The Giants are projected to have somewhere around $22-23 million in salary cap space when the free-agent signing period opens on March 14. That's "healthy" as assistant GM Kevin Abrams back in December.
And during the next month, the Giants could become even healthier than that.
That's because they do have ways to create more space, which they need if they intend to use free agency to fix some of their many problems. Having $25 million in cap room is good, and it ranks them right in the middle of the entire league. It probably means they're out of the bidding for any of the top free agents, but it does give them the ability to make several solid moves.
They can make even more moves by clearing more space, which they can do by cutting some of their highest-priced veterans and maybe a few others. The Giants don't have to do that, as Abrams said, but they could, and likely will.
So here's a look at some of the veteran Giants who are most in danger of being a salary-cap cut:
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (2018 salary: $6.48 million/2018 cap hit: $8.5 million)
When he's locked in, he's a terrific player. But he's had a wide variety of injury issues, and he was also suspended for a game last year after storming off the field during a game, and later storming out of the Giants' facility after an argument with Ben McAdoo. He returned a humbled man, and he said he's willing to switch to safety, but the Giants need a cornerback more.
At 31, with signs that he's breaking down and recent discipline issues, the $6.5 million the Giants would save by cutting him might be more valuable to them.
WR Brandon Marshall (2018 salary: $5 million/2018 cap hit: $6.1 million)
He's 33, coming off ankle surgery, and the Giants got nothing out ofhim in the five games he did play. That makes this an easy decision to cut him, and clear an extra $5.1 million in cap space. They certainly could try and restructure his deal to keep him, since Marshall wants to keep playing, but he didn't sound like someone willing to take a significant play cut when he met with reporters in late December.
WR/KR Dwayne Harris (2018 salary: $3.225 million/2018 cap hit: $4.05 million)
He had to take a pay cut to stay with the Giants last year, and that was when he was coming off a Pro Bowl year (as a special teamer), and with the regime that signed him. He'll be 31 in September, and his body has been ravaged by injuries (including a broken foot that limited him to five games last season). And he's now just a special-teamer only.
Giants could save $2.4 million by cutting him, and that should be more than enough to replace him.
CB Janoris Jenkins (2018 salary: $10.9 million/2018 cap hit: $13 million)
This is a risky, and probably unlikely move, but it certainly would get the attention of the locker room. Jenkins had an awful year that included injuries, a suspension, and many people questioning his effort. That's why the Giants have to at least consider the $11 million in cap room they'd clear (if they designated him a post-June 1 cut). Considering Jenkins, who has three years left on his deal, was a second-team all-pro in 2016, maybe he's too valuable to let go.
Then again, remember: New Giants GM Dave Gettleman is the one that rescinded Josh Norman's franchise tag in Carolina two years ago.
G John Jerry (2018 salary: $3.05 million/2018 cap hit: $4.125 million)
The Giants have made it clear they're remaking their offensive line, which probably means Jerry is out. Certainly they don't want the soon-to-be 32-year-old back as a starter. He's got nice size (6-foot-5, 335 pounds), and his experience could provide valuable depth. He'd have to take a significant pay cut, though. Even then, they could cut him, and use the extra $2.5 million in cap space on someone else.
CB Eli Apple (2018 salary: $1,827,484/2018 cap hit: $4.13 million)
This situation is complicated and won't have much to do with money. It would actually cost the Giants about $477,000 in salary cap space to cut him (though they'd clear $1.8 million in space by designating him a post-June 1 cut).
It could be more, though, if they try to void his guaranteed money -- something they can do based on a clause in most rookie contracts, and after Apple was suspended from the season finale for, Abrams words, "a pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team." Even with that, though it's hard to give up on a first-rounder this early in his career.
But Gettleman didn't draft him, and he obviously knows all about his issues from last year (like getting repeatedly benched and having his teammates turn on him). Gettleman has promised a "clean slate," but even that only goes so far.