Pat Shurmur can't imagine the Giants trading Eli Manning before Tuesday's trade deadline
Manning is one of the Giants' biggest problems but the expectation is that he'll remain with the team for now
Great news for Giants fans who don't want the team to get rid of 37-year-old Eli Manning, who is currently in the middle of one of the worst stretches of his 15-year career. On Tuesday, first-year coach Pat Shurmur was asked if he expected Manning to still be on the roster after next Tuesday's trade deadline.
"Yes, I do. I think Eli will be our quarterback," Shurmur told reporters during a conference call following Monday night's 23-20 loss to the Falcons that dropped the team to 1-6. "He has been, and he'll continue to be here."
Worth noting: Manning has a no-trade clause that "he almost certainly isn't waiving," according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.
"I haven't thought about the trade scenario and hey, this organization is the only team I played for and only thing I know," Manning told WFAN on Tuesday, via NorthJersey.com's Art Stapleton. "I love the Giants. It's hard to imagine being with another organization."
This no doubt causes great consternation to a majority of the fan base, many of whom wanted the team to take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in last April's draft. Instead, the Giants selected running back Saquon Barkley, who has been just about the only bright spot on an otherwise dismal team. But Barkley can't put the organization on his back and will them to victory like, say, a franchise quarterback might.
Meanwhile, Manning has been so bad this season that there have been repeated calls for him to be benched for rookie fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta. Maybe that happens -- Ben McAdoo benched Manning for Geno Smith late last season -- though it seems unlikely, at least in the near term.
We wrote last week what a post-Manning Giants team might look like. There's obviously the draft -- and we've had the Giants targeting Oregon's Justin Herbert for some time now in our mock drafts -- but what happens if Herbert decides to return to school?
The Giants would look for a short-term solution through free agency -- assuming, of course, they'd move on from Manning.
Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor and Josh McCown headline the top quarterbacks whose contracts expire after the 2018 season. Neither Taylor nor McCown would be a viable option but Bridgewater, who had a strong preseason with the Jets before he was traded to the Saints, would be interesting. Questions about his durability would be the biggest reason not to sign him though other names could find their way to the free-agency list once the season ends.
We're speculating here, but one of those names might be Joe Flacco. He is scheduled to count $28.3 million against the salary cap in 2019 and $24.3 million in 2020, according to Spotrac. Given that he's 33, hasn't been good in recent seasons before this one, and that the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson in the first round last April, it's reasonable to think that the club might be willing to move on from Flacco after the season, particularly if he's not interested in taking a substantial pay cut.
Remember: Flacco ranked no higher than 26th in value per play among all passers from 2015-17, but he still has one of the league's best arms, is surprisingly mobile for his size, and has proven this season that if he's surrounded by talented skill-position players he can flourish. Guess what: The Giants have Odell Beckham, Jr., Evan Engram and Barkley. The offensive line desperately needs to be retooled (again), but that can be addressed in free agency and the later rounds of the draft.
That we're talking up Flacco as a solution to the Giants' quarterback problem should tell you all you need to know.
For now Shurmur wants fans to know that, even at 1-6, the Giants aren't quitting on a season, even if it's all but over.
"We're not throwing in the towel," he said. "There's no balancing act in my mind. I'm worried about the team today, and what we need to do to get ready to play Washington. There's no balance there, but I'm always a part of the discussions as we work to get the roster the way it's going to be this week, and certainly thinking about the future."
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