Updated: Nov 16, 2018
Rumors circulated throughout the 2017 season and into the 2018 offseason that Eli Manning could be on his way out of New York. Those rumors heated up after Manning was benched for backup Geno Smith late last season.
Giants fans and former players showed their support to Manning after the controversial decision.
Manning was renamed the starting quarterback a week after but the benching raised an important question. Is it time for New York to move on from Manning?
Draft experts speculated New York would take a quarterback in the 2018 draft but the Giants decided on dynamic running back Saquon Barkley instead. A great decision so far considering Barkley ranks sixth in total yards and first in rushes over 20+ yards, per ESPN.com.
Even the Giants' 1-5 record has them in prime position for a top five pick giving them a perfect position to draft a top quarterback prospect in next year's draft.
It is obvious Manning is at the end of his career and New York will move on from the 15 year veteran after his contract expires. Manning looks tired and worn down. Even with a 15th quarterback ranking according NFL.com, Manning's tenure as a Giant is over come 2020.
What if New York could move on sooner and stay somewhat competitive?
Striking a three way trade with the Jaguars and Colts could spice up the league while having lasting effects on the playoff picture.
Blake Bortles' career has been one of surprises and question marks. Bortles was drafted number three overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. High hopes and uncertainty surrounded the Central Florida product.
In his rookie season Bortles struggled only completing 58.9 percent of throws, a stat he would nearly repeat his first three years in the league. He would also show the inability to take care of the football throwing 51 interceptions through year three of his career.
2017 brought hope for Bortles as his completion percentage reach a career high of 60.2 and interceptions a career low at 13. Bortles even surprised many as he led the Jaguars to an AFC Championship game appearance. The defense likely deserves more credit than Bortles but he played a clean game and allotted Jacksonville a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Bortles was on his game and after his career year Jacksonville awarded him a new three year extension worth $54 million. A mistake at first sight.
In 2018 Bortles has been the same average to below average quarterback he has always been. Bortles is on pace to set two career highs, in passing yards with 4,464 and interceptions with 21. The Jaguars cannot afford to give the ball over considering they have the second worse turnover differential this season at -9.
The solution to the problem is simple. Trade Blake Bortles.
For who though? Who can elevate the Jacksonville Jaguars from AFC South champion to Super Bowl contender?
Indianapolis Colts' backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett is also rumored to be on the trade block. Matt Williamson of John Clayton Football recently suggested the Giants should trade for Brissett but Jacksonville would be the better fit.
Brissett proved valuable last year in Indianapolis even though a 4-11 record may say otherwise. Throwing for 3,098 yards and having a 58.8 completion percentage may not seem like starting quarterback material but when the added fact of Brissett being sacked 52 times, it is excusable.
Brissett had no chance last season to succeed. Even then the Colts lost six games by one possession proving Brissett was inches away from a winning season as a starter. Brissett also showed the ability to take care of the ball, something Blake Bortles struggles with. Through 17 career starts Brissett has thrown only seven interceptions. One less than Bortles has in six games into 2018.
Brissett may not have the experience of Bortles but has more potential. Bortles is the quarterback he will always be. Brissett is still young and would benefit from having a better offensive line and pro bowl type runner in Leonard Fournette. Jacksonville's defense would also ease Brissett into a starting role by taking some of the pressure a bad team like the Colts put on him.
Giants acquire Blake Bortles and a 6th round pick
Jaguars acquire Jacoby Brissett and a 7th round pick
Colts acquire Eli Manning, Jaguars 2019 second round pick and a 2020 fourth round pick
All parties involved win this trade. The Giants have already shown willingness to bench Manning so why not move him instead. The rest of the Giants' roster is also frustrated with Manning's play and that includes newly extended wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. In an interview with ESPN, Beckham voiced his thoughts on New York's quarterback situation.
"I don't know," Beckham said when asked if there was an issue at quarterback. "Like I said, I feel like he's not going to get out the pocket. He's not -- we know Eli's not running it. But is it a matter of time issue? Can he still throw it, yeah, but it's been pretty safe and it's been, you know ... cool catching shallow [routes] and trying to take it to the house. But I'm, you know, I want to go over the top of somebody."
The Giants have to keep their star player happy and playing Manning is only frustrating Beckham more.
Trading Manning will be the hardest part of the deal but the Colts currently have $51M in cap space making it an easy fit. In 2019 Indianapolis' cap space increases to $126M. The Colts can carry Manning's salary for one year and also cut him in 2019 and only lose $6.2M. A
one year rental to gain picks and improve the roster around Andrew Luck is exactly what the Colts need.
If the Colts and Giants can agree to a deal it opens the doors for the Jaguars to step in and work a deal with New York.
Bringing in Bortles would only improve New York slightly but adds a serviceable bridge quarterback till their next franchise quarterback is ready.
The Jaguars should jump at the chance to trade Bortles considering the cap hit of keeping him on the roster. Bortles has a cap hit of $10M this season and in 2020 an increase of $11M will take it up to $21M, a huge chunk out of the Jaguars cap. Another two million dollar jump in 2021 means Bortles will take up $23M of the Jaguars team salary in the final year of his contract. .
Adding insult to injury, the Jaguars will have to pay defensive stars Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue one year before Bortles' contract expires. Bortles' contract may not be bad but considering it is only $2M less than Tom Brady, it looks terrible.
Flipping Bortles to the Giants would free up plenty of cap space to help Jacksonville keep their defensive core together. The move would also clear a space to acquire Brissett from Indianapolis.
Brissett's salary sits below $1M and won't be a free agent till 2020. Brissett is better than Bortles on the field and has a more team friendly contract. Brissett has also shown consistency unlike Borltes. With Brissett, the Jaguars will know what they are getting every Sunday and finally have a quarterback that wont turn the ball over 20 times a season.
The likelihood of a three-way trade happening in the NFL is doubtful. If the Colts, Giants and Jaguars can agree to swapping quarterback it would prove beneficial for all parties involved as it meets each teams in the present and the future.
#NFL #football #TNF #SNF #MNF #Thursdaynightfootball #Mondaynightfootball #Sundaynightfootball #Eli #Manning #Elimanning #BlakeBortles #Jacobybrissett #OdellBeckhamjr #OBJ #Newyork #NYC #NYG #Gmen #quarterback #trade #opinion #why #easy #simple #Jacksonville #Jaguars #Leonardfournette #Jalenramsey #Mylesjack #AFC #AFCsouth #NFC #NFCeast #playoffs #SuperBowl #SBLII #andrewluck #ESPN #nfldraft #draft #Saquonbarkley #widereceiver #contract #nfltrade #sportsblog #blog #sportsradio #rumors #Indianapolis #Colts #coltsnation #coltsfootball #Sacksonville #AFCChampions #NFCChampions