EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants began building for 2020 the moment they made the switch from Eli Manning to Daniel Jones at quarterback one month ago. They said all the right things about hoping to make a run for the playoffs, and that's not out of reach. But they know their real target for contention is now next year.
That makes the Oct. 29 trading deadline an interesting one for Giants GM Dave Gettleman. It's a chance to accumulate draft picks to continue the youth movement he began back in March if he decides to get rid of some veterans and their bloated contracts. Of course, right now they're only one game out of first place in the NFC East.
They also don't have a lot of valuable assets to sell.
"They had their firesale last year, so I don't know what they really have left," said one NFL source. "But they have a few guys that might be worth a call."
Really, other than young players they won't want to get rid of, they only have a few of those guys to possibly deal. Here's a look at what is a very, very thin, and only somewhat-tradeable group:
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins
He was thought to be on the block during last season's firesale, but the Giants obviously never traded him. His play can still be erratic at times and maybe he isn't the No. 1 cornerback he was when the Giants signed him. "But he's still good," one scout said. "And in this pass-happy league, everyone needs cornerbacks."
Of course, the Giants need them too and as long as they're in shouting distance of the playoff race they can't afford to get rid of him - at least not unless Sam Beal shows he's healthy and can play. If they decide to move on, though, getting a third-round pick in return doesn't seem crazy. He is due more than $11 million next year, but it's not guaranteed.
Linebacker Alec Ogletree
Given his recent hamstring injury and diminished play, he wouldn't bring a lot back on the open market unless it was from a contending team desperate for linebacking help and depth. But it's unclear if the Giants would even want to deal him. He has value to them as a leader of the defense. Also, they really have no inside linebackers who can replace him.
"He's not what he used to be, and the Giants overpaid to get him," one scout said. "There wouldn't be much value there."
Ogletree is due $10 million each of the next two years, but it's not guaranteed, so if someone need linebacking help, he'd be low-cost, low-risk.
Left tackle Nate Solder
He has a contract that would be very difficult for the Giants to unload, given the dead money it would create. As one scout said, "He's not that big-money player anymore."
"Then again," the scout added, "everyone needs offensive line help."
So do the Giants, of course, and it's not like they have a left tackle-in-waiting to replace him. Maybe they overpaid, but they've never regretted the four-year, $62 million deal they gave Solder - especially now that the line is playing well for the first time in years. They have a young quarterback to protect, and their hope is that this line - no matter how expensive - has another year or two in it together.
Gettleman finally has his "Hog Mollies". He's not going to dismantle that group now.
Quarterback Eli Manning
This is a moot point if Manning doesn't want to be traded, since he has a full no-trade clause in his contract. But if he wants out, and someone - perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs - is interested, the Giants would have to consider it. Acquiring Manning isn't expensive. The Giants would probably get some sort of conditional, mid- or late-round pick in return and Manning is only due whatever is left of his $11.5 million salary (unless he wants more as a condition of waiving his no-trade clause).
However, the Giants like having Manning around to tutor Jones. They also view him as insurance in case Jones falters or gets hurt and they're still within shouting distance of a playoff run. So they don't appear inclined to trade him.
Of course, if Manning decides he wants out, they surely will try.