The New York Giants’ coach Ben McAdoo announced around 3 PM on Tuesday that longtime starting quarterback Eli Manning will be benched for Sunday’s game against the Raiders for Geno Smith, as announced in a press conference held by McAdoo. This will bring an end to Eli’s 210 game streak of starting in an NFL regular season or postseason game. McAdoo also stated that rookie Davis Webb would get a shot to at some point this season. Webb, who was a third-round pick drafted from California, was highly praised for his natural athletic ability and big arm, according to Mike Mayock. Webb’s decision-making, however, was cited as poor and “robotic”, along with being a poor scrambling quarterback.
If the Giants don’t improve their offensive line, Webb is a poor choice at quarterback, as the Big Blue line is the most depressing thing in sports since The Butt Fumble. Webb is not even an average scrambling quarterback. And when I say their line is depressing, that’s quite an understatement. They suck, a lot. It’s a disgrace to offensive lines to call the New York Giants offensive line an offensive line. It’s more like a collection of semi-mobile practice dummies trying to protect a school of fish against a shark. Nothing’s going to go over well. But anyways, back to Eli Manning. Will Eli be back next season for the Giants, another team, or will he retire? Let’s look through Steve Tisch and John Mara’s options.
What the Giants Should Do with Eli
Eli Manning is still a serviceable quarterback in the league, but his contract severely limits his trade value. Despite the Giants 2-9 record, Eli has set a career low for interceptions per pass attempt (1.8%) and has a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season. My fellow contributors at Boston Sports Extra also pointed out that a lot of his passes haven’t been as risky as in years past. This can be seen through his completions of 20 yards or more. Manning has completed only 20 passes of such quality, where his career average is about 44 per year. Even though there are still five games left to go this season, Eli has been throwing the long ball less often, leading to less chances and therefore, less interceptions. Given, his talent at wide receiver is about the worst in the league. After Sterling Shepard, Roger Lewis is the best receiver on the New York Giants. He is a passable WR3 at best, and should not be a focal point of any NFL offense at this point.
For the Big Blue, they should build the offensive line through the draft this year. Eli should remain the starter at least for the beginning of next year, and if it is determined that Eli is incapable to play quarterback. Manning will then have an option year, which the Giants will have to pay $6.2 million to opt out of the contract. Jim Mara and Co. should then let Eli go, let him retire, and let him go off into the sunset as a New York Giant.
Who Could Be Interested in Eli
The Giants should at least see what they can get for Manning, despite his $22.2 million salary cap hit next year. They could get a late-round pick for him, but the need for a veteran quarterback is rare as of now. Not many teams are in contention with a quarterback problem, and most other teams are looking to draft a quarterback in this year’s draft, besides three.
The Minnesota Vikings are the first team that could throw an offer the Giants way for the youngest Manning brother. All three quarterbacks (Bradford, Keenum, and Bridgewater) are free agents this upcoming offseason. The reality to this situation is that the Vikings will sign one of these three, as they have all proven to be above average quarterbacks and will cost significantly less money than is on Eli’s contract, and they will not be getting just a rental, which Manning is.
Tom Coughlin’s Jaguars
The Jaguars would be another team that could look at Manning. A possible Bortles-for-Manning swap? I highly doubt it, but part of me wouldn’t be surprised. Tom Coughlin loves Eli, and Eli loves Tom Coughlin. The Giants are looking for a young quarterback, and Bortles is only 26. He’s had his most consistent and mistake-free year so far, and hasn’t had his top target, Allen Robinson, this season. Given, Eli hasn’t had Odell Beckham, Jr. either. But, the Jaguars are doing well with Bortles, he makes sense in the long run for their organization, and they just opted in to keep Bortles for next year, which includes about $20 million if he is on the roster after June 1.
John Elway and the Broncos
This would be such a typical John Elway move. What’s more typical for Elway than to go out and get Eli Manning to finally settle the terrible saga that is the Broncos quarterback carousel since Peyton Manning left? Nothing. Elway has been putting the most sub-par quarterbacks in since Peyton left. Eli’s a rental and would allow Elway to draft another awful quarterback and let him “develop” under Eli. But, will it actually happen? Probably not. Eli retiring would be much more likely. But hey, hypotheticals are fun to think about.
Manning’s contract runs through next year and he has an option for the 2019 season. No one should worry about the 2019 season, as Manning will probably be retired by then. As pointed out before, the Giants would waste $12.4 million if they drop Eli.
What Manning Should Do
Manning will be 37 on January 3, which is getting old for any NFL player besides kickers, who are immortal (@JasonHanson, @AdamVinateri). He is a two-time Super Bowl champion and two-time Super Bowl MVP. He will forever be known for beating two dominant Patriots teams in the Super Bowl as well. If I am Eli Manning, I’m retiring after this season. In turn, Manning could ask the ownership to grant him a position either in the front office or as a coach. He has had a solid career, he should be able to give it up now. If he truly cares about the Giants and everyone that has given him a chance to succeed in the NFL, he would rid the Giants of a massive amount of money that could help the team succeed in the future. Eli has a good mind as a quarterback, and could contribute to the Giants process of getting over him.
Honestly, I have no idea what Eli could be thinking. In his interview after practice on Tuesday, he seemed defeated. His tone of voice was straight up depressing and hopeless, exactly like this season for the Giants. Retirement has to be weighing on his mind, and must feel like a semi-truck in his thoughts. I feel bad for him, he is a much better quarterback than advertised. He’s a potential Hall of Fame quarterback that will forever be overshadowed by a meme.