Salary cap space
As of March 17, 2021, the Giants are projected to have $3,116,948 in cap space for 2021.
The Giants rolled over $4.8 million in 2020 cap space.
March 10 update: The salary cap has been set at $182.5 million.
The New York Giants’ 2020 season crumbled right alongside running back Saquon Barkley when he tore the ACL in his right knee during Week 2. From there, the Giants’ offense was unsightly, finishing next-to-last in both yards and points per game. They ended up with a 6-10 record in the NFC East. The fact that the Giants remained in the hunt for a division title entering the last game of the regular season belies how much work must be done to improve this roster.
The Giants aren’t in total salary cap hell — they have a little wriggle room as the offseason begins. But with so many offseason priorities, highlighted by the need to improve along the offensive line and at wide receiver, they need to clear significant space.
The NFL powered through its 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The league played without fans in most stadiums, and limited fans in a handful of locations. The decrease in gate revenue is going to result in a decrease in money shared between the 32 teams. This in turn means the salary cap is expected to decrease. The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a salary cap of no lower than $175 million. The latest report has the number landing between $180 and $181 million, which is a good bit lower than the $198.2 million of this past season. This will result in some tough choices for many teams.
All salary cap information below comes courtesy of the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report.
Addition by subtraction at offensive line may be the most obvious route for the Giants in their quest to improve up front and out wide. Guard Kevin Zeitler ($12 million) and tackle Nate Solder ($6 million) would free up $18 million as pre-June 1 cuts. No single cut would create more space for the Giants than freeing up Zeitler’s money. Both were supposed to be stalwarts for the Giants through 2021, but Zeitler’s performance took a step back in 2020. Solder was underwhelming in 2019 before opting out prior to the 2020 season. Each man is also north of 30 — Zeitler will turn 31 and Solder will turn 33 this spring — and the Giants may aim to simply get younger on the O-line.
Wide receiver Golden Tate could also be let go, which would save about $6.1 million. Tate, who will be 33 come August, had a forgettable 2020 as he caught just 35 passes for 388 yards in 15 games. The Giants will continue to build around quarterback Daniel Jones for at least one more season, and adding a true go-to target has to be high on the team’s wish list.
The Giants picked up the fifth-year options of safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end Evan Engram back in April. However, there is a chance that the Giants, fed up with Engram’s inconsistent play and uncertain hands, release their uber-athletic tight end before the beginning of the 2021 league year. It would save New York about $6 million.