ORLANDO, Fla. — When it comes to making the transition from one franchise quarterback to the next, the gold standard is the green-and-gold standard.
“I always admired the way the Packers handled it with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers,” Giants co-owner John Mara said Sunday.
Green Bay drafted Rodgers in the first round with Favre still playing near the top of his game, was patient for several seasons and then made the switch when Rodgers was fully ready.
Is that a clue to what the Giants will do in next month’s draft? Will they pick an Aaron Rodgers to sit for a year or two or more behind Eli Manning with the No. 2 selection?
“Believe me when I tell you I don’t know if we’re taking a quarterback or not,” Mara said at the NFL league meetings. “We’re very early on in the process. You could give me eight different scenarios and I would tell you that [each] is a possibility.”
The Giants will have the option to do it, of course. They have the second selection, so even if the Browns take Sam Darnold or another quarterback ahead of them, they’ll still have the option of selecting Josh Rosen or Josh Allen.
Or they could trade down, which is another of the scenarios Mara would agree is a possibility.
“The way I look at that, if we wanted to do that is: Tell me who we’re going to get with these other picks and compare it with the person we could have gotten with the second pick and then let’s see which scenario is going to make us better,” he said of approving any trade of that No. 2 selection.
It undoubtedly will take a lot to pry that pick away from the Giants. Mara said as disgusted as he was with the 3-13 season the Giants just endured, he is excited about the benefit it will provide in late April.
“It’s an opportunity for us to get a lot better,” he said. “To be able to pick at the top of each of these rounds and particularly with the amount of quality at the top of this draft, it gives us a chance to do something . . . They’re all important picks, but the No. 2 pick in the draft is an important pick that can have a huge effect on the future of this franchise. So you have to make the right decision.”
It could even replicate the Packers’ scenario of a decade ago. That worked out football-wise, of course, but it created a lot of friction and hard feelings between the organization, the quarterbacks and the fans of the team who were loyal to Favre.
There was a huge outcry when Manning was benched for one game last season. Drafting his eventual replacement — not a possible replacement such as Davis Webb or Ryan Nassib, but an undisputed replacement — could create similar rancor in and around the franchise.
“I think that’s often times unavoidable in this sport,” Mara said. “You have to make decisions that are in the long-term best interest of the franchise. If some feelings get hurt, you try not to do that, but if they do, they do.”