The Giants made a slew of roster moves on Tuesday morning. The club signed wide receiver Bennie Fowler and promoted linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and cornerback Grant Haley from the practice squad. Spots were opened for them after the Giants placed wide receiver Cody Latimer (hamstring) and linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong (concussion) on IR and waived cornerback Donte Deayon.
As Latimer exits, another former Bronco takes his place. Fowler now has a chance to become the fourth player to catch passes from both Peyton and Eli Manning, following Latimer who achieved that milestone on Sept. 16. Fowler has 56 receptions for 598 yards and five touchdowns for his NFL career. He’s perhaps best known for the two-point conversion catch he had in the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 victory. That play also went down as Peyton Manning’s final career pass attempt.
The Giants, who are desperate for a spark, will look to improve upon their 1-5 record when they face the Falcons on Monday night.
After an ugly loss to the Eagles on Thursday night, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was asked if he would be making a quarterback change. Shurmur replied, “No. We believe in Eli (Manning).” But that did not do much to quell the rumors surrounding Manning’s job security, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the team will inevitably make a switch at some point this season.
La Canfora adds that Manning’s poor performance in 2018, which has included missing receivers even on basic screens and slants, has led to increased tension in the locker room. Players are reportedly frustrated with the lack of creativity on offense and the limitations that Manning’s abilities at this stage of his career have placed on that unit. They also remain disappointed in the team’s failure to grab one of the elite QB prospects in this year’s draft, a decision that was criticized at the time but which now appears borderline irresponsible.
Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made a number of public comments earlier this month that earned him a fine from the team, but those comments were nonetheless quite telling. OBJ failed to support Manning, and La Canfora says that he was not just speaking for himself. Indeed, one source who has discussed the matter privately with various Giants players said, “[l]et’s just say a quarterback change wouldn’t be unwelcome.”
Of course, without a top-tier prospect to turn to, it will be difficult for Giants fans to get too excited about the quarterback switch. After surprisingly waiving 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb before the start of the 2018 season, the team is currently rostering fourth-round rookie Kyle Lauletta— who has some promise but who does not have top-flight upside — and career backupAlex Tanney, who will turn 31 next month.
In any event, La Canfora believes there is almost no chance that Manning will be on the team in 2019, the last year of his current contract. After this season, New York could save $17MM against the cap by cutting ties with the two-time Super Bowl MVP, whose tremendous run with the only team he has ever known appears to be coming to an ignominious end.
October 12th, 2018 at 9:59pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Plenty of people criticized the Giants’ decision to take Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick. While Barkley has been electric, many people thought the opportunity to take one of this year’s class of quarterback prospects was too good to pass up. Eli Manning has struggled mightily this year, and the Giants now have no clear succession plan. Despite not drafting a quarterback early this year, New York “believed that somehow, some way, they’d find their heir apparent somewhere down the line”, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.
Now that they might have to find that heir apparent earlier than expected, Vacchiano went through all the Giants’ options to find a quarterback of the future, including a trade before the deadline this year, free agency, and the draft. They have fourth round rookie Kyle Lauletta on the roster, and Vacchiano writes they must “absolutely take a look at him in a game this year.” One way or another, it looks like Manning’s days as the Giants’ starter are numbered.
Thursday night’s game left many wondering if this is the beginning of the end for Eli Manning. However, the two-time Super Bowl winner is not about to lose his job.
“No. We believe in Eli,” coach Pat Shurmur said when asked if there will be a quarterback change (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).
Last year, coach Ben McAdoo benched Eli Manning and was swiftly rewarded with a pink slip. The Giants want to give Manning an opportunity to turn things around, but team brass may also be afraid of fan backlash.
This time around, there may be less resistance to giving Eli the hook. After going 3-13 last year, the Giants are off to a 1-5 start and are on target for another top five pick. There will always be Manning supporters in New York, but billboards on the New Jersey Turnpike may be less effective this time around.
From a cap perspective, the Giants would have an easy time moving on from Manning this offseason if they want to. Manning’s contract runs through the end of the 2019 season, but the Giants can cut him this offseason with just $6.2MM in dead money versus a cap savings of $17MM.
Unfortunately for the Giants, they don’t have any glamorous options under center if they decide to bench Manning. Currently, journeyman Alex Tanney is No. 2 on the team’s QB depth chart with fourth-round rookie Kyle Lauletta as the third-string signal caller. When asked if a change could be coming at QB2, Shurmur sidestepped the question (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY).
October 11th, 2018 at 6:55pm CST by Dallas Robinson
With nearly a third of the 2018 regular season in the books, it’s fair to start looking ahead to the 2019 draft, especially if you’re a fan of a team that’s not looking like a playoff team this year. Using Football Outsiders’ DVOA On the Clock report, let’s take a look at a few teams who could secure the No. 1 overall selection in 2019:
Arizona Cardinals (19.6% chance of No. 1 pick, 61.5% chance of top-five pick)
The Cardinals allowed the Sam Bradford experiment to last for the better part of three games before turning things over to rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, who has appeared competent thus far. David Johnson is an All-Pro talent at running back, but Arizona hasn’t been very creative in its use of him, and he’s faced eight or more defenders in the box on 33.78% of his attempts, 10th-most in the league. The Cardinals are still as a top-10 defense in terms of DVOA (meaning they’re efficient) despite ranking as a bottom-10 unit in both yards allowed and scoring, so continued success on that side of the ball could move Arizona away from the top overall pick.
San Francisco 49ers (18.6%, 59.8%)
The 49ers’ top quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo), running back (Jerick McKinnon) and wide receiver (Marquise Goodwin) have all been injured this year, and each health issue helped push the 49ers’ chances of earning the No. 1 pick upward. With C.J. Beathard now leading San Francisco’s offense, and Alfred Morris taking over in the backfield for the time being while Matt Breida deals with an ankle injury, it’s unclear how many points the 49ers will be able to muster the rest of the way. Pair those offensive problems with a defense that ranks just 26th in adjusted sack rate, and San Francisco could be in the market for a top-five selection in 2019.
It’s a good thing Jon Gruden landed a 10-year contract because his first season with the Raiders isn’t going as planned. Oakland’s defense is the slowest in the NFL (which perhaps isn’t a surprise given that the Raiders are fielding the league’s oldest roster), and the club’s offense has been hit-or-miss. After trading superstar Khalil Mack, Oakland ranks dead last in sacks and second-to-last in adjusted sack rate. And, as a bonus, the Raiders get to face Patrick Mahomes twice a year for the next decade.
New York Giants (8.1%, 37.1%)
The Giants are the only team in the NFL that has at least a 5% chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick and at least a 10% chance of making the postseason, per Football Outsiders. That’s largely due to the lackluster quality of the NFC East, where no team is over the .500 mark, and New York’s remaining schedule, which ranks as the easiest in the league. On the other hand, FiveThirtyEight currently projects the Giants to finish with the NFL’s worst record, so until the NFC East clarifies itself, New York’s outlook is ¯_(ツ)_/¯.
Atlanta Falcons (8%, 35.3%)
The one team on this list that would have been a complete surprise coming into 2018, the Falcons have been decimated on the defensive side of the ball. Starting safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, plus linebacker Deion Jones, are all out for the season after suffering injuries, and Atlanta’s defense has responded in kind, giving up the second-most points in the league on a per-game basis. Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons’ offense can still win shootouts, but Atlanta could be in line to pick within the top-five for the first time since 2008.
So, what do you think? Will one of these teams land the No. 1 overall pick in 2019? Vote below!
Is Eli Manning to blame for the Giants’ 1-4 start? That’s not necessarily a new question in New Jersey. People in the Giants organization began wondering if Manning was hindering the offense as early as four or five years ago, sources with knowledge of the club’s thinking tell Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.
Last year, Giants fans revolted when the club benched Manning in order to audition backup Geno Smith. Ultimately, the Giants reversed course by reinstate Manning as the starter and tossing GM Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo on the Turnpike. If the Giants continue to struggle this year, the new regime might be able to move on from Manning without fan interference.
Manning’s contract runs through the end of the 2019 season, but the Giants can release him this offseason with just $6.2MM in dead money versus a cap savings of $17MM. The $17MM savings won’t be enough to sign an elite quarterback (if there is one available), but the Giants could find their signal caller of the future in the draft, particularly if they’re picking in the top five.
October 10th, 2018 at 9:46pm CST by Dallas Robinson
Speaking of injury news, the Giants have already ruled out tight end Evan Engram for Thursday night’s game against the Eagles, meaning Rhett Ellison, who has shouldered the load since Week 3, will take over at tight end once again. Edge rusher Oliver Vernon, who’s missed the entire season to this point with an ankle issue, will make his 2018 debut. On the other side of the field, the Eagles have listed defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, safety Corey Graham, and running back Darren Sproles as out. The latter two are especially concerning, as Philadelphia recent placed defensive back Rodney McLeod and running back Jay Ajayi on injured reserve.