Times are tough being a Giants fan in 2022. It is even tougher when you are the General Manager trying to clean up the salary cap mess left behind by your predecessor. For those unaware, The New York Giants were 5 million plus over the cap even after their roster cuts. It is not enough to simply get under the cap as teams need anywhere from 5-15 million freed up in the event of injury replacements or (unlikely) midseason upgrades. To remedy their financial woes, Joe Schoen had to resort to restructuring DT Leonard Williams contract. This involved converting almost 18 million of his 2022 salary into a signing bonus and created almost 12 million in space as a result (will not feel it all since they are over the cap). Unfortunately, this means that the Giants will carry the money they freed up across the remainder of his contract. Here is what that looks like.
As already mentioned, converting part of a player’s annual salary into a signing bonus means that amount is typically broken up evenly across the years of said player’s deal. We see contenders do this all the time to keep their team together and championship window open as long as possible. It is a fancy way of manipulating how much a player’s salary weighs against the salary cap so a team can fit more elite players (or just players in general) on their team longer. Strategically maneuvering the monetary weight of player salaries each year to maximize the roster is a key skill of a good GM. Abusing this process can lead to a franchise’s ruin, just as the Giants are enduring now. Gettle… I mean “he who must not be named”, “kicked the proverbial can down the road” so many times on average at best players to the point it caused larger cap hits in future years and thus crippling the current Giants from having little money to put forth an elite product on the field. The cap looks so bad, Giants GM Joe Schoen must resort to restructures just to merely survive the season.
Looking specifically at Leonard Williams’ case, his near 18 million salary conversion to a signing bonus gave the Giants barely enough to account for their team and any injury replacements throughout the year. Sadly, it also accounts for a higher cap hit in Williams’ future annual salaries. The hits were so steep, Schoen had to add a “void year” into his deal. A void year simply put is a “dummy” year added to a deal in an effort to spread out a heavy cap hit across a longer period of time and make it more palatable during times of low cap space. This also means you are paying into a player that might not even be under contract anymore. The good news is the Giants almost have the money they need to conduct business in 2022, but the bad news is its going to take a little bit longer to be completely rid of Gettleman’s bad deals (Paying into Williams’ bucket 6 million each for 2022, 2023, and 2024).
As a reminder to Giants faithful, this is a rebuild. One of the biggest components of a rebuild is to undo damage done by the previous regime, so the team can be built in the new regime’s vision. This particular rebuild is going to linger for more than a year or 2, barring a miracle. We are going to have to endure players we dislike a bit longer than we would like, because not retaining them would hurt more than grinding it out (Looking at Golladay). Once the riff raff is gone, we can (hopefully) return to winning Giants football. If the clown who previously sat in Joe’s seat was able to bungle his way to mediocrity all these years, then Joe should have plenty of time to prove he can get us back. Happy week 1 folks!
Update: The Giants managed to get Darius Slayton to take a 1.6 million pay cut but can earn most of it back in playing time incentives. The 51 man rule expires today, so now the Giants have to account for the full 53 man roster and practice squad. They have about 5 million to play with in salary cap after the moves. More coming?