Eli Manning is 36-years old and won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2020. With three years left on his contract and Manning continuing to get older, the New York Giants are beginning to think about what to do when Eli is gone.
Manning has had an up and down career that has included a lot more ups than downs. The youngest Manning brother has won two Super Bowls, but also threw 27 interceptions in 2013 and has failed to advance the Giants to the Divisional round since he helped them win the Super Bowl in 2011. In fact, New York’s playoff appearance this year was its first since 2011.
“We always think about every position, but Eli is 36,” General Manager Jerry Reese said in his season-ending press conference Monday. “We have started to thinking about who’s the next quarterback, who’s in line. So we’ll look into that as we move through the offseason.”
“Thirty-six, I don’t think that’s ancient for a quarterback,” Reese said. “I think he’s probably on the back nine but I don’t think that’s ancient for a quarterback. He’s taken care of himself really well.”
Eli’s older brother Peyton retired at the age of 39, which will be Eli’s age when his contract with the Giants is up.
The New York Daily News made a good point that the man who will take over for Manning probably isn’t currently in the organization. Backup Ryan Nassib hasn’t done well during his limited time and is a pending free agent. Josh Johnson is the other backup, and he is a journeyman that wouldn’t be a candidate for a long-term job.
As a result, maybe the Giants will go after someone in this year’s NFL Draft or the next one and let that quarterback develop under Manning until he eventually takes over.
However, New York might also not have time to let that QB develop as much as it may like.
“I wouldn’t say it (2016) was a down year (for him), I just think, offensively, as a whole, it just didn’t function as a unit like we thought it would,” Reese said.
Manning had 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions this past year, but his 86.0 passer rating was 23rd in the league amongst quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts. He also finished 27th in QBR.