The Giants are already projected to have about $60 million in salary cap space to spend in free agency, and the truth is they may not need it all. Giants co-owner John Mara seemed to indicate as much in a radio interview last month when he called free agency "a double-edged sword."
"If you think free agency is going to fix all your problems, you are going to be sadly disappointed," he said on WFAN. "We are not going to be hog wild in there and spend it all."
Given that, there doesn't seem to be a need for the Giants to add even more cap room over the next few months by cutting some of their more expensive, veteran players. There will undoubtedly be a few cap casualties, especially with a new coach taking over, but with no financial need for downsizing, a few of the players on the brink might be spared.
Whatever they do, it should become clear soon, now that teams are free to begin reshaping their rosters. So here's a look at some of the Giants whose cap numbers and other factors could make them expendable in the coming days:
LB Alec Ogletree
The seven-year veteran is perhaps the most likely of the big-name players on the team to be cut. The Giants can clear an extra $8.25 million off their cap by letting him go, and he'd leave behind only $3.5 million in dead money. Numbers like that would normally guarantee he'd be gone.
But remember, this is a very young defense about to learn a new scheme. The Giants could use some veteran leadership. Ogletree is only 28, and while his play doesn't justify his $10 million salary, he could be a good bridge until Ryan Connelly, who played well as a rookie before he got hurt last season, is ready to take over. Perhaps a pay cut could be in order here.
His four-year, $62 million contract in 2018 was born of desperation, and now it's one of Dave Gettleman's most criticized deals. The problem is that if the Giants did cut him, he'd save them only $6.5 million and leave behind $13 million in dead money. Actually, that's not even the biggest problem.
Much bigger is the issue of who would play left tackle if he's gone. The Giants have no line depth at all. It's in their best interest to draft their left tackle of the future and leave Solder on the team, even though he's due $9.9 million in salary and a $3 million bonus on March 18. It's almost worth it just for the leadership he brings.
WR Golden Tate
When the veteran tested positive for PEDs, the guarantees in his contract automatically voided giving the Giants an easy out. But why would they take it?
They signed him for four years, $37.5 million because they value the 31-year-old as a weapon and quarterback Daniel Jones needs weapons. In just 11 games, Tate had 49 catches for 676 yards and six touchdowns. That projects to 71-983-9. Surely that's worth his $7.975 million salary. Cut him and it only clears $3.3 million while leaving $7 million in dead money on the cap.
TE Rhett Ellison
This will be an easy one for the Giants. The 31-year-old was a Pat Shurmur favorite and cutting him clears $5 million off the books. The Giants are more than happy to go into next season with Evan Engram and Kaden Smith as their 1-2 punch at tight end. Scott Simonson will add to their depth, too.
LB Kareem Martin
Another easy decision. He came over from Arizona with former defensive coordinator James Bettcher and neither one really worked out. He didn't have much of an impact and only started seven games in two seasons. Cutting him saves $4.8 million in cap space, too.
S Antoine Bethea
He's another former Cardinal and he's 35. Cutting him saves $2.75 million. Yes, the Giants' young secondary could use some leadership, but they could get that by re-signing Michael Thomas, who is five years younger and better.
C Spencer Pulley
He's only 26 and signed a three-year deal with the Giants last March, but he didn't play at all last season until Jon Halapio got hurt. Halapio tore his Achilles in the season finale, and the Giants may not have an idea of when he'll be ready until the spring. That alone could keep Pulley around as the Giants continue to overhaul their offensive line. The savings if they cut him is $2.75 million.