Eli Manning has always said that he wants to finish his career with the New York Giants, but things may have changed this week when Ben McAdoo decided to bench him for the remainder of the season.
When Manning signed a four-year extension with the Giants two years ago, he had the team include a full no-trade clause to assure he would retire in New York. But if the plan is for him to be a backup in 2018, Manning may be willing to accept a trade.
According to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, people close to Manning believe the 36-year-old will consider asking the Giants to trade him this offseason.
There is no indication at all from Manning or his camp that the 36-year-old quarterback has even begun pondering whether he’ll request a trade in the offseason, but several people that know him believe he will strongly consider it, especially if the Giants won’t commit to him as their starter in 2018. They base that on their strong belief that Manning still wants to play and believes he is one of the NFL’s better quarterbacks.
The Giants probably wouldn’t mind trading Manning. Assuming they plan to draft a quarterback or develop Davis Webb into their next starter, there’s a good chance they are planning to release Manning anyway. Doing so before March 17 would save them from having to pay him a $5 million roster bonus, and it would also allow them to clear roughly $16 million off of their salary cap for next season. A trade would only save the Giants $9.8 million against the cap, but they could be interested in going that route if a team is willing to give up one or more draft picks.
Manning is already being linked to the Jacksonville Jaguars, where Tom Coughlin is in charge of football operations and Blake Bortles still looks like he is holding the team back. The Jags have an elite defense and are ready to contend now, so they might have interest in a quarterback who has proven he can win on the biggest stage.
The truth is Manning probably has no idea what he wants to do at the moment. If you saw the way he reacted to being benched, you know how much starting 210 consecutive games — the longest active streak in the NFL — for the Giants has meant to him. He’s probably not ready to think about playing for another team just yet.