The New York Giants are a projected $4.7 million over the salary cap (possibly more depending on what you read). With an additional $5 million of cap hits coming up after signing the team's draft picks, Big Blue has to clear around $10+ million of cap space between now and the start of training camp. That's without signing any free agents.
Although that sounds like a monumental task, it's doable given the amount of veterans on the roster that are primed to restructure their contracts. However, with Hakeem Nicks, Chris Snee and David Diehl each hitting escalators in their current deals, that task gets a little tougher.
Escalators can come from multitude a number of factors. Most of them are performance based and can result from gaining a certain number of yards, playing a minimum number of snaps, winning a certain award, playing a particular position or any one of a seemingly endless list of possibilities. There is no telling exactly why each of the aforementioned players will see an increase in their 2013 salaries, but they will cause the Giants salary cap number to be $975,000 higher than it otherwise would have been.
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks will see his 2013 base salary raise from $2.425 million to $2.725 million after hitting escalators in his rookie contract. Right guard Chris Snee will earn an additional $250,000 next season, which pushes his base salary to $6.7 million. Lastly, and perhaps most surprisingly, right tackle David Diehl is slated to earn $4.475 in 2013 after earning $375,000 in escalators. Diehl is expected to restructure before the beginning of next season, or else is unlikely he returns to the team.
It's also important to note that the above salaries do not include signing bonuses, which also count against the team's salary cap as well. For example, David Diehl's salary cap hit in 2013 is $7.47 million, while his base salary is just $4.475 million. Chris Snee's salary cap hit is $8.8 million, but his base salary is just $6.7 million. That's because both players have received guaranteed signing bonuses, which are averaged out over the life of the contract in terms of salary cap impact.
Although it's highly unlikely that these three players hitting salary escalators will significantly impact the Giants 2013 campaign, it just goes to show just how complex the salary cap can be in today's NFL. Obviously, General Manager Jerry Reese and the rest of the front office have already taken into account these escalators as they formulate a plan for improving the team this offseason.
However, there are so many ways contracts can be structured these days that it can become extremely difficult to grasp the true nature of a team's salary cap situation until the very end of the season. The Giants are going to have to be creative with whatever salary cap room they do create this offseason, as there is a good chance some familiar faces will be notably absent in 2013.
Also…Chris Snee, contract, David Diehl, Football, free agent, Hakeem Nicks, Jerry Reese, New York, New York Giants, NFL, wide receiver