East Rumors: Bowles, Manning, Williams

The Jets have slunk to 4-7 after a promising start, but Todd Bowles‘ job appears to be safe going into Gang Green’s December slate. Sources throughout the organization are “raving” about the third-year coach’s ability to coax what he has from this young team, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports. Bowles’ Jets are one win away from last season’s total, and five of New York’s seven defeats have come by one score. Vacchiano notes a short-term offseason extension is possible, and while he expects Bowles to receive a fourth season with the Jets, that won’t be decided until the offseason.

Here’s the latest from the Eastern divisions in advance of Thursday night’s NFC East clash.

  • Despite the Giants‘ panned decision to bench Eli Manning, the franchise quarterback places a value on playing an entire career for one team, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. So, a Tony Romo-esque exit shouldn’t be ruled out. However, Manning reportedly wants to continue playing and sees “several” destinations that would suit him. Breer adds Manning won’t simply go to a quarterback-needy team just for the sake of continuing his career, though. Despite Manning having a sub-par age-36 season as the Giants slog through an injury-riddled campaign, multiple defensive coaches told Breer the 14th-year passer still has quality football left. “I think he has a lot left,” one of the coaches told Breer. “No offensive line, zero run game and he lost his four top receivers in the same game. So it’s hard to truly assess him.” Although it’s early to make these proclamations, Breer sets the Tom Coughlin-led Jaguars as the frontrunner to land Manning.
  • On the topic of Big Apple quarterbacks, the Jets could well look to bring back Josh McCown for more stopgap work, Vacchiano notes. The team is obviously going to be ready to enter the quarterback market, but McCown staying on as a backup may be a workable scenario for Gang Green. This would push Christian Hackenberg further toward the back burner. Bowles already announced McCown would remain the starter, barring injury.
  • One of the most notable long-running dramas in the league’s near-25-year history of free agency looks be set for a third go-round, with Kirk Cousins still not attached to a long-term deal. The Redskins will not be using the transition tag on their quarterback, but JP Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes the team should still use the non-exclusive franchise tag. This would cost Washington a staggering $34MM, but unlike the transition tag, it would force other teams to fork over two first-round picks for the right to sign Cousins, who will enter his age-30 season in 2018.
  • Trent Williams will be protecting Cousins against the Cowboys tonight, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Jay Gruden told NFL.com’s Jane Slater this is a pain-tolerance issue regarding Williams’ knee, one he’s admitted he will need surgery on. With the Redskins on the outer fringe of the NFC wild-card race, an in-season Williams surgery would make sense rather than extend the rehab time — one that could be around six months, per the eighth-year tackle — farther into 2018.
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