In a move that seemed long overdue, the New York Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo, but what does the future hold?
Stunning is not the term that would be used when reacting to news that the New York Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo on Sunday. The team is 2-10, embroiled in controversy with Eli Manning’s benching, and in one of the darkest periods in recent memory.
McAdoo had to go, there was no question about that. What we all want to know is what’s next for the Giants as they wade into uncharted territory?
Not since Eli Manning was drafted in 2004 has the team had this uncertain of a future. Even then, the Giants were a few years removed from a trip to the Super Bowl in 2001. This time there’s no guiding light of hope for fans to follow as life after McAdoo doesn’t seem like it’s going to be easy.
Who coaches the team next?
There’s no slam dunk head coaching candidate for the Giants to go after this offseason, at least not one that is a slam dunk to be interested. Josh McDaniels will be the popular name, but he’ll have suitors with attractive positions in Cleveland, Chicago, and Indianapolis. Beyond him, there’s no name that jumps out as one that fans can count on turning the team around as quickly as will be expected.
New York will have a high draft pick, if not the top pick depending on how things shake out. They’re guaranteed to land one of the best quarterback prospects of the draft class, which should work in favor of luring in McDaniels. The defense is good enough to rebound next year and bounce back to being a top unit like it was in 2016, but everything hinges on who will be leading the next regime. With Jerry Reese out as well, someone like McDaniels can be offered the keys to the franchise. That offer will likely stand as well in Chicago (who have a franchise quarterback already) and Cleveland (who will likely have the top pick and offer more control).
What if it’s not Josh McDaniels?
Outside of McDaniels, the options range from iffy (Mike Shula) to grasping at straws (Mike Smith or Teryl Austin). New York can’t afford to rush this process or take into account anything other than success down the road. Eli Manning is likely gone in the offseason, Odell Beckham is now a question mark, and the defense is starting to age. New York can’t tailor its next head coaching hire to anyone or anything other than the future.
And Eli Manning’s future?
He’s likely gone after this season, but everything is up in the air now. It sounds like no one in New York was happy about the benching of Eli, which means ownership is on his side. That could go a long way in convincing Manning to stick around, but is it in the team’s best future interest?
Manning looked awful this season, and banking on him turning it around in 2018 is the wrong line of thinking. Keeping Eli in town to mentor the heir to his throne makes sense, and selling that as a part of an easy transition to a potential big-name hire could be crucial. It should be abundantly clear that Manning — who will be 37-years old at the start of next season — is not the franchise anymore. As we saw this past weekend, however, he shouldn’t be discarded carelessly. Depending on how becomes his heir, keeping him around might be the right move.
So who will be the Giants’ future franchise QB?
It doesn’t have to be someone New York takes with that top draft pick. Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen (and depending on what happens, Sam Darnold) are intriguing options. So too is Kirk Cousins, who the Giants could make a play at signing depending on who they hire as head coach.
The quarterback question is a perfect example of how we can’t have any real answers until the head coach question is answered first. McDaniels or Shula will likely want to draft a prospect and mold him, but it’s not crazy to see them intrigued by a free agent starter. McDaniels making a play for Jacoby Brissett makes as much sense at this point as anything else. New York needs to figure out who it wants to hand the keys to the franchise first, and then we can start answering the questions that will begin to dictate what kind of future the Giants will have.