The dream scenario, for any GM and any franchise, is to hit the kind of grand slam the Chiefs hit with Patrick Mahomes.
Or, perhaps, to have Sam Darnold fall in your lap.
It is too late, of course, for Dave Gettleman to be confronting those enviable options.
Jerry Reese didn’t try to trade up for Mahomes or Deshaun Watson or Mitchell Trubisky because he still believed in 36-year-old Eli Manning.
Gettleman didn’t draft Darnold because he fell head over heels for Saquon Barkley, the best player in the 2018 NFL draft and future gold-jacket guy, and still believed in 37-year-old Eli Manning.
But now the rubber has met the road for Gettleman and the New York Football Giants.
The moment of truth has arrived for them:
How do you turn Quarterback Hell into Quarterback Heaven for the short-term, while Odell Beckham Jr. is still in his prime — AND the long-term, during a time when Darnold will have a chance to be the talk of the town if the Jets got it right with Adam Gase?
Gettleman cannot afford to wait for the delicious Quarterback Class of 2020 items on the menu — Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa — or for Trevor Lawrence in 2021. He was brought back to fix the Giants, and fix them ASAP.
He has no margin for error here, entrenched as he is in a treacherous predicament where a Giant error will be all too easy to make.
It is such a momentous, franchise-quaking decision that it is a crying shame that Manning, for 15 years The Pride of the Giants, has to twist in the wind until there is a resolution.
But there is no room or time for sentimentality, even if this is different for Gettleman than cutting the cord with Panthers favorite Steve Smith Sr.
The Big Blue walls inside Quest Diagnostics Training Center are privy to the organization’s single most critical decision since Ernie Accorsi convinced Wellington Mara to draft Manning at the expense of incumbent quarterback Kerry Collins.
In no particular order:
1) Make one last run with Manning, if for no other reason than he grew more comfortable with Pat Shurmur’s offense once the offensive line was stabilized, with a restructuring of his contract or pay cut. But also draft Dwayne Haskins and let him sit for most of his rookie season the way Mahomes did behind Alex Smith in 2017.
2) Or simply play Manning under the last year of his contract and pass on Haskins in favor of a pass rusher or offensive tackle and continue to accumulate enough draft assets to increase your odds to land Herbert or Tagovailoa.
Kyler Murray (maybe 5-foot-10) is too short to fit the Giants profile — even though he has that IT factor — and they cannot trust super-agent Scott Boras not to leverage him to the Oakland A’s.
“Who doesn’t want Cam Newton?” Gettleman told me in a Q & A when he was hired. “Who doesn’t want that size prototype? You know, 6-5, 245 [pounds], run a 4.5 [40-yard dash] — who the heck doesn’t want that? With the shorter guys — [Drew] Brees, Russell Wilson — their ability to slide and find the passing lane, that allows them to overcome the height issue. When you’re playing those guys, what you want to do is get inside pressure immediately, to not allow them to step up. Who doesn’t want a guy who’s a little bigger? It’s more about does he have the IT factor? Is he a winner? Just because they go to the next level, it doesn’t necessarily stop. Some people are just winners.”
3) Cut ties with Manning and save $17 million, draft Haskins and throw him to the wolves.
4) Cut ties with Manning and sign Nick Foles if the Eagles do not trade him and he is willing to sign a two-year, $36 million free agent deal. Or sign Teddy Bridgewater, should he leave the Saints, to a more moderately-priced deal.
And then move heaven and earth to draft Herbert or Tagovailoa in 2020 — or maybe Jake Fromm — and let him sit behind Foles until he is ready.
5) Or draft Haskins if you like him enough and have him sit behind Foles or Bridgewater until he is ready.
6) Keep Manning under the last year of his contract and accumulate enough draft assets to increase your odds to land Herbert or Tagovailoa.
My advice: draft Lawrence no matter who your quarterback is over the next two years.
No playoff victories since Super Bowl XLVI. No excuses. Gett right. And Gett it right now.