New York Giants legend Michael Strahan has finally decided to weigh in on the quarterback situation facing the franchise during the 2019 offseason.
The Giants have to make the decision to stick with two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and guarantee him the starting job or to release Manning and save $17 million in 2019 salary cap space. The third option is for the Giants to keep Manning, draft his replacement, and let the two quarterbacks battle it out to earn the starting job. Strahan subscribes to option No. 3.
“I’d draft Murray and then I’d let him learn from Eli for the year or eight, nine, 10 games,” Strahan said during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show. “That’s what we did with Kurt Warner.”
Strahan’s plan is very similar to the one the Giants used back in 2004 with Kurt Warner and Manning. The Giants traded to acquire Manning after the Chargers selected him with the No. 1 overall pick. Despite the fact that Warner helped the Giants jump out to a 5-4 record in the 2004 season, he was replaced midseason for Manning and the franchise never looked back (except for one game where ex-head coach Ben McAdoo decided to start Geno Smith over him).
Strahan soon learned it was the right decision for the long-term future of the franchise, but at the time he hated the move to go from Warner to Manning.
“I remember when they put in Kurt, we were like, ‘What are they doing? We had a shot with Kurt.’ We have no shot with Eli,” Strahan recalled.
Just a few years after the Giants made the decision, Manning was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in what would turn out to be Strahan’s final NFL season. Since that moment, Strahan has all but professed his love, admiration, and respect for Manning.
The most interesting aspect of Strahan’s plan is that it involves Heisman Trophy-winning Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and not Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Early on, the mock drafts around the NFL media landscape have pointed to Haskins as the Giants pick at No. 6 overall — sometimes even earlier in mock drafts where New York trades up. However, in recent mock drafts from Pro Football Focus and CBS Sports, Murray has picked up steam as the Giants draft pick.
Strahan isn’t the only former NFL player who wants the Giants to stick with Manning even if they draft a quarterback. You can add former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to the list of retired and current NFL players who believe Manning deserves to be a starting quarterback.
“I think Eli can still play,” Romo told reporters, via NJ.com. “Eli is not that different than a lot of quarterbacks as you get older. … You need help around you.
“To me, it just comes down to their team. If they are able to give him time — I don’t think he was protected as well this season — if their defense plays well, I think with all these things he can still easily perform at a high level. It just required a little more than that.”
Romo has had the opportunity to study Manning’s game in a way he was never able to during his playing career with the Cowboys. Now, as the lead color analyst for CBS Sports NFL broadcasts, he has observed Manning and the Giants offense from a more focused angle. According to Romo, issues on the Giants offensive line played a key role in the early-season struggles for Manning and the offense.
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“They started to do some better things at the end of the year,” Romo said. “For Eli, it will just come down to getting some talent up front. You can’t use the skill talent further than 8-10 yards down the field if you can’t open it up. It comes down to the offensive line. If he gets more time, he’ll be fine.”