Put all of the NFL coaches and general managers in one spot and the rumor mill is bound to churn.
The future of the Giants at quarterback is a hot topic-league wide.
Here are six quarterback-related things NJ Advance Media learned from interviews and conversations at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix:
1. Middle ground on a Josh Rosen trade?
The Cardinals reportedly are holding out for a first-round pick in a trade for Rosen, who was the No. 10 pick in the 2018 draft. Even after dealing for No. 17, league sources do not believe the Giants will pay that price after passing on Rosen at No. 2.
If the Cardinals are willing to take a third-rounder — the Giants have No. 95, the eighth-to-last pick of the round — then any quarterback-needy team, including the Giants, should be interested.
The unanswered question is: Will the Giants part with a second-rounder (No. 37)? Will the Cardinals settle?
Unlike at other positions, it shouldn’t be about getting good value by acquiring quarterbacks. It needs to be finding the right player.
The Giants’ brass wasn’t unanimously sold on Rosen one year ago, so why would that have changed after watching him struggle as a rookie? Gettleman admits “quarterback” is a tiebreaker over positions where a player has the same grade, and the Giants went running back Saquon Barkley over Rosen.
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2. Defense then quarterback in first round?
Gettleman practically said as much by indicating the Giants set themselves up to take the “best player available” in the draft with their moves in free agency. The top of the draft is loaded with pass-rushers.
“There is a lot of them,” Shurmur said. “Certainly, the top tier guys that everyone is predicting to go, I still watch my son (Vanderbilt quarterback) get sacked by all the SEC pass rushers. I have seen it first hand.
The risk is both Jones and Lock could be off the board, along with Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, if four of the Cardinals, Raiders, Jaguars, Broncos, Dolphins and Redskins go quarterback in the top 16 picks.
If the Giants have strong feelings about Jones or Lock, why not just pick him at No. 6 rather than tempt fate?
3. The Haskins homework is not just for show.
The Giants are not putting out a responsive smokescreen by doing due diligence on Haskins.
About a week after an ESPN report that they were “not in” on scouting Haskins, the Giants sent Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula, assistant general manager Kevin Abrams and college scouting director Kevin Abrams to Ohio State Pro Day. Shurmur has watched film of every one of Haskins’ snaps.
The Giants are committed to a full review of Haskins, just as they were Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Rosen one year ago. They still passed on those three.
Will they pass on Haskins? That would be a tough sell to fans. A trade up to prevent another team from stealing him seems increasingly unlikely, however.
Shurmur said definitively Haskins is mobile enough to run his offense with the desired bootlegs and pocket steps. He has a good relationship with Ohio State coach Ryan Day, a former colleague.
“I trust him and what he says,” Shurmur said. “He has a very high opinion of Dwayne.”
4. There is a real chance the Giants kick the can down the road … again.
The Giants could have parted ways with Manning after benching him in 2017 and pinned the blame on the fired trio Jerry Reese, Marc Ross and Ben McAdoo.
They could have parted ways after 2018 and said they loaded up for one last run and it didn’t work out.
They could have a clean break in 2020 because his contract is up, but co-owner John Mara said they will take it “one year at a time.”
In other words, if Manning shows signs of life — and Gettleman claims Manning’s stat-padded 2019 was a “heck of a year” — in 2019, a contract extension is a possibility.
“It would be a great situation to have somebody sit behind Eli for some period of time,” Mara said.
If the Giants want Manning to groom the next quarterback and they do not take a first-rounder in 2019, it makes sense the “Kansas City Model” would go into effect in 2020 for a pick like Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Georgia’s Jake Fromm or Alabama’s Tua Tagovaiola.
“We look at that class a little bit,” Shurmur said, “but we don’t let it drive our decision-making at this point.”
Of course, being in position to draft one of those three probably means a poor record again in 2019.
5. Don’t expect a Yankees-like farewell tour for Manning in 2019.
“Eli is all-in,” Shurmur said. “Part of his charm is that he can stay in the moment.”
Would Manning even appreciate a farewell tour?
“I don’t know any of that,” Shurmur said.
6. The Giants won’t throw away a winning season like they did for a young Manning.
The Giants were 5-4 and in the playoff hunt in 2004 when they benched future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner for Manning, who looked lost as a rookie until winning the season finale.
Even if the Giants draft a quarterback at No. 6, the Kurt Warner Model is not in the cards.
“If we are winning games, we are not disrupting anything,” Shurmur said, speaking more definitively than usual.
The Giants haven’t been to the playoffs in six of the last seven years. This will be Shurmur’s second season as compared to coach Tom Coughlin’s first in 2004.
“I’m never going to come into a season saying we don’t want to be a playoff team,” Mara said.
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