What the Eli Apple Suspension Potentially Means for the Giants 2018 Salary Cap

Cornerback Eli Apple’s career with the New York Giants has likely come to an end after the second-year player and 2016 first-round draft pick’s antics finally pushed the Giants over the edge.

For those who missed it, Apple was suspended for the 2017 regular-season finale for what interim general manager Kevin Abrams said in a team-issued statement to be “a pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team.”

The final straw for the 22-year-old Apple was, per a report from the NFL Network, Apple’s refusal to take the field with the scout team that led to a blowup with Tim Walton, his position coach.

In the aftermath of the suspension, ESPN’s Josina Anderson, citing a Giants team official, reported that Apple is done as a Giant.

With Apple likely headed out the door, what then, does his eventual departure mean for the team’s 2018 salary cap?

For starters, the Giants will receive a one-week cap credit for Apple’s Week 17  salary—approximately $71,171, which while not much, will help a team that per the NFLPA public cap report, currently has $569,887 of cap space left for 2017 (and it’s unknown if that number reflects today’s transactions.)

More importantly, as ESPN reported, Apple has language in his contract that will allow the Giants to void any guaranteed money owed if he “is suspended by the NFL or by the Club” or he “engages in conduct reasonably judged by the Club to adversely affect or reflect on Club, in Club’s sole discretion.”

Simply put, if the Giants cut or trade Apple, they will be on the hook for the remaining prorated part of his signing bonus–$4,609,904, per figures provided by Over the Cap, and not the signing bonus plus guaranteed money, which would come to an estimated $8,953,614. (Apple was due to have guaranteed base salaries of $1,827,484 in 2018 and $2,516,226 in 2019.)

The Giants will not be able to trade Apple until the 2018 league year begins on March 14, 2018 at 4:00 PM ET.