Week 1 just ended and calls are out for the New York Giants to make a substantial move. There is a desire for general manager Jerry Reese to start working the phones to fix some of the problems that resurfaced in the opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Former NFL linebacker and current ESPN NY 98.7-FM host Bart Scott expressed an interesting solution on Tuesday afternoon. It involves taking a piece from the Giants defense (their best unit) and using it to stabilize the offense (their worst unit).
“The Giants really have to consider trading one of their assets on defense because you’re going to waste great personnel because Eli [Manning] is not going to be able to effective. He’s going to start hearing footsteps,” Scott said on The Michael Kay Show. “Like I said before, he heard footsteps last year and wasn’t the most accurate quarterback. That is what happened. That is the first time I’ve ever seen Eli in his career seeing the rush, not looking at his progressions down the field but seeing and feeling the rush."
Manning went 29-of-38 for 220 yards with no touchdowns and an interception against the Cowboys. He was sacked three times and struggled with his accuracy.
“[The offensive line], they’re getting beat with easy, elementary games. You games and me games. [Tackle-end] stunts. They’re going to have to consider taking their defensive assets, I don’t know if it’s going to have to be [cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] or Eli Apple but they need to consider trading him and some picks -- they’re not going to win a trade game -- but they need to find a good left tackle so you can fix everything from there.”
It’s a compelling suggestion. One is left to wonder why this didn't happen in the offense. The Giants clearly could use help on their offensive line. They struggled -- especially off the edges -- in a 19-3 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night after struggling with the same five starters last season. There doesn’t appear to be much reason that they will improve after seeing a summer-plus full of results.
So Scott’s solution is to take from the defense and add to the offense. The thinking is that the defense would be able to survive despite the subtraction of a piece, especially if it’s not from the core (Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Jason Pierre-Paul, Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins).
Now, trading Rodgers-Cromartie doesn’t seem to make much sense, considering that a team wouldn't likely give up a quality left tackle for a 31-year-old cornerback. They would like want a young, ascending asset or assets. Apple, free safety Darian Thompson and middle linebacker B.J. Goodson are the Giants that fit the description.
It would likely cost a substantial package that includes a young player and a quality draft pick to even get a rebuilding team (Browns or 49ers?) on the phone this early in the season. Cleveland and San Francisco have quality left tackles in Joe Thomas and Joe Staley.
But it almost certainly would cost a fortune to acquire their services. Scott thinks the Giants should consider it. At the very least, they should get on the phone and look into it.
The likelihood of any move of this magnitude unfolding appears extremely slim. General manager Jerry Reese has made one in-season trade in his 10 years as general manager. That was for linebacker Jon Beason early in the 2013 season. Reese has never traded a player on the Giants roster in the middle of a season.
But maybe in this case it would be worth it? Manning is 36 years old and even though he wants to play into his 40s, his window is closing. As Reese said earlier this year, Manning is on the back nine of his career.
Manning was shaky last season. He was shaky in the opener. It might not work with him (an immobile quarterback) playing behind an offensive line that struggles to pass-protect.
Would Apple and a future high draft pick fix the offense short-term? Scott thinks the Giants should find out.