There were rumors floating around a month or so ago that the Giants were interested in Braylon Edwards and that they had dangled Matthias Kiwanuka in front of the Browns as trade bait. There was no confirmation of this and I would say that it didn't even rise to the level of a "rumor", it could probably have been more closely characterized as pure unadulterated speculation. Apparently there is a new rumor floating around that has a little more substance to it because of its specificity (ok - tell the truth, have you ever read a blog post or even legitimate newspaper article about football with the word specificity in it?). Anyway - these new slightly more substantive rumors allege not only that there were trade discussions between the Giants and Browns about Edwards, but also outline what the actual proposals were for these trades. Giants offered the two draft picks that they got in the Shockey trade, a 2 and a 5 from New Orleans, slotted at 14 in the draft order. Browns rejected this and asked for Steve Smith in addition to the draft picks. Giants did not want to give up Smith but offered either Manningham or Hixon for Edwards instead of Smith, an offer that the Browns were not happy with.
We don't know for sure if these trade discussions actually happened, but they don't seem so far fetched. I am slightly surprised about the inclusion of Manningham in the trade. We have all been hearing that the Giants coaches are very high on Manningham from a size, elusiveness and speed perspective. He missed training camp last year because of injury and the coaches felt that set him back, significantly. But he is penciled in to be a big part of the offense this year, apparently. If that's the case, why would he be offered as trade bait for a player that had a serious case of dropsies last year? Even so, it's not surprising that the Browns did not want him, because Manningham has not shown anything yet in his career. The only team that could have a good read on him is the Giants themselves who see him in practice everyday. If the Browns had been impressed with him and wanted him after his college career, they had three rounds to draft him ahead of the Giants.
From the Giants perspective, relying on Manningham could be considered a risk and I would have more confidence in it if someone other than Gilbride was the Giants OC. I don't think Gilbride stinks as OC, as some Giants fans do. But neither do I think that he is a brilliant innovator, creative or possessive of a genius offensive mind. He is capable, but let's put it this way: you won't be running into Gilbride at a MENSA meeting any time soon. The reason I think counting on Manningham is particularly questionable is because the Giants seem so close to the promised land and slotting in an unproven player to be your deep threat seems full of downside. If the Giants offense were a bit more creative, I might feel safer about using Manningham. Having said that, I think the Giants personnel and talent evaluation is excellent and have proven their mettle over the last several years. Consequently, I will trust their instincts. It is possible that the Giants will sit tight with what they have at the WR position and draft someone appropriate in the 1st or 2nd round to augment the talent that they have on the roster.
Some of the rumors about the trade can be found:
Newark Star Ledger
New York Daily News
The same comments I made about Anquan Boldin apply to Braylon Edwards: the Giants would probably have to redo his contract and pay him some serious coin. With some of the open salary cap space spent on defensive FAs already, the likelihood of an Edwards trade is probably slight.
The NFL draft is now about a month away - look for some posts coming up about that soon.