Giants will need to clear more cap space to operate in 2023

The New York Giants have been moving and shaking for the last seven months, signing players and restructuring contracts in order to put the most complete team possible on the field this season.

General manager Joe Schoen has done a masterful job in balancing the books since taking over the reins in January of 2022 but now faces the challenge of not having enough operating cash to make it through this season.

Dan Duggan of The Athletic outlined the dilemma on X on Thursday.

Have spent a lot of time learning about the salary cap, so I try to pass along what I can. I think the “top 51” rule is one of the biggest things that’s not generally understood. In the offseason, only the top 51 cap hits count on the cap.

But now, every contract counts. So that’s players 52 and 53 on the active roster, the entire 16-man practice squad and every player on a reserve list (IR/PUP/NFI).

To illustrate how that changes the cap outlook, the Giants had $11.1M in cap space yesterday under the top 51 accounting. They’re down to $1.4M today with every contract counting ($1.5M for players 52 and 53, $4.2M for the practice squad and $4.1M on reserve lists).

What’s this all mean? $1.4M won’t be enough space to get through the season with more players inevitably going on IR, practice squad elevations, etc. So the Giants will need to make another move(s) to create cap space before the end of the season.

That means Schoen is going to have to claw back some of the aggressive moves he made this year. Things sometimes have a tendency of working themselves out (mainly through injuries) but the Giants could run aground financially here.

The decision to not rework defensive lineman Leonard Williams’ $32.25 million cap hit is coming home to roost. What benefit they’ll get by doing that now is unknown. Any major move would require the Giants to extend Williams, which is something they obviously have been avoiding.

Obviously, there are some other options to clear drips and drabs of space and perhaps Schoen takes that route. Either way, something has to give.

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Story originally appeared on Giants Wire