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The numbers behind the Giants’ salary cap

Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants looks on from

Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants looks on from the sidelines during an NFL preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: George McNish

Where’d all the money go?

The Giants are about $4.4 million under their salary cap for 2017, according to NFLPA records which do not yet include the official contracts for guard John Jerry and running back Orleans Darkwa.

That’s not a lot.

Instead of trying to figure out how the Giants will get by with that small fraction of the cap space (about 2.6 percent of the $168.8 million they can spend), let’s take a look at how they spent the other 97.4 percent.

Let’s start with the salary cap. The Giants, like every team, are given a cap of $167 million for 2017. The Giants, however, get a rollover from last year of $1.8 million. That gives them $168.8 million as their cap.

The player with the highest cap hit is Eli Manning, who at $19.7 million accounts for 11.67 percent of the total cap. By using the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants locked up $16.934 million in cap space for him, or 10.03 percent of the total cap. That number will go down if the Giants and JPP agree to a long-term deal, which theoretically would spread out the bonuses over the life of the contract.

About one quarter of the entire salary cap is devoted to the big three free agents the Giants signed last year: Olivier Vernon ($16 million, 9.48 percent), Janoris Jenkins ($15 million, 8.89 percent) and Damon Harrison ($10.6 million, 6.28 percent).

Only one new acquisition is in the Giants’ top 15 cap expenditures: Brandon Marshall’s cap hit is $4,468,750 or 2.65 percent of the cap.

A pool of $5,507,011 is reserved for the 2017 draft class. That represents 3.26 percent of the salary cap.

The Giants also have $3,099,441 in dead money, which accounts for 1.84 percent of the salary cap. Most of that money is from cutting Victor Cruz ($1.9 million) and Rashad Jennings ($562,500), but they also still have kicker Josh Brown on their books ($250,000).

How can the Giants increase their space under the cap? Well, two players who have been rumored to either take a pay cut or be cut – J.T. Thomas and Dwayne Harris – are in the top 12 of the team’s salary cap hits. Thomas is 10th with a hit of $4 million (2.37 percent of the cap) while Harris is 12th ($3.8 million, 2.25 percent).

Here’s a look at how the money is divided up among the top 15 salary cap hits plus the dead money and draft pool:

Eli Manning, $19,700,000 — 11.67%

Jason Pierre-Paul, $16,934,000 — 10.03%

Olivier Vernon, $16,000,000 — 9.48%

Janoris Jenkins, $15,000,000 — 8.89%

Damon Harrison, $10,600,000 — 6.28%

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, $9,000,000 — 5.33%

Justin Pugh, $8,821,000 — 5.23%

Shave Vereen, $4,916,668 — 2.91%

Brandon Marshall, $4,468,750 — 2.65%

J.T. Thomas, $4,000,000 — 2.37%

Ereck Flowers, $3,925,014 — 2.33%

Dwayne Harris, $3,800,000 — 2.25%

Jonathan Casillas, $3,691,668 — 2.19%

Eli Apple, $3,443,709 — 2.04%

Odell Beckham Jr., $3,311,063 — 1.96%

Dead money, $3,099,441 — 1.84%

Draft pool, $5,507,011 — 3.26%

Remaining space, $4,415,876 — 2.62%

Salary cap hits calculated by spotrac.com

Salary cap space according to NFLPA

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