By Michael Stewart @golferbad
Will Beckham’s Deal Cause a Domino Effect?
Introduction: When the Giants organization agreed to give Odell Beckham Jr. a five-year deal worth $95 million dollars with $65 million guaranteed, they were showing their commitment to the gifted wide receiver; which could backfire in their faces if Beckham decides to divert back to the Odell Beckham Jr. of 2016 or his production falters. Many projected Beckham to come to terms with the Giants on a multi-year deal at around $17 million dollars for 5 years with $56 million guaranteed.
Although many Giant fans are excited to see that Beckham will be a Giant at least for the next 6 years (new contract starts in 2019), I have concerns that this signing could cause a domino effect that could hinder the Giants talent level on the roster as many players could become casualty cuts to increase their cap space.
Once Beckham’s new deal kicks in at the start of the 2019 season; his contract will count for $21 million dollars against the cap. Now throw in Eli Mannings cap hit of $23.2 million dollars on top of Beckham’s and now you’re looking at both players salary accounting for 23 percent of the teams’ cap space alone if the projected salary cap is $190 million dollars.
Now keep in mind that the Giants need to make a decision on Landon Collins who will be a free agent after the 2018 season and if he has a Pro Bowl caliber year; Collins will be expecting a pretty high increase in pay. Gettleman could clear some cap space before the start of next season by cutting Running Back Johnathon Stewart, Tight End Rhett Ellison and Linebacker Connor Barwin; which should come to about $7 million dollars. However; Gettleman would need to make tougher decisions to clear more cap space with other players who are considered part of the core; which could affect the overall talent of the Giants roster in 2019 and beyond. Here’s a look at the top six players that could be part of the domino effec
(QB) Eli Manning: Manning has had an up and down season in 2018 and although his level of play has declined; after all he is 37 years old, you can’t fully put the blame on him. The offensive line overall has been horrible and Manning currently has the least amount of time in the pocket. With that being said, would the Giants consider cutting ties with Manning a year earlier? If so, who would they have to replace him? Is Kyle Lauletta the answer? Pat Shurmur thinks very highly of him, or do the Giants draft a quarterback this spring? Or do they look towards free agency for short-term solutions
2. (S) Landon Collins: If the Giants and Dave Gettleman can’t find the necessary cap space it could be a possibility that the Giants allow Collins to walk. I would find that scenario to be highly unlikely; especially if Collins has a solid season in 2018. Of course; there’s always a possibility that the Giants franchise tag Collins in 2019; which would allow them a little time to free up more money after the 2019 season.
3. (CB) Janoris Jenkins: I believe the Giants and Dave Gettleman have already decided to part ways with Jenkins after 2018 regardless of what type of season he has. For one, it will clear up $9.25 million dollars in cap space and an additional $11 million dollars in 2020. The Giants are very high on supplemental pick Sam Beal who is out for the season with a shoulder injury. This move makes a ton of sense and will more than likely be one of the first moves made by Gettleman once the season ends.
4. (LB) Olivier Vernon: Vernon needs to have a season very close to Pro Bowl status to justify his contract which will pay him $19.5 million dollars in 2019 and 2020. Cutting him in the spring or trading him will save the Giants $15.5 million dollars towards the cap. Similar to Jenkins, the Giants are confident that linebacker Lorenzo Carter could fill in and replace Vernon with a full season under his belt. If so, expect Gettleman to pull off a trade involving Vernon this offseason; which mirrors the trade he did with Jason Pierre-Paul last offseason.
5. (LB) Alec Ogletree: Ogletree also has something to prove in 2018 as he is due a $6 million roster bonus in March. The Giants could decide to move on from Ogletree if he has a sub-par season in 2018. If so, the team would save $10 million dollars in cap space and are high on Ray Ray Armstrong, who actually outperformed both Ogletree and Goodson in the pre-season.
6. (DT) Damon Harrison: Harrison is due $8.6 million dollars in 2019; which would be a cap savings of $5.4 million dollars. Unlike Jenkins and Vernon, the Giants do not have anyone close to fill Harrison’s shoes at nose tackle, so this could be a move that GM Dave Gettleman would most likely avoid if possible. Harrison has been rated as the best run stuffer at his position overall and replacing him could and would be very difficult. So in my opinion, although this could be an option, it would be one that would be the least to happen.
Final Thoughts: As you can see; the signing of Odell Beckham Jr. could have an extreme domino effect on the Giants overall roster entering the 2019 season. Releasing the players above would certainly free up cap space, but you would need to replace these players without jeopardizing the talent level; which seems unlikely.
The current interview by Beckham Jr. (ESPN) and candid comments aimed toward his teammates has caused a rift among the players and also the owner as John Mara publicly suggested that Beckham should talk less and play more. Not sure how this will play out as the season progresses, however; if the Giants continue to lose and equal or come close to their 2017 record of 3-13, we could see a major shakeup.