As the New York Giants spin forward into their offseason with complex questions littering their roster, here's a look at a few key players whose salary cap numbers for 2014 will require at least some attention:
Eli Manning, QB: $20,400,000
With a projected 2014 cap of $126.3 million, Manning would account for 16.1 percent of the Giants' cap budget. The Giants have been dealing with this situation for some time, and they've always said they don't mind that Manning accounts for such a high percentage of their cap because of what he means to the team. But Manning showed in 2013 that he needs better pieces around him to justify his salary. The likely solution here is a long-term extension that keeps Manning in blue for the rest of his career (his current deal runs through 2015) and drops his 2014 cap number by converting salary to bonus money paid out over the life of the new contract.
Chris Snee, G: $11,750,000
Snee has restructured many times to give the Giants short-term help, but there's no way they can carry him at this number in 2014. The whole thing may be moot, since Snee could very well retire following his second hip surgery in less than a year. And even if he didn't want to hang it up, his close relationship with his head coach/father-in-law, Tom Coughlin, is one reason to believe he'd accept a pay cut to stay. They'd save $7.25 million if they cut him. My guess is he retires.
Antrel Rolle, S: $9,250,000
They're deep at safety and would save $7.25 million if they cut Rolle, who has one year left on his deal. Problem is, Rolle is a really important player for them and a defensive captain. They'd have to be extremely creative elsewhere in order to allow Rolle to account for 7.3 percent of their cap. They'll surely approach him about an extension beyond 2014 that could help knock down his 2014 cap number, but he's not likely to cut them any breaks on the deal in terms of money or years. How much do they want to commit to a 31-year-old safety?
David Baas, C: $8,225,000
Disappointing player overall who's had injury problems. But he has two years left on his deal, and cutting him this year only saves $1,775,000. The best solution may be to designate Baas as a June 1 cut, which would increase the cap savings to around $5 million, though it wouldn't allow the Giants to use that money until after June 1. If they keep Baas and cut him next offseason, they'd save $5.25 million off of their 2015 cap.
Will Beatty, OT: $7,400,000
Forget about it. The Giants are stuck with this one. He's got four years left on his deal and there's not even any potential cap savings until the 2016 offseason. Beatty has to play better, or the Giants are in big trouble.
Update: The folks at nygsalarycapcentral.com point out that the Giants can get out of the Beatty contract in the 2015 offseason if they designate him as a June 1 cut that year. I thank them for their assistance.
Mathias Kiwanuka, DE: $7,050,000
Seems a likely cut, but as with Baas, cutting him doesn't help as much as you'd think. They'd only save $1.8 million this year by cutting him, as opposed to $4.825 million in 2015 if they waited a year. They could do the June 1 cut thing with Kiwakuka, which would ratchet up the savings to $4.425 million this year, since you can designate as many as two players per offseason as June 1 cuts. But again, couldn't use that savings until June 2.
Cullen Jenkins, DT: $3,266,666
They'd save about $1.9 million if they cut him, but with Linval Joseph possibly departing via free agency, the more likely play is to keep Jenkins, a player they like and can afford.
Corey Webster, CB: $2,250,000
They save $1 million by cutting him, which you can expect them to do.