QB Eli Manning points out who deserves a pay cut.
About this time of year—if your team isn’t still in the hunt for a Lombardi Trophy—fans start to compile their free-agent wish lists. But in order to free up the cap space to make any of those dream acquisitions come true, general managers are faced with the tough task of convincing veterans to take pay cuts.
This is one of a NFL GM’s less glamorous duties. Often, an agreement can’t be reached, causing an ugly, drawn-out fission between player and franchise. Even if the two parties reach an agreement, at least one party usually leaves the negotiation feeling bitter.
Still, it’s the nature of business in professional sports. Last season, quarterback Eli Manning volunteered to restructure his contract while running back Brandon Jacobs bolted to the West Coast, instead. Every player handles contract squabbles differently, and it’s Giants GM Jerry Reese’s job to keep New York’s championship-winning core together and happy.
This article will highlight five Giants that Reese could be calling into his office to discuss a pay cut in 2013.
Defensive tackle Chris Canty, a New York native, spent his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys after graduating from the University of Virginia in 2005. With the Cowboys, Canty played defensive end in a 3-4 base defense.
When Canty became a free agent in 2009, the Giants saw room for the 6’7”, 317-pounder at defensive tackle. That March, New York signed Canty to a six-year, $42 million contract.
Since joining the Giants, Canty has played in 49 games, collecting 124 tackles and nine sacks; he has become a formidable cog in New York’s defensive front. But after a disappointing 2012 season that was marred by injury, Canty’s price tag for next year is cringe-worthy.
The former Cowboy/Cavalier is expected to rake in $6.25 million in 2013.
Since David Diehl first put on a Giants jersey, the 32-year-old offensive lineman has protected for the likes of Kerry Collins, Jesse Palmer, Kurt Warner and Eli Manning. The mainstay veteran also opened up holes for a plethora of running backs, such as Ron Dayne, Tiki Barber, Brandon Jacobs and, of course, Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson.
You get the point; Diehl has been with the team for a very long time, and for the majority of his career, the versatile lineman has been extremely reliable. Diehl started all 16 games in each of his first seven seasons with Big Blue, filling in at both guard and tackle positions when needed.
After New York won the Super Bowl in Feb. 2008, Diehl was granted a six-year contract extension worth up to $31 million. After making the Pro Bowl in 2009, the deal looked like it was paying off. Since then, Diehl has been tossed around the lineup while battling injuries.
It’s difficult to justify the $4.1 million he’s slated to earn in 2013.
When the Cardinals drafted safety Antrel Rolle out of Miami in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2005 NFL draft, Arizona knew it was bringing in a unique defensive talent. Rolle combined a natural nose for the ball with exceptional cover ability.
Rolle helped turn the lowly Cardinals around, guiding his team on a Super Bowl run in 2008. The talented safety got a taste of a league championship but ultimately fell short, as the Pittsburgh Steelers topped his squad, 27-23, in Super Bowl XLIII.
The following season, Rolle earned his first Pro Bowl, and the Giants subsequently made him the highest-paid safety in NFL history with a five-year, $37 million contract in 2010. In his very first season in New York, Rolle made it to his second straight Pro Bowl.
Rolle eventually reached Super Bowl glory with the Giants in 2011. In his three seasons with Big Blue, Rolle has been asked to take on a multitude of responsibilities, including slot corner. He is one of New York’s most consistent playmakers, but even he was sickened by his performance in the Giants’ 34-0 shellacking at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons.
Is Rolle deserving of the $7 million paycheck he’ll receive in 2013?
Right guard Chris Snee is the Giants’ most pedigreed member of the offensive line. He was a second-round selection in 2004 (34 overall) and has been Eli Manning’s personal protector ever since. The four-time Pro Bowler has only missed four games in his nine seasons with New York.
In June of 2008, Snee was offered a generous contract extension of $43.5 million over the course of six seasons. The All-Pro lineman paid the organization back by anchoring the offensive line en route to a Super Bowl championship in Feb. 2012, the second of his career.
Snee is an old-school football player with an unparalleled toughness, which allows him to persevere through injuries that would easily sideline a lesser lineman. However, at 30 years of age, the wear and tear of the game might finally be catching up with Snee; the guard rarely ever plays at full strength anymore.
Snee is projected to make $6.45 million in 2013.
In 2005, as the Giants were moving full speed ahead with the Eli Manning era, the Giants used their first pick in the draft to bolster the defensive side of the ball. New York chose LSU cornerback Corey Webster with the 43rd overall pick (first-round pick went to San Diego from Manning trade in ’04).
Webster did not make an immediate impact. In fact, he was buried on the depth chart during the 2007 Super Bowl run behind veteran corner Sam Madison and rookie Aaron Ross.
However, after picking off Packers quarterback Brett Favre in overtime of the NFC Championship game, Webster started displaying more consistency. His performance steadily improved over the next few seasons, and the defensive back was offered a five-year, $43 million contract extension in 2008.
In 2011, Webster stood out, shutting down opposing No. 1 receivers on a weekly basis. His stellar coverage played a large part in the Giants’ Super Bowl success that season, but Webster suffered a complete drop-off in production during the 2012 season.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Webster is deserving of the $7 million he’s scheduled to make in 2013.