Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman wouldn’t say whether Manning would remain the team’s starting quarterback next season because he was still evaluating the season.
“I’m committed to making the best decision in the interest of the New York Football Giants,” said Gettleman when asked if he was committed to having Manning back with the team in 2019. “We’re in the evaluation process. I know that you guys want answers now, but very frankly, I didn’t come in yesterday. … I will be watching film for the next who knows how long until my eyes bleed. That’s what I do. So, my commitment is to make this team the best team it can be and if that happens to have Eli playing quarterback, it does.
“…We’re going to evaluate everything. Everything’s on the table for us.”
Gettleman said he had an “extensive, no-holds barred” conversation with Manning on Monday about his season. Gettleman wouldn’t say what they specifically discussed but said Manning was the one who wanted to talk. He said he provided Manning with honest answers to his questions.
“We’re trying to build sustained success,” Gettleman said. “That takes brutal honesty and some tough decisions. … It wasn’t like he was called to the principal’s office. He came to see me.”
Manning, who just wrapped up his 15th season, has one more year on his contract, which pays a base salary of $11.5 million in 2019. The veteran quarterback told reporters last week there have been no talks with the Giants to re-work his deal and both sides haven’t discussed an extension. That has led to speculation that Manning’s future in New York could be in jeopardy.
WFAN’s Mike Francesa asked Manning on Wednesday when he expected to find out from the Giants if he was returning to the team.
“I don’t know,” Manning said. “I assume I’ll have conversations with Mr. Gettleman going forward and seeing what’s best and what we need to do.”
The signal-caller also said it would be “hard to imagine” continuing his NFL career outside New York, and he wants to continue playing.
“I love playing football. I like this team,” Manning said. “I want to play because I like the team. There’s an opportunity to be a good team. I feel healthy. I can still make throws and be a quarterback in the NFL.”
Manning’s inconsistent play behind a porous offensive line was one of the major culprits behind Big Blue’s inability to rise out of the NFC East doldrums amid a 5-11 season. While Manning has shown flashes of the skill set that helped him win two Super Bowls, the 37-year-old also has had to fend off yet another year of questions as to whether the Giants need to bench him or simply move on.
Although Gettleman wouldn’t commit to Manning as their starter, he still believes in his talent.
“He can still make NFL throws,” he said. “He’s still got it.”
Despite the team’s struggles, the Giants did improve on 2017’s 3-13 mark, and Gettleman believes they’re moving in the right direction. The play of rookie running back Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Odell Beckham, both of whom stood out in the Giants‘ offense, has given the front office plenty of reason for optimism — and Gettleman said he has no plans to part ways with Beckham.
“We didn’t sign him to trade him,” Gettleman said.
While Gettleman knows the team has to turn things around, he’s confident in the foundation they have. He doesn’t believe wholesale changes must be made to transform the Giants into a contender, even if he’s not 100-percent sold on Manning continuing to be their starting quarterback.
“I just hate the word rebuild. You just keep going, you just keep building. It’s really what we’re doing here. We’re doing our best to accumulate talent … and [I] hate to flippin’ lose.”