Seems like that is it for the Manningham Era with the Giants. People can now come out of the woodwork and nitpick the guy as he is out the door–He drops balls, He drifts on his routes (this one isn’t original. We all heard Cris Collinsworth say it during the Super Bowl. Sure happy Mario “drifted” on his 38-yarder)–but the bottom line is that he is a damn good (and improving) football player and more likely then not, our replacement will be a downgrade. Reese has mentioned looking in-house to fill the potential void but lets look at free agency too.
-The two-year long ACL battle really hurts his case but Hixon is a hard-worker and the kind of guy who will rehab dilligently . When he’s healthy he’s a pretty damn good receiver with a nice set of hands on him. We all know about his catch this season. Hixon did catch 43 passes in 2008 and played pretty well after Burress went down considering the enormitiy of the situation he was thrown into. On a side note—it’s going to be refreshing to see a healthy Hixon get a shot at his punt return job back. The Giants see something in Hixon (or else they wouldn’t have kept him around for this long) and appear set to re-sign him and give him a chance to prove himself this summer. If he is healthy, I truly think he can be a producer. He certainly has the ability to fill in for Manningham, especially with the guys around him. If healthy, he deserves a shot.
-Jernigan certainly progressed as the season went on, or else the Giants wouldn’t have given him chances as the season wore down. We even got some appearences from him in the playoffs. From the sound of things Reese is willing to give Jernigan the chance at the spot, but how does he fit in with Nicks and Cruz? Just from the eye test, not that well. While I have no doubts Cruz is good enough to run the whole route tree from any spot, I just can’t see Jernigan on the outside, but this guy….
The 6’6” frame is just too hard to pass up on and it seems the Giants feel this way as they are going on year four with Barden despite a career filled with limited opportunites and some injury issues. He made a pair of nice catches in New England this year in a pretty big/difficult spot but didn’t look out of place in the moment. Why doesn’t he get more of a shot? The Giants must not trust him yet. Who knows, maybe Barden feels the pressure of year four (maybe his last chance to prove himself) and turns in a nice effort in camp.
-Let’s not get too wrapped up in giving the outside position to just one guy. There’s no reason (although it is not likely) that all three of these guys can’t come into camp and impress enough that they all earn some reps in 2012. That would be ideal for the Giants, who seem to like what each guy brings to the table in one way or another.
Probably will be a bit out of the Giants’ price range but he is at least worth the look. Odds are he will go for something in the range of what Manningham will get (whoever signs first will set the market) but Garcon is a good, young player who too has turned in an impressive Super Bowl game of his own and had a great season in a miserable situation in 2011.
Doesn’t seem like Pittsburgh is going to let him loose and that is probably a smart move. Cotchery is a gamer. He’s someone who earned Ben’s trust and is someone who Roethlisberger sees as a replacement for Hines Ward. That is the kind of guy who would be a good compliment to Nicks and Cruz if you ask me.
Speedster from Denver who can get over the top and turned in an impressive rookie year in 08 with nearly 100 catches and 1000 yards and has gone downhill ever since. Not to make excuses (since Lloyd was great in Denver) but a rocky QB situation, at least in the last few years, has really hurt the stock of any receiver to wear orange and blue. He still has a ton of upside and he is someone that can come in for around $1 million, which is worth a look.
It’s still early and Mannigham hasn’t even left yet so this may all be premature. I’d love it if Manningham returned and all this proved to be a moot discussion. With the free agents, it’s all a guessing game. Discussion is all we really have this time at this moment, but it does prepare us for some of the “route trees” that face the Giants in 2012.