It goes fast.
Anyone who ever sat down at a blackjack table and hoped their $100 would produce several hours of enjoyment knows this. And any NFL team with a load of salary cap space looking to make a splash or even a few modest waves in free agency knows this.
This week the Giants entered the negotiating period about $73 million under the NFL salary cap set at $198.2 million – the sixth-highest total in the league — and arrive Wednesday at the official start of the league year having spent most of that money. Agreeing to terms with four players who were on another team last year, re-signing or tendering three of their own players and placing the franchise tag on defensive tackle Leonard Williams used up nearly $63 million of the available cap space. The Giants gain $2.75 million in cap space by not picking up the 2020 option on veteran safety Antoine Bethea.
For now, Williams counts $16.1 million on the cap, a hefty total that can be decreased if the Giants eventually come to a long-term agreement with him. The other 2020 salary cap hits:
Cornerback James Bradberry: $15.9 million.
Linebacker Blake Martinez: $14 million.
Linebacker Kyler Fackrell: $4.6 million.
Tight end Levine Toilolo: $3.25 million.
Linebacker David Mayo: $3.5 million.
Kicker Aldrick Rosas: $3.3 million.
Special teamer Cody Core: $1.95 million.
In writing the contracts this year, the Giants attempted to limit amortized bonus money by front-loading the deals, absorbing higher salary cap hits in 2020 for more space and flexibility afterward. This makes sense, as first-year head coach is attempting to build a winning program and not search for quick-fix solutions. If this plan works, the Giants will have increased resources to spend in 2021 and beyond.
Does this mean the Giants are essentially done adding players in free agency? No, it does not. It does mean they are highly unlikely to add a high-priced player, unless they gain cap space by cutting or restructuring contracts of players on their roster. There are needs to address on the offensive line, but any agreement will not be a mega-deal moving forward.