When the New York Giants hired former Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen to replace Dave Gettleman, he knew he had a difficult task ahead of him. The Giants’ roster was in shambles and their salary space was shredded by monster contracts handed out to smooth over poor drafting.
Schoen understood that the team needed to knock the 2022 NFL draft out of the park, and on paper, he did just that. Landing Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal were easy decisions, but it was the luck the Giants needed to turn the ship around.
Tough decisions needed to be made:
However, the new general manager had to make some tough decisions with the salary cap to add some much-needed relief. He also injected more talent into the roster. He was forced to release several players right off the bat, including Logan Ryan, James Bradberry, and Kyle Rudolph.
Back in November, Schoen indicated they must get underneath the salary cap to have a bit of flexibility.
“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, via the New York Post. “There’s a fine line, because you can’t purge.”
Unfortunately, he had to purge a few big contracts on the roster that simply weren’t scheme fits any longer. Hiring defensive coordinator Wink Martindale completely shook up the strategy. Both Ryan and Bradberry no longer fit the team’s needs, making them expendable pieces that added about $15 million to the team’s salary space.
After signing rookie contracts and adding several pieces to the OL, the Giants currently have $6.2 million available to make any emergency moves. As we’ve seen in the past, it’s always good to have a few million going into the season in case injuries arise. That is ultimately why Logan Ryan ended up being signed after Xavier McKinney suffered a fractured foot during training camp two years ago.
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The Giants took a conservative approach this off-season:
Schoen made it a priority to sign mainly one-year contracts instead of pushing money down the road. He did add right guard Mark Glowinski to a three-year, $20 million contract, but that was the biggest deal he offered.
The team projects to have around $53.35 million in available cap space next year, which should give them a bit of mobility toward signing players or extending Daniel Jones. If they want to take it a step further, they can even release Leonard Williams and Adoree Jackson, which would open up $27 million in salary space. Depending on how the two players perform this upcoming season, that could be a strategy they execute to reallocate funds to better scheme fits.
Nonetheless, it is important to recognize that this is the first year of a full-scale rebuild. If the team restarts at quarterback next off-season, shedding salary space and building through youth will likely be the strategy.
Therefore, the Giants could have upward of $80 million before signing their 2023 draft picks, allowing them to make splash moves to fuel the development of the roster.