When the New York Giants and head coach Pat Shurmur announced that veteran quarterback Eli Manning would start the 2019 regular season, most assume they had playoff hopes. Just two weeks later, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones was injected into the starting team and given the green light to start his career with Big Blue.
However, the 2019 campaign was never a farewell tour for Manning or a playoff-contending season. Two years into a rebuild doesn’t precisely scream competitiveness, but the decision to start Jones was. Whether the team won this year or next, flipping the page on a 15-year chapter headlined by Manning was necessary.
The Giants now sit at 2-6 on the season and have lost four consecutive games. Instead of being sellers at the trade deadline, they bought into the idea of bolstering their defensive front with Jets’, Leonard Williams. Sending a third round and compensatory pick to the team across the street showed their confidence in the foundation of the team, despite recent losses.
Losses aren’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when considering the fact that the Giants were never supposed to be a playoff-contending team this season. Ironing out the weaknesses on both sides of the ball will give general manager Dave Gettleman an idea of where resources need to be allocated. To name a few — offensive tackle, linebacker, outside linebacker, cornerback, and free safety.
A large portion of the current lackluster positions will cost the Giants a pretty penny. Luckily, they have plenty of draft capital to inject into the offensive line and linebacker position. Rookie Ryan Connelly was impressing before tearing his ACL. He logged 20 combined tackles and two interceptions in four games, quickly developing into the best option at inside linebacker for Big Blue, overtaking Alec Ogletree in the middle of the defense, one of the highest-paid linebackers in the league.
Part of the rebuild process is bringing in place-holders. Ogletree is one of those placeholders, as the Giants now have a future option in Connelly at linebacker. The Giants can effectively cut Alec after this season, and he will count just $3.5 million in dead-cap, compared to the $11.25 million he will count this year.
What is the priority for the New York Giants moving forward?
The remainder of the season will be centered around developing Jones and giving him every last minute of experience he can soak up. Adapting new defensive lineman Leonard Williams is also in the same boat, and the defense now has something to work on before the offseason. Finding the right players to fill essential roles is Gettleman’s focus, and he has always preferred the trenches.