Over the weekend, according to the NFLPA's official records, New York Giants defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins' 2015 base salary was reduced from $2.2 million to $1 million. What this means is that the Giants got Jenkins, who has only one year left on his deal, to take a pay cut -- probably by threatening to release him if he didn't accept it, but also likely by guaranteeing a portion of the salary (say, $250,000) and adding in a few per-game roster bonuses to help him try to make some of the money back. This is the February/March business of the NFL, and the Giants are going to be doing a fair bit of it in the coming weeks.
The move likely indicates that the 34-year-old Jenkins is in the Giants' plans for 2015 as part of a defensive tackle rotation that includes Johnathan Hankins, Jay Bromley and possibly Markus Kuhn. There also are indications that the Giants would like to re-sign free-agent defensive tackle Mike Patterson, which would mean their rotation on the interior of their defensive line would be the same as it was in 2014.
The move also saves the Giants $825,000 against this year's cap, which means our current projections put them about $17.8 million under the projected salary cap of $140 million. That figure is subject to change, in part because I think the cap is likely to be higher than $140 million but also because other calculations and other moves loom prior to the March 10 opening of the 2015 league year.
Other players on whom the Giants are likely to make contract adjustments include (but are not limited to):
Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, whose $4.775 million salary and $7.45 million cap number make him a strong candidate for release.
Linebacker Jon Beason, who has two years left on his deal and a cap number of $6.9 million this year and is a candidate for restructure or release in spite of the fact that $900,000 of this year's salary is guaranteed.
Center J.D. Walton, who is scheduled to make $2.25 million this year and cost $3.625 million against the cap.
Linebacker Jameel McClain, who has a $2.5 million salary and a $3.4 million cap number but could also be the team's leverage against Beason in contract talks.
Quarterback Eli Manning, who's scheduled to cost $19.75 million against the cap in this, the final year of his contract and is a strong candidate to receive an extension this offseason.