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Monday, March 17, 2014
A pay cut for Kiwi helps out the Giants

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Man, I know these NFL contracts are more or less written in pencil, but the one Mathias Kiwanuka signed a couple of years ago makes you think he's working in the New York Giants' front office.

Kiwanuka restructured his deal last year to help the Giants get under the salary cap, and on Monday he agreed to a pay cut to help them do the same for 2014. Kiwanuka's 2014 base salary was reduced from $4.375 million to $1.5 million in a move that saves the Giants a little more than $2 million in salary-cap space and likely helped clear the way for the Monday signings of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and kick returner Trindon Holliday.

It's a nice team-first move by a team-first player. Kiwanuka isn't a Pro Bowler in anyone's book, and on a deeper, more solid roster he'd have been a candidate to be cut if he didn't agree to lower his salary. But once Justin Tuck signed with the Raiders last week, you'd have to think Kiwanuka's leverage with the Giants improved. You want me to take a pay cut? Well, what if I don't want to? You going to cut me? Who's going to rush the passer while Damontre Moore learns the playbook?

But Kiwanuka knows the score, and like a lot of the guys who've won these last couple of Super Bowls, he loves being a Giant and wants to help in any way he can. So I'm not surprised he took a cut.

Others who could take pay cuts or restructure or extend their contracts to create more immediate cap room include quarterback Eli Manning and safety Antrel Rolle, though as far as I know there's been no movement by the team on either of those deals. Rolle would have to be an extension, and Manning likely would too. The Giants don't seem too interested in throwing money around to guys in their 30s,  but you never know.