When Eli Manning was sitting on the bench watching Geno Smith play quarterback for the Giants against the Raiders on December 3, it wasn’t hard to find people who doubted that Manning would get a $5 million bonus for being on the Giants come the fifth day of the 2018 league year.
Things shift quickly in the NFL, though, and the fifth day of the new league year passing without any fanfare around the Giants illustrates that. Manning went from benched to back as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback for the team well before there was any reason to contemplate the Giants moving on without him.
He returned to the starting job the next week after coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese were fired. Any thoughts that Manning might follow them out the door come the offseason went away when incoming General Manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur threw enthusiastic support behind Manning remaining the team’s starter.
Neither man showed much concern about Manning being in decline at 37 years old and Shurmur said he thought the quarterback has multiple years left as a good starter. He’s currently signed through the 2019 season.
That’s shifted the question for the Giants to how long Manning will be in that job and whether to use the second overall pick on his potential successor. With 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb on hand and a spot in the draft that could net a healthy return in a trade, that enthusiasm about Manning could lead the team to focus on other areas in April.