New York Giants fans are once again preparing for what could very well be an ugly primetime night as they take on the Falcons in Atlanta on Monday night. And veteran quarterback Eli Manning could also be getting set for yet another night in which his offense sputters while he runs for his life.
The 37-year-old’s better days are behind him, that goes without saying. Manning though has received little to no help from his offensive line, a seemingly rag-tag group thrown together by new general manager Dave Gettleman in an attempt to bolster the passer’s protection. At face value in the offseason, it seemed as though the Giants line would be improved after signing Nate Solder, Patrick Omameh and drafting Will Hernandez.
Instead, Manning has been sacked 20 times this season and has just 2.61 seconds on average to throw the ball, per NFL.com. It doesn’t matter what kind of weapons you have on the outside, whether it’s Odell Beckham Jr. or Sterling Shepard, that isn’t enough time to get the ball to them on a consistent basis.
A more athletic quarterback could extend the play and give the offense more time to develop. Manning though just can’t do that, which has prompted many to call for the starting of rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta, who displayed that kind of athleticism at the University of Richmond.
It would mean another benching for Manning, spelling the likely end to his Giants career, or, in a more unlikely scenario, management could look to trade him to garner future assets for the team’s rebuild.
What could a possible Eli Manning trade look like?
Believe it or not, Manning could be an interesting trade target for a team on the cusp of contending in need of an established arm.
Regardless of the pressure he’s been facing, Manning has completed almost 69-percent of his passes this year, though a majority of them are of the dink-and-dump variety that has made rookie running back Saquon Barkley such a force out of the backfield.
If he’s brought to a team that can offer a bit more protection and Manning is actually given time to survey the field in the pocket, he could still be a serviceable quarterback. That idea should be right up the Jacksonville Jaguars’ alley, who need a veteran presence under center that can be something a little bit more than a game manager.
Blake Bortles was benched during the second half of their loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday as the oft-criticized completed just 6-of-12 passes for 61 yards while losing two fumbles. He has constantly been labeled the scapegoat for the Jaguars’ failures, especially with a high-flying defense that was a huge reason why they made the AFC Championship Game last year.
Compared to Manning, Bortles has an average of 2.83 seconds to get the ball off, which might not seem like much. However, that time ranks 11th-best out of 38 qualifying quarterbacks in the league though it is important to note that Bortles is far more mobile than Manning.
That kind of time though with a competent passing quarterback like Manning could make the Jaguars the clear favorite to win a disappointingly mediocre AFC South this year. It would also reunite Manning with Tom Coughlin, the head coach whom he won two Super Bowls under. Coughlin is currently serving as the Jaguars’ executive vice president.
The Giants would likely ask for nothing more than a draft pick or two for Manning as long as the trade partner accepts most of the $11.5 million he is due in 2019 before becoming a free agent.