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New York Giants’ salary cap situation heading into 2021

With the 2021 NFL league year approaching, what is the Giants’ salary cap situation and how can they open up more space in the coming weeks?

New York Giants salary cap situation heading into 2021
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25: New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on February 25, 2020 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After a disappointing 2020 season, where do the New York Giants sit in terms of salary cap space heading into the 2021 NFL league year? How much cap space do the Giants have, and how can they open up more space in the next few weeks?

The Giants project to be around $5 million under the salary cap in 2021

As of March 3rdth, the 2021 salary cap projects to be around $185 million. The Giants will carry over $4.8 million in cap space to the 2021 season. Therefore, the Giants’ current salary cap projects to be $189.8 million.

As it stands, the Giants have just under $170.0 million in commitments to their top 51 highest-paid players, with $8.0 million in dead money. Therefore, the Giants currently have around $11.9 million in cap space heading into 2021.

To view the most up-to-date numbers for the New York Giants’ salary cap space, check out our team by team 2021 salary cap space article, which is updated daily.

New York has tough decisions with potential players to release

The Giants are in a position where they need to make some difficult decisions. In order to add serious talent to the team, they need to open up at least another $10-15 million in cap space this offseason. Let’s take a look at their options when it comes to potential players to release.

Will the Giants retool their offensive line?

The Giants may have to decide on two veteran offensive linemen in the coming weeks. Nate Solder and Kevin Zeitler will be a combined $31 million against the Giants’ salary cap in 2021.

Releasing Solder could save the Giants $6 million while leaving $10.5 million in dead money. However, the more likely player to be released is Zeitler, who would clear $12 million in cap space and leave just $2 million in dead money. On the other hand, releasing one or both would significantly decrease the level of experience on the Giants’ offensive line.

Golden Tate has played his last game for the Giants

Golden Tate had two years remaining on his contract in New York, but the Giants had the chance to create salary cap space in 2021 by releasing him this offseason. Tate was expected to count $10.9 million against the cap in 2021.

Related | Giants Pre-Senior Bowl 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

Releasing him means the Giants save $6.1 million of that cap number, with $4.7 million in dead money. With Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard the main receivers for the Giants, Tate found himself surplus to requirements.

Which other players could see their release by the Giants to save salary cap space in 2021?

The Giants have a number of players they could cut to save around $1-3 million. Who are some of the names that could be on their way out of New York in the next few weeks?

  • Levine Toilolo, TE – Cap Savings: $2.95 million, Dead Money: $0
  • Riley Dixon, P – Cap Savings: $2.7 million, Dead Money: $0.3 million
  • Lorenzo Carter, EDGE – Cap Savings: $2.2 million, Dead Money: $0.3 million
  • B.J. Hill, IDL – Cap Savings: $2.2 million, Dead Money: $0.3
  • David Mayo, LB – Cap Savings: $2.3 million, Dead Money: $0 – The New York Giants released David Mayo on March 3rd.
  • Isaac Yiadom, CB – Cap Savings: $2.2 million, Dead Money: $0
  • Cody Core, WR – Cap Savings: $2 million, Dead Money: $0

The Giants could save as much as $16.6 million in salary cap space for 2021 by releasing all of these players.

Which players could the Giants extend or restructure to create cap space in 2021?

The Giants also need to make some tough choices on a handful of players regarding extensions and restructures. Getting deals sorted with these players could open up further salary cap space for the Giants in 2021.

The Evan Engram conundrum rolls on

The Giants picked up Engram’s fifth-year option prior to the 2020 season. This delayed the need to extend Engram, who has had a mixed career with the Giants. While ultimately productive, with 2,420 receiving yards and 14 career touchdowns, Engram has disappointed in key spots. His catch percentage dropped to just 58 percent in 2020, and he scored just 2 touchdowns.

Related | Redrafting the 2017 NFL Draft: Deshaun Watson, T.J. Watt rise

In 2021, Engram will count $6 million against the Giants’ salary cap. The Giants could save all of that by releasing Engram ahead of the start of the new year. They could also save around $4 million with an extension. However, the jury is still out as to whether that would be a smart move for the Giants.

The Giants should consider extending Jabrill Peppers’ contract

Peppers is another player entering 2021 on his fifth-year option. The former Cleveland Browns safety has been a solid player throughout his career.

In 2020, he managed 2.5 sacks and 91 combined tackles, 8 of which were for a loss. He also had 11 passes defended, including getting his 4th interception in his four-year career. Entering 2021, Peppers expects to count $6.8 million against the Giants’ salary cap. By extending his deal, the Giants could save as much as $4.6 million in salary cap space.

Extending Saquon Barkley is probably not worth the risk at this stage

After missing 14 games in the 2020 season, the Giants would be taking a risk extending Saquon Barkley’s deal. Doing so would save just $3.1 million in 2021. Therefore, the extension is not worth the potential risk if Barkley does not look the same coming off of his knee injury.

Which players could the Giants look to restructure in 2021?

The Giants could consider a restructure for Solder. However, with just a potential $4.5 million in savings, all they would achieve is pushing more salary cap responsibility into the future. If the Giants are done with Solder, releasing him would save $6 million in salary cap space in 2021.

The Giants do have two deals they could consider restructuring. James Bradberry has two years remaining on his deal and will count $17.25 million against the Giants’ salary cap in 2021. The Giants could move as much as $6.6 million into 2022, but with a cap number of $16.5 million for Bradberry in 2022, they may not want to move quite that much.

Sterling Shepard is another player who could be restructured to create cap room. The receiver expects to count $9 million against the cap in 2021. The Giants could move as much as $4 million of that into the next two seasons.

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Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay up to date with all things around the NFL. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis concerning the 2020 season and beyond.

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