Despite the Bengals not showing much interest in bringing back Reggie Nelson, the New York Giants appear to be interested in landing the dynamic veteran free safety. Multiple sources have confirmed this interest, as well as reports that the Giants have actively reached out to Nelson, according to the New York Daily News.
Due to injuries and lack of experience, you could argue that safety is one of the biggest positions of need this year for the Giants. They drafted Landon Collins in the first round last year, but you can't really expect Craig Dahl to hold down the position again if Brandon Meriweather isn't ready to come back.
Reggie Nelson proved himself to be as capable a starter as ever last year, despite already being 32-years-old. He led the league in interceptions (8) and helped to create one of the most potent safety tandems in the NFL last year with George Iloka. The Bengals just signed Iloka on Wednesday to a massive five year, $30 million extension.
At the moment, the Giants still have around $21 million in cap space to play with, according to Spotrac. That's despite having already signed contracts with free agents totaling $197.25 million and leaving $21 million in cap space. Considering the fact that they still have 22 free agents from their 2015 roster that they may or may not want to re-sign, as well as signing draft picks, making a move for Nelson who is projected to take up a little under $5 million of any team's given cap space seems inadvisable.
It would make much more sense for the Bengals to try to re-sign Nelson for that kind of money. After the crazy first 48 hours of free agency, they still have a little over $30 million left in cap space, according to Spotrac. On top of that, they only have six free agents left to deal with from the 2016 roster. Those players are Nelson, Leon Hall, Andre Smith, Brandon Thompson, Pat Sims, and Wallace Gilberry. The team is expected to be interested in retaining Thompson and/or Sims.
Save for Nelson and Smith, all of those players have had virtually no buzz surrounding their free agent statuses. The only buzz for Smith so far has been the fact that he has visited the Vikings and received interest from the Buccaneers.
The Giants must remember that they need to save some of their salary cap space going forward. Yes, they still have $21 million, but is bringing in a mildly expensive player like Nelson really in their best interest when they still have to worry about signing their draft picks plus undrafted free agents?
The same could be said about the Bengals, who might be holding off on re-signing their six remaining players for the sake of having some cap space to work out deals with their draft picks. There's also the possibility that the Bengals could be planning to make a move for some outside free agents now that the tide of free agency has settled a bit. The Bengals aren't known for making big splashes early on in free agency, but they've been known to pick up a player or two here and there once things settle down and teams have more leverage.