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Giants still have enough cap space for leverage in contract talks

3/23/2015

Our latest calculations here at ESPN show the New York Giants with $9,296,988 in salary cap space for 2015. That gives them more than enough room to sign their draft picks (they'll likely need between $3.5 million and $4 million to do that) and still add a free-agent safety and offensive lineman if they find ones they like.

More than that, though, it gives the Giants leverage in their potential long-term contract negotiations with key players Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara, each of whom is only signed through 2015.

The Giants have reached this point in the offseason with plenty of cap space in spite of having two players -- Manning and Pierre-Paul -- whose cap hits project in the top 20 league-wide. Manning's $19.75 million cap hit would be the sixth-highest in the league at this point, while Pierre-Paul's $14.813 million number would rank No. 20. Amukamara's one-year salary of $6.898 million equates to his cap hit.

The Giants could lower any of those numbers by extending those players' contracts beyond 2015, but to this point they've found no reason to do so. They franchised Pierre-Paul because they wanted to see one more year of health and consistent production before committing to him long term. They consider Amukamara's salary more than reasonable for a starting cornerback and want to see him healthy as well before making the long-term commitment. And as we discussed Sunday night here, they don't feel the need to do Manning's extension at this point unless they trip over a sudden and unexpected need for more cap room or unless he comes to them willing to discuss a deal closer to their preferred price than his.

And that's the key here. Because there's no one left on the market worthy of a major cap space commitment, the Giants have no pressing need to do these deals at the high-end prices the players would command and can wait to see how they perform in 2015 before making their long-term decisions about them. Should one or more of them come to the Giants with a reduced demand, the Giants surely would engage in dialogue and possibly get a deal done. But because they have more than enough cap room with which to operate the rest of their offseason, the Giants have some degree of leverage in their ongoing discussions with these players.