As expected, Mario Manningham is leaving. We just didn't know where his new landing spot would be, and now we do.
The former Giants receiver signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter confirmed. The deal was earlier reported by ProFootballTalk.com.
Manningham was never expected to return for several reasons. The Giants already have Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, two receivers they will have to pay down the road. GM Jerry Reese wasn't going to pay a third receiver the kind of money Manningham was looking for. Also, Manningham wanted to be a No. 1 or 2 receiver, something he can't be with the Giants.
Manningham finished last season with 39 receptions for 523 yards and four touchdowns in 12 regular-season games. But he caught three touchdowns -- including one against the Niners -- in the postseason and had five receptions for 73 yards against the Patriots, including his sensational 38-yard fourth-quarter catch that set up the game-winning touchdown.
So who will replace Manningham? The Giants still could sign a receiver in free agency, but the bet here is that the Giants will not be big spenders in free agency. They want to re-sign middle linebacker Jon Goff and some others, and probably will see what shakes out as free agency progresses. Perhaps they can pick up a veteran on the cheap. They still have to replace Brandon Jacobs in the backfield, and you never know, perhaps Jacobs will return if he doesn't find what he's looking for in free agency.
Also, the next Giants free agent who could depart is cornerback Aaron Ross. (Here is the updated Giants free-agent list). Ross visited with Cincinnati and Washington, and it might not be long until he finds a new home as well. The Giants re-signed Terrell Thomas to go with Corey Webster and last year's first-round pick, Prince Amukamara.
As for the third receiver, the Giants could draft one in April. Reese and coach Tom
Coughlin said at the NFL scouting combine that they expect last year’s third-round pick, Jerrel Jernigan, to step up this season. Also, the Giants would like to see what the 6-foot-6 Ramses Barden, a 2009 third-round pick, can do. They re-signed veteran wide receiver Domenik Hixon, who is coming off a torn ACL for the second straight year.
What would you guys like to see the Giants do now? And tell us how you feel about Mario leaving.