New York Giants salary cap outlook: Pro Bowler Jason Pierre-Paul is a bargain

Brian McIntyre
July 24, 2013

The "Shutdown Countdown" is chugging along. In addition to previewing each team, "Shutdown Corner" will be taking a brief look at each team's salary cap situation heading into the 2013 season and beyond. We continue the series with the New York Giants.

2013 Adjusted Cap Number: $123.587 million (8th-lowest in the NFL this season

2013 Cap Room Remaining: $3.658 million (7th-lowest remaining cap room in the NFL, as of July 23) The Giants still have to sign first-round pick Justin Pugh and fourth-round quarterback Ryan Nassib. Once those rookie deals are done, the Giants will have about $2.5 million in cap space, which would put the Giants in the bottom five in the NFL.

[Related: Giants have all the tools to get back to the playoffs]

Best Bargain: Well, Victor Cruz would probably tell you that he's the best bargain on the Giants, but we're going to go with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The 2010 first-round pick out of South Florida is scheduled to earn $1.175 million in base salary (and $1.25 million in cash) in 2013, putting him outside the Top 50 in cash compensation among current defensive end contracts. Pierre-Paul is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons and has 27.5 sacks over the last three seasons. Pierre-Paul led the Giants with 6.5 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss last season and, according to the Football Outsiders Almanac 2013, Pierre-Paul had 24.5 quarterback hurries, the most on the Giants, and was tied for the league lead with nine holding penalties drawn last season. It is also worth noting that six of the holding penalties that Pierre-Paul drew last season were on running plays.

Potential Camp Cap Casualty: The Giants cut Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Boley and Chris Canty, and several players (Corey Webster, David Baas, David Diehl, Mathias Kiwanuka) have renegotiated their contracts to create cap space. Veterans Chris Snee and Antrel Rolle will make $14 million in cash and are taking up $20.25 million in cap space this season, which might be numbers the Giants seek to reduce before the regular season. However, with both players in key roles and over 30 years old, the Giants might not want to kick the can down the road with those contracts just to create short-term cap space.

Looming Contract Issue: Quarterback Eli Manning has three seasons and $46.65 million remaining on his 2009 contract extension. With cap numbers over $20 million in each of the next two seasons, the Giants may look to make the 32-year-old Manning a "Giants for life" with an extension that lowers his 2013 and/or 2014 cap numbers.

Another issue facing the Giants is the contract of wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who will make $2.725 million in base salary in the final year of his rookie contract. Nicks has battled injuries throughout his career — he's never played a full 16-game schedule — but the 25-year-old is a big, physical receiver who has been very productive (255 receptions, 3,726 yards and 27 touchdowns) and is a legitimate No. 1 receiver at this level. Defensive end Justin Tuck also has an expiring contract, though the Giants have begun preparations for his possible departure with the selection of Damontre Moore in the third-round of the 2013 draft.

Long-Term Cash/Cap Outlook: The Giants only have 52 players under contract for 2014 and the "Top 51" players comprise $112 million in salary cap commitments. Manning takes up nearly 20 percent of the Giants' cash and cap commitments in 2014.