Eli Manning

Giants Rumors: Manning, Vernon, Jenkins

Eli Manning is less-than-certain about his future with the Giants. In a radio interview this week, Manning expressed doubt that he’ll be under center for the G-Men in 2019, as Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com writes.

I do. I do,” Manning said when asked if he wants to play again. “I love playing football. I like my teammates and the coaches we have.”

However, when Manning was asked if we have seen the last of him, the quarterback simply said, “We’ll see.”

Recently, Giants GM Dave Gettleman had a “very extensive” and “no holds barred” conversation with Manning about his future. It’s not hard to read between the lines: despite Manning’s past success and a quietly solid second half to the 2018 season, the Giants are giving real consideration to cutting ties with the two-time champ.

Here’s more from the Meadowlands:

  • Manning isn’t the only Giants notable who is in danger of being a cap casualty, Dunleavy writes. Outside linebacker Olivier Vernon ($11.5MM in potential savings; $8MM in dead money), cornerback Janoris Jenkins ($7.75MM savings; $7MM dead money), and linebacker Alec Ogletree ($6.5MM savings; $5.25MM dead money) are among several vets who could be shown the door. Others on the block include running back Jonathan Stewart, tight end Rhett Ellison, strong safety Michael Thomas, and outside linebacker Connor Barwin.
  • The Giants have to fix their broken evaluation process before they enter the meat of a pivotal offseason, Matt Lombardo of NJ.com writes. Last year, the Giants put all of their eggs in the Manning basket by spending big on tackle Nate Solder, trading a fourth-round pick for linebacker Alec Ogletree, signing right guard Patrick Omameh to an ill-fated deal, and adding aging running back Jonathan Stewart. This time around, the Giants have to realistically evaluate their chances to win right away in 2019. In theory, they could spend big on another tackle to bookend Solder and hope for the best, but that won’t be a prudent move unless their truly in position to succeed in ’19.

Giants Commit To OBJ; Won’t Commit To Eli Manning

At a Wednesday press conference, Giants GM Dave Gettleman reaffirmed that Odell Beckham Jr. remains in the team’s plans. However, he declined to commit to a future with longtime franchise quarterback Eli Manning

We didn’t sign him to trade him,” Gettleman said when asked about the temperamental wide receiver (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY).

When pressed further about OBJ, Gettleman told reporters, “You heard what I said.” However, it’s a different situation when it comes to Manning.

Gettleman said he had a “very extensive” and “no-holds barred” conversation with Manning on Monday, suggesting that Manning could be on his way out.

We will do what’s in the best interests of the New York Giants. We’re trying to build sustained success. That takes brutal honesty and some tough decisions,” Gettleman said (Twitter link via Vacchiano).

Early in the 2018 season, it seemed certain that Manning wouldn’t be the Giants’ quarterback in 2019. The Giants were 1-7 and the season was circling the drain again, with Manning struggling heavily in his first year in Pat Shurmur’s offense. But, the Giants managed to turn things around by winning four of five games and had a near upset win over the Colts.

Manning, ultimately, finished out with his best statistical season in years, and his yards per attempt was his best posting since 2011. Before the Giants’ home finale, we heard that Manning was still more likely to return as the team’s QB than not. Now, however, that’s very much in question.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Manning, Eagles, Foles, Wentz

Toward the beginning of the season, it seemed like a formality that Eli Manning wouldn’t be the Giants’ quarterback next year. The Giants were 1-7 and the season was circling the drain again, with Manning struggling heavily in his first year in Pat Shurmur’s offense. But the Giants then shockingly turned things around. They won four out of five games after that, znd very nearly pulled off a massive upset in Indianapolis this past Sunday.

Manning is suddenly having his best statistical season in many years, and his yards per attempt is the best it’s been since 2011. With all that’ happened, Manning won’t be getting any sort of send off this upcoming week in the Giants’ home finale, and fans shouldn’t write off Manning just yet, writes Ralph Vacchiano at SNY. The team isn’t planning anything special because they don’t view it as Manning’s last game as a Giant, and sources told Vacchiano that “it’s still more likely than not that he’ll be their starting quarterback again in 2019.” It’s a pretty surprising development, and it’ll be an epic comeback for Manning if he manages to hold onto the job for at least another year after his fate appeared all but sealed. With the Giants having won some games they’re no longer in a position to pick at the top of the draft, and the top quarterback or two could be gone by the time they’re up. What the Giants do at quarterback will surely be one of the most talked about storylines this offseason.

Here’s the latest from the NFC East on Christmas morning:

  • Speaking of the Giants, the team will likely be making a “series of roster moves” this week as the season winds down, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Daily News. Schwartz writes that the team isn’t going to officially shut down Odell Beckham Jr. yet and hopes that he can still return for Week 17, but several other players will be placed on IR. That likely means some practice squad call-ups are in order for the Giants’ last hurrah at home against the Cowboys, and a lot of young guys should see some action.
  • Over in Philadelphia, it’s been Deja Vu for the Eagles as Nick Foles has come in cold off the bench to lead them to a couple of crucial wins. Foles has the Eagles on the verge of making the playoffs after they were all but eliminated, and is really helping his future value in the process. With Foles set to be a free agent after the season, Tim McManus of ESPN took a look at Foles’ potential suitors this offseason, and what type of contract he might be looking at. McManus lists the Jaguars, Buccaneers, Dolphins, and Redskins as some of the potential landing spots, and thinks he’ll end up with a deal somewhere in the Case Keenum range of $18MM per year. Foles will have at least one more chance to boost his stock in Week 17 against the Redskins.
  • Speaking of Foles, coach Doug Pederson formally announced earlier this week that he’d start against Washington, but the team still isn’t placing Carson Wentz on injured reserve, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP (Twitter link). Pederson cryptically said Foles would be the starter for “at least this week”, and refused to say whether or not Wentz could or would play if the team makes the playoffs. If Wentz is healthy enough to play and the team makes the playoffs, it would make for a fascinating dilemma.

Giants Want Eli Manning Back In 2019

It has been a rough couple of years for Eli Manning, but it sounds like the Giants will continue with him as their starting quarterback in 2019. When asked if he wants Manning back next season, head coach Pat Shurmur responded in the affirmative.

Yeah. I want all our players to be back. I believe experience matters,” said Shurmur, who went on to confirm that he believes Manning still has “years” left in the tank.

Manning will turn 38 in January and there are obvious signs of decline. Yesterday’s 17-0 loss to the Titans was the latest rough outing for the veteran as he completed just 47.7% of his throws and coughed up a costly third quarter fumble.

On the other hand, there are some good reasons for the Giants to keep Manning. For starters, he’s fared a whole lot better this year than he did in 2017. His 65.9% completion percentage would represent a career high and his 18/9 TD/INT rate is an improvement over last year’s 19/13 mark.

There’s also his contract to consider. Manning is scheduled to count for a $23.2MM cap number in 2019 and the Giants would be stuck with $6.2MM in dead money if they released him. The savings of $17MM is not insignificant, but the Giants might not be able to get a veteran quarterback for less.

If the season ended today, the Giants would be on track for the No. 8 overall pick in the draft. That could put them in range for one of this year’s top QBs, which would enable them to use Manning as a bridge in ’19. Right now, that seems like the most likely scenario for the G-Men.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eli Manning Increasingly Likely To Return To Giants In 2019

Although no decisions have been made to this point, the odds that Eli Manning is back with the Giants in 2019 are getting better by the day, as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports (video link). We heard several weeks ago that Manning could indeed return to Big Blue — which seemed like a crazy thought when Manning was struggling earlier in the season and when the Giants were sporting a 1-7 record — and that scenario appears increasingly likely.

After all, as Rapoport observes, the club does not have the heir apparent to Manning on its roster, and after the Giants’ late-season surge — they are 4-1 in their last five games, with a narrow loss to Philadelphia sandwiched between the four wins — it may make sense to keep Manning around, if only to groom a younger QB. Manning will carry a $23.2MM cap number in 2019, and the Giants could save $17MM by cutting him, which will still be sorely tempting. But Manning’s improved performance, combined with the fact that there is unlikely to be a signal-caller available in free agency that would represent a marked upgrade, suggest that the benefits of keeping the soon-to-be 38-year-old outweigh the benefits of letting him go.

Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com also explores Manning’s future, and the future of the team in general. He points out that the Giants’ success over the last few weeks has come against lower-level competition, and that the final three games on the docket will truly determine how New York will proceed in the offseason. If the club stumbles to the finish line, it would have a better shot of landing a franchise quarterback in the first round (either Dwayne Haskins or, if he declares for the draft, Justin Herbert). But if the Giants end up picking in the middle of the first round, then it becomes much more difficult to get such a player, and the next tier of collegiate signal-callers do not offer nearly the same level of upside.

Either way, Manning could be back. If the Giants are able to get Haskins or Herbert, or if they deem someone like Will Grier or Drew Lock to be a franchise-caliber QB, Manning will be an excellent mentor. And if New York does not get its next quarterback of the future this offseason, Manning now seems like a decent enough bet to provide solid play and a chance at the postseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Manning, Hughes, Arians

Following Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was seen on video yelling at official Roy Ellison. The player was restrained by a team employee before being led back to the locker room.

ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets that the veteran will not face a suspension for the incident, although ProFootballTalk.com’s Charean Williams says Hughes could still be fined. Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Ellison has been placed on administrative leave while the NFL continues to review the matter. Hughes accused the umpire of calling him a vulgar name, and Rapoport notes that Ellison was suspended back in 2013 following an incident with Trent Williams.

The 30-year-old Hughes is having another productive season with Buffalo, compiling 31 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles through 12 games.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Bruce Arians is apparently very focused on the Browns head coaching job. According to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss (via Twitter), the 66-year-old has “probably very little” interest in the Packers gig. The two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year winner previously said he would only consider becoming a head coach again if he were hired by Cleveland, where he was an offensive coordinator between 2001 and 2003. After serving as the Cardinals head coach for five seasons, Arians retired at the end of the 2017 campaign.
  • During an appearance on WFAN660, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was non-committal when asked about Eli Manning‘s status heading into next season. “Those are offseason discussions,” he said (via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano on Twitter). “I’m really pleased with how he’s played of late. … I can’t answer that. I’m fond of everything Eli brings to the table.” The 37-year-old Manning has been having a solid season, completing a career-high 67.9-percent of his passes for 3,263 yards, 15 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
  • The Vikings will audition Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell this week, reports Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). The 28-year-old has won a pair of Grey Cup MVPs and two CFL Most Outstanding Player awards during his seven seasons in the league. Mitchell also won the Walter Payton Award during his time at Eastern Washington. The Vikings are currently rostering Trevor Siemian and Kyle Sloter behind Kirk Cousins.
  • Former Seahawks and Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner was sentenced to eight years in prison after he pleaded no contest to attempted murder, reports TMZ Sports. The 34-year-old was accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, where he then “allegedly chased her, dragged her and then smothered her in a carpet.” Browner also pleaded no contest to two counts of child endangerment, while the remaining chargers (including robbery, burglary, and false imprisonment) were dropped.

Giants Could Keep Eli Manning In 2019

There is still a chance that Eli Manning could return to the Giants as their starting quarterback in 2019, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY hears. While the offense has sputtered under Manning’s command, the Giants do not have a clear replacement for him, so the possibility of another season together cannot be ruled out. 

Obviously, the Giants will be keeping close tabs on Manning’s performance over the final five games of the season. They also have to weigh the fiscal consequences of keeping him. Manning is signed through next year at a salary cap number of $23.2MM, which is a lot for a soon-to-be 38-year-old quarterback in decline.

The Giants may want to use these final five games as an opportunity to see what fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta has to offer. If Lauletta sees the field and plays well, the Giants may gain enough confidence to move on from Manning.

The stats indicate that Manning is having a solid season on the whole, but the Giants’ offense has struggled to put points on the board. The veteran has completed 69% of his passes with just seven interceptions and he’s on pace for one of his best career totals in passing yards. Manning has also played better over the last three weeks thanks to improved protection from the offensive line. Still, he’s thrown only 14 touchdown passes through eleven games and the Giants’ offense is averaging only 21.5 points per contest.

Manning will look to keep it up against the Bears on Sunday. If the game gets out of hand, we could be one step closer to seeing what Lauletta has to offer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Eyeing Kyle Lauletta Game Work

Last season became somewhat of a missed opportunity for the Giants. Davis Webb did not see any action, and the team moved no closer to a post-Eli Manning future. With Webb now off the team, and the Giants bypassing the 2018 first-round quarterback contingent, the focus may be shifting to the next mid-round backup.

The Giants are planning to give Kyle Lauletta game work at points down the stretch, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports. They don’t want to make a similar mistake like they did in 2017, especially with Manning possibly in his final games as a Giant.

This plan, however, will be contingent on the Giants’ standing in an increasingly muddied NFC East. After two straight wins, the Giants are 3-7 and three games behind the now-Colt McCoy-led Redskins. The Giants do not plan to bench Manning until the playoffs are out of the question, Vacchiano adds. The 37-year-old quarterback has played well against the 49ers and Buccaneers and will face a battered Eagles secondary this week.

But the team would like to see what it has in Lauletta, a fourth-round rookie out of Division I-FCS Richmond, despite his legal issues. The Giants would, if possible, like to see third-stringer Alex Tanney on the field as well, per Vacchiano, though that might be a tough ask. One plan for Lauletta would hinge on the Giants either leading by a big margin or losing by one — similar to how an MLB team would use a mop-up reliever — to allow for a second-half switch, Vacchiano notes.

Last year, New York benched Manning for Geno Smith, snapping his historic start streak to cost both Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo their jobs. Pat Shurmur, however, seems to like Lauletta’s prospects, per Vacchiano. So, if/when the Giants fall out of remote contention, some potentially awkward Lauletta substitution sequences may occur as the franchise explores how it will go about replacing Manning.

Manning is under contract through 2019 and has a no-trade clause in his deal, but with the Giants looking readier to rebuild, he may well be off the roster next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.