As the Giants move forward with Daniel Jones at quarterback, the move needs to be unequivocal, unconditional, and irreversible. Otherwise, the development of Jones could suffer.
For that reason, it could make sense for the Giants to sever ties with Eli Manning.
Earlier today, we suggested a retirement that would entail Manning getting a chunk of the remaining $10.4 million in 2019 base salary. If Manning isn’t interested in that, the Giants should seriously consider simply cutting the cord on Eli and moving on. Even if it means paying him the full amount of the remaining $10.4 million he’s owed.
Yes, they screwed up. They should have cut Manning before Week One, avoiding the $11.5 million in base salary that became guaranteed as Termination Pay once the regular season began. But they shouldn’t risk screwing up Daniel Jones by having Eli hovering over Jones’ shoulder as Jones tries to reach his potential as quickly as possible.
The Giants already made their $11.5 million mistake by keeping Eli on the team. They will potentially make it worse by keeping Eli around while trying to develop Jones. Absent a clear and complete and unmistakable commitment by Eli to embrace his new role and by the team to not waver and waffle and bench Jones for Eli later in the year, Eli should have no place on the roster, now that the Giants have made Jones the starter.
Even if Eli is all in and the team will treat Jones as QB1 and Eli as QB2 with no chance of further flip-flopping, the media, the fans, and certain high-profile members of the Manning family could clamor for Eli to be reinstalled as the team’s quarterback, if Jones struggles. While Jones may have the mental toughness to withstand those catcalls, it would be better for them to not happen at all.
They won’t happen if Eli isn’t on the team. The best play for the Giants, now that the quarterback of the future is the present starter, is to turn a half-measure into a full-blown removal of Eli Manning from the organization.