Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Mario Manningham gives odds
By Ohm Youngmisuk
Mario Manningham insists that he never said there was a "75 percent" chance he is leaving in free agency and that he wants to remain a New York Giant.
During an interview with WFAN radio, Manningham placed the odds of him remaining with the Giants at "50-50" and that he does not know where rumors of him going to Tampa Bay came from.
"It is 50-50 percent chance," the unrestricted free agent said in the interview about the odds of him returning. "We are not sure what is going on right now. We are going to take it slow and see what is going on and let the smoke clear a little bit, you know the combine and free agency and everything coming up. Just never know where I am going to end up at."
Manningham said that there was a 75 percent chance he was signing with another team, according to a report last week by The Vindicator of Youngstown, Ohio, as Manningham was being honored with a key to his hometown of Warren.
"I didn't say that though," Manningham said on Tuesday morning in the radio interview with WFAN. "I didn't say that. You know how rumors get spread."
Manningham also downplayed a report by CBSSports.com that he wants to go to Tampa Bay, where the Giants' former quarterbacks and wide receivers coach Mike Sullivan is the new offensive coordinator.
"That is just (rumor)," Manningham said when asked about Tampa Bay. "I haven't said anything like that or I haven't heard anything like that until the other day. I think everybody is saying that because our quarterback coach is going to be the offensive coordinator. People don't really know what is going on, they don't know where I really want to go."
Manningham is one of the Giants' 21 unrestricted free agents and the team is going to have several difficult decisions to make. They are expected to be over the cap and will have to make some moves to create cap flexibility.
After his fourth-quarter performance in the Super Bowl, Manningham is looking for his biggest contract and a bigger role -- two things the Giants likely cannot give the receiver.
Paying Manningham more will be tough considering he is the team's third receiver behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz -- two receivers the Giants will eventually have to pay down the road as well.
Manningham says he would like to remain with the Giants, but he also acknowledges that if it came down to the Giants paying him or Cruz -- who will make just $490,000 this season after a franchise-record setting season last year -- the team would probably go with their new receiving sensation.
"They probably go with Vic," he said.
Manningham finished with 39 receptions for 523 yards and four touchdowns in 12 regular-season games this past season. However, Manningham caught three touchdowns in the postseason and had five receptions for 73 yards against the Patriots, including his sensational 38-yard fourth-quarter catch.
Last week according to The Vindicator, Manningham also praised Eli Manning for being a great quarterback but added "there are a lot of good quarterbacks in this league. I just want the ball more, that's all."
When asked by WFAN if he would take less money to stay with the Giants, Manningham said, "I'm not sure yet."
"I have to see what is going on with the rest of the receivers," he said. "I just want to go wherever God leads me. That is all. He won't make a bad decision. I just want to go to somebody good that I can compete for the Super Bowl again."
"I want to stay here," he added. "But if it is not here I am sure it is somewhere else."
The Giants also have to make decisions on what to do with running back Brandon Jacobs' and defensive end Osi Umenyiora's contracts. Jacobs will have to restructure his deal if he wants to remain with the Giants since he has a $500,000 roster bonus due in March and will earn $4.4 million this coming season. Umenyiora also wants a new contract entering the final year of his deal worth just under $4 million.
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the NFL for ESPNNewYork.com.