It does not make a lot of cents for the Giants to bring Eli Manning back at $23.2 million in 2019.
But after all the obituaries, after all the knockdowns, Manning has gotten back up, and it has become more apparent that it now makes sense.
The intrigue no longer is when Kyle Lauletta will get a start this season.
The intrigue is whether Manning is the best option at quarterback next season for John Mara and Steve Tisch, for Dave Gettleman, for Pat Shurmur.
He is still Your Mann.
Just not a $23 Million Mann.
Big Brother Peyton took a $4 million pay cut, from $19 million to $15 million, before the 2015 season with the Broncos. The contract included $2 million for winning the AFC Championship and $2 million for winning the Super Bowl. Which he did, at age 39, the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl.
Last time I checked, Eli had earned $219 million over his career.
Manning should take a PEYcut — with incentives — to offer relief to the club’s salary-cap situation, with Landon Collins likely up next to be paid. It would also afford Gettleman flexibility to accelerate the ongoing rebuilding program around Manning, not unlike the way Tom Brady has allowed Bill Belichick to operate in New England by repeatedly taking less than his market value.
A Manning PEYcut would also give him a better opportunity to leave on his own terms and hopefully retire as a Giant.
“I believe we can win with him next season, I believe we can win with him the last couple of games,” Saquon Barkley told The Post — and that was before Manning again looked nothing like Dead Mann Walking, or Old Mann Walking, against the Redskins.
Barkley is the perfect teammate, and damn near the perfect Giant, and you will never hear him bad-mouth any of his brothers in arms.
“I know everyone tried to put the fault with him and the blame on him, but you put on the film, a lot of us left plays out there, especially in the first half [of the season],” Barkley said. “We didn’t execute as a team, not ’cause of Eli, as a team.”
So you would want him to return as your quarterback next season?
“I think he’s s great mentor, a great leader. … Like I said, I believe in him,” Barkley said.
With an offensive line that can protect him, with an otherworldly rookie running back who has become the straw that stirs the drink, Manning is back from the dead — 10 touchdowns with two interceptions over the last five games. The Giants have scored 30 or more points in three of those games. They scored 33 in three quarters against the Redskins without Odell Beckham Jr.
Shurmur brought in a new system and tried teaching an immobile old dog new tricks, and Manning looked alarmingly skittish and doggone finished as a winning quarterback — 3-12 as the 2017 starter, followed by 1-7 as the 2018 starter.
I thought it was over for him.
The naysayers will caution against putting stock in a too-little-too-late revival that comes only after the playoffs had become a virtually Impossible Dream, a veritable mirage, and it is well-documented that Manning has not won a playoff game since Super Bowl XLVI.
Everyone knows that the Giants still desperately need a young franchise quarterback. But whether the Giants like any of these quarterbacks in the Class of 2019 or not, someone will have to be the bridge quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater? Shurmur knows him from their Vikings days together. But can you count on him and his reconstructed knee showing up every game day the way you know Manning has and will? Nick Foles? Tyrod Taylor? Yawn.
Manning said on his weekly WFAN spot that he is focused only on chasing 8-8 and the winning feeling with this 2018 team.
“I think it’s important just to be in the moment,” Manning said.
Manning’s .677 completion percentage is his career high. Barkley’s presence makes him a play-action threat again. He can still make all the throws a quarterback needs to make.
He loves being a Giant. He knows how to handle the New York microscope. But this can’t be about sentimentality. It has to be about reality. He can’t carry this team. Unfortunately, Barkley can’t play quarterback. But he can sure help the next quarterback. Or this quarterback.
Still your Mann.