ESPN recently asked beat writers from each of the other NFC East teams if he thought their team would trade their quarterback for Eli Manning. So, let’s flip the question on its head and discuss it, New York Giants fans. Would you trade Manning for any other quarterback in the division?
Let’s lay out each scenario and what the writer thinks the team he covers would do. I will then give you my view on what I would do.
Manning for Kirk Cousins
ESPN’s John Keim believes the Redskins would make this deal. He writes:
Right now the answer is: Do you want the guy with two Super Bowls on his resume who is still playing well? Or do you want the guy you like, but you're not quite ready to pay him elite money since he has just one good season behind him? I even asked a few people in the league. One said he’d go with Kirk Cousins but the other two said they'd go with Manning. ... the bottom line is that the Redskins want a quarterback who can win a Super Bowl. You already know Manning can deliver that trophy.
Valentine’s View: Right now there is zero chance I make that trade if I am in Jerry Reese’s shoes. Sure, Cousins is 27 and Manning is 35. But, you don’t trade a two-time Super Bowl MVP with Manning’s pedigree who is still playing at a high level for a guy was a backup for three years and had one excellent season as a starter. There is a reason why the Redskins haven’t committed a long-term deal to Cousins, who is working on a one-year, $19.953 million deal. They want to see him do it again. So do I.
If you’re the Giants you look really stupid if you make this trade, Cousins turns into a one-year wonder and Manning is still playing long after Cousins washes out of the league. A year from now, if Cousins has a second straight excellent year, things might be different.
Manning for Sam Bradford or Carson Wentz
ESPN’s Phil Sheridan believes this one is a split decision for the Philadelphia Eagles. He writes:
Would they trade Sam Bradford for Manning? They just might. Manning has two Super Bowl rings and would be a terrific guy to run the offense and help first-round pick Carson Wentz learn the ropes. Manning’s age -- he’s 35 -- wouldn’t be an issue because the Eagles would be looking for him to yield the floor to Wentz in a year or so. If the question is whether the Eagles would trade Wentz for Manning, the answer is: heck no.
Valentine’s View: I wouldn’t make either one of these trades. Bradford? I’m trying not to laugh hysterically because I threw my back out a couple of days ago and I can barely sit down as it is. Wentz? Tempting, but I am still saying no deal. I don’t care about potential. Not when I already have a quarterback still playing at a very high level who has already proven he can win Super Bowls. The Giants already wasted the last four years. I’m not wasting the next couple figuring out if Wentz can play.
The time will come when the Giants will have to groom a Manning successor, if Ryan Nassib isn’t the guy. That time isn’t now.
Manning for Tony Romo
Yes, I intentionally saved this one for last. ESPN’s Todd Archer is adamant that the Dallas Cowboys would not make this trade. He writes:
I can answer this in one word: no. Manning has two Super Bowl wins and Tony Romo has two playoff wins, but if we’re judging the body of work as a QB, Romo is simply better. ... Maybe others would consider this deal because of Romo’s health; Manning has not missed a start since taking over for the Giants in 2004. It’s a remarkable streak. Yes, he is durable and tough, and Romo missed 12 games last season. Call me hardheaded, but the Cowboys are still better with Romo as their quarterback than they would be if Manning was their quarterback.
Valentine’s View: I agree with Archer, but in reverse. Would I make this trade if I were Jerry Reese? Heck no.
Archer is right, statistically Romo, 36, is superior to Manning. When you look at the regular season body of work — and Giants fans will kill me for this — it’s hard to argue that Manning is a better player.
The thing is, durability counts. The fact that Manning is behind center game after game after game after game means a lot. If Manning had been quarterbacking the Cowboys last season they might have won the Super Bowl. Instead they won just four, going 1-11 in the 12 games Romo missed.
As talented and tough as he is, Romo seems to be made of glass these days. Between his back and his fragile collarbone you never know if he will get up healthy after being hit.
If I’m the Giants it’s a no-brainer to stick with Manning.
Your thoughts, Giants fans? Would you make any of these deals?