Eli Manning might be blinking out an SOS message to the league but the New York Giants quarterback isn’t publicly ready to concede that this upcoming Sunday might be his last game with the franchise.
Benched once already in what has arguably been the most difficult season of his 14 years in the NFL, Manning certainly isn’t the reason why the Giants are 2-13. But with the team facing a likely rebuild this offseason and a youth movement imperative, Manning and his hefty salary cap hit might be casualties during this offseason.
He does hold trade value, something that a Giants team looking to get younger might just need to exploit.
Manning on Wednesday was asked if this Sunday might be the last time he plays at MetLife Stadium in front of Giants fans.
“You know, no - I think in football you never know when your last game is going to be. It’s a physical game, so you always treat it like it’s your last,” Manning said. “So, I’m just going about it, try to play well and move the offense.”
He did seem to hint that he thinks he’ll be playing in the NFL next year, answering the next question by saying that while this might potentially be his last game with the Giants: “I’m sure I’ll have other opportunities to be in that stadium down the road, if it is the last one.”
The irony of all of this is that Davis Webb, the Giants rookie quarterback, was promoted to be Manning’s backup ahead of Geno Smith. So Sunday might see Manning start and at some point Webb being rolled out to get his first few professional snaps.
The Giants came into this year favorites to return to the postseason after last year’s 11-5 record and Wild Card loss. There was even Super Bowl buzz around this team.
Then came a tremendous fall and a record that no one saw coming.
“Well yeah, like I said, it’s just been tough. Got off to a slow start and then we just lost some heartbreakers early in the year. Did some good things and then just in final minutes, fourth quarter, just lost some games that we could’ve won,” Manning said. “And then just kind of hit the injury bug and like I said, it’s been difficult and frustrating and tough, but we kind of hung in there and guys have competed and fought the whole time.”