The future is never certain in sports, especially since free agency came in to play. The one thing that you can almost always be certain about is that change will come, whether your team was truly bad or truly good. This holds true for the New York Giants as the Super Bowl champs lose Mario Manningham, who will be donning a San Francisco 49′ers jersey for the next couple of years. While Manningham’s catch in the Super Bowl will be remembered for years to come, the reality is that that G-Men have Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and there was no way that the franchise would have paid top money for their third wide out.
The question now for head coach Tom Coughlin and the coaching staff is how will the team replace Manningham? Of course one possibility is going the free agency way, where the Giants could look for a veteran that is not asking top money. The other possibility is that the franchise uses the draft to go after another wide out, adding him to the duo of the the young receivers they have already. ESPN’s Mel Kiper say that the G-Men could land Baylor’s Kendall Wright, even if both him and Todd McShay believe NY will go after a tight end with the last pick of the first round.
On the other hand it could be that the Giants might not have to look too far to replace Manningham as they have plenty of young and raw talent at the position and there could be the 2012 version of Victor Cruz in the lot. And, if I was in the front office and this was my decision to be made, this is the route I would go, since it would not disturb the chemistry between the quarter back and his receiving core by bringing in a veteran that might want this and that and will not risk throwing away a pick in the draft. At the thirty-second pick I would take the best player available, which from what I have read about is not a wide out, instead of risking. From what I have read/seen the team has a few good young receivers that have shown some last season and could easily step in come next year.
So, as usual, here is my question for the fan base: “How should the Giants replace Manning? Free agency, draft or within the team?” My opinion is that they will do a mix, either getting an older WR while working their young talent within the franchise. It will be interesting to see how Manningham, as well as the free agents, are replaced and/or kept. For one like me, who enjoys recruiting in college sports as much as the season itself, I enjoy the months prior to the drafts as much as I do the seasons as well in the Pro’s, this is the time of the year, and will try to make it the best part of the year for all the readers of EWB as well.