In May of 2020, the New York Giants reportedly had less than $3.5 million in salary-cap space. That number has increased significantly with the latest news of offensive tackle Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 NFL season. But head coach Joe Judge also stated today: “We don’t feel like we have money burning a hole in our pocket.” Regardless of how Joe Judge might feel, the Giants’ salary cap situation has changed drastically due to Nate Solder’s decision to opt-out of the 2020 season. How exactly does that decision affect the Giants’ salary cap in 2020 and ahead?
Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 season also has important implications for the rest of the offensive line. You can read about that HERE.
2020 Salary Cap
Exactly how much cap space did Nate Solder’s opt-out free up for the 2020 season? Here is what Jordan Raanan of ESPN reported on the topic today:
This is somewhat complicated. Solder was to count $19.5 million against the salary cap this season. He was to make $13 million, of which he already earned $3.1 million ($3 million roster bonus plus a $100,000 workout bonus).
It’s likely he will be classified as a “high-risk” opt out, making him eligible for a $350,000 stipend that will not be considered a salary advance. A source with knowledge of the salary cap confirmed to ESPN that this would leave the Giants with a cap savings of $16.05 million. – Jordan Raanan of ESPN
The Giants have freed up a significant amount of salary cap space in 2020. They could choose to spend that money or keep it as insurance, but it will not roll over into 2021.
2021 Salary Cap
Solder’s opt-out only frees up cap space for the 2020 season. This year’s salary will now be pushed to 2021. So if the Giants do decide to spend this additional money, it would have to be on a one-year deal.
Nate Solder’s contract was originally set to expire after the 2021 NFL season. Now, it will expire in 2022. His decision to opt-out might have extended his time with the Giants. Solder was a cut-candidate for next season due to his high salary and low dead cap hit. Now his salary cap hit in 2021 is $16.4 million with $13 million in dead cap.
The Giants’ new potential out in the Solder contract is in 2022. In 2022, Solder’s cap hit will be $22 million with only $6.5 million in dead cap. Ultimately, the Giants have gained salary-cap space in 2020 due to Solder’s decision to opt-out. But this decision actually inflates their salary cap numbers over the next two years. Regardless, it was the right decision for Nate Solder to make. His family’s health comes first. But it will be interesting to see how the Giants manage their salary cap with this new and unexpected development.