There will be many who will apply the following Dave Gettleman quote on Wednesday to the real possibility of the Giants keeping Eli Manning at quarterback for yet another season:
“I believe in that definition of insanity: Keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result.”
There is the wondrous Saquon Barkley, yes, but as Manning prepares to blow out 38 candles Thursday, even as Gettleman vows to fix the Giants and that they are headed in the right direction, there is somehow still no succession plan at the most important position, still no Quarterback of The Future … and no Sam Darnold available from the early reviews in the 2019 draft class.
There are no regrets whatsoever from Gettleman about drafting his generational running back, but the flip side has left him little or no choice other than to keep doing the same thing at quarterback and expect a different result in 2019.
From the 38-year-old quarterback who has been Eli Maddening.
Who may now have to be Eli Money — and accept a restructured deal to avoid being a $23.2 million albatross on the Giants’ salary cap — to keep his dream job.
Maybe Gettleman will yet be proven right for not falling in love with Darnold and selecting the best player in the draft — but he will lug the burden of proof around on his shoulders until Life After Manning finally begins, whenever that may be.
Happy Birthday, Eli — Gettleman doesn’t sound ready to begin it in 2019. At least right now.
Asked on WFAN whether it was fair to say we probably haven’t seen the last of Eli Manning as a quarterback, Manning said: “We will see. I don’t know if it’s leaning one way or the other right now. This is kind of that time to reflect and figure out what’s the best thing going forward.”
No, Gettleman didn’t commit to Manning without further film study, and no, he didn’t rave about his game against the Redskins and volunteer that he didn’t think it was a mirage, and yes, he had what he called an “honest and up-front” and “no-holds barred” sit-down in his office on Monday with him.
Manning on the sit-down: “Hey, let’s be honest through this situation and figure out what’s the best thing for the Giants going forward.”
There were these crumbs for the Dump Eli crowd:
When Gettleman was asked if he would commit to Manning in 2019:
“I’m committed to making the best decision in the interest of the New York Football Giants. We’re in the evaluation process.”
“Everything is on the table for us.”
And then there was more than enough evidence from Gettleman, through rationalization and a touch of excuse-making, why I expect Manning back for a 16th season — barring some unforeseen salary-cap dispute over reworking his deal.
But everything on the table between now and a $5 million roster bonus due in March very well could mean a pay cut or restructuring of Manning’s contract to aid and abet Gettleman’s urgent rebuild.
Any uncertainty over Manning’s future would seem to rest with whether he would for whatever reason resist, which then should compel the Giants to explore the Nick Foles option in free agency. Foles will be 30 at the end of the month.
In the meantime, Gettleman presented the Manning case for him:
“When you’re installing a new offense, you’re looking at four to six weeks before everybody’s really on the same page, and really, the outlier is six.”
“I almost fell down when they told me we scored more points than anybody else in the division, which kinda blew my mind.”
“The distance that the offense came from Week 1 to Week  … we scored points.”
“The guy was running for his life last year. This year we calmed it down. Once we got rolling, once everybody got comfortable with the offense, if you’re gonna look at stats, it wasn’t too shabby what he did. Obviously we want to win more games. We gotta continue to improve the roster.”
Then there is head coach Pat Shurmur’s public support of Manning:
“I’m a big believer in collaboration. I’m not a dictator. Pat’s had a lot of success with quarterbacks. So I’m certainly gonna listen.”
Then there is Gettleman’s belief that the defense was the prime culprit over the second half:
“That’s why you’re 5-11. It’s not easy to win games when you don’t have playmakers. We need to improve the defense, guys.”
Then there is Gettleman referencing former offensive tackle Lomas Brown, who was 37 when he joined the Giants in 2000:
“When you’re looking at older players, you’re looking early, middle and late: Did they fade? The big question for me on Lomas was what was he playing like in December?”
The big question from me was what he thought Eli was playing like in December. Gettleman ignored the goose egg against the Titans and rattled off games — the last four without Odell Beckham Jr. — where the Giants scored 27 or more points:
“He can still make NFL throws.”
Then there is the nature of the man himself:
“He’s a mensch.”
Eli Money remaining the Giants’ best option is not the definition of insanity. Expecting to chase a Super Bowl in 2019 at a time when he will be 39 and not having your next franchise quarterback on red alert is.