The New York Giants made their first round of cuts Tuesday afternoon, releasing and placing 15 different players on waivers or injured reserve. One of those players was kicker Brandon McManus, a rookie out of Temple. McManus did not do anything wrong to lose the job, the Giants just opted to hold onto the veteran Josh Brown instead. With that, the Giants were able to take advantage of the kicker needy Denver Broncos.
The Broncos lost their kicker, Matt Prater, for the first four games of the season as he violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy. With the Broncos having their bye Week 4, the Broncos were in need of a kicker through Week 5 to place hold for their Pro Bowler. In steps McManus. In a corresponding move, the Broncos waived rookie Mitch Ewald.
McManus has shown well with the Giants throughout the offseason. The 23 year old has a very strong leg, showing well in kickoffs as he routinely blasted the ball through the back of the end zone for touchbacks. He did not miss any of his field goal attempts in the preseason either, playing as well as he possibly could.
It was just bad luck for McManus, as Brown did nothing to lose the job. Brown performed well for the Giants last season, knocking 23 of his 26 field goal attempts through the uprights. He also showed well on longer kicks, where some people thought McManus would have the edge, making eight of his 10 attempts from 40 yards or longer.
For McManus, he has a great opportunity on his hands. He will be kicked for a high octane offense and will have plenty of chances to showcase he is worthy of a full time kicking job. He will essentially have an extended audition, but will not be competing against anyone for reps. As long as he performs as he did in the preseason, it shouldn’t take long to find another job.
A tough situation turned out to be a positive for all parties involved. The Giants received a conditional seventh round draft pick for a player they were set to release. The Broncos received a kicker who looks capable of replacing the production of Prater for the first four games of the season. Last of all, McManus gets a chance to show he’s the real deal, and this time when it counts.