The NFL has a strict off season roster limit of 90 players, teams are not permitted to exceed that number, and must have room available to they sign their draft picks, a process that has become almost routine since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought us the rookie wage scale. The Giants currently have 77 on their roster, 8 picks in next month’s draft, leaving room for 5 street free agents, or undrafted free agents, a low number by NFL standards, and clear indicator that some house cleaning is needed on the roster as it’s currently structured.
Giants360 has identified six players whose removal from the roster would cause little disruption to the quality product on the field. It would allow Jerry Reese to replace them with men who would provide competition and have a chance to make the roster as quality depth or low end starters. The dead wood needs to be cut off the Giants tree.
Right now, most are thinking, “Great, more cap space,” but the off season cap rules are different, with only the top 51 players counting towards the figures quoted almost daily. Right now, the Giants have approximately $9.1 million in available cap space and the 51st player is guard Adam Gettis, who has a 2015 cap figure of $585,000.
The next 5 players men up on the cap also have $585,000 salaries, the veteran minimum for players with 2 years of accrued service and certain veterans eligible for cap reducing incentives designed to encourage teams to continue to utilize their services rather than replace them with younger, cheaper alternatives. The six man up in the fabulous 51 is man of the hour Nat Berhe, the presumed starting strong safety, with a $558,200 cap figure. All told, these moves would save a mere $556,800. These cuts are about improving player quality, not salary cap space.
John Jerry was re-signed last week in a move that has been hyped as bringing back quality depth and competition for a started at right guard. Jerry started all 16 games in 2014 when injuries forced Chris Snee to abruptly retire before training camp last summer. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 10th worst run blocking offensive lineman in the NFL in the past 3 seasons. If this passes for quality, I’d hate to see what’s considered inferior by the Giants brain trust. Experienced does not always equal talented.
Brandon Mosley was the Giants fourth round draft pick in 2012. A guard out of Auburn, Mosley has started one game in three seasons, failed to make an impression, and couldn’t beat out Jerry as the Giants right guard last season. To restate, Mosley couldn’t beat out a player who had the 10th worst run blocking season among all NFL offensive linemen in the past three years. Players tend to make their biggest leaps forward between their first and second seasons in the NFL. Mosley is entering his fourth. It’s not going to happen for him.
Another fourth round pick, from 2011, Adrien Robinson suffered through injuries in his first two seasons with the Giants. He saw the field on a very limited basis last year, and play well enough, but was overshadowed by the emerging Larry Donnell and journeyman Daniel Fells. The Giants expect big things from Donnell in 2015 and are trying to re-sign Fells. To further complicate matters, the coaching staff was quite impressed with practice squad player, Southern Connecticut State product Jerome Cunningham. He was promoted to the active roster late in the year and is expected to make a contribution this season. There’s just no room for Robinson.
Holder of two Super Bowl rings, Zak DeOssie is a connection to the recent New York Giants glory days. However, a closer look at the 2015 version shows the 3rd lowest ranked long snapper in the NFL and the third highest paid at the position. That’s a deadly combination, and one that screams for the Special Teams captain to be replaced. If the Giants are serious about improving special teams, this is a move that must be made.
Markus Kuhn was drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 draft as a developmental defensive lineman, and suffered a series of injuries that kept him off the field in 2012 and 2013. When Kuhn finally saw some playing time in 2014, was ineffective as a pass rusher, and dismal against the run. His fumble return for a touchdown against the Titans was a season highlight reel material, but also was his only memorable play. Giants360 has gone so far as to identify a German born free agent defensive lineman, D’Anthony Smith, that could take Kuhn’s spot on the Giants roster, if Reese is determined to have a German national on the team. Kuhn’s upside is behind him, and it’s time to move in a different direction.
With injuries to Marcus Harris, Victor Cruz, and Jerrel Jernigan, the Giants were desperate for receiver depth last year. Return man Preston Parker was elevated into the lineup as a spot starter and third receiver and had a few good plays among his inconsistent performances. Late in the year, he was replaced by rookie sensation Odell Beckham as primary punt returner, and Dwayne Harris was signed to a generous free agent contract to take over both punt and kickoff return duties. With both the Harrises on the roster, Cruz returning, and 2014 preseason rock star Corey Washington in the mix for receiver spots, Parker seems like a man without a role. There is no time like the present to make this change.
While this is being billed as a six pack, Jerry will not be released mere weeks after signing him and such a move would cost the Giants $185,000 in cap space. The remaining five players on the list, would generate savings totaling $741,800, enough to fund an undrafted free agent or two. A new long snapper would be needed, and one could be drafted or signed from that could do better than 30th in the league. One of the remaining four players brought in could be that surprise man on the final 53 that makes a big contribution. We all know none of the six mentioned in this article will be major contributors to the Giants 2015 success.
The ratings information in this article is from Pro Football Focus, the independent web site that grades every player on every play, and the salary cap information from overthecap.com.
Giants360 now has a Facebook page. Have you liked it? Why not take minute and go there now, this article is over. And don’t forget about our Twitter (@Giants360). We break news there first and post analysis and in depth stories here.
Giants360. All Giants. All Year Round.