The New York Giants are 0-5 and top receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall are out for the remainder of the season. For all intents and purposes, this means the Giants won’t be contending this year.
That doesn’t mean they should completely throw in the towel every week, because their paying customers deserve better than that. But I can guarantee you a lot of those customers (known also as “fans”) would love to see the Giants land a top-five draft pick. There’s a good chance that happens, and if it does (and even if it doesn’t) the team and its fans will probably want to have a feel for their quarterback situation entering the 2018 offseason.
That’s why it might soon be time for the Giants to politely bench veteran quarterback Eli Manning in favor of rookie third-round pick Davis Webb.
You know what you have in Manning, who could very well have another Super Bowl run in him, but has been elected to the Pro Bowl just once in the last five years. He’s approaching his 37th birthday, his 6.6 yards-per-attempt average is the lowest he’s posted in a decade and he again ranked below the league median in terms of passer rating (89.1).
Meanwhile, it’s entirely possible the next franchise quarterback is already on the roster. Webb, who had three magnificent seasons at Texas Tech, and later California, is big, strong, accurate and mobile. There’s a chance he’s just another mid-round pick and career backup, but he could easily be another Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott or Kirk Cousins. And the Giants would be smart to use this lost season to get an initial look at Webb at the NFL level.
If it goes well, or even if it doesn’t and you know you’ll have a chance to draft a blue-chip quarterback prospect like Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield in April, you could also consider exploring trade options with Manning, who is slated to carry a salary cap hit of $22.2 million next season.
Could a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars bite? Tom Coughlin is on staff there now, they’re desperate to upgrade at quarterback and they just might be willing to spend that cash on a player who could put them over the top. The Jags have more talent at the non-quarterback positions than most of their NFL counterparts, but Blake Bortles is still Blake Bortles.
It’s already been floated. Manning to Jacksonville has been a buzz topic all week, especially after NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah threw it out there to his Twitter followers on Monday. And that’s because it makes so much damn sense.
The Jaguars have the money, and you’d think the Giants would even be willing to absorb some of that salary in order to make it happen.
Regardless of whether Manning is traded, benched or both, the Giants should strongly considering using a quarterback not named Eli for the first time since Kurt Warner made his last start for them on Nov. 14, 2004.