As the New York Giants enter an offseason of uncertainty at the quarterback position, Eli Manning would not commit to playing in 2019.
“We will see,” Manning told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Wednesday during his final weekly spot of the season. “I don’t know if it’s leaning one way or the other right now. It’s kind of that time to reflect and figure out what’s the best thing going forward.”
At a news conference earlier in the day, Giants GM Dave Gettleman also wouldn’t commit to retaining Manning, who has been the team’s quarterback for the past 15 seasons and won two Super Bowls for the franchise. After a 1-7 start to a 5-11 season (that followed a 3-13 season in 2017), the Giants may wish to accelerate the beginning of the post-Manning era — whether it’s by acquiring a stopgap quarterback or selecting a long-term replacement in the NFL Draft.
“I’m committed to making the best decision in the interest of the Giants,” Gettleman said. “We’re in the evaluation process.”
Gettleman revealed had a “no-holds-barred” meeting with Manning on Monday. Manning expressed to Francesa his desire to have “an open conversation through this process” with Giants brass.
“I’ll be totally honest to them on what I’m thinking or what’s going on or what I can or can’t handle … I’d just expect that from them,” Manning said. “Let’s just be honest through this whole situation to figure out what’s best for the Giants going forward.
“Everybody will be soul-searching to figure out the best thing going forward to win more football games,” he added.
Manning finished the season with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions as he completed a career-high 66 percent of his passes. Gettleman said Manning “can still make NFL throws. He’s still got it.” Manning, who turned 38 on Thursday, sounded as if he believes he has one more Giants go-round in him.
“I love playing football,” Manning said. “I want to play because I like the team and the players and the personnel. I think there’s an opportunity to be a good team. I feel healthy. I feel I can last a full season. I can still make throws. I can still make all the throws I can make to be a quarterback in the NFL.”
What if the Giants wish to move on and Manning still wants to play at least one more season? Manning said he always wanted to spend his entire career with the Giants, and it’s “hard to imagine” suiting up for another team.
“You just got to truly think about what you want to do and how it’s going to go,” Manning said, “especially when you get older and know what it’s like to go in a new offense, new players, and a new coach, it’s not always a smooth transition you hope it’s going to be.”
Manning is scheduled to count for $23.2 million on the Giants’ 2019 salary cap, and he is due a $5 million bonus if he is on the roster on March 18.