!!!"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections New York Giants NewsGiants Training Camp 2016Giants vs. Eagles 2015 Phil Simms Jerseys Stitched , Week 17NFL Free AgencyNew York Giants NewsReport: Giants leaning toward keeping Olivier VernonNew,156commentsThe Giants have to have a plan right? Right?! RIGHT?!!!ESTShareTweetShareShareReport: Giants leaning toward keeping Olivier VernonBrad Penner-USA TODAY SportsJust last week, word at the NFL Combine spread like wildfire that the New York Giants were looking to move edge rusher Olivier Vernon via a trade, the asking price, according to sources, believed to be a third-round draft pick.But as we’ll be reminded again and again this time of year, once a rumor hits the airwaves, it usually doesn’t age well given how fluid the various situations around a rumor are.The Vernon trade rumor appears to be one such example. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, piggybacking off a report by Kim Jones, believes that it sounds like the Giants are planning to keep the 28-year-old edge rusher despite his holding a $19.5 million cap hit on a team that is so cap-strapped that it couldn’t afford to at least place the $9.531 million transition tag on safety Landon Collins.So what does this latest rumor potentially mean for the Giants as they prepare to enter the upcoming legal free agent tampering period that begins March 11? Let’s explore some reasons behind the move and see if we can connect the dots in figuring out what this team’s plan just might be.Why the apparent change of heart?There can be any number of reasons for this, including that the initial reports weren’t true. However, the most likely reason is that Vernon’s existing contract is simply not one that teams seem willing to acquire given the $15.25 million base salaries he’s owed in 2019 and 2020. Why offer Vernon in a trade to begin with?That one is easy. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is believed to desperately want to get back into the third round after forfeiting his third-round pick in this year’s draft to acquire cornerback Sam Beal in the supplemental draft. With Gettleman likely wanting to keep his draft capital, the only logical way to get back that third-round pick was to dangle a veteran player and hope someone agreed to it. The problem with that thinking — if that was indeed the thinking — is, as previously noted,Vernon’s contract makes it hard to move him. Factor that in with the reported depth of defensive pass rushers in this draft class that can be had on much cheaper rookie contracts plus the sudden influx of veteran pass rushers that have been released already by other teams, and it’s little wonder why the Giants couldn’t find a market for the 28-year-old. Does this have anything to do with Landon Collins?It might. Remember, Gettleman, when asked about franchising Collins, said that money was a concern, so he chose not to slap the franchise tag on last year’s defensive co-captain, who will more than likely sign with a new team.But here’s the thing. In order for the Giants to get a high (third-round) comp pick for Collins next year (a pick that will come in VERY handy if the Giants don’t get their quarterback this year and need to move up to get one in 2020), the Giants have to be careful about how they spend on free agents this offseason.Without knowing all the ins and outs to the compensatory pick formula, what I do know is that picks are based on free agents signed from other teams and free agents lost.The Giants will almost certainly add a veteran free safety to the mix to replace Curtis Riley and my guess is they’ll look to draft a strong safety to replace Collins (there was just no way the Giants were going to invest big money in both Collins and a free safety). There is also a belief that they will try to add a veteran right tackle, but the more I think about it, the more I’m starting to believe that they’ll instead devote the financial resources to re-signing Jamon Brown and use the draft (perhaps the sixth overall pick) to add a rookie right tackle.Now if the Giants were to have dumped Vernon—and there is still a chance they could — that would mean that they have to add at least two more pass rushers to go along with second-year man Lorenzo Carter, presumably one from the veteran pool. The chances of getting a veteran pass rusher on the cheap are slim; more importantly, if they do add a veteran who is going to get a decent contract and see the field a lot, the Giants would now run the risk of canceling out the high comp pick they’re likely to get for Collins.So if you’re the Giants and you want that comp pick for Collins, your action plan is likely to keep Vernon, re-sign Brown, add a quality free safety, use the draft to fill your other holes and let the rest of your unrestricted free agents walk in hopes they sign on with other teams and tip the number of 2020 compensatory picks in your favor.Then in the draft, you use the sixth overall pick on an offensive tackle (Gettleman did say during his private press gathering with the Giants beat writers that there were two offensive tackles that were going to go high in this year’s class), and your second-round pick on a pass rusher from that deep class.Even if you don’t get your third-round pick back, you have at least addressed two critical positions that lacked last season Youth Doug Kotar Jerseys , offensive line and pass rusher.Then you either use your Day 3 picks to get back into the third round (unlikely) or you continue restocking the cupboard.What about a quarterback? I’ve already acknowledged that getting the next franchise quarterback has to happen sooner than later, but with that said, I can’t help but shake the feeling that neither Murray or Haskins will be there at No. 6.And if neither one is there, I highly doubt the Giants would take another quarterback at No. 6 as then you’re talking about a gigantic reach.So let’s play devil’s advocate and pretend that Haskins is off the board by the time the Giants go on the clock. If that happens, then you restructure Eli Manning (which again, will necessitate adding a dummy year to his current deal since you can’t restructure a deal that’s in its final season). You clear some cap space for this year, push a very little amount of potential dead money forward into 2020, and now you’re assured of having one half of your “Kansas City Plan” personnel on board for 2020 when you also happen to have a bigger selection of quarterbacks who are likely to have first-round grades and who can benefit from learning from Manning.What about Vernon’s huge cap number?In an ideal world, both parties arrive at a pay cut that trims Vernon’s base salary down but gives him a chance to make the money back through Not Likely to Be Earned (NLTBE) incentives. You can also protect yourself should the injury bug bite him again by converting some of his base salary into a per-game active roster bonus. If he misses time due to injury, then the Giants automatically get a cap credit for 2019.The other thing you can do is base an incentive on playing time which would tie in with the per-game active roster bonus. Again, if he doesn’t meet that threshold, then the Giants get a cap credit.And should Vernon hit the NLTBE incentives, these would be charged against the 2020 cap, which will rise again next year and which will be subject to some different accounting rules in the final league year of the current CBA. From decisions to be made and dollars to be spent, here’s an overview of what the Giants are likely facing when free agency begins next week"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections New York Giants NewsGiants Training Camp 2016Giants vs. Eagles 2015, Week 17New York Giants NewsGiants Free Agency 20192019 Giants salary cap primer: What you need to knowNew,77commentsFrom decisions to be made and dollars to be spent, here’s an overview of what the Giants are likely facing when free agency begins next weekEDTShareTweetShareShare2019 Giants salary cap primer: What you need to knowBrian Spurlock-USA TODAY SportsOn March 13, the 2019 league year will be here, which of course, means the start of the freewheeling spending that comes with teams trying to outbid each other and outsmart each other.To get you ready for what is sure to be an interesting offseason, here’s what you need to know about the Giants salary cap and then some.How much money do the Giants have to spend?The Giants 2019 salary cap is $194,104,993, a total that includes the $188.2 league-wide cap figure set last week and the $5,904,993 carryover from 2018 that the Giants opted to move into their 2019 pot. According to Spotrac, the Giants have $158,016,326 currently tied up in contracts and $9,879,730 in dead cap space. That leaves them with an estimated amount of $26,203,944 of space to spend.Well, not quite. You see Doug Kotar Jerseys Stitched , the spending space is actually fluid.According to Over the Cap, the Giants will need $10,685,931 to cover the cost of their 10 draft picks — assuming they keep all 10, that is, and assuming they don’t trade up or down in any given round. Assuming the Giants keep all 10 picks and stay put where they are slotted to draft, the actual cap liability will probably be closer to around $8 million since once the draft picks are signed because players that who are at the bottom of the Top 51 list will be replaced by a rookie signing. General manager Dave Gettleman also mentioned at the Combine last week that he wants to have around $8-10 million to carry over into the 2019 season for any transactions that might be necessary. If we do all the math and work on the low ends of the scale for the amount needed for the draft class and the amount needed for the regular season, that comes to roughly $10.203 million of actual spending space, which, as of the March 5 deadline to apply the franchise/transition tags, wouldn’t have been enough to franchise safety Landon Collins. (More on that in a little bit.)So about this $8-10 million they need for the season. Is that normal?Yes and no. Yes in that a team needs to have a few million in reserve for in-season emergencies. But I’m not so sure a team needs more than maybe $5-6 million tops, unless it’s really anticipating a lot of injuries to develop.The issue I had with Gettleman’s statement about needing to reserve about $8-10 million for the season is that in his explanation, he neglected to point out a couple of key things.First, once the season starts, anyone worth signing to big bucks is likely already on a roster. Unless you’re planning an in-season trade in which you might have to take on a contract or two (and even in those instances, contracts can be redone before acquiring them), a team could conceivably function with maybe $5-6 million during the season.Second, when a team acquires a player in-season, that newcomer’s base salary is prorated over the rest of the season. For example, if a player is signed to a 1-year deal that carries a $1.020 million base salary in Week 8 of the season, assuming that player finishes out the season with the team, his actual cap liability is $600,000 ($60,000 per week) for Weeks 8-17.Now granted, most NFL teams, the Giants included, due a lot of roster tweaks within the firsts month of the season, but still, I can’t see them needing large chunks of money for that unless they’re putting in waiver claims—and even then, most of the players who hit waivers have manageable contracts to begin with. What moves have they made so far to clear cap space?The two “biggest” moves made so far were the removal of running back Jonathan Stewart and linebacker Connor Barwin.Barwin yielded a $1.5 million cap savings; Stewart a $2.35 million savings. That’s a total of $3.85 million in savings from those two transactions. On the flip side, they re-signed tight end Scott Simonson and quarterback Alex Tanney, both believed to have inked deals that fall under the Veteran Minimum Benefits rule. This rule, which applies to veterans with at least four years of accrued experience, allows for these veterans to earn his maximum salary and up to $90,000 in bonuses while only counting against the cap as though he were a two-year player.For example Youth Harry Carson Jerseys , Simonson’s deal is one-year and carries a base salary of $805,000 with $90,000 in bonuses. However, rather than count for $895,000 against the cap, he’ll count for $735,000 ($645,000 base and the $90,000 in bonuses).That might not sound like a huge savings, but it’s actually a smart move, especially when it comes to retaining restricted free agents.Using Tanney as an example, the Giants were able to retain him at a much lower cap hit than the $2.025 million cost of the lowest RFA tender. If the Giants decide to move on from Tanney down the line, they’d be on the hook for the $90,000 in bonuses paid out.The Giants also netted $1.5 million in cap space following the trade of edge rusher Olivier Vernon’s $19.5 million cap hit from the books. The net savings comes about given the removal of Vernon’s $15.5 million base salary less the $8 million dead money and the $10 million cap figure it cost them to acquire guard Kevin Zeitler in the trade with Cleveland.What other potential cap moves are coming?There are three potential moves to keep an eye on. The first is whether the Giants will look to lower Zeitler’s $10 million base salary. Of his 2019 base salary, $3.5 million is guaranteed , so the Giants could look to shave off the non-guaranteed money and convert that into a signing bonus, similar to what they did when they acquired linebacker Alec Ogletree in a trade last year and needed to get his number down.It will also be interesting to see if the Giants re-work any other bloated contracts such as tight end Rhett Ellison ($5.75 million cap hit) or quarterback Eli Manning ($23.2 million). Of those, Ellison’s would probably be the one to watch, especially if the Giants pay out the $5 million roster bonus due to Manning on the fifth day of the new league year.What other decisions do the Giants need to make before free agency?Now that we know what direction the Giants are going in regarding Landon Collins, the only other free agent of theirs that needs top attention is offensive lineman Jamon Brown.Word at the combine is that both sides are very much interested in reaching a new deal and I think one will happen at some point. But what I’m sort of struggling with a bit is whether the Giants will pour the financial resources to both Brown and a veteran right tackle or will they cut a corner?My gut feeling is with them having committed to Manning for another year, they won’t skimp on the offensive line — they can’t. While I don’t see the Giants making anywhere near the splash they did in 2016 (which they’re still paying for to this day), my gut tells me that Gettleman will spend the bulk of his free agency dollars on right guard, right tackle and free safety, and use the draft to fill in any other holes on the roster.What can we make of the decision not to franchise Landon Collins and could he still be back with the Giants?Let’s start with the second question. My guess is after how everything went down, Collins is headed to a team that has more cap space and who can afford to make him among the highest paid safeties in the league. That, unfortunately, wasn’t going to happen if he stayed with the Giants.As far as the decision to not franchise Collins, I wrote for Forbesthat I believe the reason why the Giants didn’t feel he was worth the money was two-fold. First, there was a legitimate concern that Collins would hold out and not sign the tag until the week before the regular-season began. For a team that has a lot of needs to address, to tie up $11 million in a player who not only wasn’t going to be around during the critical spring installs but who very well might have overvalued his worth didn’t make sense.I believe the Giants are going to pour significant resources into the free safety spot. I probably don’t have to remind you how inconsistent the team’s coverage has been in the middle of the field the last few years. And for those who put stock in Pro Football Focus’ grades, the Giants were ranked 27th in pass coverage last year, allowing 45 percent of the receiving yards to come after the catch.I also believe that given the depth of this year’s draft class, I could see the Giants adding an upgrade at outside linebacker and a box safety to go along with an edge rusher and perhaps an interior defender who can push the pocket as I’m expecting the Giants draft to have a heavy defensive flavor this year.