Geno Smith

Latest On Eli Manning

The Giants’ decision to bench Eli Manning has created plenty of drama in the football world over the last week, and the way head coach Ben McAdoo handled the benching might have cost him his job. It is now difficult to envision Manning returning to Big Blue next season — although team owner John Mara did not foreclose that possibility — but there are any number of quarterback-needy clubs who would love to have Manning under center for a couple of years.

Eli Manning (vertical)

Manning himself has said that he is not planning to retire, so there has already been a great deal of speculation as to which teams could be in play for his services this offseason. But Manning’s father, Archie Manning, has suggested that his son could indeed hang up the cleats.

Per Ian Rapoport of, Archie said that Eli was heartbroken over the benching, which was perhaps exacerbated by the way McAdoo handled it (Manning was apparently made to feel like a scapegoat when New York brass simply wanted to evaluate the rest of its roster in a lost season). Archie said, “Eli’s passion for the Giants goes deeper than most and I’ve mentioned it through the years. Eli loves playing for the New York Giants. He just does. He just loves it, I think more than most. So therefore, it broke his heart.”

Archie went on to say that Eli could simply call it a career and stay home with his wife and three daughters. After all, he has two Super Bowl trophies — to go along with two Super Bowl MVP awards — a young family, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. He has nothing left to prove, and Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network tweets that all options, including retirement, are on the table.

But it would still be hard to imagine Manning not playing in 2018. The Jaguars have been mentioned as a logical landing spot for him, which Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reiterated today (per La Canfora, who also indicated that Manning has absolutely no intention of retiring, several GMs say Manning-to-Jacksonville makes too much sense to not happen). The Broncos also make some sense, though Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post suggests a second Manning-Denver marriage is unlikely.

In any event, Manning will not suit up for the Giants again (at least in 2017) barring injury to one of the team’s other QBs. Per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk (citing ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio), McAdoo has vowed that he will not bench Geno Smith today, and Jordan Raanan of says the team legitimately like Smith and wants to take a real look at him.

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Eli Manning Not Planning To Retire

Eli Manning does not sound like he’s ready to retire after this season. The 14th-year quarterback still wants to play and believes there are “several” destinations out there for him next year, Dan Graziano of reports.

This would throw a big name onto the quarterback market, one that could also include the likes of Kirk CousinsAlex Smith and the Vikings’ passers. Graziano reports Manning has been hit “pretty hard” by this demotion, and while adding the caveat of this being too soon to know for sure how the Giants icon wants to proceed, the feeling is he doesn’t want his career to end like this.

Teams like the Jaguars and Broncos come to mind as otherwise well-stocked outfits with glaring holes at quarterback, with the Cardinals — who could observe a Carson Palmer retirement — profiling as such as well. Mike Jurecki of, however, doesn’t see the Cards having interest in bringing in Manning (Twitter link). The Vikings have generated plenty from Case Keenum this season, but the defensively geared franchise does not have a quarterback under contract for 2018.

This would certainly point to Manning being willing to waive his no-trade clause in hopes of facilitating a trade to a logical team. Two years and more than $40MM remain on his deal, one that’s largely non-guaranteed. He has a $5MM roster bonus due March 14.

Manning will turn 37 in January. He’s two years removed from a Pro Bowl season that featured 35 touchdown passes. He threw 26 TDs last season. Saddled with a skeleton-crew receiving corps and an offensive line riddled with injuries, Manning has 14 TD passes and seven interceptions through 11 games in 2017.

Manning said earlier today he wasn’t thrilled with the Giants’ original plan. He found Giants management’s idea of letting him start games before being pulled at halftime as a phony way of going about this succession strategy, Graziano reports.

The Giants are not planning to keep Geno Smith in the starting lineup for long, either.

Graziano reports Davis Webb is expected to make the bulk of the starts down the stretch, perhaps beginning that run as soon as Week 14. The Giants didn’t feel it was right to throw the third-round rookie into the fray this week after receiving scant practice reps this season. But the current power structure wants to see what the rookie has before this rough season concludes.

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Giants To Start Geno Smith On Sunday

The Giants announced that Geno Smith will start at quarterback on Sunday against the Raiders. The move will allow the Giants to evaluate their younger quarterback in what has become a lost season. Geno Smith (vertical)

Geno will start this week,” coach Ben McAdoo said in a press release. “Over the last five games, we will take a look at Geno, and we will also give Davis [Webb] an opportunity.”

It’s a historic move for the G-Men given that Eli Manning has started 210 consecutive regular-season games. It is the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history, second only to Brett Favre’s 297. According to the press release, Manning was given the option to continue his streak, but declined.

Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” said Manning, who has started every Giants game since Nov. 21, 2004. “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them. Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak. Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can.”

The Giants will be re-evaluating every area of the team in the offseason, including the quarterback position. Manning isn’t necessarily being forced out, but the Giants are expected to look towards the future as his 37th birthday comes in January. McAdoo & Co. are about to find out whether the former Jets bust is a potential option. Meanwhile, they’ll have to decide on Manning’s future before he collects on a $5MM roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2018 league year in March.

Smith played in 33 regular-season games with 30 starts for the Jets, but he has not started a game since October of last year. His stint in green was defined by poor play, injuries, and a locker room brawl that left him with a major jaw fracture.

Heading into the season, the Giants believed that Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., and free agent pickup Brandon Marshall would power them into the playoffs. Unfortunately, injuries to OBJ, Marshall, and scores of other key players have taken them out of contention. The Giants are 2-9 with no mathematical chance of reaching the postseason.

This is not the way it should be, but unfortunately, it’s where we are,” McAdoo said. “Our number one priority every week is to go win a game, but we owe it to the organization to get an evaluation of everybody on the roster, and that includes at the quarterback position. I’ll say it again, I have the utmost respect for Eli and everything he has done for this organization throughout his career. He is the consummate professional. He doesn’t like the position we are in, and neither do any of us. Eli has had to deal with a lot this season. Through it all, he has done everything we have asked of him in getting that unit ready to play. He has been steady, just like he has always been.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants To Release QB Josh Johnson

The Giants are releasing quarterback Josh Johnson, Ian Rapoport of tweets. This ostensibly means that Geno Smith has won the backup job.

The news comes as a bit of a surprise since the word this summer was that Johnson would likely prevail over Smith. Johnson, 31, is out after re-signing with the Giants on a two-year deal in March, but this is familiar territory for him. After spending the first three years of his career with the Bucs, Johnson has had stints with the Ravens, Browns, Bengals, 49ers, Colts, Bills, Jets, and Giants – all since 2012. The last time he took the field was in 2013 with Cincinnati.

Smith, a former second-round pick of the Jets, has had a bizarre career to date with little to cheer about. The 26-year-old (27 in October) has a career 57.9% completion percentage and a touchdown-to-interception ration of 28:36. The Giants are hoping that he can be a suitable emergency option in the event of an Eli Manning injury, however.

Third-round pick Davis Webb is slated to open the season as the Giants’ third-string quarterback.

NFC Notes: Giants, Saints, Bears, Vikings

Veteran signal-caller Josh Johnson is likely to emerge as the Giants‘ backup quarterback in 2017, which means free agent signee Geno Smith is in danger of being released, according to Jordan Raanan of Johnson spent the entire 2016 campaign with Big Blue, and though he was only for two games, he earned the trust of Giants’ coaches. New York, meanwhile, would only incur $325K in dead money by parting ways with Smith. Third-round pick Davis Webb, of course, is slated to open the season as the Giants’ third-string quarterback.

  • The Saints have now signed every member of their 2017 draft class aside from first-round offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk, and the Wisconsin product’s deal is on hold until he can pass a physical, reports Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter links). Ramczyk, the 32nd overall selection, is dealing with a hip issue. New Orleans had been one of two clubs (along with the Rams) that hadn’t signed a draft pick before yesterday, and the reason for that delay was fiscal. The Saints picked up $7.8MM in cap space Thursday when Jairus Byrd‘s post-June 1 release was officially processed, giving the team a bit more breathing room to sign its rookies.
  • While the Bears “would like nothing more” than to extend left tackle Charles Leno, it’s unclear if Chicago plans to open contract talks before the season gets underway, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Leno, 25, is certainly a success story, as the former seventh-round pick has started 32 games for the Bears over the past two seasons. He’s steadily improved, as well, and last year graded as the No. 41 tackle among 78 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Chicago will get a relative bargain on Leno in 2017, as he’s due a base salary of only $1.797MM. A long-term deal could easily take Leno over the $10MM per year barrier, if not higher.
  • Michael Floyd‘s one-year deal with the Vikings doesn’t contain any guaranteed money, but the veteran wideout can earn a pay bump through several incentives, as Ben Goessling of details. If Floyd maxes out his incentive-based by reaching 70 catches, 1,000 yards, or 12 touchdowns, he’ll bring in an extra $4.6MM. The bonuses start at $1.5MM, which Floyd can earn by hitting 40 receptions, 500 yards, or six touchdowns. None of that incentive money is on Minnesota’s salary cap for now, as it’s all considered “not likely to be earned” because Floyd didn’t reach even the lowest thresholds in 2016. Additionally, Floyd could struggle to hit the top rung of his incentive ladder given that he’s expected to face a suspension in 2017.

Giants Notes: OL, Blount, Engram, Mahomes

The Giants exit draft weekend without many questions about their defense, but their offense has a few. Mainly, Big Blue’s offensive line may still have some issues, particularly after the blocking prospect the team preferred, Garett Bolles, went just before New York made its first-round selection. The Giants were hoping the Broncos, whose left tackle need is probably bigger than theirs since former first-rounder Ereck Flowers is an option in New York, would bypass Bolles in favor of Ryan Ramczyk or Cam Robinson, Ralph Vacchiano of reports. Multiple sources told Vacchiano the Giants zeroed in on Bolles at No. 23, but Jerry Reese has not made a first-round draft maneuver — up or down — in his 11 years leading the franchise.

With Vacchiano noting the Giants were not as high on Ramczyk or Robinson, the Giants moved on. They did not select an offensive lineman until the sixth round, though, which is interesting for a team that has concerns — per the New York-embedded reporter — about Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg and newly signed D.J. Fluker entering contract years. Earlier this month, Reese said the positions up front weren’t solidified. So, the statuses of Flowers and Fluker, who played right tackle and right guard with the Chargers, are probably yet to be determined.

Here’s more from the Giants, courtesy of Vacchiano.

  • Multiple sources refuted talk of the Giants wanting to trade up to No. 10 to select Patrick Mahomes, who went to the Chiefs after they made a 17-spot jump. The Giants would have been willing to consider Mahomes at No. 23, per Vacchiano. But with Eli Manning likely to play out his contract as the team’s starter, and he’s signed through 2019, using a first-rounder on a quarterback may not have made much sense.
  • LeGarrette Blount was linked to the Giants on multiple occasions earlier this month, but the team’s selection of Clemson running back Wayne Gallman in the fourth round may have closed that avenue for the 30-year-old Blount. The Giants, though, haven’t moved on from the prospect of adding Blount, Vacchiano reports. However, it looks like they are going with a backfield depth chart that houses Gallman, Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen and Shaun Draughn.
  • The Giants opted to select Evan Engram over David Njoku, doing so despite the Miami product receiving a bit more pre-draft hype, and that pick was viewed by some as a reach. But Vacchiano notes buzz swirled about a team trying to trade up in front of the Giants to select Engram, identifying the Bills and Falcons as interested suitors. The Browns traded back into the first round to take Njoku, so they may have been in on this pursuit as well. Njoku was scheduled to visit the Giants earlier this month, but the team cancelled the meeting.
  • A jump in front of the Buccaneers or Broncos for the right to take O.J. Howard, whom the Giants “loved,” or Bolles would have cost the team a third-round pick, Vacchiano reports. The Giants stood tight at 23, viewing Engram and third-round pick Davis Webb as a better package than either Howard or Bolles.
  • Webb’s addition makes Geno Smith‘s place in New York odd, with Vacchiano writing the former Jets starter is almost certain to open camp on the PUP list and is a likely candidate for the Reserve/PUP come the regular season. Smith is recovering from a torn ACL and is signed through 2017 only. Vacchiano views returning backup Josh Johnson as the favorite to beat out Smith for a job. This could end up being a paid rehab year for the fifth-year passer, especially considering Manning hasn’t missed a start since becoming the starting quarterback in 2004.

East Notes: Jets, Giants, Cowboys, Eagles

The Jets did not make a real effort to re-sign Geno Smith, as’s Connor Hughes writes. When asked whether he had any contact with the quarterback during free agency, coach Todd Bowles replied, “No. I would have been happy to have him back. But things don’t work out like that all the time.” Smith will now look for a fresh start with the other tenant of the Meadowlands.

More from the East Coast:

  • With Smith on hand, the Big Blue QB depth chart could get crowded as the team is open to taking a signal-caller early in the draft. The Giants had scouts at the pro days for Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Miami’s Brad Kaaya, tweets James Kratch of Kaaya had an encouraging showing at his pro day, per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). He would seemingly be a more realistic target for the Giants than Watson, who could be off the board when the Giants’ first-round pick (No. 23) comes up. Kaaya might have to wait until Day 3 to come off the board.
  • The Cowboys had two big-time defensive end prospects, Michigan’s Taco Charlton and UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley, in for visits, according to the Dallas Morning News. Daniel Jeremiah of ranks both players among his top 25, though McKinley could be on the shelf until late in the summer after undergoing shoulder surgery. Dallas is also looking at Washington cornerback Kevin King, whom it worked out, relays Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). King has the makings of a Day 1 pick, so he could be a possibility for the Cowboys at No. 28.
  • Eagles defensive back Ron Brooks took a pay cut Friday, reports Field Yates of ESPN (via Twitter). He’s now slated to make $1MM in 2017, down from the $1.85MM he had been scheduled to collect. The Eagles also changed 2018 into an option season for Brooks, whom they signed to a three-year, $6MM deal last March. Brooks missed most of last season with a ruptured quad, appearing in six games and picking up five starts.
  • Defensive end Chris Long‘s two-year contract with the Eagles is worth $4.5MM plus incentives, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Giants May Draft Quarterback Early

The odds of the Giants drafting Eli Manning‘s successor relatively early in the draft are greater than many may believe, according to Mike Garafolo of (Twitter link). Team co-owners Steve Tisch and John Mara recently spoke to reporters, including Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, about the importance of finding a long-term option under center.Eli Manning (Vertical)

“No, you can’t beat age. I think it’s certainly at the back of everybody’s mind — including Eli’s,” Tisch said. “There’s no urgency. There’s no panic. But I think if you’re a responsible owner, responsible GM, you’ve got to start thinking about it.”

“I think we have to start thinking about it,” Mara said. “I think you always have to look at drafting a quarterback where you can. Our philosophy going into the draft — at least mine — is just take the best player. It doesn’t matter what position he is. I think if there’s a chance to take a quarterback — it doesn’t have to be this year — then you should take him.”

Now that the quarterback draft class of 2004 — Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger — is aging, all three’s clubs have noted the possibility of selecting a quarterback this year. Giants general manager Jerry Reese said earlier this year his team would begin thinking about acquiring a youthful signal-caller, and the need is all the more important given that the 36-year-old Manning is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career.

Meanwhile, head coach Ben McAdoo is at least giving lip service to the idea that the recently-signed Geno Smith could be a long-term option for the Giants. “I can’t see why not,” McAdoo said of Smith, per Vacchiano (Twitter link). “We’ve got a long way to go for that.” To be fair, Smith is still only 26 years old, but his sub-60% completion percentage and career touchdown-to-interception ration of 28:36 doesn’t exactly scream starter.

Contract Details: Claiborne, Geno Smith

Let’s take a look at the details of some recently-signed contracts:

  • Morris Claiborne, CB (Jets): One year, $5MM. $2.5MM base salary. $2MM signing bonus. $31K per game bonus if on 46-man roster. (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the Daily News).
  • Lorenzo Alexander, LB (Bills): Two years, $5.95MM. Cap numbers of $2.55MM (2017) and $3.4MM (2018). $1.1MM signing bonus. Base salaries of $2MM (2017, fully guaranteed) and $2.45MM (2018; $300K fully guaranteed; $1MM guaranteed for injury only). $300K roster bonus due on third day of the 2018 league year and additional per-game roster bonuses of $6K+ in 2018. Incentives up to $850K (2017) and $1.25MM (2018) in playing time and Pro Bowl incentives. (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of
  • Geno Smith, QB (Giants): One year, $775K base. $25K workout bonus. $800K in play time incentives. $12.5K per-game roster bonuses. Max value of $2MM. (Twitter link via Field Yates of
  • EJ Manuel, QB (Raiders): One year, $800K. No guaranteed money. (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of
  • Kellen Moore, QB (Cowboys): One year, $755K. $100K fully guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of
  • Tyson Alualu, DL (Steelers): Two years, $6MM. $1.75MM fully guaranteed. (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of
  • Kevin Minter, LB (Bengals): One year, $4MM. $2.1MM guaranteed. (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of
  • Frostee Rucker, DE (Cardinals): One year, $1.08MM. $80K fully guaranteed. $500K+ available through incentives. (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of

Giants To Sign Ex-Jets QB Geno Smith

The Giants are expected to sign former Jets quarterback Geno Smith, according to Adam Schefter and Jordan Raanan of (on Twitter). The deal will reunite Smith and wide receiver Brandon Marshall. It’s a one-year deal worth about $2MM, Ian Rapoport of tweets.


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Smith, 26, started one game for the Jets in 2016, but tore his ACL in that October contest and missed the remainder of the season. The former second-round pick has only attempted 56 passes over the past two years.

On Friday morning, the Giants re-signed quarterback Josh Johnson. Right now, it seems like the plan will be for the Giants to have Smith as Eli Manning‘s primary backup with Johnson in the QB3 spot. Of course, a lot can change over the next seven months and Johnson’s place on the roster isn’t a certainty. The Giants could still draft a developmental quarterback to give them another candidate to be Eli’s heir and depending on that QB’s stature, that player could even usurp Smith’s place as the primary understudy.

Smith, of course, has some unpleasant memories in East Rutherford, New Jersey. But, to his credit, he’ll face those nightmares head on and attempt to exorcise those demons in a new uniform.

Smith was PFR’s No. 14 ranked free agent quarterback heading into free agency. Reportedly, the Jets were still open to a reunion if they were unable to find a better option. The Chargers and Browns also had interest.

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