Eli Manning

Giants Won’t Commit To Starting Eli Manning

Eli Manning will get the start this week against the 49ers, but the Giants aren’t making any guarantees beyond Monday night. When asked during a Tuesday morning press conference, head coach Pat Shurmur declined to commit to Manning as the starter for the rest of the year. 

[RELATED: Giants To Activate R.J. McIntosh]

Giants fans revolted last season when the club briefly gave Manning the hook in favor of backup Geno Smith. Their reserve options aren’t much better this time around, but it seems that public sentiment has shifted in the midst of another lost season. If Manning is yanked, fourth-round rookie Kyle Lauletta or journeyman Alex Tanney could get an opportunity to audition.

Of course, Lauletta threw a wrench into any potential succession plans late last month when he was arrested for disobeying the directions of police officers and nearly struck cops with his car. The Giants say they will not suspend Lauletta for the incident, though the rookie will face “internal consequences.”

Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion, has done little to inspire confidence this season. His 68.3% completion rate is impressive upon first glance, but he has struggled with the deep ball and has thrown six interceptions against just eight touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Winston, Manning, Bears, Cowboys

It’s been a rough year for Jameis Winston. First he was suspended for the first three games of the season, then briefly lost his starting job when Ryan Fitzpatrick played very well in relief. He quickly won the job back, but that appears to now be in jeopardy again. Winston was benched during the Buccaneers’ loss to the Bengals today after throwing four interceptions, including a crucial pick-six.

Fitzpatrick played very well in relief, and now it looks like Winston could be heading back to the bench. Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter deflected when asked after the game who would start next week, saying “today is not the day I have to decide that. I don’t have any problems making decisions and I’ll make it when the time is right”, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN (Twitter link). Usually if a coach was sticking with his current quarterback he would say so right after the game, so it sounds like Tampa Bay may be turning back to Fitzpatrick.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of quarterbacks being benched, Giants coach Pat Shurmur explicitly refused to rule out benching Eli Manning following the team’s bye week. Manning and the Giants offense had yet another rough week in their loss to the Redskins today, and Shurmur for the first time refused to back Manning in his post-game presser. When asked about the quarterback situation Shurmur, like Koetter, deflected and said “I don’t want to go there and I’m not going to tease that”, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN. It sounds like Manning could be headed to the bench, and if he does, it would likely be rookie Kyle Lauletta ascending to the starting position in New York.
  • The Bears got a big win over the Jets, but they didn’t escape the game unscathed. Starting right guard Kyle Long “suffered what appeared to be a serious right foot injury” during the game, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN. Dickerson writes that Long was on crutches after the game, and it sounds like he could miss a good chunk of time. Long is a three-time Pro Bowler, and his absence would be a massive downgrade to Chicago’s offensive line. Long has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, missing six games in 2017 and eight games in 2016.
  • Before executing the trade for Amari Cooper, the Cowboys conducted extensive background checks into him, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Dallas reached out to many people who knew Cooper in the past, including his college coach Nick Saban, and “the people who knew Cooper spoke glowingly about him”, sources told Schefter. The Cowboys made a heavy investment in Cooper, sending a first round pick to Oakland, so it makes sense why they’d do their due diligence.

Poll: Who Will Giants Trade Next?

Sitting at 1-6 for a second straight season, the Giants unloaded two members of their starting defense — Eli Apple and Damon Harrison — and collected three draft choices. Are more moves on the way?

Nearly a week remains until the trade deadline. Dave Gettleman determined the Giants had a chance at a much better season than they did in Jerry Reese‘s final campaign and, instead of taking Eli Manning‘s successor at No. 2 overall, the new GM attempted to build for one last run around the 15th-year starter. With that having backfired, it will be tough for the Giants to win many more games due to the team having stripped away two key pieces.

But will they continue to make moves and weaken this year’s team? It appears they will. Word out of the Big Apple is the Giants are open to dealing anyone on their defense for the right price.

Veterans like Manning and Janoris Jenkins don’t look to factor into the next era of Giants football, and other prominent veterans may not, either. Trade buzz has surrounded Jenkins this week. He’s playing on a reworked deal that pushed some money onto future cap figures (both of his 2019 and ’20 cap hits are now $14.75MM) but is a proven cover man signed for 2 1/2 more seasons.

Gettleman brought in Alec Ogletree (a captain in his first season with the team) after Reese neglected the off-ball linebacker positions for years. He’s only 27 and could be a defensive centerpiece for future Giants teams. But he would draw interest, though maybe not too much due to a $10.5MM-per-year contract. Olivier Vernon missed this season’s first five games due to a hamstring injury. This and his $17MM-AAV contract may not put New York in position to recoup much in return. But the Giants did trade Jason Pierre-Paul, and Vernon, too, was brought in to play in a 4-3 defense.

What about Landon Collins? One of Reese’s best draft picks is in a contract year and could be a franchise tag candidate and could also be re-signed to anchor future Giants secondaries. Though, no notable extension talks are known to have taken place. Or, this fire sale may continue with homegrown young talent. That would naturally shift the conversation to Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham is signed through the 2023 season on a wideout-record five-year, $90MM extension. He has brought more drama since a lower-maintenance offseason, prompting co-owner John Mara to express disappointment at the soon-to-be 26-year-old receiver’s recent comments, but remains an elite target in his prime. The Giants were asking for two first-round picks for Beckham when he was attached to his fifth-year option. What would they take now that the three-time Pro Bowler’s signed to a top-market contract?

A no-trade clause is built into the extension Manning signed in 2015. He said last year his intent remained to finish his career with the Giants and this week said he’s not thinking about a trade. There wouldn’t be many suitors, given Manning’s contract and performance level thus far this season, and the Tom Coughlin-led Jaguars are not believed to be interested.

Recent Reese draftees like Dalvin Tomlinson and Sterling Shepard have produced as multiyear starters and profile as pieces the Giants will work with going forward, but if the new regime moved them, they’d bring back some more draft capital for choices the current Giants regime can make.

So, who will be the next Giant dealt? Or has the franchise already made its moves? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Peterson, Jets, Vinatieri, Giants

Since we learned that Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson asked for a trade, we’ve heard that both the Eagles and Saints have inquired on the Pro Bowl cornerback. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has a new name to add to the list of suitors: the Jets. The reporter tweets that the Jets reached out to the Cardinals about Peterson, but New York isn’t expected to pull off a trade.

There’s obviously plenty to like about the veteran, who has made it to seven-straight Pro Bowls. In seven games this season, the 28-year-old has compiled 35 tackles, three passes defended, two interceptions, and one sack. Pro Football Focus ranks Peterson fourth among 112 eligible cornerbacks.

On the flip side, the Jets may not need to overpay for the cornerback, as Pro Football Focus has been fond of Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson‘s performance this season (along with top backup Darryl Roberts).

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Albert Breer of SI.com doesn’t believe the Cardinals are motivated to move Peterson, and the recent trade request won’t force their hand. The veteran is still one of the top coverage cornerbacks in the NFL, and his salary over the next two seasons doesn’t break the bank. If the team were to make a move, Breer points to the Saints and Chiefs as logical landing spots.
  • Earlier today, the Colts worked out a trio of kickers in Kai ForbathCairo Santos, and Taylor Bertolet. However, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network tweets that the team won’t be signing any of these options since they’re holding out hope that Adam Vinatieri will be ready to go for this weekend’s matchup with the Raiders. Today’s workouts were solely a contingency in case the future Hall of Famer doesn’t suit up. The 45-year-old is currently dealing with a groin injury, and it could force him to miss only his second regular season game since the beginning of 2014.
  • Despite the Giantstrade of Eli Apple earlier today, head coach Pat Shurmur wanted to make it clear that the team wasn’t giving up on this season. “We’re not throwing in the towel,” Shurmur said (via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY on Twitter). “This will give an opportunity for some young players and newer players to have an opportunity to play.” The Giants sent the cornerback to the Saints earlier today, receiving a 2019 fourth-round pick and 2020 seventh-round pick in return.
  • Shurmur was also adamant that the Giants wouldn’t be trading franchise quarterback Eli Manning. When asked if the veteran would still be on the team after the trade deadline, the head coach gave a simple answer. “Yes, I do,” he said (via Vacchiano). “I think Eli will be our quarterback. He has been, and he’ll continue to be here.” The 37-year-old has completed 69-percent of his passes for 2,061 yards, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Jaguars Won’t Trade For Eli Manning

Many have blamed Blake Bortles for the Jaguars’ slow start, but the team doesn’t seem focused on a quarterback upgrade. They won’t be trading for QB between now and the Oct. 30 deadline, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com hears (on Twitter), and that includes Giants QB Eli Manning

Manning, of course, has history with Jaguars EVP Tom Coughlin, and the Jags’ football czar has tons of admiration for the player who helped him capture two Super Bowl trophies. However, the Jaguars believe that the arrival of Carlos Hyde and the eventual return of Leonard Fournette will balance out the offense and bring the best out in Bortles. Bortles has been shaky, to say the least, but the Jags believe that they need an adequately mobile QB to anchor their offense, and Bortles offers that.

Manning has an impressive resume, but he hasn’t been setting the world on fire this year either. The Giants are 1-5 on the year, and Manning’s inability to air it out may be the team’s biggest issue on either side of the ball. Through six contests, Manning has completed nearly 69% of his throws, but he’s been brought down in the backfield 20 times, putting him on pace for a dubious new career high.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eli Manning Benching Appears Inevitable

After an ugly loss to the Eagles on Thursday night, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was asked if he would be making a quarterback change. Shurmur replied, “No. We believe in Eli (Manning).” But that did not do much to quell the rumors surrounding Manning’s job security, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the team will inevitably make a switch at some point this season.

La Canfora adds that Manning’s poor performance in 2018, which has included missing receivers even on basic screens and slants, has led to increased tension in the locker room. Players are reportedly frustrated with the lack of creativity on offense and the limitations that Manning’s abilities at this stage of his career have placed on that unit. They also remain disappointed in the team’s failure to grab one of the elite QB prospects in this year’s draft, a decision that was criticized at the time but which now appears borderline irresponsible.

Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made a number of public comments earlier this month that earned him a fine from the team, but those comments were nonetheless quite telling. OBJ failed to support Manning, and La Canfora says that he was not just speaking for himself. Indeed, one source who has discussed the matter privately with various Giants players said, “[l]et’s just say a quarterback change wouldn’t be unwelcome.”

Of course, without a top-tier prospect to turn to, it will be difficult for Giants fans to get too excited about the quarterback switch. After surprisingly waiving 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb before the start of the 2018 season, the team is currently rostering fourth-round rookie Kyle Lauletta — who has some promise but who does not have top-flight upside — and career backup Alex Tanney, who will turn 31 next month.

In any event, La Canfora believes there is almost no chance that Manning will be on the team in 2019, the last year of his current contract. After this season, New York could save $17MM against the cap by cutting ties with the two-time Super Bowl MVP, whose tremendous run with the only team he has ever known appears to be coming to an ignominious end.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Manning, Giants, Cowboys, Packers, Redskins

Plenty of people criticized the Giants’ decision to take Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick. While Barkley has been electric, many people thought the opportunity to take one of this year’s class of quarterback prospects was too good to pass up. Eli Manning has struggled mightily this year, and the Giants now have no clear succession plan. Despite not drafting a quarterback early this year, New York “believed that somehow, some way, they’d find their heir apparent somewhere down the line”, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Now that they might have to find that heir apparent earlier than expected, Vacchiano went through all the Giants’ options to find a quarterback of the future, including a trade before the deadline this year, free agency, and the draft. They have fourth round rookie Kyle Lauletta on the roster, and Vacchiano writes they must “absolutely take a look at him in a game this year.” One way or another, it looks like Manning’s days as the Giants’ starter are numbered.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • There’s been growing frustration with Jason Garrett as coach of the Cowboys, especially after his decision to punt the ball away on 4th & 1 in overtime last week. While owner Jerry Jones and his son Stephen have insisted, Garret’s job isn’t in danger, “there’s been buzz in league circles indicating that the Joneses may eventually set their sights on Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley”, according to Albert Breer of SI.com.
  • Aaron Rodgers recently suffered a setback with his injured knee, but is looking to avoid going back to the bulky brace he had to wear initially, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. Rodgers re-injured the knee on a hit he took early in the Packers’ loss to the Lions last week. The game against Detroit was his first game without the large brace that made it harder for him to move around.
  • Josh Norman was benched to start the second half of the Redskins’ loss to the Saints on Monday night, and it apparently wasn’t about his play. “It was definitely something between Gruden and Norman that got a little heated and definitely not because of him getting beat in coverage”, according to John Keim of ESPN (Twitter link). Apparently Norman and coach Jay Gruden got into an altercation at halftime, and this will be an interesting situation to monitor going forward.

Giants To Stick With Eli Manning

Thursday night’s game left many wondering if this is the beginning of the end for Eli Manning. However, the two-time Super Bowl winner is not about to lose his job. 

“No. We believe in Eli,” coach Pat Shurmur said when asked if there will be a quarterback change (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).

Last year, coach Ben McAdoo benched Eli Manning and was swiftly rewarded with a pink slip. The Giants want to give Manning an opportunity to turn things around, but team brass may also be afraid of fan backlash.

This time around, there may be less resistance to giving Eli the hook. After going 3-13 last year, the Giants are off to a 1-5 start and are on target for another top five pick. There will always be Manning supporters in New York, but billboards on the New Jersey Turnpike may be less effective this time around.

From a cap perspective, the Giants would have an easy time moving on from Manning this offseason if they want to. Manning’s contract runs through the end of the 2019 season, but the Giants can cut him this offseason with just $6.2MM in dead money versus a cap savings of $17MM.

Unfortunately for the Giants, they don’t have any glamorous options under center if they decide to bench Manning. Currently, journeyman Alex Tanney is No. 2 on the team’s QB depth chart with fourth-round rookie Kyle Lauletta as the third-string signal caller. When asked if a change could be coming at QB2, Shurmur sidestepped the question (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Giants, Manning, Eagles

Is Eli Manning to blame for the Giants’ 1-4 start? That’s not necessarily a new question in New Jersey. People in the Giants organization began wondering if Manning was hindering the offense as early as four or five years ago, sources with knowledge of the club’s thinking tell Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.

Recently, Odell Beckham Jr. made waves by questioning Manning’s effectiveness, among other things. One could argue that the offensive line is hindering the passing game, but that excuse might not hold up after the Giants signed left tackle Nate Solder to a four-year, $62MM deal with $34.8MM guaranteed.

Last year, Giants fans revolted when the club benched Manning in order to audition backup Geno Smith. Ultimately, the Giants reversed course by reinstate Manning as the starter and tossing GM Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo on the Turnpike. If the Giants continue to struggle this year, the new regime might be able to move on from Manning without fan interference.

Manning’s contract runs through the end of the 2019 season, but the Giants can release him this offseason with just $6.2MM in dead money versus a cap savings of $17MM. The $17MM savings won’t be enough to sign an elite quarterback (if there is one available), but the Giants could find their signal caller of the future in the draft, particularly if they’re picking in the top five.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • Eagles running back Jay Ajayi is done for the year after suffering a torn ACL, but he’s protected thanks to a unique insurance policy, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes. Ajayi’s loss-of-value insurance policy will cover him up to $5MM, tax free, in the event that his open market value dips to the point where he is a lower-level free agent. The exact parameters of his policy are unknown, but if Ajayi was valued as being able to earn a four-year, $16MM deal before the injury, but nets just $8MM over four years after the ACL tear, the policy will nearly make up the difference. Most players do not have policies such as this, but it’s something that pending free agents should probably look into. Rapoport hears that this type of insurance can cost between $80K-$100K, and that’s a relative drop in the bucket for players who are in the mix for mega deals.
  • Jets head coach Todd Bowles says that defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers visited the team facility on Thursday and there is a “small chance” that he will coach this weekend (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the Daily News). Rodgers is dealing with an undisclosed medical issue that Bowles says is “serious.”

East Notes: Cowboys, Manning, Wake, Jets

Terrance Williams landed on IR after not being listed on the Cowboys‘ injury report going into Week 4. The veteran wide receiver appeared on Dallas’ Week 5 injury list, however, after a personal issue kept him out of the Cowboys-Lions game. Now, both he and Travis Frederick — also placed on IR Saturday — are out until at least the Dec. 9 game against the Eagles. As for Williams’ status with the Cowboys, it’s possible he’s played his last game with the team considering his diminished role (39 snaps in three games). For now, the team is sticking by the embattled receiver, who may face a suspension for his offseason car accident. Williams is under contract through the 2020 season. It would cost the Cowboys ($2.5MM in dead money) more to cut him than it would save them by shedding that contract in 2019, however.

With him, there’s a suspension looming out there that might or might not happen,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Friday during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (via Pro Football Talk). “He does have some things after coming off that foot injury, which happens. When you have a foot injury, sometimes you rush it back, and you’re not quite there. And then just personal and general, some things that maybe are holding him back right now. I just think it’s a work in progress with him. We think a lot of him. He’s a fighter and competitor, we just got to get him right.”

Here’s the latest from the East divisions, shifting to a Dallas rival:

  • Eli Manning‘s play has apparently drawn scrutiny from Giants decision-makers. The 15th-year starter has not had much success down the field this season, frequently checking the ball down. “Growing frustration” has emerged with Manning’s issues in this area, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News notes. Odell Beckham Jr., during a recent interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson (via Leonard), also questioned why Manning isn’t making more downfield throws. “How come we can’t throw the ball for more than 20 yards?” Beckham asked Anderson, rhetorically. “How come we don’t attempt or try to throw the ball for more than 20 yards? Those are questions that we have to figure out.” Manning’s only completed nine 20-plus-yard passes this season, and just six of those traveled 20-plus yards through the air. Manning is completing 74 percent of his passes.
  • Josh Doctson suffered a heel injury during practice earlier in the week and is questionable for the Redskins‘ game against the Saints, per ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter). He did not practice Saturday, which doesn’t bode well for the third-year wideout’s status for Monday night. Maurice Harris will start in Doctson’s place if he’s unable to go, Jay Gruden said.
  • Trumaine Johnson managed a limited practice on Thursday but did not participate Friday because of a quadriceps injury. The Jets‘ top cornerback is out for their Week 5 tilt against the Broncos. Johnson was available and in the starting lineup for each of Gang Green’s first four games, so this will be an adjustment for the 1-3 Jets.
  • The Dolphins will be without Cameron Wake on Sunday. Wake’s knee-related absence will bring second-year defensive end Charles Harris into the lineup opposite Robert Quinn, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. Miami entered the season quite deep at end but will be without Wake, William Hayes (IR) and Andre Branch this week. Wake did not travel with the team to Cincinnati.