"Around the League" is taking a look at each team's salary-cap situation heading into training camp. Next up: The New York Giants.
Adjusted Cap Number: $122.743 million
Cap Room Remaining: $3.119 million
Best Bargain: In what might be the biggest no-brainer in this entire series, wide receiver Victor Cruz was the best bargain on the New York Giants' roster last year and, barring an extension this season, will be one again in 2012. Cruz is coming off a breakout season in which he ranked ninth in the NFL with 82 passes for 1,536 receiving yards, the third-highest total in the league. Cruz also was tied for sixth with nine receiving touchdowns, while earning a $450,000 base salary. Cruz added another 21 receptions for 269 yards in the playoffs, including a touchdown in the Super Bowl, attaining another $172,000 in playoff earnings. This season, Cruz will earn $540,000 in base salary and will be a restricted free agent next offseason.
Potential Camp Casualty: The Giants did some salary-cap housekeeping earlier this offseason, restructuring the contracts of David Diehl, David Baas and Eli Manning to free up space. They also came through with new contracts for Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka. Several high-priced veterans either over or approaching 30 years old remain, but they are too valuable on the field to part ways with. Corey Webster is the team's best cornerback and, after all the injuries at the position a year ago, the Giants are not going to release him to save $6.5 million in cap space. Antrel Rolle, Chris Snee, Michael Boley and Justin Tuck should be safe, too.
One possible casualty is Chris Canty, whose release would save $6 million in cap space this season and $6.5 million in 2013. For that to happen, 2011 second-round draft pick Marvin Austin, who spent all of last season on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle, would have to prove he's up for a big role this season. The club also would need to see much more than they've already seen from veterans Rocky Bernard and Shaun Rogers to part ways with a known commodity like Canty, who remains solid against the run.
Contract Issue Looming In 2013: With Cruz set to become a restricted free agent in 2013, the Giants could have a Mike Wallace situation on their hands. The Pittsburgh Steelers rolled the dice and opted to not place the franchise tag on Wallace, who has yet to sign his tender and skipped the offseason workouts. The Giants could follow suit, but you never know when another team might decide a first-round draft pick is worth the gamble of signing Cruz to an offer sheet.
Giants general manager Jerry Reese also might have decisions to make on the high-priced veterans over 30 from the section above. Those players are all under contract for next season and are not getting any cheaper or younger. The biggest issue, however, might be quarterback Eli Manning, whose restructured contract will call for a $13 million base salary and $20.85 million cap number in 2013. With the salary cap projected to be worth around $121 million in 2013, Manning is set to comprise 17.2 percent of the team's non-adjusted cap figure.