Eli Manning says it's not his job to mentor young QB, but he's still willing to help

The Eli Manning era isn't over in New York quite yet, but it appears to be nearing its end. Like most endings in sports, it could get awkward.

After a tumultuous season that involved a maligned benching decision that ended his historic starting streak, Manning still appears to be in the Giants' 2018 plans, but his long-term future remains in doubt. The Giants find themselves in a time of transition and hold the second pick in the draft, which means they could draft Manning's successor this year, which could lead to an awkward situation in the quarterback room. If that happens, Manning could get traded.

Or he might be asked to serve as a mentor to the Giants' quarterback of the future. Except, that's not quite how Manning would see the situation. 

On Friday, Manning explained why he doesn't believe it's his job to mentor a younger quarterback. Don't worry, he's not going to ignore the other quarterbacks in the room. 

"It's not your job to mentor somebody, but I wouldn't look at it as that role," Manning said, per ESPN's Jordan Raanan. "I would look at it as it's my job to prepare and compete and be ready to play each and every game. In that process, you're always talking football, helping out the other guys in the room, whether it's Davis Webb this year or Geno [Smith] or guys over the years. You always have back and forth. You're always helping them out. Nothing changes."

As he said above, that doesn't mean he won't help his fellow quarterbacks. Besides, by now he's already well accustomed to working with younger quarterbacks, as the Giants have used draft picks on two quarterbacks -- Webb and Ryan Nassib -- in the past five drafts.

"Every year, you've got backup quarterbacks, and they're usually going to be younger than you," Manning said. "I'm used to that, and it's always about helping the other guys in the room and having great communication, great conversations. That won't be a big deal, just always want to help the younger guys learn as quickly as possible, and when they're in there, plan to play at a high level."

At this point in his career, Manning has every right to be more focused on extending his own career than worrying about the long-term future of the Giants. He's 37 and in the final years of his career. He's coming off a season that saw him throw 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and average 6.1 yards per attempt. His passer rating? 80.4.

Even still, it sounds like new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is going to ride with Manning in the short-term. He came away impressed when he watched his film.

"I had an opportunity to watch [Manning's film] because the quarterback is the most important position on the team," Gettleman said last month, via the team's website. "At the end of the day, it wasn't a mirage. It was not a mirage."

He's also not committed to using his first-round pick on a quarterback for the sake of taking a quarterback.

"With the second pick, we're going to take the best player," he said. "They screamed at me in Carolina, 'You've got to draft a tackle, you've got to draft a tackle.' If the value's not there when you pick, you're going to make a mistake. You'll make a mistake. We're going to set ourselves up so that we can take the best player available. And if the best player available is a quarterback, then that's what we're going to do."

Gettleman added: "If you take a guy just to take a guy, especially at the quarterback position, and he fails, you set yourself back five years. You set yourself back five years because there are teams that are in what I call quarterback hell. They've got quality defense, they've got a good special teams, and they're going 7-9, 8-8, 9-7. And now if there is a legitimate guy, they've got to trade up and give away the farm to get the guy."

None of this guarantees that Manning will be around in 2018. The Giants could find a trade partner once the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes is over. They could even release him after June 1 and absorb a $6.2 million cap hit. But for now, Manning appears to be the starter in New York.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories