Make no mistake about it, Phil Simms remains bitter over his release from the New York Giants in 1993 and subsequent retirement in 1995. He’s alluded to as much already this week, implying the way the team is handling Eli Manning is paramount to coddling, which is far from the treatment he received.
“You mean the year we won a playoff game, went 11-5 and, oh, I went to the Pro Bowl? I’ve gotten over that,” Simms told NJ Advance Media about his release.
“It’s a different world now. If I was in the world now, they would’ve never let me go because I’d have been a ‘franchise quarterback.’ This new phrase. ‘Franchise.’ That means we bow and kiss, and that’s why they keep people.”
That bitterness aside, Simms believes, from the perspective of an analyst, that the time has now arrived for the Giants to find Manning’s heir. And while several quality quarterbacks are set to become free agents, Simms feels the correct approach would be drafting a replacement and allowing Manning to mentor them for a year or two.
“I think it’s evident they gotta get somebody ready,” Simms said via the New York Post. “Let’s say it’s a Philip Rivers situation , you have to wait two years or whatever. They need to get a quarterback in that they know is gonna be the next guy.
“They’re gonna draft a quarterback this year. I think they should. Time to do it. Eli could handle it. We drafted Dave Brown the first round when I was with the Giants. It worked out all right. We were great friends. We learned to work together and hung out together and it was awesome.”
Would Manning accept such a role? More importantly, would he be willing to go into a season with no guarantee of finishing it? Simms thinks so.
“They need a transition, and that transition’s gonna be a year, it could be two years, it could be six games, whatever. I think be their starting quarterback opening day,” Simms said. “They’re gonna bring a quarterback in, in-waiting, and how Eli plays and how the team does determines how long Eli’s in there.
“I’m not saying that as an ex-Giant or anything like that, I think they should. He’ll make whoever they bring in with it, it’ll be a great transition. He’s a gentleman, he’ll do the right thing, he’ll work hard, and they’ll hold the kid, whoever it is, they’re gonna see the standards really high and how tough it is. I lived it.”
Simms adds that the Giants will not win the Super Bowl next season, so there’s really no harm in swapping quarterbacks mid-way through the year.
It’s an interesting strategy and one that’s not completely out of the realm of possibility, but the more likely scenario is bringing in a rookie quarterback to learn from Manning, while he finishes out his final year or two on the field.