New York Football Giants star safety London Collins played his last game this past Sunday against the Chicago Bears due to an apparent shoulder injury that will require season-ending surgery. With Collins heading to IR and not available to play in the upcoming Week 14 matchup against division rival Washington Redskins, his surgery is expected to take place sometime next week. Interestingly, the Giants management will have a decision to make this offseason regarding whether to re-sign Collins who otherwise is slated for the free agent market this offseason.
One might have believed that their hesitance to trade Collins before the trade deadline might have indicated their desire to extend the 2-time Pro Bowl safety’s contract. Now with this injury who knows if the Giants will choose to re-sign him, or what kind of effect this might have on his contract negotiations, both monetarily and lengthwise, or if the Giants will franchise tag him instead. Regardless, since being drafted by the Giants in the 2015 Draft, Collins has been a diamond in the rough in the Giants’ secondary and a star in this League. In only 12 games this season he’s made 96 tackles and forced one fumble.
Meanwhile, the rookie season highlight reel of RB Saquan Barkley is becoming even more fun to watch despite the Giants dim playoff chances. Yet somehow they’re still in contention for the division title due to a truly weak NFC East. However, their young rookie running back, chosen as the number two overall player in last’s year draft, continues to amaze us every week. In fact, ESPN Staff Writer Jordan Raanan called him a ‘Giant of a Rookie,’ and boy was he not far off.
So far this season, number 26 has rushed for 954 yards in 195 attempts (without any fumbles) and scored 8 touchdowns. Additionally, 4 of his rushes have gone for 40 plus yards, while 12 have gone for 20 plus. However, not only has he proven his prowess on the ground, he’s also shown his versatility in the receiving game. Veteran QB Eli Manning has connected with the young star 74 times for a total of 602 yards and 4 touchdowns. Regardless of the likelihood of another lost season, the bright spots on the Giants roster are made brighter by their exceptional RB who should be a shoe-in for this year’s Rookie of the Year honors.
Also, we should expect to see back-up QB Kyle Lauletta under center sometime during these last four games of the regular season, as the Giants begin planning for Eli Manning’s eventual replacement and how they should orient their potential draft picks. Oregon QB Justin Herbert, Duke QB Daniel Jones, West Virginia QB Will Grier, Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins, and Missouri QB Drew Lock are all names every New York Giants fan should grow accustomed to hearing as we get closer to the 2019 NFL Draft. But even if they do take one of these quarterbacks, or just the best overall player when they pick (which I think they should do; especially if it’s an OL player), reports are that the Giants plan to start their 37-year-old QB next season, which would also be the last year of his contract and the end of the Eli Manning era that has arguably been the most successful era of Giants football, due to their two Super Bowl championships.
I think this would be a good plan; especially if they discover that Lauletta is a viable successor or draft his replacement, because then Eli Manning could mentor this rookie like Hall of Famer Kurt Warner did with him back in 2005 before his midseason debut. However, now that the Giants have a won some games, they have moved down in the draft order to one of the top ten picks rather than one of the top three they were on pace to have.
Finding Eli’s replacement won’t be easy but whomever the new QB turns out to be, he will have the luxury of throwing to Odell Beckham Jr. and handing off to Saquon Barkley. While those are certainly not bad options for any quarterback, I think this could help in easing a new QB into the Giants offense as well as benefitting from the guidance of Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the system he’s trying to put in place.
With the Giants entering full rebuilding mode, current players should be leaving everything they got on the field and auditioning for a spot on next year’s roster. Now is their chance to prove they belong – on the offensive line, on defense, and on special teams. With four weeks left, and a division still up for grabs, it should be interesting to see how the Giants handle the situation they find themselves in and how they plan to prepare for the Draft.