Last offseason, New York Giants brass started the slow walk toward an Eli Manning ride into the sunset.
Back then, new New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur thought that they could squeeze a couple more seasons out of Manning. They spent time talking around the quarterback position, specifically ignoring Manning’s age and declining play.
Unfortunately for both gentlemen, NFL games were played, and the obvious decline of veteran Eli Manning became apparent.
There’s no avoiding the issue now, in fact, it may be the most talked about issue surrounding the team right now. That’s because, as the New York Giants crashed and burned to a 5-11 record, Big Blue’s veteran quarterback received more scrutiny than ever before.
Fast forward to the Gettleman’s press conference, where the veteran GM indicated that he had a “no holds barred” conversation with Manning.
Perhaps that was Gettleman’s way of saying there’s an open quarterback competition for the 2019 season. Or he could be slow walking making a final decision, knowing his team needs two offseason’s worth of work to really get the franchise straightened out.
Whatever the case may be, the issue of the quarterback position will be front and center on the minds of New York Giants fans, as well as the national media through at least the NFL Draft.
Franchise quarterbacks are not a dime a dozen, hence the strong support for taking Sam Darnold at No. 2 last draft. Big Blue opted for running back Saquon Barkley, ignoring conventional wisdom about the devaluation of the halfback position around the NFL.
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Heck, the Los Angeles Rams really did ride scrap heap pickup, C.J. Anderson, at halfback, in making their way to the conference finals. Further, Denver Broncos exciting young tailback Phillip Lindsay wasn’t even drafted!
There are many examples of successful running backs, who were not high draft picks. Right now, the Giants have Barkley at running back and “TBD” at the quarterback position.
And while the possibility of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) has folks excited about the NFL Draft, in reality he represents a huge risk for any team that drafts him. Ditto for Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, yet both are likely to go as top 10 draft selections.
Now, because the NFL always has a dearth of talent at the QB position, teams also roll the dice on back-ups in order to fill the void. At some point, talent evaluators thought A.J. McCarron, Matt Cassel or Chase Daniel could be starters in the league.
Is there a chance for Gettleman to catch lightning in a bottle with someone like the Indianapolis Colts Jacoby Brissett?
Never say never, but the reality is that there’s no shortcut to the franchise quarterback route. That’s why at No. 2 in 2018, the New York Giants blew a golden opportunity to set themselves up for a decade or more of quarterback production.
Prior to the 2018 NFL season, this was one thought, per USA Today:
"“Considering he joined a talent-deficient roster eight days before opening day last season, Jacoby Brissett didn’t get nearly enough credit for keeping Indianapolis in so many games.”"
Given the fact that Brissett may, in fact, never become a bonafide NFL starter, the risk is huge for teams. And what would it take to pry the former N.C. State quarterback away from the Colts?
According to the New York Post, Colts GM Chris Ballard said this:
"“It would take somebody doing something that would absolutely blow me away, and it has to be the right thing for the kid, too. I’m not just sending him anywhere.”"
First, the New York Giants must be viewed as the right fit for Brissett, so that Ballard would consider a trade. If the G-Men meet that criteria, then what?
First off, the No. 6 overall selection should be an absolute non-starter for the Giants. In fact, would it even make sense, for the New York Giants to give up a second-round selection? Sure, if you can guarantee that the former N.C. State star actually becomes Eli Manning heir.
So what’s the skinny on Brissett as a viable option?
First, obviously there are no guarantees, and remember that Brissett completes less than 60 percent of his passes. When he started two games for the New England Patriots in 2016, he did not have a touchdown pass! He did have 13 touchdown passes against seven interceptions in 16 games with the Colts in 2017.
Maybe Gettleman’s strategy is to accumulate draft picks in order to make a trade, but that’s always a dangerous game. Leveraging draft picks assets in order to make a trade for Brissett seems like a double-down. Maybe Gettleman is the ultimate poker player, but too much risk gets you a seat on the unemployment line.