While the pro and anti-Eli Manning fans ram heads on Twitter and Facebook alike, most aren’t realizing that the New York Giants‘ veteran quarterback has played phenomenal the past few weeks. Over the last four games, Manning has managed an impressive 895-yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions.
The Giants and head coach Pat Shurmur have promoted a run-heavy approach and put an emphasis on good offensive line play. The acquisition of Jamon Brown several weeks ago has been transformative for the line and it seems as if the group has taken a major step forward. The future is bright for a line featuring Nate Solder at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Spencer Pulley or Jon Halapio (next season after return from injury) at center, Jamon Brown at right guard, and hopefully an improvement at right tackle in either Daryl Williams or a draft selection.
The improvement of the line has had a clear effect on Manning and his performance. Moving forward, it’s thought that the veteran can continue to play at a high-level if he’s given the time to operate the offense and continues to focus on Saquon Barkley.
An interesting factoid is that Barkley has seen a bump in rushing attempts and a decrease in receptions the past four weeks. In consecutive order, his carries go 27,13,24,14. Prior to those weeks the rookie saw 20 carries or more only once, and it was five weeks ago.
Manning has finally come to the conclusion that the offense simply runs through Barkley; the generational back that’s capable of clearing an entire man with just one leap.
Eli’s exact quote was, “we’re starting to figure out that kind of this offense runs through him.”
The plan moving forward should be simple, utilize whatever gas Manning has left in the tank. He’s proved he has more than enough to operate at a high-level. Given that out of the last four games, three of them have seen the offense score more than 30-points, it’s fair to say he’s still capable.
A plan for succession at quarterback for the New York Giants:
My plan is as follows – draft a quarterback in the 2019 NFL draft, whether it’s Justin Herbert or Dwayne Haskins. Allow them to sit behind Manning for as long as possible. If the team struggles, they can always replace Manning at any point. My primary issue is Eli’s cap-hit, which is $23.3 million next season. If the Giants were to cut him he would count just $6.2 million against the cap. They would save $17.1 million by saving him – money that could be allocated to multiple weak spots on the team.
If I were GM Dave Gettleman, I would ultimately demand that Manning takes a pay-cut to help the team. Otherwise, he will be cut and can decide his own future. While this isn’t the most ideal way to go about letting a player that brought two Super Bowls to New York go,Â it’s a business after all. $23.3 million effectively cripples the Giants in some ways, and that money is needed to bolster the quarterback’s protection and a thin defensive secondary.
The bottom line, if Manning ‘isn’t’ willing to take a significant pay-cut, it might be the end of an era, but if he’s willing, the Giants could utilize whatever is left in the tank and sit a rookie first-rounder behind him. Haskins is starting to grow on me, and he’s keen on finding a way to New York. There’s nothing more attractive than a player that truly wants to be great in their home-town.