Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New York Giants Start to Free Agency

There was a ton of euphoria surrounding the Giants following their rousing Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots for the 2nd time in 4 years. Eventually you have to move on and start focusing on next season. That time is now for the New York Giants. 

Tuesday, March 13, the free agency period will open up in the NFL and players will begin flooding the waiver wire and open market. But for certain teams, like the Giants, tough decisions and hard work are already being put in before free agency begins. 

The Giants have over 20 free agents, and it will be impossible to retain all of them, so they will have to pick and choose smartly which players are worthy of keeping, and which they will need to let go and eventually replace. The Giants have already re-signed Wide Receiver Domenick Hixon, who is coming off his second ACL tear in back-to-back years, Cornerback Bruce Johnson, who is coming off an ACL tear suffered in the pre-season, and Tight End Jake Ballard, who suffered an ACL tear during the Super Bowl. 

One player who may not be lucky enough to return is Wide Receiver Mario Manningham. After having a so-so season, dealing with multiple injuries, Manningham may have priced himself out of the Giants price range because of his performance in the Super Bowl and throughout the playoffs. There have been conflicting reports as to the percent chances that Manningham is leaving, but general consensus is that Manningham will leave because he believes he is worth top receiver money, and the Giants will need to find a way to pay Wide Receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz in the next two off-seasons. 

To free up some cap space, the Giants and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning agreed to a restructuring of his contract. They were $9 million over the cap at one point, according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter. But Reese the restructuring of Eli Manning's contract has given them some relief; approximately $6.75 million in cap space according to reports. Manning's base salary is now $1.75 million, down from $10.75 million, according to the NFL Players Association. The franchise quarterback will still get all of that money with $9 million of that $10.75 million being paid up front and guaranteed according to the Newark Star-Ledger. Manning's 2012 cap number counts for $9.6 million now, down from $16.35 million according to the New York Daily News. 

Restructuring Eli’s contract alone will not get the Giants the cap relief they need, so other tough decisions needed to be done. Some high profile moves the Giants made were releasing long-time Giants Brandon Jacobs and Kareem McKenzie. The Giants and Jacobs could not agree to a restructured contract, ending his seven year tenure with the team. The Giants were going to be on the hook for a 4.9 million dollar base salary and $500,000 roster bonus, so releasing Jacobs saved the Giants $5million in cap. Just like in years past, the Giants are taking the approach to add younger talent to the offensive line, telling Kareem McKenzie that he can go shopping to find a new team. McKenzie joined the Giants after 4 years with the New York Jets, and was a very important piece to both Super Bowl victories. Giant fans will miss McKenzie, who was both a warrior and mentor on the field for eight seasons. 

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