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Giants expected to have over $30 million in salary-cap space for offseason

The New York Giants are headed in the right direction, with a solid base of core players and a foundation of financial health. It should make for another rather active and interesting offseason.

The Giants were busy last year, spending bundles to restock a defense that morphed into one of the league’s best units by season’s end. Only the New England Patriots allowed fewer points.

Now the Giants are left with a strong stable of recently acquired building blocks -- defensive tackle Damon Harrison, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defense end Olivier Vernon among them -- and the potential to get even better. They remain solvent and flexible despite dropping more than $200 million in contracts on the revamped defense.

“We don’t have as much money as we had last year to go shopping in free agency,” general manager Jerry Reese said recently, “but I think that we will be able to do things that we need to get done to help this football team.”

Reese isn’t posturing. His money man, assistant general manager Kevin Abrams, has put the Giants in position where they can again be players in free agency. The Giants will be close to $20 million under the estimated $164 million salary cap this offseason, with some obligatory cost-saving moves (i.e. addressing Victor Cruz's contract) on the horizon.

With some expected salary trimming, the Giants should be close to $35 million under the salary cap by the time free agency begins. It’s not like last year, when the Giants were around $50 million under the cap, but it’s more than enough for Reese and Abrams to maneuver freely.

They're going to need it, because they have some key decisions to make. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, linebacker Keenan Robinson and offensive guard John Jerry are key free agents. The Giants could also benefit from locking up offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. long term.

The good news is the Giants have the money to pick their intended route. Reese already has noted he thinks it’s financially feasible to re-sign both Pierre-Paul and Hankins. That’s only because the team's books are in order.

Money currently counting against 2017 salary cap (Top 51 players only): $146.12 million in salaries + $200K dead money [estimate] = $146.32 million

Giants' projected salary cap for 2017: $164 million (estimate) + $1.8 million carryover from 2016 = $165.8 million

Projected salary cap space: $165.8 million - $146.32 million = $19.48 million

(Note: Cutting Cruz, RB Rashad Jennings and LB J.T. Thomas would create another $13.1 million in cap space, putting the Giants at $32.58 million under with other moves available if they so desire.)

Giants players under contract for 2017, with salary cap number:

1. QB Eli Manning, $19.7 million

2. DE Olivier Vernon, $16 million

3. CB Janoris Jenkins, $15 million

4. DT Damon Harrison, $10.6 million

5. WR Victor Cruz, $9.4 million

6. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, $9.0 million

7. G Justin Pugh, $8.8 million

8. RB Shane Vereen, $4.9 million

9. LB J.T. Thomas, $4 million

10. OT Ereck Flowers, $3.9 million

11. WR/KR Dwayne Harris, $3.8 million

12. LB Jonathan Casillas, $3.7 million

13. CB Eli Apple, $3.4 million

14. WR Odell Beckham Jr., $3.3 million

15. RB Rashad Jennings, $3.1 million

16. P Brad Wing, $1.8 million

17. S Landon Collins, $1.7 million

18. C Weston Richburg, $1.6 million

19. WR Sterling Shepard, $1.4 million

20. FB Will Johnson, $1.3 million

21. DT Jay Bromley, $911K

22. DE Owa Odighizuwa, $845K

23. S Darian Thompson, $819K

24. OL Adam Gettis, $775K

25. S Rahim Moore, $775K

26. S Nat Berhe, $738K

27. LB Devon Kennard, $726K

28. WR Tavarres King, $690K

29. DE Stansly Maponga, $690K

30. LB B.J. Goodson, $686K

31. Mykelle Thompson, $672K

32. OL Bobby Hart, $633K

33. QB Keith Wenning, $630K

34. LB Uani Unga, $615K

35. LB Deontae Skinner, $615K

36. RB George Winn, $615K

37. LB Eric Pinkins, $615K

38. OL Brett Jones, $615K

39. WR Kevin Norwood, $615K

40. RB Paul Perkins, $603K

41. TE Jerell Adams, $576K

42. WR Roger Lewis, $546K

43. DE Romeo Okwara, $545K

44. CB Michael Hunter, $540K

45. G Martin Wallace, $540K

46. DE Jordan Williams, $540K

47. S Andrew Adams, $540K

48. LB Ishaq Williams, $540K

49. OT Michael Bowie, $540K

50. CB Donte Deayon, $465K

51. WR Darius Powe, $465K

52. RB Jacob Huesman, $465K

53. S Ryan Murphy, $465K

54. OL Jon Halapio, $465K

55. RB Daryl Virgies, $465K

56. LB Curtis Grant, $465K