New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been playing better as of late. His offensive line has been playing better so as a result Eli hasn’t needed to move as much and is more relaxed in the pocket. However, this small stretch of better play should not be enough to keep him around next season. Or is it?
There is a report from Ralph Vacchiano of SNY stating that the Giants have not decided if they will move on from Eli after this season. A large part of this is because the lack of options there will be to replace him next season. 2018 fourth-rounder Kyle Lauletta hasn’t even dressed for a game all season and through Manning’s struggles was still not considered to replace Eli at any point this season. His arrest while heading to the Giants facility certainly didn’t help his cause either.
This is a down year for quarterbacks in the draft. The consensus top guy is Justin Herbert but everyone believes he is a lock to stay at Oregon with his younger brother joining the team next season and him not being mentally ready for the NFL. If Herbert stays, there are guys like Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, and Daniel Jones who are projected first rounders but that is only because of the positional value of quarterbacks. The Giants will have at least a top 10 pick so will they want to reach on someone that doesn’t really move the needle? They have a lot of other areas of need like offensive line, edge rusher, or cornerback.
Any quarterback who is any good rarely hits the free agent market. Kirk Cousins was a unique situation last offseason. Teddy Bridgewater will be a free agent but the Saints gave up a 3rd rounder for him and while Drew Brees is playing at an MVP caliber level he is about to turn 40 so they may try hard to keep Bridgewater.
Derek Carr and the Raiders might be heading towards a divorce but he has not played well since he broke his leg in 2016. His value would be on the lower side but he might require a multi year deal and the Giants may not want to risk committing to Carr for more than one season.
Jameis Winston might not be back with the Buccaneers next year but he has shown that he cannot protect the football. He occasionally shows flashes of a franchise quarterback but he makes a lot of head scratching plays.
Then there are less exciting veteran band-aid options. Signing someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Bradford or Nick Foles on a one or two year deal knowing you will draft a quarterback in the following draft when guys like Tua Tagovailoa and Jake Fromm are projected to leave school.
That is what makes this an interesting scenario. Eli has not been playing well but there aren’t many options that will be worth it. The Giants may be better off letting Eli have a farewell tour and finishing out the final year of his contract.