At some point in the near future, the New York Giants will move on from Eli Manning. They’ve gone just 8-23 in games he’s started over the past two seasons and, while the team’s problems are not solely because of its quarterback, Manning hasn’t exactly helped moved the rebuilding process along.
But the team apparently won’t be moving on quite yet.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, Giants Coach Pat Shurmur said he “fully expects” the 38-year-old Manning to return for his 16th NFL season.
“I think Eli can help us win games,” Shurmur said. “At this point I want Eli back. He’s back.”
Shurmur also was asked whether he still believes Manning has “years” left in his career.
“I do,” he responded, pointing out that “in the last half of last season, with the guys around him playing better, that allowed us to see more of what Eli can do.”
As for the possibility of taking a quarterback with the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft?
“There’s all these narratives — you know, the next franchise quarterback, replace this guy, do all this,” Shurmur said. “We’re trying to make our team better. It’s no mystery: Eli’s closer to 40 than he is 20. That’s no mystery, and certainly we’re going to do the very best we can to get the best players, especially the one that’s playing quarterback.”
In comments later Wednesday, Giants GM Dave Gettleman seemed to suggest that taking a quarterback in the draft remains on the table.
“You can’t be afraid to draft [a player at a position that’s already filled] just because you already got one,” he said. “The more competition you can create, the better your team will be, and you have to create competition at every position.”
Asked if drafting a quarterback might spur Manning to improve, Gettleman said “absolutely.”
Manning has one year left on his contract and will cost the Giants $23.2 million against their salary cap in 2019, the 10th-highest quarterback total in the NFL. There’s been talk that the Giants will either ask Manning to take a pay cut or work out a new, more cap-friendly contract to better position themselves to improve their personnel, especially direly needed improvements along the offensive and defensive lines and at linebacker. The Giants will owe him a $5 million bonus if he’s on the roster under his current contract on March 17, so things are somewhat time sensitive.
“You have to look at everything, I’m not going to lie. I’m not saying I’m gonna do anything,” Gettleman said when asked if the team was looking to reduce Manning’s 2019 cap hit. “It’s my job to take everything under consideration.”
Shurmur’s comments perhaps put a damper on the rumors that the Giants were a possible destination for potential free agent Nick Foles. According to NJ Advance Media, Foles had “legitimate” interest in joining New York if it decided to move on from Manning this offseason, perhaps because he had his best season as a pro — 27 touchdowns, only two interceptions — in 2013, when Shurmur was his offensive coordinator. Foles moving north would appear unlikely if Manning were to remain on the Giants at his current contract.
Manning and the Giants did seem to improve slightly over the second half of last season, going 4-4 after a 1-7 start (three of those second-half losses came by a combined five points). Manning threw 13 touchdown passes and only five interceptions over that stretch.
Read more from The Post: