By the time you read this, you’ll already know that the Giants let free agent Mario Manningham go to the San Francisco 49ers for a still undisclosed sum. Amazingly, it’s the second time in four years the Giants showed the door to a receiver who made an unbelievable catch in a Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
For my money, the prize goes to Mario. Tyree came down with the ball, but it still seems to me an incredible fluke that it “stuck” on his helmet. (The truly amazing part of that play was Eli Manning’s evasion of New England tacklers.)
Also, there’s no comparison between Tyree, who never caught another pass in the NFL, and Manningham, who had 39 receptions last year, despite being injured, for 523 yards and four touchdowns. (The season before, he had 60 catches for 944 yards and 9 TDs.)
Though I’m sorry to see Mario go, the truth is that wide receiver is the one position the Giants can afford to cut because of the salary cap. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, who might be the best tandem of wide receivers in pro football, combined for 158 receptions, 2728 yards and 16 TDs last year. The Giants can well afford a lesser third wideout and still have one of the best receiving corps in the league.
However, here’s a truly amazing and absolutely meaningless factoid: If Peyton Manning signs with the 49ers, they will become the second team after the Giants to have a Manning-to-Manningham battery.