The New York Giants shocked the league by turning a small amount of salary-cap space into a seemingly endless run of money which they promptly threw at free agents at all positions, a move widely regarded as the team’s being all-in on getting back to the playoffs this year.
In finding ways to come up with the money to afford what they perceive to be nice things, the Giants also engaged in some uncharacteristic maneuvers with their salary cap, which has assistant general manager Kevin Abrams, the man who manages the cap, slightly worried about next year.
To recap, the Giants handed out over $57.5 million in signing bonuses to guys like Leonard Williams, tight end Kyle Rudolph, receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson.
Those hefty signing bonuses prorated over the life of each contract and were paid out in exchange for getting the first-year cap dollar of those premium deals as low as possible, hence how the Giants were able to stretch their salary cap dollars.
The team also put a voidable year into Golladay’s four-year contract, which means they can spread the $17 million signing bonus over five years instead of four.
And the Giants also reworked the deals of cornerback James Bradberry and inside linebacker Blake Martinez by converting part of their respective base salaries into signing bonuses which now prorate over the remaining (and original) life of their deals.
According to Over the Cap, who is projecting a $203 million salary cap in 2022, the Giants already have $188 million committed to contracts, leaving them with just $5.811 million in functional cap space to not only re-sign some of the many free-agents whose contracts are currently in their final year this year but to also potentially accommodate quarterback Daniel Jones and/or running back Saquon Barkley on a contract extension if one or both has a monster breakout season.
In other words, the joy of the Giants' off-season spending this year could potentially come back to bite them hard when the 2022 bill arrives with all those increased second-year numbers in the new contracts.
If the league doesn’t get back to normal in terms of fan attendance at stadium, which as of this writing is still up in the air considering the global pandemic is still in full force, that could put the Giants in a very precarious financial situation.
All these factors have created some concern for Abrams, who is hoping for the best when it comes to future caps.
“2022 could be a little bit of a challenge depending on where the cap goes to,” Abrams admitted. “Then beyond, I'm more optimistic that nothing that we've done this year puts us in any kind of precarious position, but the next year could be a little bit of a challenge.
“It's going to depend on science and state legislatures, and fans in stands, and a lot of other variables. We'll see how it goes. I don't think we're in a bad spot cap wise, but you know, next year could be a little more challenging than, than probably the years after that.”
But if it all pays off for the Giants--and there is a lot of optimism it will-- they'll gladly work through whatever cap issues do come their way.
"I feel like our roster now is a lot better than it was at the end of the season and the offseason is not over,” Abrams said. “We’ll have more opportunities to add players. So I think we’re good with what we’ve done. We’re a deeper, more talented team.”