If Saquon Barkley goes first, Giants are in the draft’s catbird seat
If the Browns do fall in love with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and take him first overall, the happiest man in the league might be Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman.
Last year, the 49ers chiseled a third, a fourth and a future third-rounder from the Bears to move down one spot, so the Bears could take Mitchell Trubisky. The year before, the Eagles gave the Browns five picks in the effort to acquire Carson Wentz and a fourth-rounder. That package included their first, third, and fourth-rounders in 2016 as well as their 2017 first-rounder and 2018 second-rounder.
The key for Gettleman will be how far down the line to go. To put the kind of team around Manning to justify keeping him, they’d need to add some top-shelf talent, which means he can’t drop too far down the order. If they can gain assets and still add a game-changer such as defensive end Bradley Chubb or guard Quenton Nelson, Gettleman would have to be intrigued.
Believe this: NFL owners cannot wait for the moment when agents are rendered irrelevant. Owners already have slick, charismatic, skillful negotiators, who justify their salaries in part by keeping players from getting as much as they can. With no agents, players negotiating their own deals will have the bad deals negotiated by other players crammed down their throats, with teams eventually having a full roster of players at bargain-basement price.
What about the salary cap, you ask? Won’t that ensure players get theirs with or without agents? Far more important than the cap is the floor. With an 11-percent spread available, owners will have an easier time getting the players they want for 89 cents on the dollar, with the other 11 cents becoming raw profit.