What if the New York Giants didn’t complete the trade for Eli Manning? ESPN’s NFL Nation correspondent Jordan Raanan took a look at it in ESPN’s most recent article.
The New York Giants have won two Super Bowls with Eli Manning under center. They are hoping to add a third with him in the near future, and fifth overall. The Giants championship case could look very different if not for a draft day trade in 2004.
The Giants and San Diego Chargers pulled off a blockbuster trade in 2004. The Giants, who were picking fourth overall, were able to acquire Manning, who was picked first overall by the Chargers. The Giants sent the No.4 overall pick, thier 2005 first round pick, Shawne Merriman, and 2004 third round pick, Nate Kaeding, to the Chargers as well.
That trade shaped the future of both franchises. While Rivers has been solid as a perennial Pro Bowler for the Chargers, Manning has led the Giants to the promise land. Manning’s regular season stats may not be as gaudy as Rivers’, but he has two Super Bowl MVP’s.
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What if this trade never happened for the Giants? ESPN NFL Nation reporters picked their biggest NFL Draft “What If’s” for each team that they cover. Jordan Raanan, the Giants correspondent, picked the trade that landed Manning with the organization.
Here is what Raanan had to say about the move.
"Would they still have won those two Super Bowls? That’s always a fun “what if?” Former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi conceded over the years there wasn’t a contingency plan if things fell through at the final minute. The Giants already had drafted Rivers even though they had Ben Roethlisberger rated ahead of him. In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine the Giants would’ve struggled with Rivers, Shawne Merriman (the 2005 first-round pick from the trade), Nate Kaeding (third round in ’04) and Roman Oben on their roster. The only question is whether it would’ve led to multiple Super Bowls. Rivers developed into a Pro Bowl quarterback. But something tells me the Giants might not be trying for their fifth trophy in the case this year if Rivers had remained a Giant. — Jordan Raanan"
Having no Plan B is not a good business plan, but it worked out for the Giants this time around. That is just one of the interesting things to take out from what Raanan said.
How about selecting a player that was not atop their board? The Giants have seemingly always used the best player available strategy in the draft; selecting Rivers ahead of Roethlisberger blatantly goes against that.
As Raanan states, the Giants would have still had plenty of talent coming back had the deal not gotten done. Merriman was one of the best pass rushers in the NFL for a few seasons and Kaeding was an excellent kicker, making 86.2 percent of his kicks in his career.
Rivers has been a good quarterback in his own right. But Manning was a driving force in those Super Bowl runs. The defense was very good for the Giants and helped a ton, but Manning played outstanding football and made some historic throws. Assuming anyone would be able to replicate that success would be wrong.