayed decision would result in an increased dead cap figure for the 2025 season, but the front office would likely be alright with that considering the influx in cap space they will receive for this season.

Waller’s retirement is anything but official, though. He could still decide to play another season. In that case, the Giants would then have the option to cut him for the same cap savings or plug him back into the lineup as their starting tight end.

What could the Giants do with the potential extra cap space?

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown scores a touchdown against Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore during the second half of the Lions' 20-19 loss at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023.
Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown scores a touchdown against Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore during the second half of the Lions’ 20-19 loss at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023. Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Waller’s retirement would allow the Giants to add some extra talent in preparation for the upcoming season. With the additional $6.7-11.6 million, Big Blue could address another position of need.

At cornerback, there are still some capable veterans available in free agency, such as Stephon Gilmore and Steven Nelson. On the offensive line, Connor Williams or Dalton Risner could be upgrades on the interior. And if the Giants want to sign a tight end to replace a tight end, Logan Thomas is one intriguing name still available.

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