So, it has begun again: The New York Football Giants are releasing players and letting a talented receiver sign with another team. Can this be a harbinger of another title next season? After all, it worked last year…
After delivering his second Super Bowl title in five years, General Manager Jerry Reese has earned my trust. He had a secret plan that he shared with no one during the last offseason, so I will not question his moves this years. The man has an uncanny knack for identifying talent, so he deserves our indulgence. As long as the master plan ends with Eli Manning hoisting his third Lombardi trophy, I’m all in!
Wide Receiver Mario Manningham, one of the heroes of Super Bowl XVLI, signed with the San Francisco 49ers yesterday – a team he helped defeat on the road to Super Bowl greatness. Meanwhile, the Giants terminated bulky running back Brandon Jacobs.
The terms of Manningham’s deal were yet to be released, except for its length: two years. But whatever he will be paid, he’s worth it. Big Blue faithful recall that he snagged a needle-threading 38-yard sideline throw from Eli “The Elite” Manning, kept both feet inbounds, and sparked the Giants’ 88-yard title-winning drive back in February. Catches don’t get too much more spectacular or important.
Manningham was important to the Giants, who selected him in the third round of the 2008 draft. In 2009, he snared 57 passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns, then, in 2010, he tallied 60 passes for 944 yards and nine touchdowns. His receiving numbers slumped to 39 last season, thanks to the emergence of super receiver Victor Cruz.
Perhaps Manningham feared his chances would drop even more next season. Or perhaps he feared he didn’t have what it will take to make it among Cruz, Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks? Whatever the case, I appreciate Manningham’s contributions to the Big Blue cause, and wish him the best for the future. Except when the Niners play the Giants; then I hope his arms fall off. (But they can be reattached for other opponents.)
After seven seasons with the G-Men, during which he amassed a franchise-record 56 rushing touchdowns and piled up 4,849 yards rushing (fourth in team history) on 1,078 attempts (fifth) Jacobs was let go on March 9 – which was hardly a surprise, since it had been rumored for so long that, win or lose, Jacobs would not be a member of Big Blue come next season. I’m pretty sure I remember Jacobs saying something a few seasons back about retiring if his yards-per-carry average didn’t climb back up to near 10; it didn’t, and he didn’t retire. So maybe he’s been playing on borrowed time. In 2011 Jacobs rushed for 571 yards and seven touchdowns on 152 carries.
Coach Tom Coughlin described Jacobs best when he said:
“Brandon helped us win two world championships. He always did what was in the best interest of team. No matter what you asked him to do, he performed and played in whatever role we asked him to perform. He really was a team player.”