The fallout from the Odell Beckham Jr. trade won’t be clear until the Giants make their next move. It wasn’t long ago they looked to be building around Beckham. Clearly they have now blown up that plan.
So what’s next? How can the Giants replace him? And what does this mean for their present and future?
Here’s a look at some of the ripple effects from one of the Giants’ biggest deals in years:
It’s Saquon Barkley’s team now
It seemed to take a while last season for head coach Pat Shurmur to realize he needed to run his offense through Barkley, and now he figures to do that even more in the future. Barkley had 261 rushes and 91 catches last season. He might be a good bet to top that in 2019, though the Giants will have to be somewhat careful since he is by far the best offensive player they have.
The Eli Manning Era is all but over
Not now, but soon. Clearly the Giants are rebuilding and targeting 2020 or perhaps 2021 as their return to competitiveness. They won’t be rolling with a 40-year-old Manning then, so they need to find his replacement now.
The plan seems to be what Gettleman said – using “the Kansas City model” where Manning is the starter and a rookie sits and learns behind him. That’s why they’ll be paying Manning this year. Wins, at this point, are a bonus. This will be about grooming his replacement and setting up the future.
Multiple options to find Quarterback of the Future can be found in the NFL Draft
The Giants now have the sixth and 17th overall pick. They had been considering taking a quarterback at No. 6, but it did not seem they were falling in love quickly with Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins – the likely choice that high. Now they can take a pass rusher at No. 6 and try for a quarterback like Duke’s Daniel Jones at 17. Or they can take a quarterback at No. 6 and a pass rusher at No. 17. They have options.
Sterling Shepard is now WR1
There are a lot of people around the NFL who like the 5-foot-10, 203-pound Shepard and think he could be more than he’s been with the Giants – which is basically a 60-70-catch possession receiver. He didn’t exactly step up big in Beckham’s absence at the end of last season, though he did have that huge, six-catch, 113-yard game against the Colts in Week 16.
Now Shepard will get the chance to prove his worth – literally, since this is the final year of his contract.
Giants need to find receiving help…and fast
Behind Shepard, the Giants just re-signed Corey Coleman to a restricted free agent tender. He’s a failed former first-round pick who had five catches last season, and has never topped the 33 yards he had as a rookie. It’s really not clear who the Giants’ third receiver would be.
Good thing for them that tight end Evan Engram and running back Saquon Barkley are such good receivers, but the Giants still need to find at least two others to share the load.
Giants clear some salary cap space
This isn’t the primary motivation for the deal, of course, but the move gives them another $5 million to play with in free agency. Of course, Beckham still counts for $16 million in “dead money” against the cap this year. For the future, though, getting rid of Beckham clears a lot of future hits off the cap. His cap hits were between $18 million and $20 million from 2020 through 2022, and another $15 million in 2023. That’s all gone now.
Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur have bought some time
The Giants are not usually a quick-change organization anyway, but don’t think for a second this puts Gettleman or Shurmur on the hot seat. No way Beckham gets dealt if ownership didn’t understand why and sign off on it. They are also realists and know a rebuilding team when they see one.
So give these guys another 2-3 years to see if their plan can come together. Neither will be in jeopardy of getting fired next season, no matter how bad things get.