Two more days until the NFL Combine begins. Then we will have some almost-real football, or at least an active football story, to talk about for a few days. Until then, here are a few New York Giants-related items to think about as the offseason meanders along.
Tom Coughlin's Contract
All has been quiet on the Tom Coughlin contract front since the 2014 season ended, and that should not be a surprise. When Coughlin received an extension a year ago, he ended up announcing that himself during a press conference at the Combine. That event begins next week, so perhaps we will find out one way or the other if the coach, 69 next season, will get the franchise's traditional one-year extension or if they will let the coach enter 2015 on the final year of his deal.
Co-owner John Mara said at the end of the season that "I still believe we can win" with Coughlin as head coach, but added that the organization's usual policy of not allowing a coach to enter a season as a lame duck is "not set in stone."
Reality is, whether the Giants give Coughlin an extension or not is really just semantics. A third straight losing season and the Giants will almost certainly replace the head coach, whether he has a contract for 2016 or not. If they make the playoffs and Coughlin wants to coach beyond 2015 the organization will almost certainly agree to that.
Where it gets interesting for me is what happens if the Giants go 9-7 or 10-6 and miss the playoffs. They have won two Super Bowls with those regular-season records. They have also missed the playoffs during Coughlin's tenure with a 9-7 record in 2012 and a 10-6 mark in 2010.
What happens to Coughlin in that scenario?
Eli Manning And The No. 9 Overall Pick
In Saturday's Big Blue View Mailbag the topic of whether or not the Giants should take a quarterback if either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston is still available when they select at No. 9 in the first round was hotly debated.
This is what I wrote in answer to a question:
When it comes to Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston the last thing in the world the Giants can afford to do this year is select a quarterback at No. 9. The Giants are in a win-now situation with a head coach who still has not had his contract extended beyond this year and an owner whose patience is wearing thin after three straight playoff-less seasons. They absolutely have to draft someone in the first round they believe can help them right away, not a 'futures' quarterback who will sit and watch. Besides which, I'm not sold that either Mariota or Winston is the right guy to bank on for the future. Mariota because of the skill set and Winston because of the off-the-field stuff.
You simply do not, cannot draft a quarterback at No. 9 this season. You have pretty much laid it out for your head coach that he will not return in 2016 if the team suffers through another losing season. In that scenario, it would be unfair to Coughlin to use a first-round draft pick on a player who would not be playing in 2015.
Worse yet would be the preposterous idea of trading Manning and handing the keys to Mariota or Winston in 2015. If you were going to do that, then Coughlin should not have been keep in the first place. The Giants are not rebuilding. They are trying to contend NOW. Manning still gives them their best chance of doing that.
The only thing you do if this scenario develops is try to create a bidding war for the ninth pick, likely between the St. Louis Rams, who have the 10th pick, and the Cleveland Browns, who have the 12th and 19th picks.
The time is coming, soon, when the Giants will have to seriously begin planning for a Manning-less future. The 2015 NFL Draft, however, is not that time.
Final Thoughts on Terrell Thomas's Retirement
When he officially announced his retirement a few days ago Terrell Thomas admitted to having "should've, would've and could've" thoughts because of the trio of ACL tears that brought his career to a premature end.
The Giants could justifiable have those same thoughts. How different would the past few seasons have been for the Giants if Thomas, taken in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, and safety Kenny Phillips, taken in the first round that year, had not had their careers wrecked by knee issues? Both appeared headed for stardom.
Thomas talked at great length about the impact of the Giants' organization on his life. Here is part of what he said:
"What means the most to me about my time with the Giants is the man I became," Thomas said. "Growing up a California kid and moving all the way to New York, 3,000 miles away, and coming to an organization with so much class and integrity and having a head coach who really taught me about morals and values and being a man of your word, I will never forget that.
"The biggest thing is what the organization taught me. Coach Coughlin taught me about integrity and doing what you say you are going to do. It goes a long way in life, and I think that has really prepared me for my next chapter in life."
Good luck to a guy who was a class act and easy to root for during his time with the Giants.