Giants New Priority: Sign Kirk Cousins

Eli Manning‘s streak of 210 consecutive games started will officially come to an end in Week 13. The Giants organization and head coach Ben McAdoo have handled this in the worst way possible. I would have understood, and I’m sure many would agree, if the Giants benched Eli for rookie QB Davis Webb. However, they are starting QB Geno Smith instead. A guy who has thrown 28 TDs to 36 interceptions in 34 career games. HE IS HORRIBLE. There is no other way to put it. It is time to move on from this topic, and it seems as if the Giants are ready to move on from Eli Manning.

So, who will be the man under center for the Giants come 2018? Yes, you read the title right. Kirk “You Like That” Cousins. How do the Giants do this? Why would the Giants do this? What would this mean for the rest of their off-season? Do not try to think too much and hurt yourself. I got you covered.

Step 1: Trade Eli Manning

Eli Manning does have a good amount of money left on his contract and a no-trade clause. After the way the Giants organization has treated him recently, I would not be surprised to see him waive his NTC if he was going to a team that can win immediately. Manning has 2-3 good years left and he is going to want to win soon. What team has enough cap space and will please Eli? Hello, Jacksonville! Jacksonville will have around $34M in cap space when the 2018 off-season begins. They also have a dominant defense, solid run game, and Tom Coughlin. Blake Bortles is not the answer for them. They need to upgrade the QB position if they want to find success. Eli will bring veteran leadership to a young team that has the pieces to win right away. He will fit nicely and the Jags could either cut Bortles, or possibly move him to a desperate team. In return the Giants could receive a package in the ball park of a 2018 2nd rounder and 2019 5th rounder.

Step 2: Cut Marshall, Harris, and Armstrong

When the Giants signed Brandon Marshall, I thought it was a steal. Boy, was I wrong. Marshall went down with an injury early in the year, but even before then he looked like he had brick hands. He was dropping balls left and right, while giving no effort at all. The signing of Dwayne Harris was just not good. The Giants overpaid for a player who they thought could be a game changer in the return game, but he has been abysmal at that position. He also is not a very good wide receiver. He is good as a gunner on special teams, but it is not worth the contract he has. Who is Ray-Ray Armstrong? I did not even know this man was on the Giants roster, nonetheless under contract through 2018. Goodbye. By cutting these three players the Giants would save themselves a little more than $8.8M.

Step 3: Restructure Janoris Jenkins

In 2016, Janoris Jenkins was arguably the best cover corner in all of football. This year, he has looked lazy and has been placed on injured reserve. He should be embarrassed, as should this whole team, for the lack of effort he has given in some games this year. A change of power should change his attitude. However, the Giants need to save some more money somewhere. They can restructure a few big contracts. I think Jenkins is the most likely to restructure and he certainly should after the lack of effort he has displayed at points this year. If the Giants restructure his contract, they can save about $7.5M.

Step 4: Sign Captain Kirk

Here it is. The moment you have all been waiting for. Kirk Cousins will receive a hefty contract this off-season, but it will be well worth it. I see him signing around 5-years/$130M. After all these moves the Giants certainly have the cap space to make this possible, and they should. Cousins will be 30 years old when the 2018 season begins, which means he can definitely give the Giants at least 5 good years.

Kirk Cousins is having a fantastic season, once again. Cousins gets a lot of blame for the Redskins’ lack of success since he became their full time started in 2015, but that is not all on him. Kirk has started one playoff game for the Redskins, which came in 2015. He passed for 329 yards and threw for one TD, while completing 63% of his passes. The problem in that game, and this has been the case for the Redskins most of the time since 2015, was the lack of defense and a rushing attack. Let’s take a look at the three years in which Kirk has been a starer.

2015:

  • 69.8% Pass Completion Percentage (1st)
  • 101.6 Passer Rating (5th)
  • 379 Passes Completed (7th)
  • 3 Game Winning Drives (8th)
  • 4,166 Passing Yards (10th)
  • 2 Comebacks (10th)

2016:

  • 406 Passes Completed (3rd)
  • 4,917 Passing Yards (3rd)
  • 307.3 Passing Yards/Game (3rd)
  • 4 Comebacks (4th)
  • 4 Game Winning Drives (5th)
  • 97.2 Passer Rating (7th)
  • 67.0% Pass Completion Percentage (8th)

2017 (As of 12/1):

  • 4 Game Winning Drives (1st)
  • 275 Passes Completed (2nd)
  • 3,289 Passing Yards (2nd)
  • 21 Passing TDs (4th)
  • 274.1 Passing Yards/Game (5th)
  • 66.6% Pass Completion Percentage (6th)
  • 99.6 Passer Rating (7th)
  • 1 Comeback (8th)

Safe to say Kirk is at least a top-10 QB in the NFL right now. The Giants would be extremely wise to go out and sign this man, even if it means overpaying a bit. If the Giants can go out and make this possible, they could afford to trade down in the draft and accumulate draft picks. This would give them the ability to add multiple players, through the draft, to positions that they desperately need upgrades at. Cough, running back and offensive line, cough. The Giants would also have about $20M more in cap space after signing Kirk, restructuring Jenkins, and cutting the players I mentioned.

Call me crazy for thinking about this happening, but it is a real possibility. It is becoming more and more realistic that Eli can be traded this off-season. This would mean the Giants would a craving to sign, or draft, a quarterback. Are any of the QBs in this upcoming draft worth a second or third overall pick? That I am not sure of, but this roster is good enough to win next year if they stay healthy. Kirk Cousins could be the answer for years to come as a replacement for Eli. Think about it for a second before calling me crazy.

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Eli Manning: The Second Greatest NFL Player in New York Football History

April 24, 2004 is a date that Giants fans will remember for the rest of their lives. Eli Manning was selected by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick in the draft, while the Giants selected Philip Rivers with the fourth pick. Manning and Rivers did not last on those teams very long. Eli refused to play for the Chargers and the team had no choice but to trade him. The Giants and Chargers agreed to a trade that sent Manning to the Giants, while Rivers and three-draft picks (2004 3rd and 5th, 2005 1st) were sent to the Chargers. It is safe to say that the trade has panned out for the Giants.

Lawrence Taylor is the greatest player in New York Football history, by far. Who is number two? There have been plenty of great players that have worn the blue and white, or the green and white, but I am hear to say that Eli is right behind LT. Many will argue that Joe Namath was better than Eli. Joe Namath was OVERRATED. Let’s compare the two QBs throughout their New York careers.

Eli Manning:

  • 210 Games Started (2nd longest consecutive streak of All-Time)
  • 4,319 Passes Completed (6th All-Time)
  • 50,625 Passing Yards (7th All-Time)
  • 334 Passing TDs (7th All-Time)
  • 30 Comebacks (7th All-Time)
  • 40 Game-Winning Drives (8th All-Time)
  • 12 Playoff Games Started (14th All-Time)
  • 83.8 Passer Rating
  • 59.8% Passes Completed
  • 222 Interceptions
  • 4 x Pro-Bowler
  • 2 x SB Champ
  • 2 x SB MVP
  • Future HOF

Joe Namath

  • 129 Games Started
  • 1,836 Passes Completed
  • 27,057 Passing Yards
  • 170 Passing TDs
  • 16 Comebacks
  • 16 Game-Winning Drives
  • 3 Playoff Games Started
  • 65.8 Passer Rating
  • 50.2% Passes Completed
  • 215 Interceptions
  • 5 x Pro-Bowler
  • 1 x SB Champ
  • 1 x SB MVP
  • 1 x All-Pro
  • HOF

Yes, Eli has played many more games than Namath and some of his numbers may be higher for that reason. But, what about some of the other numbers? Namath’s completion percentage, passer rating and interceptions are abysmal. Namath has thrown 42 more interceptions than touchdowns in his time in New York. HORRIBLE. Not to mention how clutch Eli has been throughout his career. He has 40 game-winning drives compared to Namath’s 16 and 12 playoff games compared to Namath’s 3.

Joe Namath’s one SB victory came at a time in which he only had to win 2 games to accomplish the feat. The Raiders were a very good team in 1968 when Namath and the Jets defeated them, but they did not have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. When Eli and the Giants defeated the Patriots in 2007 they were undefeated before that game. 18-0. They might have been the best team in NFL history. Randy Moss and Tom Brady had an insane connection. The Patriots, since 2000, may be the greatest dynasty in all of sports. They have reached the Super Bowl seven times since then, while winning it five times! Who handed them those two losses? ELI MANNING. You can say all you want about the defense and the lucky catches, but someone had to make those throws right?

Whether or not you want to put Eli over Namath, he is still a top-5 player in New York football history. He has brought the Giants two Super Bowls and many great memories in his 14 seasons with the team. The way they have treated him this week is downright disgusting. Eli deserves to be treated with more respect because of all the success he has been able to bring this franchise.

Thanksgiving Day against the Redskins may have been the last time we ever will see Eli under center for the New York Giants. He may be released or he may be traded come next year. No matter what happens Eli Manning is a legend in the eyes of Giants’ fans. He has brought all of us so many fond memories that we will never forget. As a Giants fan I cannot thank Eli enough for the joy he has brought me over these past 14 years. Thank you, Eli.

Fantasy Football Waiver Targets (Week 2)

Fantasy football waiver wire pickups are the difference between winning a championship, and failing to make the playoffs. It is important to be vigilant each week, especially when major injuries or suspensions can rid someone of a top pick. This week is especially important because of how many top fantasy stars failed to produce. It is too early to drop a top pick because of a disappointing performance, but adding a potential stud is a good insurance policy just in case. Below are eight players that everyone should be targeting.

1. Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears

Tarik Cohen provided the Bears with a big spark in his NFL debut. He seriously cut into Jordan Howard‘s touches after being used on 43% of plays, compared to Howard’s 56%. He carried the ball five times for 66 yards, an astonishing 13.2 YPC. Cohen also caught eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. In PPR leagues, Cohen is even more valuable after leading the team in targets with 12. He is not owned in many leagues, but will be after this week. (Percent owned: 1.5 NFL, 2.3 ESPN)

2. Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Smith has long been described as a game manager, not the guy to throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns. However, that is exactly what Smith did in the season opener. He made the reigning Super Bowl championship defense look foolish, and while doing so, locked up his status as a great waiver wire pickup. He is still not in the upper echelon of fantasy quarterbacks to start regardless of weekly matchups, but as of week two he is the top scoring fantasy quarterback. (Percent owned: 16.6 NFL, 9.7 ESPN)

3. Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Nelson Agholor looked bound to be labeled a bust after a disappointing two seasons to start his career, but he looked like a different receiver week one. He led the team in targets, and finished with 86 yards and a touchdown. If he and second year quarterback Carson Wentz can build chemistry together it could be a very successful season for the young receiver. (Percent owned: 1.8 NFL, 1.6 ESPN)

4. Javorius Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens

After Danny Woodhead went out with a hamstring injury, Javorius Allen
led the running backs in snaps. With Woodhead expected to be out at least a month, Allen’s stock skyrockets. The Ravens love to target backs on passing routes, so his value is even higher is PPR leagues. He still is splitting carries with Terrance West, but Allen is a quality waiver wire addition. (Percent owned: 1.6 NFL, 0.4 ESPN)

5. Kerwynn Williams, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Kerwynn Williams‘usage is in for a major uptick after star running back David Johnson
suffered a wrist injury that could sideline him for several months. He came in immediately for the injured Johnson and scored a touchdown. Williams was declared the number one back moving forward by head coach Bruce Arians. Williams has a very high ceiling as the number one back in Arizona. (Percent owned: 0.3 NFL, 0.7 ESPN)

6. Jesse James, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Jesse James was the top scoring tight end in week one. This is no doubt because he caught two red zone touchdowns and will not be the norm. However, if James can become Big Ben’s favorite red zone target there will be many more touchdowns in James’ future. The team’s recent addition of Vance McDonald was thought to hurt James’ targets, but he beat McDonald 8 to one in that respect. (Percent owned: 3.9 NFL, 2.5 ESPN)

7. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Cooper Kupp is a good option in PPR leagues with 12 or more people in them. He had a solid week one, but his production depends on the Rams’ offense, which was lackluster last season. That being said, he led the team in targets last week and secured a touchdown pass from Jared Goff. (Percent owned: 4.7 NFL, 16.6 ESPN)

8. Mike Tolbert, RB, Buffalo Bills

The backup running back in Buffalo has consistently poached touchdowns from LeSean McCoy over the past three years, and Mike Tolbert has already began down that road. He scored a one yard touchdown in week one and ran the ball 12 times for 42 yards. His bruising downhill running style should do his fantasy value well as he looks to score many short yardage touchdowns this season. (Percent owned: 0.1 NFL, 0.5 ESPN)

 

Photo Credits: FanRag Sports

Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater?

The position of quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings is one that has not shown a whole lot of consistency lately. Really since 2005, when Dante Culpepper’s tenure with Minnesota ended, there hasn’t been a consistent, successful starter. Brett Favre was good for two years and led them to the NFC Championship game in 2010. Especially since that season, there has been no definite choice for multiple seasons as to who the starter will be. Christian Ponder ended up being a bust (or just in the wrong system) after the Vikings selected him in the first round in the 2011 draft.

Then, in 2014, with the 32nd pick in the first round, the Vikings selected Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville. He came in during the third game of the season, and pretty quickly proved himself to be the starter in his rookie season. In the 2015-2016 season, Teddy started all 16 games and led the Vikings to an NFC North division title and a playoff berth with an 11-5 record. Teddy’s most outstanding game that season came in week 15 in a 38-17 win over the Chicago Bears. Bridgewater went 17/20 passing for 231 yards and four touchdowns, accumulating a passer rating of 154. He was only sacked once that game, which can definitely be said to have contributed to his success, as he was sacked as many as seven times in one game that season. He was bagged 44 times in 2015, more than all but five other quarterbacks in the league. He was sacked 39 times in 2014, which was the 7th most in the league that season. The lack of a sturdy offensive line is definitely something to point to when considering the lack of consistent success at the quarterback position for the Vikings. Teddy also ran four times for 17 yards that game. He is a mobile quarterback who ran once out of about every ten times he threw the football. It is not a coincidence that he ran for more than that game’s share when he was throwing the football well.

Then came the playoff game. The Vikings were down 10-9, and were a 27-yard field goal away from (being 20 seconds away from) defeating the Seattle Seahawks and advancing in the NFL Playoffs. Blair Walsh, of course, missed wide left. Click to live through the pain again. So the great season the Vikings and Teddy had had was over. However, the future looked bright for the men in purple.

That was until August 30, 2016. Vikings fans worry as they read the headline that Teddy Bridgewater had gone down in practice in a non-contact drill and was carted off the field. Even worse, the news found out hours later that an MRI had revealed a torn ACL and other structural damage in his knee. They knew he would miss the entire 2016 season, but hoped he would make a full recovery. A few days later, on September 3, the Vikings traded their 2017 first round pick and their 2018 fourth round pick to the Eagles in exchange for Sam Bradford. Sam Bradford was the first overall pick in the 2010 draft and was selected by the Rams. Bradford himself had suffered knee injuries since then and had not been consistent enough for the Rams. He ended up with the Eagles in 2015 before heading up north. Shaun Hill, Teddy’s backup, did enough for the Vikings to win their week one matchup, and Bradford was ready to go for week two. Mike Zimmer vowed that Bridgewater’s injury wouldn’t be an excuse for the 2016-2017 season, and that the Vikings would find a way to be contenders.

And for the first five weeks, the Vikings exceeded expectations. After five games, the Vikings were 5-0. Bradford had thrown six touchdowns and had not been picked off in his first four games. The offense was doing enough, and the defense and special teams had been outstanding in the first five weeks. Then the bye week came and went. And then the Vikings’ season went downhill. They dropped four in a row, six of seven, and eight of ten, before winning their week 17 match up with Chicago in 38-10 dominating fashion, to move to .500 at 8-8. That week 17 blowout was a sad consolation for a season that started 5-0 and ended in missing the playoffs. A disappointing reality for fans who were optimistic and believed that Sam Bradford is a better fit for the Vikings than Teddy Bridgewater is. And now, that question still remains. Teddy only threw 14 touchdowns in 2015, as the Vikings relied heavily on their running game, but he was a quarterback that knew his role and helped the team be very successful. He threw nine interceptions, but his last season at Louisville he threw for 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions. We can see that he has it in him, although college and pro defenses are significantly different.

Sam Bradford set a single season passing completion percentage record with a 71.56 mark. It’s impressive, but the yardage isn’t overwhelming. He had a lot of short, easy completions that didn’t really help the offense out. He rarely threw the ball downfield, which eventually allowed for defenses to adjust to that and be able to come up and not allow many YAC on the short dump-offs.

Now, heading into the 2017 season, Teddy is still injured. He was on the PUP list to start camp, and very likely will remain their to start the season. This means that he will have to miss the first six games of the season, at least. It is likely that he will return at some point this season, but the question is when and to what extent will he be recovered. He won’t immediately be the mobile quarterback he was, and won’t be at all athletically as sharp as he was before the injury for some time even after he is cleared to play.

So, if a week seven return for Teddy Bridgewater is a realistic, would it make sense for the Vikings, to have Sam Bradford currently solidified as the starter? Of course, it depends on Bradford’s performance in those six games. It depends on what the team is doing and what quarterback’s style of play is more likely to help the team succeed. An interesting point is the lack of Sam Bradford’s deep ball. Teddy did not really show he could throw the deep ball that well either, but he had reportedly been working on it prior to his injury. Therefore, it’s unknown if Teddy has worked on that and made it what it could be.

There is a lot to consider when trying to decide what the Vikings should do with their quarterback situation. Teddy Bridgewater is almost 26, and Sam Bradford is almost 30. It seems as though Teddy makes more sense long term. Not only because the Vikings drafted him rather than trading for him, which means that they saw him as a good fit, where Bradford was just kind of the best guy available, but Teddy is also four years younger. That’s a big deal when it comes to a franchise quarterback. Sam Bradford has never had a real productive year in the NFL and as he reaches the age of 30, it doesn’t appear that he’s going to be a breakout star. Teddy still has star-potential, as he reached the pro bowl in his second season after being on the NFL All-Rookie Team in his rookie season. Teddy’s future seems much more promising than whatever is left of Bradford’s career. Teddy could be the guy that the Vikings haven’t had since Dante Culpepper, something very promising to the Minnesota faithful. It definitely seems as though Teddy will be the guy in 2018, when Bradford is a free agent and the Vikings really have to make a decision on whether they want to keep him around.

That said, Bradford is a high quality backup that would not necessarily find a starting job elsewhere in the league, and could stay in Minnesota even if Teddy is the guy. The Vikings have shown with Shaun Hill that they like to have a veteran backup quarterback in the organization. The question then remains: What will the second half of the 2017 season bring? Do they test the waters with Teddy? Could Bradford be the guy, sort of like Dak was never threatened by Tony Romo, even after he was healthy in 2016? Or will Teddy take over the Vikings mid-season, and help boost them from a say, 3-3 record into the playoffs? The Vikings have a lot to take into consideration. It will be interesting to see how the Vikings’ quarterback situation goes throughout this season and the seasons ahead.

 

Photo Credits: ClutchPoints