It was certainly a busy week for the New York Giants as Michael Boley, Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty were cut by the team over the course of two days. The biggest question for Giants fans now is will Corey Webster be the next salary cap casualty?
Based on the economics of the situation he certainly seems like a player worth cutting. Webster has a base salary of $7 million in 2013 and his cap hit, according to spotrac, is a hefty $9.84 million.
The NFL salary cap can be confusing and deceptive when it comes to determining how much a team will save toward the cap after they cut a player. It appears, however, that the Giants would save $7.25 million if they cut Webster, based on the details of his 2008 contract extension and 2009 contract restructuring.
This is more than they saved with any of the cuts they made this past week. Of course, New York could always restructure Webster's contract again. Based, though, on his 2012 performance and future prospects it's hard to believe that they would want to go this route.
Webster's 2012 season, on paper, looks good. He led the team with 13 pass defenses, was second to Stevie Brown in interceptions with four and recorded 52 solo tackles. The reason his stats were solid though is because he was routinely picked on by opposing quarterbacks due to his propensity to give up touchdowns, like this one against the Eagles.
To be fair, he was usually facing the other team's best wide receiver, but his play was so horrific at times that it is hard to use this fact as an excuse.
The other problem with keeping Webster is that he is unlikely to improve much, if at all, in 2013. He will be 31 years old on March 2. Given the skills involved with being a solid cornerback, including speed, quickness and strong reaction time, it is very difficult for players past 30 to be productive at this position. Webster appeared to have lost something in each of these categories in 2012 and they are not likely to come back.
Also Webster's size (listed at 6' 0", 200 Ibs) and eroding skills do not suggest that he would be good as a backup in nickel situations. This position requires a cornerback to play in the slot and react to quick cuts in open space; which has never been Webster's strength, even when he was in his prime. Keeping Webster likely means starting him opposite Prince Amukarama. This is not a desirable situation for New York.
So with all this evidence suggesting that the Giants should cut ties with Webster, why haven't they done it yet? They certainly aren't nostalgic because he was a major part of the two recent Super Bowl championships, given that Bradshaw was let go.
They definitely don't have a problem cutting players in weak areas of the defense, which the secondary is considered to be. New York's interior lineman are not a strength, yet Canty was cut. The linebacking corps is a huge question mark, but one of the best players on the unit, Boley, was also let go.
My gut tells me that the Giants will ultimately cut Webster. The decision, however, has gone from a foregone conclusion on Wednesday to a mystery less than a week later.
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