Giants adjust Blake Martinez, James Bradberry contracts after free-agency splurge

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It has to come from somewhere.

All that money the Giants are spending this year in free agency? There has to be cap space available to write contracts for 2021, acknowledging that the NFL cap of $182.5 million is significantly lower than the 2020 figure of $198.5 million. If you want to play (in free agency) this year, you have to pay down the road.

The Giants made the anticipated and necessary moves to reduce their 2021 salary cap expenditures, converting the contracts of two of their highest-paid returning players, cornerback James Bradberry and inside linebacker Blake Martinez, The Post confirmed. These adjustments save the Giants $7.5 million on this year’s cap, a day after they signed cornerback Adoree’ Jackson to a three-year deal worth $39 million.

The Giants used the traditional cap-savings device of converting base salary into signing bonus. There is no downside for the player — he receives his money immediately, in the form of a bonus — as his base salary for this season is greatly reduced.

Bradberry was scheduled for a base salary of $13.9 million and cost $17.2 million on the 2021 cap. He had $8 million converted to a bonus, creating $4 million in cap space this year. Martinez had his 2021 salary cut from $8.1 million to $1.2 million, as the Giants moved $7 million into a bonus for Martinez, creating $3.5 million in cap space.

If this is such an effective way to gain immediate salary cap relief, why not do it all the time? Well, what a team does not pay for now it pays for later. Bradberry’s cap hit in 2022 goes from $16.5 million to $20.5 million and Martinez’s cap cost in 2022 increases from $10.5 million to $14 million. 

The $7.5 million in cap savings this year gets pushed to 2022. The additional $7.5 million in cap cost two years from now should not be difficult to absorb. The 2022 cap for every team, with all the new television contract deals in motion and revenues returning to normal after a season of COVID-19 losses, is expected to grow exponentially.

The Giants before these contract gains and cap adjustments were about $3.9 million under the cap, but that did not include the contract for Jackson.

Although the Giants did not go into free agency anywhere near the top of the list, as far as teams with available salary cap space, they were one of the most active teams on the open market. They signed Kenny Golladay, considered the top wide receiver on the market, and Jackson, released by the Titans, to fill the role as starting cornerback opposite Bradberry.

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