Opposing teams will make Eli Manning go to someone else. Because WR Mario Manningham, one of the Giants’ heroes from Super Bowl XLVI, will be playing for another team in 2012. His spectacular post season will land him a lucrative free agent contract. Yesterday, at the NFL Combine located at Lucas Oil Field, Giants GM Jerry Reese spoke about Mario Manningham’s situation.
“He’s a good football player, and obviously players, when free agency comes around for them, they want to make as much money as possible,” Reese said today. “So we’ll see how it unfolds. But he is a good football player, and we’re glad he’s been a Giant for us and his contributions are outstanding for us. We’ll see what happens moving forward with respect to that.”
Reading between the lines, the Giants and Manningham are going to part ways. Like Gibril Wilson and Kawika Mitchell four years ago, Manningham will get a significant raise in a month. In the meantime, with the expected departure of Manningham, the Giants will have to find their third wide receiver. Is this guy on the Giants roster? Perhaps, the oft-injured Ramses Barden can fill this void. Or last year’s rookie Jerrel Jernigan can step up. Let us not forget about Domenik Hixon. Can he make a full recovery from knee surgery? We shall see.
On Friday, we learned THREE Giants’ defensive linemen underwent off season surgery. Justin Tuck, Linval Joseph, and Chris Canty all went under the knife. Tuck had work done on his shoulder. While Joseph had bone chips removed from his ankle, and Canty’s knee was “cleaned” up. Because three defensive linemen had surgery, does this mean the Giants will extend Osi Umenyiora’s contract? At this point, it sure seems like Osi is a lock to remain a Giant until he retires. Clearly, Reese’s belief system has been the defensive line is the cornerstone of the Giants defense. With three starters having surgery, and last year’s rookie Marvin Austin coming off a lost season, it seems to me Reese’s hand is forced. Factor in the fact the Giants caught fire when Osi, Tuck, and JPP were all playing at the same time. Yesterday, Reese commented about Osi.
“We are open to everything right now,” Reese said. “But we don’t know what we can do yet. We don’t even know what the cap number is going to be. There are a lot of issues that we have to fix and address. So we will see what will happen, though.”
During the Giants playoff run, here are several quotes about Osi’s impact on this team.
“This all turned around when No. 72 got back healthy,” fellow end Dave Tollefson said.
“He makes it easier for everyone, because he’s just so relentless — stop his first move, he has a countermove,” defensive tackle Rocky Bernard said. “He never stops coming, which helps everybody.”
“The thing about Osi that has always made a great impression on me is, he’s going full speed,” Tom Coughlin said. “He sends the right message to everybody else.”
“That’s where our energy comes from, that’s where our confidence comes from, that’s where our swagger comes from,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said of the line.
Figure it out Jerry. Keep number 72 in blue.