Odell Beckham Trade: New York Giants' $34 Million in Dead Money


NEW YORK (WFAN.com) -- A lot has been said about the New York Giants' trade of Odell Beckham Jr. over the last few days.

To trade a generational talent for what some would consider a marginal haul in return is one thing. To trade said player seven months after handing him a massive contract is a complete other.

Due to the various guarantees New York included in Beckham's deal last August, Big Blue will incur $16 million in dead money following the star wide receiver's trade to the Cleveland Browns.

Yes, you read that correctly: It is going to cost the Giants $16 million to watch Beckham catch touchdown passes from Baker Mayfield all season long.

As if that weren't bad enough, New York will also be hit with $8 million in dead money for the other player that was sent to Cleveland this past week: defensive end Olivier Vernon.

Say what you want about the copious amount of cap space the Giants will have in 2020 now that Beckham and Vernon are no longer on the roster, which at the moment appears to be somewhere around $100 million. But there is no getting around the fact that while these two players help the Browns chase an AFC North title this season, they will combine to count for $24 million of New York's 2019 salary cap.

The Giants are currently set to have nearly an NFL-high $34 million total in dead money in 2019. That is around 17.5 percent of New York's 2019 salary cap going toward players on other teams. To put that number into perspective, the next highest amount of dead money is the Jacksonville Jaguars with $24.5 million.

In addition to all of the cap space being rationed out to former members of the team, the biggest chunk of active 2019 cap space is being handed to 38-year-old quarterback Eli Manning.

Based on recent reports, it appears as if the Giants intend on trotting out the aging quarterback for his 16th season in New York.

Wanting to bring the two-time Super Bowl MVP back into the fold for a farewell tour is understandable, but paying Manning the amount of money he is set to make is somewhat astonishing. Manning, who hasn't won a playoff game since the 2011 season's magical Super Bowl run and hasn't finished in the top 20 in QBR since 2015, will make $23.2 million this season and account for almost 12 percent of the team's salary cap.

In total, $47 million of the Giants' cap this year will be allocated toward Beckham, Vernon and Manning. When adding in the rest of the team's dead money, that number jumps all the way up to $57 million, or around 29 percent of the total cap. Keep in mind, it was only one year ago that general manage Dave Gettleman traded Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a move that cost New York another $15 million in dead money.

It's clear that the Giants are attempting to incur all costs in 2019 to preserve as much cap space as possible for 2020 (though they also signed wide receiver Golden Tate on Thursday to a four-year, $37.5 million deal with $23 million guaranteed). That is the only explanation for why the front office hasn't approached Manning about restructuring his contract. Now whether or not that strategy pays off remains to be seen.

Any way you cut it, the Giants are in salary-cap hell due to several questionable decisions made by the front office. Gettleman now has a year to steer the franchise back in the right direction. Otherwise it might be someone else deciding on how to use the surplus of cap space next offseason.

By Matt Citak