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Eisen's Mailbag: What position to draft?

With the NFL Draft approaching in a few months, do you see the Giants looking to draft an offensive lineman, linebacker, or even a cornerback to upgrade the secondary?

Dear Ryan:
Ah, the first draft question of the year. It's really difficult to answer this question more than 3½ months prior to the draft. The postseason all-star games have yet to be played, the combine has yet to be held and the front office and scouts have yet to have the first round of their extensive meetings on the draft. And we don't yet know which of their needs the Giants will address in free agency. Having said all that, I would think the Giants will choose an offensive lineman early in the draft, given the team's problems both running the ball and protecting Eli Manning in 2013.

I was wondering if there was a difference in the cap hit if a player retires as opposed to being released?

Dear Michael:
This lies outside of my area of expertise, so I asked a member of our front office whose job it is to know the intricacies of the salary cap for guidance. His answer…

In a broad sense, the impact on the cap is identical to what would happen if the player is cut.  The key date to keep in mind (regarding the cap) is June 1.

For example, if a player has signing bonus proration in future years and he decides to retire in April, then all of the signing bonus in future years will count in the current year. This is known as "signing bonus acceleration." Continuing the example, if the player decides to retire in mid-June or July, then the future year portions of the signing bonus would count against the following year's cap. Also, if the player decides to retire, his base salary for that year, and all remaining years, is immediately removed from the cap. So although a team may have to account for an unexpected signing bonus charge if a player suddenly retires, they will at least have some cushion against that cap hit because the base salary goes away and the net charge is somewhat absorbed.

It becomes a little more involved when a player retires, such as recovering previously paid signing bonus and subsequently getting cap credit for the refunded money, but for the most part the cap treatment is the same as when a player is cut.

What can you tell us about Eric Herman, the guard signed late in the season from the practice squad?

Dear Bernie:
Herman was a seventh-round draft choice last year from Ohio University. He was waived at the end of training camp and was on the practice squad from the first week of the regular season until the final game, when he was signed to the active roster. He was inactive for that game. Herman said his work in practice enabled him to improve during the season and he hopes to – and should – get an opportunity to win a roster spot in camp this summer.

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