Allow Mark Herzlich to translate the Eli Manning portion of GM Dave Gettleman’s Wednesday press conference on the state of the Giants.
“He’s saying he doesn’t see a future for Eli,” Herzlich told CBS Sports Radio’s “Taz & The Moose” show Thursday morning. “He wanted to stay as noncommittal as he possibly could, but you could tell he let his emotions kind of get in the way a little bit.”
Herzlich knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of Gettleman’s ax, as the veteran linebacker was one of the Giants’ final cuts before last season started.
Gettleman would not commit to Manning during his first press conference since the summer, but also praised the quarterback after what he described as a “no holds barred” meeting. Manning, who turned 38 on Thursday, is scheduled to count $23.2 million against the Giants’ salary cap next season.
“I think what will end up happening is Eli is going to say, ‘Look, if I’m going to be the backup, I don’t want to be here,’” said Herzlich, who spent seven seasons with the Giants as a linebacker and special teams standout.
“Because he still thinks he has time left to play. When Gettleman says, ‘I’m going to watch film until my eyes bleed,’ that’s not film on Eli; that’s film on every other quarterback possibility in the country.”
Those possibilities include the Eagles’ Nick Foles, Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater and Browns reserve Tyrod Taylor, with Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins the top quarterback in an underwhelming draft class. Aside from possibly Foles, who is coming off a Super Bowl title and has Philadelphia back in the playoffs, it is difficult to find a significant upgrade over Manning.
If they decide to go the draft route, Haskins is an intriguing option after he finished a standout season with an impressive performance in the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl victory over Washington.
“I think the best course of action for the Giants and the best course of action for Eli are two different things,” Herzlich said. “If the Giants can restructure his contract and get him to stick around for a year and be the mentor for a young quarterback, that would be best-case scenario for the Giants. Now, that being said, that’s what a lot of people, including me, thought was going to happen this year.”
That is when the Giants passed on Sam Darnold and other talented quarterbacks with the No. 2 pick for star running back Saquon Barkley. It’s a move that Gettleman clearly does not regret after Barkley totaled 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
“Us taking Saquon was not a referendum on the quarterbacks, it was a referendum on Saquon,” Gettleman said. “On the player he is and the person he is. If I was in that situation 100 times, I would draft him 100 times.”
The Giants have the No. 6 pick, and the question is whom Gettleman will fall in love with now.