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Spencer Paysinger deserves to return in 2014

When the Giants signed Spencer Paysinger as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon in 2011, he was an afterthought at linebacker in a draft class that included Greg Jones, Jacquain Williams and his fellow undrafted free agent Mark Herzlich.

He survived the roster cuts and made the team as a reserve linebacker, playing in 15 regular season games and recording 12 tackles as a rookie.  He played in all four playoff games that year, too, making two tackles in the Giants’ 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

Paysinger followed up his rookie campaign by notching 39 tackles in 16 games in 2012, making his first career start Week 5 in a 41-27 victory over the hapless Cleveland Browns.

This year, Paysinger quietly broke out of his shell racking up 74 tackles and his first career sack while playing in every game for the second straight year.  He started 10 games at outside linebacker, including the first seven.

Those 74 tackles were the 2nd most of any linebacker on the Giants  (Jon Beason, 93) and 5th overall (Antrel Rolle, 98; Beason; Prince Amukamara, 85; Will Hill, 77; Ryan Mundy, 77).

Advanced metrics were kind to Paysinger this year as well.  Advanced NFL Stats gives him a positive Win Probability Added of .70, placing him slightly ahead of London Fletcher, and tied with Koa Misi of the Miami Dolphins and Heath Farwell of the Seattle Seahawks – not bad company.

Paysinger is probably never going to be a star linebacker in this league, nor do the Giants need him to be.  He’ll be perfectly fine playing second fiddle to Beason.

But as Paysinger is set to become a free agent now that his 3-year, $1.395 million contract is about to expire, the price for his services might get a little more expensive.  I doubt that he’ll get a huge deal, but certainly a significant raise on $555,000 base salary he made in 2013.

With the Giants facing a salary cap crunch which won’t be helped out by large spikes in Beason, David Baas and Will Beatty’s salaries (all of which more than triple in 2014), there may not be enough room to bring him back, unless he agrees to less than he’s worth.

The Giants currently have 38 players under contract for next year, making a combined $109.6 million, according to Over the Cap.  The salary cap in 2014 is set at $126.3 million, which means as of right now the Giants have $16.7 million left to sign all their draft picks, resign players and fill out the rest of the roster.

If the front office decides to bring Hakeem Nicks back, it’s going to be difficult for them to retain some of the better role players from 2013 like Paysinger.  The Giants should put him high on the list of players to resign, in the end, it’s going to come down to the money, and that’s not a good thing.

Joe Vasile | Featured Columnist

Joe Vasile is the voice of the Fayetteville (NC) SwampDogs.  Follow him on Twitter at @JoeVasilePBP.