Manning broke routine by walking out of the tunnel with his three daughters during the pregame period, according to sources close to Pat Leonard of the Daily News. According to Leonard’s source, Manning seemed to survey the scene at MetLife Stadium and take it all in before taking pictures with all three daughters wearing their No. 10 jerseys. According to the source, Manning has never done something like this before.
Manning’s decision to spend a little extra time pregame with his family has sparked some to consider a theory that he may have inside knowledge of his future situation with the Giants. Manning just capped off his 15th season in the NFL with the Giants franchise and is due to enter the final season of his contract with the Giants in 2019. Manning is set to count $23.2 million against the Giants’ 2019 salary cap and the franchise can recoup $17 million of it if they make the decision to release him. According to Shurmur, if the decision was up to him alone, Manning would return as the Giants starter for the 2019 season.
It’s certainly possible Manning took the extra time before the Giants’ Week 17 loss against the Dallas Cowboys as a precaution in case the front office decides this offseason that he will not return to the franchise. Manning is due to receive a $5 million roster bonus on March 17, 2019. The Giants will have to make a decision on his future by then.
After the team’s 36-35 loss, Shurmur told Giants reporters that he “absolutely” believes Manning still has good football left in him.
“I believe in him,” Shurmur added. “I believe in Eli Manning.”
For the second time this season, Shurmur said he wants all his players back in 2019 when asked directly if he wanted Manning to return. Of course, if Shurmur had already decided the Giants will move on from Manning, he would most likely not reveal this decision to reporters at this time for a multitude of reasons. For starters, it’s disrespectful to Manning and everything he has meant to this franchise. Also, it serves no purpose for the Giants to announce their offseason plan at the quarterback position now.
Shurmur made it clear that any decision on the Giants personnel is not entirely up to him. These decisions will be made in a joint effort by Shurmur, first-year general manager Dave Gettleman, Giants ownership, and several other key players in the front office.
Prior to the end of the game, Giants fans remaining in the stadium rallied around the veteran quarterback by chanting his name prior to the team’s final offensive possession. After the game, when Manning trotted off the field for what could be the last time in a Giants uniform, fans showered him with support. One Giants fan even made it clear that he “wants one more year” from Manning.
After the game, Manning responded to this theory…