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Coughlin wants Manningham back

The Giants likely won't be able to afford

The Giants likely won't be able to afford Mario Manningham next season. (undated file photo) Credit: Getty Images

Indianapolis - Giants receiver Mario Manningham made the most important catch in Super Bowl XLVI - a 38-yarder just inside the left sideline on the game-winning drive - and may be ready to cash in on the play. But not before the  Giants make every attempt to re-sign the 25-year-old receiver. 

Manningham's contract is up, and there's speculation that he'll hit the free agent market, which opens on March 13. But head coach Tom Coughlin hopes the team is able to retain the receiver. 

"You’d love to have him back," Coughlin said. "We’re not naïve. The guy just made a Super Bowl memorable play ... You're always trying to keep people that are coming along in the program." 

If Manningham does leave via free agency, Coughlin said the Giants will be prepared. The most likely replacement would be second-year receiver Jerrel Jernigan. 

"I hope so," Coughlin said when asked if he feels Jernigan would be ready. "The guys that we’ve had, just as we lined up last year with all kinds of questions, they did very well, so the thoughts are that the players that are currently a part of our team are going to have great opportunity." 

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