As New York Giants fans are sifting through the rubble of the past week, clues are beginning to emerge about Dave Gettleman’s possible game plan moving forward.
The second-year general manager hasn’t had a banner week, following the jettisoning of All-Pro safety Landon Collins with the unthinkable trade of franchise wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns.
It’s left the Giants without two of their best young talents, leaving the likes of Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram to languish with 38-year-old veteran quarterback Eli Manning, whose $23 million cap hit this season certainly threw a wrench in the organization’s plans.
While some will argue that Manning should have been dethroned from his starting role years ago, the Giants are reportedly committing to the two-time Super Bowl MVP for the final year of his contract in 2019, which is expected to be his final year in New York.
As it stands, there is no contingency plan for the team’s No. 1 quarterback after 2019, but that could be changing rather quickly.
According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the Giants would likely pursue a trade for Arizona Cardinals second-year quarterback Josh Rosen. The UCLA product was taken 10th-overall during the quarterback-rich 2018 draft and struggled to produce inside the NFL’s worst offense.
Sweeping changes throughout the organization that included the hiring of the former NCAA offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury as head coach is suddenly threatening Rosen’s short stint in Arizona.
Kingsbury’s new offense that will feature a dynamic air attack is going to call for a dual-threat quarterback that can make plays with his legs as effectively as he can with his arm. With Rosen being more of a traditional pocket passer, it’s the main reason why they are expected to take reigning Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma with the first-overall pick of the 2019 draft.
Rosen’s sudden expendability could be the Giants’ gain. Despite a difficult rookie campaign, this is still a 22-year-old with plenty of upside seeing as he’s just two years removed from a 3,756-passing-yard season with 26 touchdowns in just 11 games at UCLA.
Retaining Manning, as unpopular a move as it seems right now, would give the Giants a chance to give Rosen that all-important red-shirt year to become fluent in head coach Pat Shurmur’s offense. It will only help that he’ll have one of the greatest quarterbacks in franchise history showing him the ropes, too.
Acquiring Rosen would suddenly give the Giants the flexibility to address other needs in the draft this spring. Instead of spending their sixth-overall pick on a passer like Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins — who has made it known that he would love to play for the Giants — the Giants could pick up a premier pass-rushing talent on the edge like Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat of Florida State’s Brian Burns.
Among the return from the Beckham deal, the Giants picked up Cleveland’s first-round pick in this year’s draft at No. 17 overall. It will give them a prime chance at picking up the wide receiver’s replacement in Ole Miss’ DK Metcalf, the top prospect at his position this year.
In total, the Giants currently hold 12 draft picks, though the second rounder at No. 37 is expected to be used should they make a play for Rosen. Still, Gettleman will have ample opportunities to address other needs such as the secondary and offensive line in the later rounds.
With approximately $26 million of cap space still available, Gettleman has the funds available to make a move for another offensive lineman to guard Manning — and later on Rosen. Kevin Zeitler, who came over from the Browns in the Olivier Vernon trade, was the sixth-ranked guard in the NFL last year by Pro Football Focus and is a good start by Gettleman. But the Giants need an upgrade at the tackle spot, making a target like veteran Mike Remmers a sensible, short-term option.