Benching Eli Manning last season made the Giants organization look bad. Allowing him to continue to play this year makes the team look awful.
There was a time when Eli Manning was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Giants, that’s no longer the case. The organization desperately needs him to retire soon so they can be spared the pain of benching him again.
Remember, they tried to bench him in 2017 and it didn’t turn out well. Replacing a two-time Super Bowl champion with Geno Smith isn’t ever going to please fans. Instead of making a clean transition, the Giants were forced to go right back to Manning to conclude the season.
Most people believe Dave Gettleman and company should have secured Manning’s replacement in this year’s draft. Instead, the organization chose to double down on extending their quarterback’s career. Saquon Barkley may turn out to be an All-Pro running back, but he won’t fix the team’s issues under center.
Watching the former Ole Miss star play now is just plain sad. He’s not an awful quarterback, but it’s clear that his arm strength is starting to diminish at a pretty healthy clip. He simply can’t make the throws required to make this offense go. When your quarterback can’t get the ball to a receiver as talented as Odell Beckham Jr. on a regular basis it’s a clear sign it’s time to move on.
Unfortunately for Giants fans, the organization has already proven their inability to transition away from Manning gracefully. Their only real hope at this point is for Manning to decide he’s had enough. He’s certainly a prideful player, but hopefully he can recognize the truth. His continued presence on the Giants roster isn’t going to help his team reach their Super Bowl dreams.
The chances of Manning calling it quits before the end of his contract are pretty small. The Giants still owe him upwards of $17 million next season. It’s not in the quarterback’s financial interest to ride off in the sunset this offseason. The team will likely be forced to keep him on the roster until the end of the 2019 season.
That puts Gettleman, Pat Shurmur and the rest of the Giants brain trust in an awkward spot. If they bench Manning at any point, they will effectively admit to everyone that they should have taken a quarterback in the 2018 draft. Eating crow isn’t something Gettleman is good at. It’s entirely possible the Giants will keep trying to build around Manning for another season.
That leaves an earlier than anticipated retirement the best hope for Giants fans looking for a path to contention. This team isn’t going anywhere with Manning on the roster. New York will remain in football purgatory until their veteran quarterback calls it quits.