Eli Manning

This Date In Transactions History: Giants Bench Eli Manning

Three years ago today, it was looking like Eli Manning‘s career with the Giants was coming to an end. On November 28, 2017, the organization announced that they’d be benching the future Hall of Famer for Geno Smith (we know, we know…this isn’t actually a transaction, but it’s not everyday an organization releases a press release regarding a BENCHING).

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

While the move certainly came as a surprise, there was some merit to the decision. It was already a lost season for the Giants, as the team was out of the playoff picture with a 2-9 record. The organization apparently thought it was useful to evaluate their younger options as they looked ahead to the 2018 campaign.

On the flip side, there were also plenty of reasons to stick with the Manning. His illustrious resume included a 210-game starting streak, the then-second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history (behind Brett Favre (and since passed by Philip Rivers)). The Giants gave Manning the option to still start the upcoming games, but the veteran said it was “pointless” and disingenuous to start a game that he wouldn’t finish. Further, it wasn’t like the quarterback had even bad that bad during the 2017 campaign. Despite the team’s record, Manning had still completed 62.5-percent of his passes for 2,411 yards, 14 touchdowns, and seven interceptions through the first 11 games…and that was with major injuries to wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall.

The move was instantly criticized around the NFL. Former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said he was “very upset” by the decision, and many pundits suspected the move came from higher-ups like Jerry Reese and John Mara. Naturally, there were also a number of articles pertaining to trade theories, with the Jaguars, Broncos, and Cardinals listed as potential suitors.

How did the move work out? Not great. The Giants lost by seven to the Raiders with Smith under center. The former second-rounder did manage to complete 61.7-percent of his passes for 212 yards and one score, and he added 13 yards on the ground. However, he also had a fair of key fumbles that could have changed the Giants’ fortunes.

Days following the loss, McAdoo was fired, and interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo reinserted Manning back into the lineup. Manning proceeded to start the rest of the Giants games that season, and he started all 16 of their games in 2018. Manning’s career would ultimately come to an end following the 2019 campaign…but still, that was two years later than what many thought on this date in 2017.

NFC East Notes: Manning, Manuel, Cowboys

Eli Manning has not expressed interest in a coaching position, but the likely Hall of Fame quarterback has not closed the door on remaining with the Giants in another non-playing capacity. The recently retired passer said he would be interested in a role with the team going forward, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The Giants likely would not say no to such an arrangement, though it remains to be seen if Manning would consider a position immediately. If Peyton Manning‘s measured approach to post-retirement offers is any indication, it may be a while before his younger brother commits to returning to the league in a potential front office role. Manning will not land on the Giants’ reserve/retired list, as he was set to be a free agent in March. The 16-year Giant recently said he believed he could still play. So Eli might be patient before entering a post-playing role, in the event an unforeseen development opens up a starting job somewhere.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Eagles interviewed former Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel for a role on their staff, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). They are eyeing the former safety-turned-coach as their secondary coach. Manuel, 40, did not coach this season but spent five years with the Falcons — four of which as either Atlanta’s secondary coach or DC. Dan Quinn fired him after the 2018 season.
  • After making several splashy additions to their staff, the Cowboys added a couple of lower-profile assistants. Mike McCarthy hired ex-Rams assistant special teams coach to the same position, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. A former NFLer, the 30-year-old Daniels spent the past two seasons on Sean McVay’s staff working under John Fassel. McCarthy hired Fassel to be his ST coordinator and has signed off on bringing the Rams’ special teams staff to Dallas. The Cowboys also hired ex-Redskins defensive quality control coach Cannon Matthews, per Yates. Matthews will remain in a defensive quality control role.
  • Although the Giants brought in ex-Cowboys coach Marc Colombo to head up their offensive line, they will keep one of Pat Shurmur‘s assistants on staff in this department. Ben Wilkerson will remain as the team’s assistant O-line coach, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. Wilkerson, 37, served in this role in each of Shurmur’s two seasons.

Giants Won’t Place Eli Manning On Reserve/Retired List

Giants legend Eli Manning is retiring from football, but he won’t formally be placed on the league’s list of retired players, as PFT’s Mike Florio explains. It’s a small, but important distinction that could be factor should the quarterback consider coming out of retirement in 2020.

[RELATED: Eli Manning Retires From The NFL]

Manning’s contract will formally expire in March, which means the Giants cannot place Manning on the reserve/retired list, per league rules. Players on the reserve/retired list who decide to unretire after the trade deadline must go on the waiver wire first.

Manning retired, in large part, because he would not have had an opportunity to start for the Giants or any other club in 2020. But, hypothetically, a midseason injury to Daniel Jones or another QB1 could open the door for someone like Manning.

If Manning was on the list and the Giants wanted him back, they’d be subject to the same potential barriers as Rob Gronkowski. In 2019, Gronk would have had to return by Week 13 if he wanted to suit up for the Giants, because he was officially designated as a retired player. Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch was not on the list, which paved the way for his late-season Seahawks reunion. If Manning wants to come back, he’ll have no obstacles in his way, just like Beast Mode.

Eli Manning To Retire

Giants icon Eli Manning will hold a news conference on Friday to announce his retirement, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jordan Raanan (Twitter link). Unwilling to finish his career as a backup, Manning will walk away from the sport and focus on new endeavors. 

Manning, 39, got the hook from the Giants on multiple occasions. The first time around, in 2017, he was briefly benched for one game in favor of Geno Smith. This year, he lost his job to rookie Daniel Jones and never regained his footing. The Giants’ struggles continued throughout the season, but it was an easy call for the G-Men to anoint Jones as their starter moving forward.

Things didn’t end the way Manning envisioned, but he leaves the sport after a storied NFL career that will surely land him in Canton, once he’s eligible. Manning had lots of highs across his 16-year career (and, some lows), but he’ll forever be remembered as a two-time Super Bowl winner and MVP. He’s also etched in the record books – he’s seventh all-time in passing yards, touchdowns, and completions. Another impressive feat – Manning never once missed a start due to injury.

Manning has long ranked as one of the league’s highest-paid players, too. He’s earned more than a quarter-billion dollars in football, not including endorsement money.

Manning entered the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft. The Ole Miss star famously refused to play for the Chargers and forced a trade to the Giants, where he established himself as a global superstar and stepped out of his older brother’s shadow. He’s foiled the Patriots twice, sold countless jerseys in the tri-state area, and forged a legacy that will last for decades.

For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field,” John Mara, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise’s history. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organization and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honor in the near future.

It remains to be seen whether Manning will stay involved in football. The Giants have expressed interest in giving Manning a non-playing role, but that would likely come in the form of a front office position – Manning has indicated that he is not interested in a coaching career.

I learned very early that you evaluate quarterbacks on their ability to win championships, and to do it late in a game when the game is on the line, that they’re able to take a team down the field and into the end zone to win a title,” said longtime Giants GM Ernie Accorsi said. “The second thing is to know that over a period of years, he’s always going to be there. Those kinds of quarterbacks always give you a chance to win, and for 16 years, he did that for this franchise. He won championships and he was always there giving us a chance to win. I don’t know how you can ask more from a quarterback.”

Eli Manning Leaning Towards Retirement?

As recently as December, we heard that Eli Manning wanted to continue his playing career in 2020. We knew that opportunities may be limited, given that he does not want to serve as a backup/mentor, but it seemed that the longtime Giants signal-caller would at least take a look to see what might be out there.

Now, that may no longer be the case. Paul Schwartz of the New York Post says all signs indicate that Manning, 39, is headed for retirement.

Recent reports have suggested that the Giants would welcome Manning back as the backup to Daniel Jones, but not only does Manning not want that, the team itself does not really believe that’s a great idea either, per Schwartz. The team’s new head coach, Joe Judge, is nearly a full year younger than Manning, and Big Blue wants to usher in a new era.

Manning is not hindering the Giants by continuing to take his time with his decision, as he is not under contract and New York is not carving out any salary cap space for him. He is expected to be in Miami, the site of this year’s Super Bowl, for some promotional appearances, and he is unlikely to make any announcement prior to the big game.

Schwartz said those close to Manning believed that, as the 2019 season drew to a close, he realized it would be his last. And if so, it makes plenty of sense. He is remarkably healthy, he has earned $252.3MM in his career — the most ever for an NFL player — and he has captured two Super Bowls. He has often expressed a desire to spend his entire career with the Giants, a franchise he truly loves, and he has never been interested in suiting up for another club.

He has also indicated that he is not interested in becoming a coach, so if he does hang up the cleats in the next few weeks, we may not hear much from him until he is being fitted for a gold jacket.

Giants Open To Eli Manning Return

The Giants will move forward with Daniel Jones as their starting quarterback, but they’re not necessarily moving on from Eli Manning. In a radio interview on Friday, owner John Mara said that the longtime franchise face could remain as Jones’ backup or transition to a non-playing role in the organization. 

[RELATED: Eli Manning On His Future]

Mara met with Manning earlier this week and their “nice long talk” didn’t end with any definitive answers. Based on what Manning has said about his future, it seems unlikely that he’d jump at the Giants’ offer to hold the clipboard for Jones.

I doubt it. I doubt it,” Manning said recently when asked about the prospect of returning as a backup. “Backing up is not real fun. … Everything is an option. That is the first decision, whether I want to continue to play or not. That is what I will decide. I’ll just try to figure it out. I think I can still play.”

The 39-year-old may or may not find an opportunity to start elsewhere. Despite his accomplishments, there are no obvious fits for Manning, given the decline in his arm strength in recent years. He’ll have an opportunity to explore his options in March, when he’s scheduled to reach free agency.

Latest On Eli Manning’s Plans

With Eli Manning‘s contract coming off the books, the Giants will almost certainly be moving on from the likely Hall of Fame quarterback in 2020. As for Manning, he revealed some details about his thought process exiting his least active NFL season.

The soon-to-be 39-year-old quarterback will contemplate retirement and may well do so if there is no clear starting job available. No timetable exists for the younger Manning quarterback’s decision. Peyton Manning retired in March 2016 but was under contract with the Broncos at the time. Archie Manning has said multiple times this year he does not expect his son to play elsewhere, though it doesn’t sound like Eli has completely ruled that out.

That will come into the consideration,” Manning said, via ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan.”That is what I’ll be thinking about these next couple days.”

If Manning does decide he wants to pursue a 17th season, he does not sound interested in being Daniel Jones‘ backup in 2020. Going into a situation as another team’s backup also would not appeal to Manning, via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Manning threw a career-low 147 passes this season.

I doubt it. I doubt it,” Manning said,, of the prospect of returning as a backup. “Backing up is not real fun. … Everything is an option. That is the first decision, whether I want to continue to play or not. That is what I will decide. I’ll just try to figure it out. I think I can still play.”

Even if Manning were to secure a starting job somewhere, said franchise would be in line to use him as a bridge passer. That scenario would probably lead to a similar season arc to 2019’s, when the Giants benched Manning after two games. There are several marquee quarterbacks who reside as free agents-to-be, but finding a true opening for Manning is difficult. And if retirement does commence, Manning added coaching is likely not in his future.

Giants QB Daniel Jones To Start Week 16

The Giants are turning back to their rookie signal-caller. After re-inserting franchise icon Eli Manning into the starting lineup while Daniel Jones was dealing with a high-ankle sprain, New York is once again handing the reins to Jones, head coach Pat Shurmur announced on Friday.

While the team obviously wants to give Jones as much experience as it can, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2019 draft has seen a lot of action this year, and one could argue that it doesn’t make sense to risk injuring him in meaningless games. Plus, the Giants do close the season at home, so fans certainly wouldn’t mind giving Manning one more sendoff.

Jones took over the starting role in Week 3 and has gone 2-8 in the games that he has started. He has shown plenty of promise and has thrown 18 touchdown passes while posting a 61.6% completion rate, but he has also struggled with turnovers. He has thrown 11 interceptions to go along with his 18 TDs, and he has fumbled an alarming 15 times.

Manning, meanwhile, is near the end of his career, though recent reports have affirmed that he does not want to retire at the end of the season. He wants to at least compete for a starting job in 2020, and he wants to play for a team that has a chance at the postseason.

In his four games this season, the two-time Super Bowl MVP has thrown for six TDs against five interceptions and has posted a quarterback rating of 82.6. The Giants have gone 1-3 in those games, with the one win coming against the 3-11 Dolphins on Sunday.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Johnson

The Cowboys‘ best teams during the Jerry Jones era came under head coaches the owner hired from the college ranks, with Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer combining for three Super Bowl wins and six playoff berths from 1991-96. But the owner’s past five HC hires have come from the professional ranks. Jones is either attempting a stealth run at a college coach this time around or has changed his line of thinking since the Johnson-Switzer days.

“College coaches have the lowest — at head coach, coming directly into head coach — have the lowest percentage rate of success as opposed to coming from coordinator, as opposed to coming from the NFL or as opposed to coming from a head coaching job in the NFL,” Jones said during an interview with 105.3 The Fan (via The Athletic’s Jon Machota, subscription required). “It’s pretty obvious they have to get acquainted with personnel. … So you pay a price for somebody to get up to date that haven’t spent the prior months or years in the NFL.”

Both Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and acclaimed ex-Ohio State leader Urban Meyer have been linked to the Cowboys, so it’s probably best not to dismiss Jones going the college route. But this stance does not point to the 77-year-old owner looking beyond the pro ranks for Jason Garrett‘s replacement.

Here’s the latest from the NFC East:

  • Giants fans eager for perhaps one final Eli Manning start at MetLife Stadium will be pleased Sunday. Daniel Jones will be given another week off due to his high ankle sprain, keeping Manning in the starting lineup for a Week 15 home tilt against the Dolphins. The 38-year-old quarterback threw two touchdown passes and did not turn the ball over on a rainy night against the Eagles, following an 11-game stretch featuring at least one Jones turnover. The Giants currently stand in the No. 2 overall draft slot, so Sunday’s game against the 3-10 Dolphins — with the 3-10 Redskins and 3-9-1 Lions and Cardinals looming — will be important for draft positioning.
  • Cut from the Giants largely because of a non-apology apology for using the word “retard” in a tweet to a fan, Janoris Jenkins is on the waiver wire this weekend. During an interview with TMZ, the veteran cornerback was more contrite. “It’s always a learning moment, man. Everybody’s going to learn from different situations … move forward and learn,” Jenkins said. “You just admit to it. Admit that you did wrong, which I did.” This, of course, comes at a time when Jenkins would prefer a team claim the balance of his five-year, $62.5MM contract. The 31-year-old defender is due to carry a non-guaranteed $10.15MM base salary in 2020. Envisioning a team claiming that seems difficult at this point.
  • The Eagles will be without Lane Johnson against the Redskins. The Pro Bowl right tackle left Monday night’s game in the first half due to an ankle injury. Johnson missed the Eagles’ Week 12 game because of a concussion.

NFC East Notes: Manning, Redskins, Cowboys

Giants QB Eli Manning said back in April that he wants to continue playing in 2020, and as Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com writes, the soon-to-be 39-year-old has not deviated from that stance. Manning, who was benched in favor of rookie Daniel Jones following New York’s Week 2 loss to Buffalo, is slated to start for the Giants on Monday night due to Jones’ ankle injury. And, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, Jones’ injury could force him to miss 2-4 weeks, so Manning could end up finishing out the season for Big Blue.

Manning’s contract with the Giants expires at the end of the year, and he knows he will need to go elsewhere if he wants to continue playing. However, he doesn’t want to just collect a paycheck, he wants to start, and he wants to start for a team that has at least some chance of cracking the postseason. Given that the 2020 QB market could be unusually strong, Manning may have a tough time finding such an opportunity, though his odds of doing so would improve dramatically if he plays well down the stretch.

Now for more from the NFC East:

  • The Redskins will be looking for a new HC this offseason, and Albert Breer of SI.com says several high-profile candidates have told Washington they will not go there if the structure of the organization does not change. It’s unclear exactly what that means, though head of football operations Bruce Allen would definitely scare away some candidates if he remains. Redskins owner Dan Snyder is considering parting ways with Allen, and he may have to do even more to attract the type of big-name coach that he is looking for.
  • The Cowboys have real interest in Urban Meyer as their next head coach, and Jon Machota of The Athletic offers a list of candidates that Dallas should take a look at. Meyer is at the top of the list, and despite the fact that the Saints just gave Sean Payton a healthy extension, Machota expects Jerry Jones to “try anything possible” to bring Payton to Dallas. Machota also names the recently-fired Ron Rivera as a possibility, though Rivera will surely attract plenty of interest from other clubs in need of an HC.
  • Redskins RB Derrius Guice is believed to have suffered an MCL sprain during Sunday’s loss to the Packers, and he may be done for the season.
  • Giants DL Leonard Williams believes he should be paid “top-tier money,” and if he doesn’t get it from New York, he is prepared to test the open market in 2020.