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Deciphering Giants GM Gettleman’s presser: Eli’s future is murky

Eli Manning is currently a member of the New York Giants roster, but his status for the 2019 season remains uncertain as we head into the early stages of the offseason.

On Wednesday, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman refused to commit to Manning as his 2019 starting quarterback and promised no decision will be made until he watches more game film from the 2018 regular season. Gettleman’s commentary on Manning from his Wednesday presser has been interpreted to mean many different ways, but the most interesting interpretation came from former Giants linebacker and special teams ace Mark Herzlich.

On Thursday, Herzlich revealed that he believes Gettleman’s commentary all but shut the door on Manning returning to the Giants in 2019.

“He’s saying he doesn’t see a future for Eli,” Herzlich said on Taz & The Moose, via CBS Sports Radio. “He wanted to stay as non-committal as he possibly could, but you could tell he let his emotions kind of get in the way a little bit.”

According to Herzlich, the best-case scenario in 2019 for the Giants franchise may not be what’s in the best interest of Manning.

“I think the best course of action for the Giants and the best course of action for Eli are two different things,” Herzlich said. “If the Giants can restructure his contract and get him to stick around for a year and be the mentor for a young quarterback, that would be best-case scenario for the Giants. Now, that being said, that’s what a lot of people, including me, thought was going to happen this year.

“I think what will end up happening is Eli is going to say, ‘Look, if I’m going to be the backup, I don’t want to be here,’” Herzlich added. “Because he still thinks he has time left to play. When Gettleman says, ‘I’m going to watch film until my eyes bleed,’ that’s not film on Eli; that’s film on every other quarterback possibility in the country.”

Herzlich is referring to this comment during Gettleman’s presser regarding his plan moving forward for evaluating the Manning decision.

“We’re in the evaluation process,” Gettleman said. “I know that you guys want answers now…I’ve got to do what I do, which is get in my office and watch film. I will be watching film until my eyes bleed. That’s what I do. My commitment is to make this team the best it can be. If that happens to have Eli playing quarterback, it does.”

During his presser, Gettleman promised to land on what he deems to be the best decision for the franchise moving forward and not just for Manning.

“Eli and I had a very extensive conversation on Monday — no holds barred,” Gettleman said on Wednesday. “It was a very honest and upfront conversation. In terms of any question you’re going to ask me today (about Manning), we will do what’s in the best interest of the New York Giants. That’s the way we’ve operated since I walked in the door, that’s the way we will continue to operate. We’re trying to build sustained success. That takes some brutal honesty and some tough decisions.”

The Giants offseason is HERE and the biggest decision is due on March 17th when Eli Manning’s roster bonus has to be decided on. Stay up to date with everything Giants by taking a second to sign up for our FREE Giants newsletter!

In the past, Gettleman earned a reputation for being brutally honest and making difficult decisions on highly-paid veteran players — often leading to their release — during his tenure as Carolina Panthers general manager. Manning is set to enter the final year of his contract with the Giants where he is scheduled to count $23.2 million against the team’s 2019 salary cap. The Giants can save $17 million in 2019 salary cap space by releasing Manning and the rest of his total cap hit would be converted into “dead salary cap” space based on the remaining guaranteed money in his contract.

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