The 2017 New York Giants had a terrible season, perhaps the worst in the nine-decade history of the franchise, but like every storm there is usually a rainbow. After a season that was nothing short of a horror show, the Giants will get a just reward – one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects.
Now comes the million-dollar question: will they take one of them?
With the second overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Giants will have a shot at either UCLA’s Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold of USC, two highly-coveted passers that many consider to be franchise-changing players such as Carson Wentz and Jared Goff have been to the Eagles and Rams respectively.
But the Giants are in a state of flux at the moment. Gone are head coach Ben McAdoo, GM Jerry Reese and VP of player personnel Marc Ross. In the door has come Dave Gettleman, an old Giant hand who recently parted ways with the Carolina Panthers after four years as their GM.
Gettleman is a proponent of the mantra where “big bodies allow you to compete” and also went on record to state that current QB Eli Manning has a lot of football left in him. So, with that being said, it is very possible that he does not take either passer with that second pick.
The new GM’s first order of business is to find a head coach and the team is in the process of interviewing the usual suspects over the next few weeks. His other priorities will be re-establishing the team in the trenches, especially along the offensive line, determining Manning’s fate and kicking around the idea of inking superstar WR Odell Beckham, Jr. to a long term contract.
Manning is signed through 2019 with a no-trade clause. His cap number is a crusher: $22.2 million this year and $23.2 million in 2019. The Giants will need to get him to agree to do one of two things – become a mentor to the young QBs behind him on the roster, which includes allowing them to take some snaps; or agree to be traded to a destination that is in the market for a veteran QB such as Denver, Arizona, Jacksonville or Minnesota.
If Manning does not agree to to either of those, the Giants could be in trouble. Gettleman will be forced to make a hard decision with that second pick, which will be highly coveted throughout the league. That wouldn’t be the worst thing, however. The Giants do have a young QB on the roster, last year’s third-round selection, Davis Webb, who they still know little about since he took zero snaps this season. Gettleman could trade the pick for a package of picks and begin to collect some of those big bodies he desires.
But that is not the sexy move, the public relations boost this franchise needs at the moment. CEO John Mara shouldn’t care about that. The Giants need to get back to winning football games and Gettleman will do what’s best for the franchise, both short and long term.
In my humble opinion, the Giants should not take either of these QBs at No. 2. Rosen is talented but outspoken and may not be a fit here. Darnold is still only 20 years old and probably should have stayed in college another year. He’s green.
Gettleman has to act fast, though. Once his coach is in place, he’ll have to make a decision by early March whether to retain Eli because there’s a $5 million roster bonus that kicks in on the third day of the new NFL fiscal season. Manning also has to agree to be traded. So far, he’s shown he’s not ready to pack his bags. He is on record saying he wants to retire a Giant.
What will likely happen is the Cleveland Browns, at No. 1, select Darnold since Rosen is already making waves about playing in Cleveland. The Giants may then trade the pick rather than select Rosen. If they can’t trade the pick, they might take Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown, a 6’8″, 345 pound behemoth that fits Gettleman’s plan to restock the offensive line. He can then keep Manning safer and try to work Webb int the plans, something the club failed to do in 2017.
The fans want the Giants to make a splash. They might do that, but its looking more and more like they’ll be hemmed in to the boring, conservative logic that won them Super Bowls in the past.