Posted by Daniel Kahaner on 27th February 2012
A recent conversation between Mario Manningham and the Vindicator, a news source based in Ohio, revealed that the Giants’ Super Bowl hero is likely on his way out in New York.
He told the newspaper that there is a 75% chance that he will leave. He has been linked to the Buccaneers, who are desperate for a talented receiver to complement their talented but still young quarterback, Josh Freeman. Former Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan recently signed a deal to become the Bucs’ offensive coordinator, so the move would make sense.
GM Jerry Reese has said over and over again that he wants to keep Manningham, but has said so in a way that seems like he is expendable when it is all said and done. And with the amount of other moves that the Giants need to make before the start of the 2012-2013 season, a new contract for a third receiver doesn’t seem to be a top priority.
Osi Umenyiora and Brandon Jacobs both need extensions on their contracts, as Umenyiora’s presence on the defensive line clearly takes the Giants’ pass rush to an elite level, and Jacobs’ presence in the backfield is an essential complement to Ahmad Bradshaw’s speed. These new deals are unquestionably the ones most important to the Giants.
On top of that, the Giants will also need to find a way to re sign injured CB Terrell Thomas, who was poised for another pro-bowl year before tearing his ACL in the pre-season. Other notable free agents include Aaron Ross, who ended up doing a good job filling in for the injured Thomas down the stretch.
On top of wanting a larger paycheck, Manningham has also said that he would like a bigger role in an offense, and proved he deserves one after his memorable fourth quarter performance in the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay is a perfect fit in this case, as the Bucs’ passing game was one of the worst in the league this past season. His acquisition would certainly help Josh Freeman develop his game and make the Bucs’ offense somewhat more formidable.
In addition, on the Giants’ end, they will need to pay receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz big salaries in the coming years, and will most likely want to save the money for the two explosive young wideouts who proved their worth in this past season. Although Manningham did as well, he was unquestionably the clear cut third option for Eli Manning, and it is because of this that the Giants will most likely let him go. It has been rumored that either Jerrel Jernigan or Ramses Barden would take the place of Manningham as the Giants’ third receiver.
Nothing is set in stone though, as there is still time for negotiation. But all signs seem to say that Super Mario has collected his last coin in New York.