Should the New York Giants have kept Eli Manning for his final season?
Technically, that’s what the team did. Manning is on the roster and played in two games this year, but following the decision to put the rookie draft pick Daniel Jones in, Manning might as well already be retired. There’s no conversation at this point about whether Manning will take the job back – it firmly belongs to Jones, and at this point everyone is just waiting for the season to be over and for Manning to make things official by either being traded or retiring.
The talk right now during the bye week is also about saying farewell to Manning and how the Giants should do it – Manning is supposedly uninterested in getting a last start for ceremonial reasons, even to the extent of being opposed to it and wanting no part of it.
The entire situation, and all the awkwardness around it, could have been avoided however if the Giants made a different decision and kept Daniel Jones on the bench.
Of course, Jones has been a decent young quarterback this season, but his play hasn’t been without flaws, and his fumbling problem has moved from being a flaw that can be overlooked to something that’s a danger to his team each and every game – with no ball security, there’s no telling if a Giants drive is going to end with Jones giving up the ball to the other team, and maybe even giving them a touchdown or good field position with it.
And in general, it’s not great for a young quarterback to have to play in a situation like this, where there’s immense pressure to win from the infamous New York media, but not much talent on the roster and not much help from a poor coaching staff.
The Giants could have kept Manning around for one more season, kept Jones on the bench and given him time to learn with no pressure, and then brought him in after changes are made during the offseason and there’s a better chance to win. In doing so, they’d also avoid the awkwardness that comes from giving an exit like this to a franchise legend.
Jones hasn’t been that much better than Manning, anyway – not on a consistent basis, which is understandable, but doesn’t help the Giants.
What’s done is done and it’s impossible to go back, but at the end of the day, anyone pondering the situation has to ask themselves one specific question: just what has benching Eli Manning done for the Giants, who still only have two wins well into the second half of the season despite moving on?