Remember the date. March 12th, 2019 - the day which forever changed the roads of two NFL franchises, for the better of one, and worse for the other.
On Tuesday night, the Browns and Giants destroyed the Internet when news broke that the Giants agreed to trade Odell Beckham, Jr. away to the Cleveland Browns. The Giants will receive the Browns' first round draft pick at #17 overall as well as a third round pick in this year's draft, along with safety Jabrill Peppers.
This blockbuster trade had the entire country turning their heads. Many including myself thought the trade was a joke when we learned about it. But it is very much real. The Browns, who are being pegged as preseason favorites to win the AFC North, are certainly generating plenty of buzz and momentum going into 2019, especially now with Odell Beckham. The Giants, meanwhile, have dark days ahead.
What Can the Browns Do For You?
To put how monumental this move is into perspective, just think about this: two seasons ago, the Browns finished winless. 0-16. Absolute rock bottom. They were the NFL's laughing stock for nearly two decades even before 0-16. Hopeless. A perennial loser for all time. But now, nobody is making fun of the Cleveland Browns. The same fans and spectators across the country who tormented the Browns for their ineptitude will be awaiting a revenge tour from Cleveland this season, who are coming for more than just a division crown.
After one of the greatest rookie seasons from a quarterback in NFL history, Baker Mayfield is poised for another phenomenal year. General Manager John Dorsey has done a fantastic job at surrounding his young quarterback with weapons galore. The Browns offensive arsenal now possesses Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, David Njoku, Kareem Hunt, and now, Odell Beckham, Jr.
We've seen front offices in recent years go all in on their quarterback by surrounding them with an array of talent. The Rams did it just two offseasons ago, by investing in the offensive line and receivers. The Bears followed that blueprint last year, the Bills are implementing it this year, but the Browns have gone above and beyond. With Beckham in the folw, it is difficult to fathom a realm in which the Browns will not be a top ten, nay, top five offense in 2019. Baker Mayfield is surrounded by a surplus of talent in the backfield and on the outside, which should have Browns fans everywhere, for the first time, thrilled about an NFL season.
The NFL better be ready, because the Cleveland Browns are back, and they're here to win.
P.S.A.: The Browns are slated to visit New England to play the Patriots this season. Let's see them play in the Kickoff Game. Make it happen, NFL.
Giants, You're Going the Wrong Way!
Hug a Giants fan today. Tightly. But seriously, the other 31 NFL General Managers should call Dave Gettleman and ask what it would take to trade for Saquon Barkley and see what happens.
This trade sends a clear message to the Giants fanbase: New York is rebuilding. Beckham is not the first big name to leave the team this week. Defensive end Olivier Vernon was traded to Cleveland just last Friday. Safety Landon Collins crossed the street and signed a mega deal with the Redskins, who will see the Giants twice a year in Washington.
Gettleman insisted that the Giants were not actively shopping Beckham, but they were open to trading him if the price was right. Well, according to the terms of the deal, the former two time All Pro receiver in the prime of his career is worth a mid first rounder, a third rounder, and a washed up former first round pick put together.
Sure, Beckham has had his fair share of locker room soundbites, and he may be a headache at times on the sidelines, but that doesn't warrant such low value. We're not talking about Antonio Brown, here! AB quit on his team when the Steelers needed him most, and forced a move out of Pittsburgh because he was unhappy with his quarterback and coach. He became a locker room parasite. Beckham never reached a point of toxicity in the Giants locker room to make Gettleman believe he was a problem.
Nonetheless, if the Giants were serious about getting Beckham out of the building, they need to acquire at least two first round picks and a second round pick. This may be a high price to pay for an offensive skill position, but Beckham is a generational talent in the prime of his career. You can't let a player like him get away without getting a king's ransom of draft capital.
But none of that matters anymore. The damage has been done. There is no looking back for the Giants, Odell Beckham is gone. But one man still remains through it all - the two time Super Bowl champ, 38 year old quarterback, Eli Manning. Mr. New York Giants himself has somehow managed to stay, and will most likely be the Week 1 starter for the fifteenth straight season despite his intolerable inadequacy.
Manning has been a polarizing figure in the Big Apple for years. His play has left plenty to be desired over the years, but many Giants fans remember the championships he's won and will say the franchise should give Manning a fairytale ending, or a proper sendoff if you will, to honor of what he has given to New York. Well, the Giants are most likely not winning the Super Bowl this season, playoffs are a long shot as well. So how could an Eli Manning swansong play out exactly? Let me tell you:
The 2019 NFL season, Eli Manning's last. Manning spends every Sunday playing in front of a rainy MetLife Stadium, filled with thousands of Ponchos and empty seats, dumping the ball off to Barkley every play, with the occasional six yard throw to Sterling Shepard. No-name receivers struggle to create separation all season, and when they do find a yard of space, they drop perfectly thrown balls. Manning takes 60 sacks from poor pass protection and from receivers unable to get open, making every single play a battle for the future Hall of Famer. He throws fifteen interceptions on the season from horribly errant throws and throws he doesn't have the arm strength to make anymore. He draws relentless criticism from the merciless New York press every day, for his play, his "lack of leadership," and his future. But in the end, Manning endures a painful 2019 campaign and makes it to Week 17. And his reward? A Week 17 game, surrounded by practice squad players, where Manning dumps the ball off to Saquon ten times, throws for 200 yards through the air, a touchdown pass, and two interceptions, in the final game of his career. A proper sendoff for the face of the franchise.
Is that the swansong Giants fans want for Eli Manning? It should be in the best interest of the Giants to save Manning from this, and for Manning himself to get out of the game before his legacy is sabotaged even more. If the Giants want to win any time soon, it is time to release Eli Manning once and for all.
The New York football Giants are going in an uninspiring direction, and for as long as Dave Gettleman is General Manager, and Eli Manning is the quarterback, the Giants will be trapped in 6-10 purgatory, and subscriptions to Bleacher Report mock drafts.