NY Giants Cap Space: How Dave Gettleman can add more space in 2021.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 13: The New York Giants wait in the tunnel prior to taking the field against the Arizona Cardinals before their game at MetLife Stadium on December 13, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 13: The New York Giants wait in the tunnel prior to taking the field against the Arizona Cardinals before their game at MetLife Stadium on December 13, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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The NY Giants have other key decisions to make about current contracts on their books.

Here are some other NY Giants that may see their roster spot or current contract in jeopardy without getting released outright or taking a pay cut to remain with the team:

Nate Solder:

Nate Solder enters 2021 with the same contract he had entering 2020. Solder’s COVID-19 opt-out pushed his contract back a year which made life for the Giants front office that much more difficult.

In his original contract, the Giants’ easy out in Nate’s contract was supposed to be after this 2020 season and to designate him a post-June 1st cut. That would’ve netted the team back $14 million while only eating up $4 million in dead cap. Instead, those figures are pushed back to 2022 instead of 2021 and make things much more complicated for New York.

If the team decides to part ways with their two-year starting left tackle, they will still make him a post-June 1st cut but they will only get back $10 million to eat up $6.5 million in dead space. I’m not sure if it’s worth only getting back a net of $3.5 million for his services so it may be in the team’s best interest to allow Solder to compete for a starting right tackle spot and be a key leader or a top backup on the 2021 offensive line. From there, his Giants’ tenure would end in the 2022 offseason.

Evan Engram:

It’s hard not to address Engram’s contract after such a frustrating, disappointing season from the team’s 2017 1st round pick.

Engram enters year five in New York after having his 5th-year option picked up last offseason. Engram did not live up to his abilities or potential to be a huge mismatch at tight end, especially in the Giants’ struggling offense.

Heading into an uncertain offseason, Engram was named a Pro Bowl tight end despite not nearly deserving the honor. The Giants could try and convince another team to use his services and could maybe fetch a day three pick to salvage his disappointing career in blue.

Engram is due $6 million this upcoming season. None of it is guaranteed so if the Giants want to move on, they easily can, as Engram’s contract does not trigger until the new league year begins. That $6 million could also be very useful elsewhere and hopefully go to a guy who can play well consistently on Sundays instead of being written about as a “breakout player” for 16 weeks straight for about three years in a row now.

The team will likely keep Engram due to his tantalizing talent. With any luck, #88 bounces back from a brutal 2020 year and makes a more positive difference in the new year. The Giants have little-to-no proven commodities at tight end and they would essentially need to start over blank at the tight end position. It’s highly improbable Engram would agree to a pay cut as he enters a contract, prove-it season for the team.

Sterling Shepard:

Sterling Shepard is the Giants’ longest-tenured player. As crazy as that sounds, Shepard is now entering year six in the league and has failed to produce his rookie year numbers now four years in a row.

Shepard has struggled with staying healthy, creating enough separation, and constantly making tough catches to move the chains for first downs. He was a part of a lackluster receiver group which mightily contributed to a bad offense that’s become all too familiar in Metlife Stadium.

Shepard signed an extension with the Giants after they traded Odell away in 2019. Shepard’s 4-year, $41 million extension has not been met with the standards on the field for such a hefty contract.

Shepard has missed 10 combined games since signing the deal, and his two-year totals consist of 123 catches for 1,232 yards and six touchdowns. Those are low-end WR2 numbers in today’s NFL. It’s easy to find a cheaper, younger, and healthier alternative to Shepard who can produce similar numbers to what he’s been putting up four years in a row now.

Sterling’s contract gives the team an out this season. If they designated Sterling Shepard as a post-June 1st cut, the Giants would get $7 million back in the early summer while eating $2 million in dead space. This extra $5 million could go to a more productive wide receiver or further bolster the secondary, offensive line, or pass-rushing department.

Shepard is still a useful, feisty receiver whose best work comes out of the slot. He is one of the faces of the franchise and is a leader for the entire organization. Shep will likely come back in 2021 but needs to start proving his true worth to the coaching staff.

Final Recap

In total, if the Giants were to cut these three additional players, they’d gain another extra $14 million in cap space on top of the $20 million they should stand to add from some logical cuts on the current roster. In total, the final numbers here would see the NY Giants gaining an extra $34 million in cap space which would greatly enhance their current financial status.

The reality is the NY Giants were still a perennial loser this year, losing a double-digit amount of games confirms that. This team needs to get over the hump immediately and it starts with having the opportunity and financial means to aggressively target particular positions and specific players.

It’s highly unlikely all these moves will be made and almost certainly Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram will return in 2021. If the total number from cutting players from this roster does in fact end up being in the neighborhood between $20 and $34 million, the team will be much better suited for an aggressive offseason.