After sifting through the wreckage of Odell Beckham Jr.’s trade to the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday night, there is clearly one big loser for the New York Giants…Eli Manning.
While Beckham’s departure will likely hurt Barkley from a strategic standpoint (he is likely to see small villages at the line of scrimmage on running downs), the undisputed fall guy of Beckham’s departure is Manning.
Following the Beckham trade, here are some of the slated receivers as of right now for the 2019 New York Giants:
- Sterling Shepard
- Russell Shepard
- Bennie Fowler
- Cody Latimer
- Corey Coleman
In fact, the best returning pass catchers for the Giants outside of Sterling Shepard are Barkley, who caught a team-high 91 passes and tight end Evan Engram, who hauled in 45 balls in 11 games.
Ultimately, this is a very bad mix for the 38-year-old Elisha Nelson Manning. During the 2017 season, deposed Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was wildly criticized for benching Manning for subpar play and a desire to move on.
Two years later, the Giants still haven’t moved on and now have stripped Manning off one of his top weapons. Manning, who hasn’t reached the Pro Bowl since 2015, will likely labor moving the football through the air without Beckham able to take pressure off his teammates.
Even though the Giants got a taste of it two seasons ago when Beckham missed nearly the entire season with a leg injury, there is no guarantee New York will be ready for post-Beckham life immediately.
The two-time Super Bowl MVP was sacked 47 times last season, which ranked as the sixth-most in the NFL a year ago. Without Beckham’s presence, it’s quite possible that his receivers will struggle to get open and thus, force Manning into poor throws or sacks.
Clearly, if I’ve thought about these things since the Beckham trade, the Giants are probably 20 steps ahead of yours truly. However, unless the Giants can find a way to develop some receivers out of the draft or make a splash in free agency, they’ve made life awfully tough on a quarterback closing in on 40.
Therefore, New York’s move begs a simple question. Do they really believe Manning will be able to handle that type of stress?
Either they think Manning is an All-Pro or they are finally setting up to go find Easy E’s successor. No team could possibly be this daft regarding grabbing a future successor at quarterback….could they?
Then again, a similar discussion took place two years ago and incredibly, we’ve reached the “Giants need to find a succession plan” chatter once more.
Simply put, the Giants reclamation project should not stop with Beckham. Sure, he may have been a headache to deal with but the Giants had far more pressing issues besides their former rambunctious wide receiver.
The problems also exist under center. The question is how will the Giants elect to deal with it?