During his end-of-season press conference on Wednesday, Giants GM Dave Gettleman wouldn’t commit to veteran QB Eli Manning starting under center in 2019, which means all options are going to be explored before making that call.
Manning isn’t sure how long that decision will take.
“I don’t know,” he told Mike Francesa on WFAN. “I assume I’ll have conversations with Mr. Gettleman going forward and seeing what’s best and what we need to do.”
The Giants owe Manning a $5 million roster bonus on March 15, so an educated guess would say the team will let him know by then.
Manning already had an “extensive…no holds barred” conversation with Gettleman on Monday, but neither party would spill the details on what was said. One can guess, though, that Gettleman reiterated the points he told the media to Manning: He needs to evaluate each quarterback option to figure out what the best direction is with the interest of the team in mind.
It’s only a matter of time before the Giants need to move on from Manning. But even though the veteran turned 38 today, he showed that he can still have success after what his numbers produced this season.
He had 4,299 yards with 21 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, and a career-high 66 completion percentage. Manning still isn’t the mobile quarterback most coaches would love to work with in today’s RPO-dominated NFL, but when there’s adequate protection, he still finds his intended target.
Manning knows this fact, too. That’s what he wants to keep his job next season.
“I do, I do” he said when asked if he wants to be a Giant in 2019.
The decision will ultimately come down to if Gettleman believes Manning gives the Giants the best chance to win now – as was the case last season. He believed so this season, but a 5-11 record was the result.
However, major change came in the second half of the season after a 1-7 start. The Giants finished 4-4 after the bye week, and as Gettleman pointed out, the offense really picked up their level of play. The offensive line was less porous, red zone efficiency saw a big increase, and this all came with his top receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., out for the final four games.
In fact, the Giants led the NFC East in points this season with 23.1 per game.
So maybe the offseason plan could be improving the defense – an area that certainly needs help – and sure up the O-line more to give Manning the time to hit his dangerous weapons. It’s an option Manning would love to see come to fruition, and with the Giants’ limited options in the Draft and free agency, there’s a high probability it will.
But he can’t know for sure, which is why he had this answer when Francesa asked him if this is the last we have seen from No. 10 in a Big Blue jersey.
“We will see” Manning said.