Giants Lead NFL In Dead Money, And It's Not Very Close

Matt Citak
March 14, 2019 - 3:38 pm

A lot has been said about the Giants' trade of Odell Beckham Jr. over the last few days. 

To trade a generational talent for what some would consider a marginal haul in return is one thing. To trade said player seven months after handing him a massive contract is a complete other...

Due to the various guarantees New York included in Beckham's deal last August, Big Blue will incur $16 million in dead money following the star wide receiver's trade to Cleveland. 

Yes, you read that correctly. It is going to cost the Giants $16 million to watch Beckham catch touchdown passes from Baker Mayfield all season long. 

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As if that weren't bad enough, New York will also be hit with $8 million in dead money for the other player that was sent to Cleveland this past week, defensive end Olivier Vernon. 

Say what you want about the copious amount of cap space the Giants will have in 2020 now that Beckham and Vernon are no longer on the roster, which at the moment appears to be somewhere around $100 million. But there is no getting around the fact that while these two players help the Browns chase an AFC North title this season, they will combine to count for $24 million of New York's 2019 salary cap. 

Between OBJ and Vernon, along with numerous other former members of the Giants such as Damon Harrison, Patrick Omameh, Eli Apple and various other failed experiments, New York will lead the NFL in dead money in 2019. 

And frankly, it's not very close.

The Giants are currently set to have nearly $34 million total in dead money this upcoming season. For those keeping track at home, that is around 17.5 percent of New York's 2019 salary cap going towards players on other teams. To put that number into perspective, the next highest amount of dead money is Jacksonville with $24.5 million...

I'm sorry to the Big Blue faithful, but the numbers get even worse before they get any better.

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In addition to all of the cap space being rationed out to former members of the team, the biggest chunk of active 2019 cap space is being handed to 38-year-old quarterback Eli Manning.

Based on recent reports, it appears as if the Giants intend on trotting the aging quarterback out on the field for his 16th season in New York. 

Wanting to bring the two-time Super Bowl MVP back into the fold for a farewell tour is understandable, but paying Manning the amount of money he is set to make is somewhat astonishing. Manning will make $23.2 million this season and account for almost 12 percent of the team's total salary cap. 

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone that thinks a quarterback who hasn't won a playoff game since the 2011 season's magical Super Bowl run and hasn't finished in the top 20 in QBR since 2015 deserves to be making that much money. Add in the fact that the Giants have acknowledged that they are entering a rebuild, and the decision to keep Manning is even more confusing, as releasing the veteran QB would clear an additional $17 million in cap space.

In total, $47 million of the Giants' cap this year will be allocated towards Beckham, Vernon and Manning. When adding in the rest of the team's dead money, that number jumps all the way up to $57 million, or around 29 percent of the total cap. Keep in mind, it was only one year ago that Dave Gettleman traded Jason Pierre-Paul to Tampa Bay in a move that cost New York another $15 million in dead money. 

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It's no wonder Big Blue is expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year.

It's clear that New York is attempting to incur all costs in 2019 in order to preserve as much cap space as possible for 2020. That is the only explanation for why the front office hasn't approached Manning about restructuring his contract. Now whether or not that strategy pays off remains to be seen.

Any way you cut it, the New York Giants are undoubtedly in salary cap hell due to several questionable decisions made by the front office. Gettleman now has a year to steer the franchise back in the right direction, otherwise it might be someone else deciding on how to use the surplus of cap space next offseason. 

Matt Citak is a web producer for WFAN Sports Radio. Check him out on Twitter at @MatthewCitak.