New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams at training camp...

New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams at training camp on Aug. 2, 2022. Credit: Brad Penner

The Giants rearranged some financial designations on Leonard Williams’ massive contract Monday night in order to get below the league’s salary cap by Wednesday’s deadline.

According to ESPN, $17.88 million of the defensive lineman’s fully guaranteed $19 million salary for 2022 was converted to a signing bonus, allowing the team to spread the cap hit of that money out over this season, next season and, with the addition of a void year on the deal that was to expire after 2023, into 2024. The move creates $11.92 million in cap relief for a team that was projected to be over the league’s mandated limit by about $5.2 million and now has about $6.7 million to operate through the 2022 season.

The move is not without consequence. It eats into the amount the Giants will be able to spend in free agency in each of the two coming offseasons. Williams’ salary-cap hit for 2023 will be a whopping $32.26 million and $5.96 million in dead money in 2024. If the Giants cut Williams this coming offseason, they would save about $12 million against the cap but still be on the hook for about $20 million in dead money.

Last week general manager Joe Schoen said his most important accomplishment with the Giants since he was hired in January was putting the team in position to be active in free agency next year.

“We were not really able to be active this year at all,” he said of the fiscal handcuffs he inherited from predecessor Dave Gettleman. “I think going into next year in free agency we will definitely have a lot more flexibility than we had this year.”

Now it will be a little less than it was a week ago, but still expected to be among the most in the NFL. Prior to the Williams restructure, listed the Giants with an anticipated $61.7 million in space next offseason, the second-most in the NFL. If the Giants bring back Daniel Jones or Saquon Barkley after this final season of their rookie contracts, it likely would eat into that number quite a bit, especially if the team uses a franchise tag with a guaranteed one-year deal that cannot be prorated into future seasons.

Notes & quotes: The Giants added another veteran to their practice squad, signing WR Marcus Johnson. Johnson has played in 41 games with 12 starts in his career, recording 51 catches for 839 yards (16.5 yards per catch) and three touchdowns. He has worked with current Giants receivers coach Mike Groh in Philadelphia and Indianapolis. To make room on the practice squad for Johnson, the Giants cut WR C.J. Board.

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