That’s not to bash the two-time Super Bowl champion QB. He had a great run. But remove sentiment from the equation and the move simply doesn’t make sense.
If the Giants want to win now, Manning is not their best option at quarterback; Nick Foles is. And if the Giants want to rebuild, they should just get on with the QB draft selection, transition and accompanying roster moves with an eye on cap space and the future.
The problem with the Giants is they can’t commit to one or the other. They want to do both. They want to win and rebuild at the same time.
And after GM Dave Gettleman’s win-now plan backfired majorly in this regime’s 5-11 first season, the message from ownership is clear: Find the next franchise QB in the first round of April’s draft.
Gettleman seems to recognize that his legacy will be defined by whether he finds that quarterback.
The tricky part is that ownership also wants to win. Pat Shurmur needs more players to win. And Manning, per his father Archie in December, doesn’t want to keep playing for another three- or five-win team.
Now, can the Giants actually realistically win in 2019? Not win eight or nine games, but really win. Can they go 12-4 and make a deep playoff run and reach the Super Bowl? That’s the question they need to answer honestly and correctly.
The L.A. Rams, as an example, accurately determined and recognized last offseason that they had a window to go for it. They decided it was time, and they went all-in.
Then GM Les Snead acted accordingly. No wavering. All in. He made big trades and free agent signings to bolster both sides of the ball to win now. He brought in the likes of Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Dante Fowler Jr., Ndamukong Suh and Brandin Cooks.
And while the Rams disappointed in the Super Bowl, they made it there. They had set a course for their voyage, followed it and validated their assessment of their own team’s potential and needs.
Which brings us to the Giants’ No. 6 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft and their quarterback.
If the Giants want to win now -- and they do -- then they must draft a position player who can help them right away over a quarterback who is going to sit for a year. And they also should part ways with Manning and sign Foles or even trade with Denver for Case Keenum, both QBs who are proven productive fits playing in Shurmur’s system.
Foles is not the done deal to the Jacksonville Jaguars that many believe. The Jags are the leading contender, sure. But there has been interest from the Giants, Foles is a better and more mobile QB than Manning, and Foles had chemistry with Shurmur in 2013 with the Eagles.
Also, know this: signing Foles would be positive for the club’s culture. Because not only would it demonstrate the team’s commitment to improve and eliminate the distracting “negative narrative,” as Gettleman calls it, of Manning’s decline.
Foles also is universally respected as a phenomenal teammate. The Daily News spoke to a half-dozen people around the league in Indianapolis, and everyone raved about Foles’ consistent and impeccable character and the resulting lifting effect on the team around him.
This cannot be ignored, especially considering the Manning-Odell Beckham Jr. dynamic, with the star receiver on the record saying that his current quarterback’s skills are insufficient.
The “Kansas City model” is a nice blueprint, but it’s not realistic right now. The Giants are not even close to being the playoff team the Chiefs were when they drafted Patrick Mahomes II two years ago at No. 10 overall. And there is no Mahomes in this class.
Gettleman drafts the best player whenever he’s on the clock in an NFL Draft. That’s what he believes he did last year when he took Saquon Barkley at No. 2., and that’s what Gettleman said he will do this spring, too. And listen to this very carefully:
The best player available at the Giants’ No. 6 overall pick is not going to be a quarterback.
Let’s say hypothetically that the first five picks of the draft are Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray (No. 1 to Cardinals), Ohio State edge Nick Bosa (No. 2 to Niners), Missouri QB Drew Lock (No. 3 to Broncos, from Jets), Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen (No. 4 to Raiders) and Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (No. 5 to Bucs).
Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins would be on the board at No. 6, but the Giants also would be staring at LSU linebacker Devin White (4.42 40-yard dash), Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat (4.41 40-yard dash), Michigan D-lineman Rashan Gary (4.58 40-yard dash and 38-inch vertical jump), and Houston DL/LB Ed Oliver (32 bench reps, 36-inch high jump), among others.
All of the top offensive lineman still would be available, too, including Oklahoma tackle Cody Ford, Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor and Alabama tackle Jonah Williams.
This is why, if the Giants are going to take a quarterback in the first round, they are likely going to do it by acquiring a second pick in the round. Maybe that pick becomes Duke’s Daniel Jones or Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham.
Will they get an extra first-round pick by trading Beckham? Perhaps. But again, dealing OBJ -- while it would be motivated by culture factors, too -- on the surface would not make the Giants a better team in 2019. Neither would letting Landon Collins walk in free agency.
So do the Giants want to win now or do they want to rebuild? They need to commit to one, because right now, it doesn’t seem as if they truly know for sure themselves.