It’s official – the Giants are going back to Eli Manning as their starting quarterback, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (Twitter link). Manning will be under center this weekend as the Giants face the Cowboys in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Mired in a lost season, the Giants made a daring move to bench Manning on Sunday in favor of Geno Smith. The decision ended Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive NFL starts and caused an uproar among Giants fans. There’s little doubt that the ensuing controversy sped up the inevitable for coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese.
At 2-10, the Giants aren’t playing for much this year, but the outcome of these next four games will help shape the offseason. If Manning plays up to par, it’s conceivable that he could return as the starting QB in 2018, though that might require some healing between the two-time Super Bowl champ and team ownership. Manning remains under contract through next season, but the team must decide whether to keep him before his $5MM roster bonus comes due on March 18.
Manning, 37 in January, has completed 62.5% of his passes with 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions this year. He currently ranks as the 18th best quarterback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. For what it’s worth, the advanced metrics have not been a big fan of his work over the last five seasons. In 2011 and 2012, however, he rated as a top five passer in the NFL.
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (on Twitter) first reported that Manning would be reinstated as the Giants’ starting quarterback.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.