How the Giants can create $40 million in cap space this off-season

New York Giants, Blake Martinez, James Bradberry

Former New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman left the team in shambles after departing this past season. The salary cap is in disarray, and the Giants have one of the least talented teams yet spent an obscene amount of money on players, indicating poor management and strategy the past four seasons.

With ownership bringing in former Buffalo Bills assistant manager Joe Schoen to lead the charge and start a new era, the first thing he must do is shed dead weight and find money to spend this off-season toward a rebuild.

Schoen has been incredibly outgoing regarding the team’s needs and issues, noting how little flexibility they have in salary space, which will, unfortunately, require them to cut players.

“It’s a concern and it’s real,” Schoen said of the cap situation. “Kevin Abrams and I haven’t talked about it yet. We looked at it, we’re going to get together at the end of the week or first of next week to start formulating a plan, but we’re going to have to get below the salary cap.

Schoen continued on to detail a strategy that involves evaluating every player and determining if their contract is worth retaining.

“Obviously, we’re going to have to clear some money, but when the new head coach gets in here, the new staff, we’re going to get together, we’re going to watch the film, we’re going to evaluate everybody, we’re going to talk to the support staff. Who are the guys that kind of fit the vision that we’re looking for? Who are the guys that are going to buy into the program? Then, we’ll make educated decisions once we have more information. There are going to be difficult decisions that are going to have to be made.”

How the Giants can open up $40 million in cap space:

Current cap: -$12.2 million 

Cut – James Bradberry: $12.1 million

While Bradberry has performed well since signing a three-year, $43.5 million deal with the Giants, he’s not exactly a scheme fit in Wink Martindale‘s man coverage system. Bradberry excels in zone coverage, so the Giants may look to shed his salary hit and look toward another option. Clearing $12.1 million will provide plenty of mobility, just about bringing them into a positive cap situation.

Cut – Blake Martinez: $8.5 million

Blake Martinez is a fan favorite, but the Giants could sacrifice him due to salary concerns — it is unlikely an alternative team is willing to pay him $14 million per season (his cap hit for 2022). Either the Giants can release him, and he can pursue an opportunity elsewhere, or he can agree to a new contract that lowers his AAV.

Cut – Riley Dixon: $2.8 million

After signing a lucrative deal for a punter, Riley Dixon struggled considerably last season. Given he’s set to earn $2.8 million with only $320K guaranteed, he’s almost a guaranteed cap cut.

Cut – Kyle Rudolph: $5 million

The Giants tried to bring in a red zone threat last off-season in Kyle Rudolph, but it was clear he lost a step, and the Giants’ offense was incapable of getting him the ball regardless. Set to earn $7.4 million, the Giants can save $5 million, making this decision an easy one.

Cut – Sterling Shepard (post-June 1): $8.5 million

When healthy, Sterling Shepard is one of the team’s best offensive weapons, but he struggled to play consistently during his career. Having torn his Achilles at the end of the 2021 season, the Giants might not have a choice but to release him, and they would save a bit more if they wait until post-June 1.

Cut – Devontae Booker: $2.1 million

It seems as if management is keen on retaining Saquon Barkley for the final year of his contract, so releasing Devontae Booker and saving his $2.1 million salary hit might be the best course of action. Booker has $1 million guaranteed, but the money that Schoen can allocate elsewhere is too good to pass up.

Cut – Kaden Smith: $2.5 million

Kaden Smith never received a fair opportunity to feature as the team’s primary tight end, but given his entire contract is not guaranteed, the team can easily save $2.5 million on his salary and replace him with an equal player at a lower cost. Smith is also a fan favorite, so unless he’s willing to negotiate a lower deal, he will likely hit free agency as well.

=$41.5 million in savings