The Giants began the process of slicing payroll and moving in a different direction on Tuesday when they released veteran linebacker Michael Boley.
Boley was due $4.25 million in base salary in the final year of his deal. The Giants are projected to be $4.7 million over the salary cap according to ESPN's John Clayton. But remember, the Giants also have to clear cap space for their upcoming draft picks and carve out space for money they will potentially invest in restricted free agents like Victor Cruz, Stevie Brown and Andre Brown.
Boley was released because of his cap number, but also the team appears ready to move on with young linebackers like Jacquian Williams and perhaps Spencer Paysinger will be in line for a bigger role as well. Boley saw his snaps reduced at the end of the season. With Chase Blackburn and Keith Rivers both free agents, the Giants have Mathias Kiwanuka (who could potentially move to defensive end), Williams, Mark Herzlich and Paysinger at linebacker. They could bring back Rivers and Blackburn and perhaps sign another linebacker or draft one.
Boley, though, very well could be the first of some longtime familiar faces to be impacted by the Giants' salary cap situation. Last month, we took a look at some candidates who could be released or asked to restructure their deals and Boley was one of them.
Here's a look again at some candidates who could follow Boley:
• RT David Diehl: The veteran, who has helped the team win two Super Bowls, will make $4.4 million in base salary in the final year of his deal. The Giants have to re-sign Beatty and Boothe. The Giants like Diehl's versatility to play tackle and guard but they may feel T James Brewer's time is now.
• CB Corey Webster: Struggled this past season and is entering final year of deal worth $7 million in base salary. The Giants, though, really only have Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley at corner after Webster. The Giants have a $6 million option on Terrell Thomas' contract in March, so they are expected to get out of that contract but could re-sign Thomas to a new short-term, low-risk deal later.
• DT Chris Canty: Veteran is due $6.25 million this coming season and $6.5 next season in base salary. He told reporters on Tuesday night at a charity even that he has not been approached yet by the team about his contract or possibly restructuring.
• RB Ahmad Bradshaw: Recently underwent surgery to replace a screw in his troublesome right foot. Tom Coughlin likes to have three running backs and loves Bradshaw, who will make $3.75 in base salary.
• DE Justin Tuck: Reese and Coughlin said he’s likely returning for final year, worth $4.5 million in base salary. He's expected back.
Other Giants veterans who aren’t going anywhere but will make a sizeable amount in 2013 include RG Chris Snee ($6.7 million), S Antrel Rolle ($7 million), C David Baas (4.25 million) and QB Eli Manning ($13 million).