The Jimmy Garoppolo trade on Monday night should make the New York Giants sit up and pay attention. Not only for the reasons I have already outlined, but for this — it helps establish a price point if the organization were to decide to trade Eli Manning.
Now, let’s be 100 percent clear. The 2017 NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, just a few hours away as I write this. I do not expect Manning to be traded — he has a no-trade clause and both coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese have been adamant they are not tossing in the towel despite the team’s 1-6 record. I believe Manning, no matter what happens in the 2018 NFL Draft, will open the 2018 season as the Giants’ starting quarterback.
Still, if ownership were to demand a complete reset with the team headed for its fifth playoff-less season in six years, dealing Manning would be the biggest card the Giants could play.
What could the Giants get in return?
Yes, Garoppolo is 25 with the prospect of a long NFL future ahead and Manning is 36 with a closing window as a championship-caliber player. Garoppolo, though, is a player with two NFL starts. Manning is a player with two Super Bowl MVP trophies.
Garoppolo was traded to a winless, rebuilding 49ers team. Manning would interest only teams that believe they might be a quarterback away from making a run at a title. The Jacksonville Jaguars, with Blake Bortles at quarterback Tom Coughlin making personnel decisions, continue to be the most logical landing spot. How about the Denver Broncos? Think they would have a better shot with Manning instead of Trevor Siemian behind center?
In my view, to deal Manning the Giants would have to get a package similar to what the Philadelphia Eagles got last year in exchange for Sam Bradford. Minnesota surrendered a first-round pick in 2017 and a conditional 2018 pick that will end up being a fourth-rounder. Bradford is seven years Manning’s junior, but in my view Manning is still the player with the higher short-term upside.
As I said earlier, though, Manning will almost certainly be a Giant after today’s trade deadline and be the quarterback on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
Here, though, is a tantalizing idea. What if the Giants end up able to select Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold or whoever they see as the best of the 2018 quarterback class in the upcoming draft? Could you then use Manning to swing a deal to get back into the first round and add, oh, an offensive tackle or an impact linebacker?
Again, not likely. But, fun to think about.
“Joined at the hip”
McAdoo said Monday that he and Reese are “joined at the hip.” If that’s the case, both of them have to be fighting to save their jobs over the final nine games of the season.
That is one reason why I think it is likely the Giants hold off as long as possible on playing rookie quarterback Davis Webb this season — if they play him at all. Manning still gives the Giants the best chance to win some games now, and McAdoo knows he had better win a few if he wants to stick around.
The interesting thing for me is how Reese handles the trade deadline. The Giants should be sellers, if possible. If anyone offers them draft picks for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Shane Vereen or Jonathan Casillas the immediate answer should be “yes.” It is the right thing to do, but would Reese weaken the 2017 product for a future he might not be part of?
By the way, as much as the fan base wants changes at the top I’m still not sold that they will happen. Ownership made a monumental change two years ago in moving on from Tom Coughlin. Do John Mara and Steve Tisch have the stomach for a house-cleaning? I think that is still to be determined, but at this point I wouldn’t be shocked to see McAdoo and Reese keep their jobs.
About the Duane Brown trade
I can imagine some Giants fans wondering why the Giants couldn’t have been the team that pulled off a trade for three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown. The Seattle Seahawks sent a player (Jeremy Lane) and a pair of mid-round picks to the Houston Texans for Brown.
This one shouldn’t bother Giants fans at all. It’s the kind of move contending teams make, not 1-6 teams. If it only costs money, sure, which would be the case in free agency. But, dealing away draft picks for a 32-year-old who might not even be with the team in 2018 (he carries a $9.75 million cap hit, all of which could be saved by cutting him) makes no sense. He held out until recently looking for a new deal, so he will want big money.