PHOENIX – The Giants are not trying to rush Eli Manning out of their organization. That’s not what their search for his successor is all about. Any urgency they feel is all about taking advantage of all that Manning has to offer.
They want their next franchise quarterback to learn from the master while he’s still here.
“Well, I certainly believe that Eli does everything the right way behind the scenes,” Pat Shurmur said at the annual NFL coaches breakfast on Tuesday morning. “And I certainly believe that’s something a young quarterback can value from seeing. That’s part of Eli’s charm, is how well he works, how well he prepares, how professional he is about doing his job.
“Any young player at any position can value from seeing that.”
That’s why Dave Gettleman’s “Kansas City model” is the Giants’ ideal scenario: Drafting a young franchise-caliber quarterback so he can spend a year as Manning’s apprentice before taking over his job. The problem with that is that Manning is 38 and unsigned beyond the end of the 2019 season. So the time to put that plan in motion would seem to be now.
Of course, they might not. As co-owner John Mara said on Sunday, that will depend on what they determine the value is of the top quarterbacks in the draft. And as a team source told SNY this week, there are so many good defenders at the top of the draft, the Giants are leaning in that direction with the sixth overall pick.
Still, the lure of having Manning in place to pass the baton to the next great Giants quarterback is a strong one within the organization. Even Shurmur admitted his preference is to set that up “sooner rather than later.” It certainly would make his job easier if his next quarterback can watch how Manning goes about his job every day.
“Quarterbacks learn from each other,” Shurmur said. “If we bring in the right guy he’s going to study Eli and he’s going to learn a great deal by just being around him. I’ve been around Eli and I’ve seen the way he works. If a young player will study and learn, he’s going to learn a lot. I just know this: A guy that’s done all the things that Eli has done, if we draft a quarterback and he becomes the future, being around Eli will only help him.”
The plan is sound, but time is running out to make it happen. Here’s a look at their best options to make it work:
Draft Dwayne Haskins at No. 6 – The Giants were “very impressed” with Haskins at his Pro Day and at dinner the night before, and a team source told SNY “we really like him a lot.” It’s unclear if they like him enough to draft him that high and there’s a feeling he might rank behind several defensive players when they finalize their draft board. One thing seems clear, though: He’s probably the only quarterback they’ll consider this high.
Draft Drew Lock at No. 17 – It’s not clear if the Missouri quarterback will last this far, but it sounds like after the first tier of quarterbacks (Haskins and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray), Lock is the Giants’ favorite of the next group (a group that also includes Duke’s Daniel Jones). The problem here is the Giants could be lured again by a defensive player, or an offensive lineman – something else they desperately need.
Trade for Josh Rosen – This is something the Giants would consider, but a team source said they don’t know yet if Rosen really is available. As SNY has reported, many people around the league are convinced the Cards are taking Murray No. 1 overall, which would make Rosen expendable. Most likely, though, that won’t happen until just before the draft. The Giants would certainly ask about the price. A team source said they liked Rosen last year, though it’s not yet clear how they’d rank him compared to the quarterbacks in this year’s draft. They would not deal one of their first-round picks for him, but their second-rounder (No. 37) would make them think.
Bring Manning back in 2020 – Nobody is ruling this out. Seriously. The Giants don’t think Manning is done, and they see no reason why he can’t play into next season. As Shurmur said, “There’s quarterbacks on other teams playing at roughly the age that Eli is.” If they pass on quarterbacks in the first round and don’t trade for Rosen, then this may become the likely option. The Giants would then focus on finding their Quarterback of the future in the 2020 draft, and have him spent a year sitting behind Manning, who’d still be starting at age 39.