The Giants will always try to win. The faces change, but the expectations remain the same.
But do not be fooled by thinking that they are a win-now team just because they’re riding one more time with 38-year-old Eli Manning.
Which brings us to The Case For Trading Odell Beckham Jr.
The 2018 Giants were supposed to be a win-now team because Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur delighted John Mara by embarking on what appears now to be a two-year commitment to Manning.
Except the win-now team didn’t win.
Which prompted Gettleman to trade away Damon Harrison and Eli Apple and now it is possible that Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon will be gone from a defense that will have too many Titanic holes not to worry about the iceberg up ahead.
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Gettleman and Shurmur have executed such a dramatic roster overhaul that it is folly to call it anything but rebuilding on the fly.
In the event the 49ers, who have the second pick, call Gettleman and make him an offer he cannot refuse for Beckham — no less than two first-round picks — he should not refuse it.
It would almost certainly guarantee him Dwayne Haskins Jr. and eliminate the need to trade up from the sixth pick to get him.
The 49ers need a go-to guy for Jimmy Garoppolo. As much as it would hurt in the short term, the second and sixth picks of the 2019 NFL Draft and an extra 2020 first-round pick would mightily accelerate the Big Blue rebuild.
(It would leave $16 million in dead money on the Giants’ 2019 cap while freeing up $5 million and ridding the Giants of further financial obligations to Beckham beyond 2019).
The Raiders could dangle the fourth pick in the 2019 draft, and if nothing else, in the event that Gettleman decides to pass on securing Manning’s successor now to build up his trenches instead, he would be armed with enough capital to position himself for Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa or Jake Fromm in the 2020 draft.
It is hardly lost on Beckham that he has yet to win a playoff game in his five seasons as a Giant, and it is killing him, and no one can predict how he would handle another year engulfed in the agony of defeat.
Gettleman reiterating, “We didn’t sign him to trade him,” hardly precludes him from reserving the right to change his mind. This isn’t about making the call to shop him. It is about taking the call and waiting to be blown away.
There is this too: Gettleman and Pat Shurmur are more interested in hitching their wagon to Saquon Barkley’s star. Barkley has emerged as the straw that stirs the drink.
Then there is this: Beckham turns 27 in November. Unless he were to stay healthy and enjoy an historic season, it might not be as easy to trade him before the season in which he would turn 28 in November.
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Then there is this: Comments from Beckham make you wonder how much he loves New York, and how much he loves Manning as his quarterback.
Then there is this: Shurmur, as hard as he has labored to build a lasting relationship with Beckham, feels less of a connection with him than he does with Barkley … or have you forgotten how livid Shurmur was following the Lil Wayne interview?
Now, most of Beckham’s teammates love him. They are awed by his gifts. No one works harder at his craft. No one burns to win more. His goofiness, his dancing, keep it loose in the locker room. Even after all the drama, he is not the problem child Antonio Brown is.
A lot can change in the NFL from one year to the next. But the Giants still hadn’t learned how to win when last season ended. There are teams Beckham can help win a Super Bowl. The 2019 Giants won’t be one of them.
Of course he would be impossible to replace. But it is easier to find a lesser receiver than it is your next franchise quarterback. So answer that phone if and when it rings, Dave Gettleman, and if you hear an offer you can’t refuse, do not refuse it. If you rebuild it, they will come.