By now everyone has heard the adage, "to make an omelette, you need to break some eggs." Clearly, new Giants' GM Dave Gettleman (although Carolina fans knew this years ago). After an utterly disastrous 3-13 season in 2017, Gettleman is trying to right the ship. One of the apparent major steps no one saw coming was trading Jason Pierre-Paul to the Buccaneers for a third-round pick (No. 69 overall) and a fourth-round swap.
The move left the Giants with $15 million in dead cap space, and left a lot of people wondering... Why? Especially since Gettleman decided to move JPP just 12 months after his predecessor, Jerry Reese, signed him to a contract with a max length of four years and a max value of $62 million.
The answer could be as simple as the Giants not kicking the salary cap can, and instead picking it up and crushing it on their forehead. The Giants freed up $2.5 million in cap space for 2018, which isn't insignificant considering the team entered Thursday with just $3.4 million in cap room, per a report from Deadspin. But, more important is this: The Giants don't have to pay JPP the $19.5 million he was due to count against the cap in 2019 and $17.5 million in 2020.
The dead money for JPP this season is due to the signing bonus. Pierre-Paul's signing bonus was guaranteed at $20 million, and is prorated over the course of the cap. Think of this as an expedition of that proration.
The Giants have a few guys you might have heard of heading into free agency next season, namely Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins. Both players will demand hefty contracts, and that's putting it mildly. Collins is a 2016 first-team All-Pro safety that the Giants' defense lives and dies by, while Beckham Jr. needs no introduction, even after missing nearly all of 2017 with a fractured ankle.
Beckham Jr. notched 313 catches for 4,424 yards in his first four years in the league, breaking records throughout his first three seasons. He'll almost certainly set the new market for receivers, which is currently set by Mike Evans, $38 million in guaranteed money. Antonio Brown makes the most per year at $17 million.
The move also lets the Giants prepare for the future with a bit of youth. The team went 3-13 last year, and although a lot of that can be blamed on Olivier Vernon also making $12.75 million this year, the Giants had a spending surplus at the position.where it felt like was getting suspended, the team also just wasn't getting the job done on the field. Pierre-Paul had a solid season with 8.5 sacks and 68 combined tackles, but with
If the Giants can draft Bradley Chubb at No. 2 and lock him up for 4-5 years at the rookie rate, they can regulate what was some absurd spending on defensive end. This also gives the Giants an additional draft pick this year, something the "rebuilding" team sorely lacked after trading Rams for Alec Ogletree.to the
Scheme fit was also an issue, with James Bettcher coming to town from the Cardinals and presumably implementing a 3-4 defense. CBS Sports' Will Brinson touches on some of the issues of Pierre-Paul , while Chubb would bring versatility to the position, should they eschew quarterback and go that route.
This is the David Gettleman M.O. He's not one to get bogged down in sentiment when it comes to players. He released Steve Smith in 2014 and DeAngelo Williams in 2015, moves that drew the ire of both players, who are Panther legends. Pierre-Paul had been with the Giants since 2010, but he didn't make it an offseason with Gettleman.
This is the kind of thing Giants fans may need to get used to over the next one or two years. The difference this time around? Gettleman seems to be handling things with a bit more compassion. He reportedly called Pierre-Paul himself to tell him he was traded and that the Giants were made an "offer they couldn't refuse," per Kimberly Jones at NFL Network. Pierre-Paul's son also lives in South Florida, so it's a win-win. With that being said, SNY reported that a source said that more changes could be on the way, should the Giants find willing suitors.
Another move came down on Thursday when Gettleman cut special teams specialist Dwayne Harris, saving $2.45 million against the cap. Clearly, this is the season for Giants players to keep their heads on a swivel.
Pierre-Paul's contract was pretty rough, so eating the hit this year to rip off the band-aid made sense. According to Over The Cap, the Giants are now projected at slightly over $50 million in cap space for 2019. That should be enough to get a deal done with Beckham and Collins, without having to backload their contracts and put the team in a bind later. That's not even accounting for the fact the cap will likely increase in 2019, as it has every year.
Sure, this gives them the second-most dead money of any team in the NFL, trailing only the Bills at a whopping $36 million, but again, Gettleman is making an omelette. That omelette requires some patience.