Giants have cap space to work with this offseason, but more moves are on horizon

Giants GM Joe Schoen
Giants GM Joe Schoen / USA TODAY Sports/SNY Treated Image

The NFL is finally on the other end of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least financially. The league informed its teams that the salary cap for the 2023 season will be $224.8 million, sources confirmed to SNY.

The figure marks a steep increase from the $208.2 million the league had set for last season. In 2020, after the pandemic forced fans from stadiums, the cap dropped eight percent, to $182.5 million.

This leaves the Giants with $44.727 million in salary cap space — third most in the NFL. General manager Joe Schoen said at his end-of-season news conference that the primary objective for New York this offseason is taking care of its in-house free agents, headlined by quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and safety Julian Love. The Giants also need to work on a long-term extension with defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.

While the near-$45 million is good, the Giants will certainly look to add more. They have the means to do that, too.

The most obvious incoming cap casualty is wideout Kenny Golladay, who has been a colossal disappointment since signing a four-year, $72-million deal with the Giants in 2021. The Giants would free $6.7 million with Golladay’s outright release, but incur a $14.7 million cap penalty. The Giants could also label Golladay a post-June 1 release. This would free $13.5 million with a $7.9 million penalty, but in doing so, the Giants wouldn’t get that relief until after June 1. This might be the route they take because of their overall financial wellbeing.

Defensive end Leonard Williams said after the season he’d be open to taking a pay cut. He has a team-high cap number of $32.26 million. It’s pretty obvious he misspoke when he said that — evident by Schoen joking Williams didn’t mention that in their exit meeting.

No player in the NFL is going to give money back — especially one like Williams who has been among the most financially-savvy in the league. What Williams meant was a restructure. Basically, the Giants convert his base salary (again) to a signing bonus, giving Williams his money up front while spreading the financial pain of that out over the length of his contract.

Considering Williams’ deal with the Giants ends after the 2023 season (he has a void year in 2024), the Giants would need to extend him. That’s not the worst idea considering Williams is still just 28 and productive when healthy.

The Giants could also just outright release Williams, freeing $12 million. This would come with a $20.2 million cap penalty, though.

Other potential cap casualties for the Giants include cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson ($11.5 million freed, $7.48 million dead) and Darnay Holmes ($2.745 million freed). Holmes’ playing time has led to an increased salary — much like receiver Darius Slayton.

Much like Slayton this past summer, the Giants will likely ask Holmes to take a pay cut, or be cut.