The Giants’ free-agent spending spree sent a clear message.
“They better win now or (general manager) Dave Gettleman is probably out of a job,” said Joel Corry, a former agent who is now an analyst for CBS Sports. “That was my first observation.”
It surprised Corry and other league observers that the Giants were such big spenders in free agency. The team made 20 signings that totaled $211.8 million despite limited cap space (that number jumps to $241.8 million if the extension safety Logan Ryan signed in December is included).
That number may cause sticker shock, but it’s always important to look under the hood of NFL contracts because the raw numbers that are first reported are typically inflated. The guaranteed money is the most important aspect of an NFL contract since that signals a team’s true commitment to a player. For instance, the Giants have committed $130.6 million in guaranteed money this offseason, including Ryan’s deal. That’s still a good chunk of change, but not nearly as exorbitant as the total maximum value of the contracts.
To dig deeper into the contracts, I obtained all of the deals players have signed with the Giants this offseason from league sources. And Corry, whose client list included Hall of Famer John Randle when he was an agent, added his perspective to the bigger deals the Giants handed out.
Before delving into the individual contract details, here’s a glossary for some of the terms you’ll find repeatedly in these deals:
• Signing bonus: Signing bonuses are fully guaranteed at the time the contract is signed (although they’re often paid in installments over the first year). For salary cap purposes, signing bonuses are prorated over the length of the contract (for a maximum of five years).
• Roster bonus, part 1: The most basic form is a bonus for being on the team’s roster on a certain date, typically shortly after the new league year starts in March.
• Roster bonus, part 2: There are also per-game roster bonuses in some contracts. These bonuses reward a player for being on the active roster for each game.
• Roster bonus, part 3: The Giants added a new bonus to some contracts this year, which is earned if a player makes the initial 53-man roster at the end of the preseason.
• Incentives: Incentives are earned when a player reaches a performance goal specified in his contract (i.e. having 10 touchdowns or earning a Pro Bowl selection). Incentives are grouped into two categories: Likely to be earned (LTBE) and not likely to be earned (NLTBE). An incentive’s classification is based on the player’s achievements in the previous season.