Giants’ GM Joe Schoen hints at ‘tough decisions’ with salary cap issues looming

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The New York Giants are staring an interesting salary situation in the face with -$12 million this off-season. Massive contracts executed by Dave Gettleman have put the roster in peril, especially with enormous scheme changes set to commence. The hiring of Brian Daboll and Wink Martindale should shake things up on both the offense and defense.

With different systems come different players.

The Giants will have to have to make several difficult decisions this off-season, as new general manager Joe Shoen indicated recently.

“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. “There’s a fine line, because you can’t purge.’’

Schoen goes on to state that the roster can’t be purged, meaning dropping any player to secure a bit of cash for the short term isn’t sustainable. If you look ahead beyond 2022, the Giants have $92.5 million available during the 2023 off-season, including an additional $18 million if they elect to cut Leonard Williams.

If you combine the $92.5 million and $18 million, you walk away with over $110 million available in spending, but that number will decrease after the Giants sign their draft class from this year and prospectively add a few new players during free agency.

We shouldn’t expect Schoen to be ultra-aggressive this off-season with his spending unless he’s willing to backload some of his contracts beyond this upcoming season’s salary cap. However, the former Bills assistant GM would prefer not to offer big signing bonuses right off the bat and kick the can down the road. If possible, focusing on smaller signing bonuses and roster bonuses during the latter portion of the contract offers more flexibility.

“What I’d like to do is not be in a situation where you do the signing bonuses and you kick the can down the road,” Schoen said. “That’s not ideal for me. I like to do smaller signing bonuses and then roster bonuses in latter years. It gives you more flexibility.”

Players like James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, Kyle Rudolph, Sterling Shepard, and Riley Dixon stand out as prime cut candidates. The team can save over $32 million just by releasing those players, but it opens up massive holes on the defensive side at linebacker and cornerback.

With Martindale looking to deploy a man coverage-heavy scheme with plenty of blitzing, the Giants will have to make some personal decisions, and they could commit to their draft class as a solution.

Looking at next season realistically, the Giants will likely be using 2022 as a fresh slate season, building up certain players and allowing contracts to expire without overspending and trying to “win during a rebuild,” as we’ve seen in the past. However, don’t underestimate the impact of quality coaching, meaning the Giants can still compete and win games without an influx of big contracts and lucrative names.

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