The Giants decided to cut some fan favorites on Saturday as they trimmed their roster to the mandatory 53 players. Some cuts were difficult for head coach Tom Coughlin, but cap issues also had a hand in some of the moves.
In some areas where the competition was tight, the younger, cheaper player seemed to win out. Such was the case at LB, where veteran Jameel McClain was cut in favor of free agent U'ani Unga and punter Steve Weatherford was dumped and replaced by Brad Wing.
FB Henry Hynoski was thought to be a lock for the roster, but the Giants went with Nikita Whitlock instead. Hynoski was scheduled to make $925k this year and $1.175m next season. The Giants, who have mixed views on how to use the fullback in their new offense, decided to go with the more versatile Whitlock, who will earn the NFL minimum ($435k) this year.
Unga will also make the minimum. McClain's cap number for 2015 was $3.4 million. Weatherford's cap number was over $3 million as well. Wing will earn $510k this season.
Did not like the release of veteran WR James Jones, although I see why the Giants did it. In the preseason, Jones clearly demonstrated he is still a top WR, but the Giants only brought him in here because the Victor Cruz situation was still unsettled.
With Cruz now on the 53-man roster, there was no room for Jones, unfortunately. OBJ and Rueben Randle are the starters and Cruz - when he resumes practicing - will be the slot receiver. His immediate backup is Preston Parker, who has done well when called upon. Parker, Geremy Davis and Dwayne Harris are all valuable on special teams, hence the release of Jones.
How does CB Jayron Hosley do it? He's on the roster again despite not being able to cover larger receivers and adding no value on special teams. A mystery to all. Perhaps if the Giants find someone more attractive on the waiver wire, he will be the one sent packing.
Don't feel bad for TE Adrien Robinson. The kid had more than his share of chances. Whatever the Giants' scouts saw in him before the draft just didn't manifest itself at this level. Nice kid, but you know he old saying....Jerome Cunningham is the better player and the Giants thankfully saw that.
The offensive line is still a concern, even after using high picks in the last three drafts to address holes. The line will feature a new player at each position. Justin Pugh moves from RT to LG. Weston Richburg moves from RG to center. Geoff Schwartz will finally play RG after missing most of 2014 with a toe injury.
The tackles are both new. First round draft pick Ereck Flowers is being asked to stand in for LT Will Beatty (pec), who is out for at least the first six games of the season. Marshall Newhouse in the RT. Newhouse has played better than expected this preseason, but the jury is still out if he can hold the fort until Beatty returns. The assumption is Beatty will either go back to LT, or take out Newhouse at RT.
According to the website Spotrac, the Giants have $3,214,744 in salary cap space this morning. he 2015 NFL salary cap is $143,280,000. The Giants have $101,535,952 tied up in active contracts.
Their numbers are usually accurate. Keep in mind that two of their highest-paid players, Beatty and DE Jason Pierre-Paul are taking up nearly $22 million in space and are not on the active roster.
They also have nine players on IR, which is costing them $3,433,727 and a dead cap figure of $11,242,460, in which over $5 million is attributed to the contracts of David Baas and Mathias Kiwanuka.