After reeling in 80 receptions for 1,143 yards in 2011, Marques Colston is expected to hit the open market when free agency kicks off in two weeks.
Colston has been a key cog in the New Orleans Saints offensive machine since arriving in 2006. A rare gem from the now-defunct Hofstra football program, Colston will certainly draw interest. Will the bidding drive his price tag to top-tier levels, or will he remain a quality pickup at a fair and value price?
While the practicality of such an acquisition remains unclear, Colston would be an intriguing replacement for the likely departing Mario Manningham.
Why It Won’t Happen
The last time Jerry Reese reached out of his comfort zone for a player was in 2008 when he restructured the contract of Plaxico Burress. Reese conceded to Burress’ demands in order to ensure that the offensive star would not hold out during a Week 1 matchup against the Washington Redskins.
Though given plenty of opportunities to break the bank, especially during the past offseason, Reese has shown that he has little interest in spending more money than he sees fit on players.
If Reese feels that his current handy work (Jerrel Jernigan for instance) could adequately replace a departing Manningham, then he won’t attempt to sell more jerseys by nabbing a household name.
Also, while teams likely won’t see Colston as a player worth making a historic financial commitment to, he is a talented receiver that could be the missing link for the right club. After six seasons in the league, this is probably his final shot at a life-changing payday. If two or more franchises decide to ignite a bidding war for Colston’s services, the price could elevate itself even farther from what the New York Giants are willing to spend.
If his price tag does stay at a reasonable number, the Saints could be inclined to retain him and keep Drew Brees united with one of his favorite targets.
Why It Could Happen
At 6’4", 225 lbs., Colston is the bigger receiver that the Giants have wanted to add to their rotation. Speaking of rotations, Colston is a veteran of a deep receiving corps.
While the Hofstra grad was busy recording 80 catches in 2011, Robert Meachem was bringing in 40 for 620 yards and Lance Moore nabbed 52 for 627. Devery Henderson caught 32 balls for 503 yards. Oh, and Jimmy Graham notched 99 receptions for 1,310 from the TE spot.
Think Colston would have a problem being part of a three-headed attack alongside Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz? I don’t.
But it isn’t just about what the player can offer to the Giants. What can this franchise offer the player?
Colston already has one Super Bowl ring and thus is not in danger of retiring without one when it’s time to hang it up. However, even a lucrative contract offer from a team that isn’t a contender might not be savory to him.
It is still unclear whether or not Colston would thrive as the primary option on a team with a middle of the road or worse QB. His impressive (but not jaw-dropping) numbers were accomplished with several other targets around him drawing coverage and with one of the best arms in the league throwing to him.
The Giants can provide a two-time Super Bowl MVP QB, a talented stable of receiving talent to surround him and a legitimate shot at a repeat come February 2013.
If they did bring him in, the Giants could create an even more dangerous receiving trio than the one they fielded last season. It will simply be a question of how much Reese is willing to spend on a non-home grown talent that would fill a third spot on the depth chart.