Those alterations include “converting $8.42M of his base salary into a signing bonus and creating $6.315M in cap space,” according to a report from ESPN’s Field Yates on Monday, September 4.
Creating additional room under the salary cap was something of a must for the Giants. Yet, this change hasn’t been made with making a splash move before the regular-season opener against NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, September 10 in mind.
Instead, as Yates’ colleague Jordan Raanan has pointed out, “this gives the Giants some financial flexibility to make moves during the season.”
Those thoughts are endorsed by Dan Duggan of The Athletic, who also made it clear “this restructure is to give them enough room to operate this season (P-squad elevations, IR costs, etc). Not expecting some big trade/signing as a result.”
Jones might have been the obvious candidate for a restructure after his big pay day earlier this offseason. Yet, general manager Joe Schoen still made an interesting decision to begin balancing the books by changing the deal handed to the player starting at football’s most important position.
There were other options, notably defensive tackle Leonard Williams and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. So far, Schoen has resisted making changes to either veteran’s terms, and things could stay that way given the additional scope for altering Jones’ contract further.
This May Not Be the Last Restructure of Jones’ Deal
Schoen and the Giants could revisit a restructure of Jones’ contract next offseason in order to free up further space. It’s more than a possibility, according to Duggan, who believes the Giants will “surely restructure next offseason, with the potential to create as much as ~$22M in cap space.”
Tweaking those hefty annual salaries Jones was to receiver under the original terms of his new contract will be easier than addressing the futures of Williams and Jackson.
Both are slated to become free agents after this season, per Spotrac.com. In the meantime, Williams and Jackson remain cornerstone players on coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale’s defense.
Williams can justify the $32.26 million cap hit he’ll count for this year if he rediscovers the form of his breakout season in 2020, when he logged 11.5 sacks. Schoen might have been hoping Williams would take a pay cut, but the player has instead left all options on the table.
Things are different with Jones, who remains under no-small amount of pressure to justify getting paid this offseason. Especially when his contract came at the expense of agreeing a new long-term contract with dynamic running back Saquon Barkley.
Jones has what he needs to become the true leader of this Giants’ offense, but if he can’t make new targets like tight end Darren Waller count, Schoen won’t hesitate to alter this contract further.
For now, the Giants have given themselves wiggle room to add to the roster during the season. It’s something that came in handy during 2022.
In-Season Moves Gave Giants Major Boost in 2022
Schoen played the market well during last season. Players like tight end Lawrence Cager, wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins and middle linebacker Jarrad Davis were all added after the real action had begun.
Every member of this trio contributed something to a season that culminated with a first trip to the playoffs since 2016. Hodgins continued to deliver during the postseason by catching this 14-yard touchdown to help beat the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 in the Wild-Card Round.
There’s still room for a new face or two at key positions this year. Like to bolster depth along the offensive line or to add more juice to the pass-rush rotation.
Thanks to Jones, those things can happen if and when they’re needed.
James Dudko covers the New York Giants, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens for Heavy.com. He has covered the NFL and world soccer since 2011, with bylines at FanSided, Prime Time Sports Talk and Bleacher Report before joining Heavy in 2021. More about James Dudko
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