According to PFT’s Mike Florio, the Cleveland Browns are interested in entertaining offers for All-Pro LT Joe Thomas. Ditto for the San Francisco 49ers and their All-Pro LT, Joe Staley. And the New York Giants are in the running for both, should they so choose to make a move.
With the trade deadline approaching November 1 and the Giants off this week, they’ll almost certainly take a look. Big Blue’s offensive line has long been in need of an upgrade. GM Jerry Reese decided shoring up the defense was the team’s top priority last offseason, spending roughly $200 million to land Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon and Damon “Snacks” Harrison.
The defense has been better than it was in 2015, but the Giants are still at or near the bottom of the league in sacks and takeaways. Meanwhile, Eli Manning is off to one of the worst starts of his storied career behind a shaky offensive line that has taken a step back. Would a trade for Thomas or Staley take the Giants offense to the next level?
Both Thomas and Staley are serious upgrades over embattled Ereck Flowers. Many have called for Flowers, Reese’s 2015 first-round draft pick, to move over to RT, a move that may better suit his abilities and take him off of Eli’s blindside. The Giants haven’t budged.
Flowers on the right would also be an upgrade over Marshall Newhouse and Bobby Hart, who’s started in place of an injured Newhouse.
The Giants talented offense won’t suddenly ‘click’ and start putting up the numbers expected of them. No matter how well Odell Beckham plays, or how high Sterling Shepard’s ceiling is, the offense goes as Eli goes. Big Blue won’t make hay until he’s comfortable in the pocket.
Adding Thomas or Staley and shifting Flowers to the right kills two birds with one stone. With Justin Pugh at guard, Weston Richburg at center and John Jerry playing relatively well, you suddenly have a strong unit. At least on paper, which is more than could be said at any point over the last two seasons.
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What would the Giants have to give up to get Thomas or Staley? A first or second-round pick, according to PFT’s reports. That’s a heavy price for a team who must soon begin to look ahead (notice I didn’t say rebuild).
Thomas and Staley are both in their 10th year. Thomas will be 32 in December, while Staley is already 32. Manning isn’t getting any younger. He’ll turn 36 in January. It’d be a ‘win now’ move, but are these Giants good enough to compete for a Super Bowl at the expense of the immediate future?
Whether or not Eli plays well, the time for the Giants to look at the QB position is fast approaching. The Giants will also need to figure out RB, if it turns out Paul Perkins isn’t the answer. Nothing thus far suggests he isn’t capable, but it’s something to consider.
Besides, the offensive line has played well of late. They’ve improved as the season has waged on. Manning has only been sacked once in the Giants last two games. If their progress is sustained, improving the offense could simply be a matter of Eli trusting his protection and allowing plays to develop.
What say you?