Will Arch Manning eventually be the next quarterback to pull an Eli?

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It rarely happens. As explained in Playmakers, it should happen more often.

The best prospects in any given draft, destined to be selected by a potentially hapless franchise, should always consider making a power play in the hopes of landing with a better team. In the past 40 years, however, it’s only happened twice: John Elway in 1982, and Eli Manning in 2004. (In 1986, Bo Jackson told the Buccaneers to not make him the first overall pick. They did anyway. He played baseball before the Raiders took a seventh-round flier on Bo the following year.)

So with the next Manning up recently choosing to play college football at the University of Texas, it’s not too early (OK, maybe it is) to wonder whether Arch will be the next guy to say to the team that has failed its way to the top of the draft, “No thanks.”

Players are reluctant to do it. Fans and media instantly vilify anyone who dares to in any way buck the honor-and-privilege of the NFL’s version of the sorting hat. Some consider it. Few do it.

Eli was able to do it in large part because his father, Archie, provided cover for him. With Archie, a former NFL standout who would have been a Hall of Famer if he hadn’t been drafted by and stuck with a perennially pathetic franchise, making the case for Eli not playing for the Chargers, Eli emerged from the effort with minimal scars to his reputation.

But make no mistake about it. Eli didn’t want to play for the Chargers. He opted out in large part because he was getting mixed signals about whether the team really wanted him. That’s no surprise, given the extreme dysfunction that prevailed between G.M. A.J. Smith and coach Marty Schottenheimer. So Eli took a stand, and it worked.

If Arch, thanks to a combination of NFL genes and access to Archie, Eli, and Peyton, emerges as the top pick in whichever draft Arch enters, why not take a hard look at whether signing with the team that has sucked its way to the top pick puts his career between a rock and a hard place?

If he thinks it’s the right thing for him to do, he should. Every clear-cut top pick, especially at the quarterback position, should do it. Don’t you think that at some point last season (or at multiple points), Trevor Lawrence asked himself why he didn’t refuse to go to the Jaguars? Even with Urban Meyer gone, the first year of Lawrence’s career was largely wasted. While things could indeed work out well for him, he could be better off if he’d landed somewhere else.

It’s too late for Lawrence. It won’t be too late for Arch Manning. And if/when Archie, Peyton, Eli, and/or Cooper launch a private and/or public campaign to get the team with the first pick to not take Arch or to pick him and then trade him, it won’t be easy for that team to refuse. Especially as more NFL teams seem to gradually be evolving in the direction of, as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin puts it, seeking volunteers and not hostages.

The issue won’t be relevant until Arch emerges at a top prospect in the draft he enters. But that day will be here before you know it. When it comes, Arch could be the next in a too-short-line of short-list prospects who push back against a system that gives them no say in where they will live, work, and play.

However it plays out, it shouldn’t be something that happens once every 22 years.

54 responses to “Will Arch Manning eventually be the next quarterback to pull an Eli?

  1. It’s my belief that this very same thing happened this year with Aiden Hutchinson, as it makes sense that he would rather play in his homestate than for the Jacksonville Dumpsterfires and likely told them so, forcing them to reach with their #1 pick.

  2. There’s a reason it doesn’t happen often, and shouldn’t happen at all.

    High draft picks offer hope for improvement to losing teams and their fans. Without that hope, the fanbase dries up, and when that happens, the entire league suffers.

    There are few things that do more long-term damage to the NFL than mercenary rookies pulling the rug out from under long-suffering fanbases who thought they would finally have a chance for a turnaround.

  3. The Chargers did get Rivers in that trade along with a kicker and a pick used on Merriman.
    They were pretty good in the mid 2000’s.
    The NIL has changed everything, Arch may have surpassed Peyton in earnings by the time he “graduates” college.

  4. Ah yes the sad story of the NFL quarterback. A terrible job that no one sees, or appreciates. The monetary benefits are questionable, a backup probably can’t even afford to fund an army of mercenaries to take over a sweet tropical island for them. How can any of them possibly thrive without an angry father with an axe to grind against a particular franchise?
    Tldr: yes it must suck to have to move somewhere you have not considered to be paid more in a year than most will make in a lifetime. Bummer

  5. I was a little surprised Lawrence didn’t make a move. As foe this kid, let’s see him play 1st. Wouldn’t be the 1st stud to flame out.

  6. His choice of college is to a program which has struggled in recent years and not produced an upper echelon qb for an even longer spell. Kinda like a dress rehersal for his likely future nfl draft path unless he takes the steps alluded to in this article.

  7. The Patrick Mahomes/Andy Reid combo is likely the best pairing of its sort; however, Mahomes was not the number one pick, so some maneuvering was available. Arch Manning will not have that latitude, so we should not be surprised to a lot of activity among the teams, as well as from the Manning camp.

  8. He could also see who has the top pick after his Jr year and opt to play his senior year if the top team is the browns or some other hapless franchise like the Commanders… then make a power play after his senior year if necessary…

  9. You are right, Mike; this should happen more often. Unlike other major sports, football is a dependent sport. If you play Q.B. or R.B., you need a decent Offensive line to block for you. For a Q.B., you also need pass catchers who can catch. It would be best if you had an offensive coordinator who understands your skill set and uses it to the best of your abilities. Also, you technically only play one side, I.E., Offense or defense, unlike other sports where you have more opportunities because you play offense and defense. If you are going to go to a team, then you need to make sure it is an organization that understands this concept and is invested in it. I will flex my power if you are called a can’t-miss prospect.

  10. To head this off the NFL should adopt a 3-tiered draft order determination process. First the non-playoff teams drawn from a pool with equal lots. Then the non-SB playoff teams drawn the same way. Finally the 2 SB teams. Redo this order lottery for each round to mix things up. Finally, make this order drawing after the declaration deadline so it won’t, as much, factor into prospects’ entry decisions. Make the drawing via computer-generated random numbers. Put the first round revealing in a televised and streamed show. Would be a huge ratings getter for the league. Best of all this would negate tanking and reward teams that try hard to win but are stuck in that competitive but not really contenders middle ground. A real incentive for owners to strive for winning not just take the money.

  11. Archie Manning was never close to HOF material, he never made any of his teams better!
    Look at what Joe Burrow has achieved in 2 years!

  12. The team picking first will avoid any questions. They’ll hire whatever coach the Manning’s tell them to hire. And the GM, too. Quite often the team picking first is cleaning house anyway.

  13. This suggests no top pick should sign unless they can play for a bonafide super bowl contender, which is ridiculous. The Chargers are historically a poorly run organization lacking the the football/business expertise needed to win long-term. Most other franchises are in a completely different and better category.

  14. People who rally against rules are super obnoxious. Go start your own league of the rules of this league bother you so much.

  15. Man this is a very bad analysis.

    Elway got away with it because there was an alternative league that could afford to compete with the NFL salary wise (Why do you think think the NFL and AFL wound up merging? And before any know-it-all says “Elway went to the USFL” I know. Know your football history a little better folks). That doesn’t exist anymore.

    Manning got away with it BECAUSE there were 2 top ranked QBs and there was a great deal of discussion about who was better, Manning or Rivers. So in effect the Giants and Chargers swapped picks (1 & 2) and the Giants sweetened the pot.

    Oh yeah and the rookie salary cap makes it easy to sit on reluctant draft picks. And no 20 something year old is walking away from that kind of money.

    So Manning holds NO LEVERAGE.

    And until the new USFL and XFL prove competitive, top flight rookies aren’t going there to have their careers ruined.

  16. Let’s hope Arch can manage better than his uncle’s 117-117 record and 84 passer rating. How that guy managed to keep his starting job all those years is truly mind-boggling.

  17. The Chargers got a boatload of picks … and all the Giants got were those two lousy Superbowls. Thanks Chargers !

  18. Arch Manning needs to show, as a college player, that he is worthy of being drafted in the first place. Aren’t you putting the cart ahead of the horse here?

  19. Elway was also a top baseball prospect and played in the New York Yankees system. He had 3 options. NFL, USFL, MLB. Not to mention he was an Economics major at Stanford. Also, the Colts’ coach at the time was Frank Kush. There was just no way an intelligent person goes to the Colts. Every situation is different.

  20. Sure just rig it to allow all the best teams to get all the best players and continue to turn the NFL into Major League baseball where the Yankees have won 20 million pennants. Yankees, dodgers, Red Sox, etc every year where are the pirates the royals etc? They’ll never be relevant. Good times in MLB… Let’s push the NFL in the same direction.

  21. “The Chargers got a boatload of picks … and all the Giants got were those two lousy Superbowls. Thanks Chargers !”

    I think that is his point. Manning was an ok quarterback and got two Super Bowls because he was on a better team, without the trade he’d have been a journey man.

  22. I adore big brother Payton as an athlete and a human being.

    I despise Eli for this move. Very arrogant of a man WHO HAS NEVER TAKEN AN NFL SNAP to dictate who he does or doesn’t want to play for. I consider him a whiner and huge man-baby. Can’t stand him. IMHO, the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze for him.

  23. Some teams are so dysfunctional now that the #1 pick has to wonder if it’s possible for him to elevate the team. Unless you have ties to the DC area, for example, who would want to go to the Commanders with that horrible ownership and management? Jacksonville is almost as bad. I would be hard-pressed to blame any QB who says he won’t go to those teams.

  24. I don’t know the mannings other than their public persona but the word “entitled” is stuck in my head

  25. How about we let the kid, you know, finish high school before we worry about what he might do in the draft 4 years from now?

  26. MortimerInMiami says:
    June 25, 2022 at 8:59 am
    Archie Manning was never close to HOF material, he never made any of his teams better!
    Look at what Joe Burrow has achieved in 2 years!
    I saw a different player. I thought Archie was just as good as Steve Young, if not better. Archie was a great athlete, too. You’ll remember Steve going to a hapless Tampa Bay team and not looking too good. He didn’t get going until he went to San Francisco and played on that dynasty. Archie was stuck on a horrible Saints team. Had he been drafted by a decent organization like the Steelers, he’d probably be known as one of the great QB’s of all time. The Bengals have a much better roster than those old Saints teams. But also back then the DB’s could mug the receivers all over the field, and the offensive linemen weren’t allowed/encouraged to hold like they are today. We all have opinions and mine isn’t any better than the next guy, but a lot of people on here didn’t see Archie play. That’s why I’m sticking up for him. He was a great QB. Jim Plunkett came out the same year and the same thing happened to him. He was drafted by a dumpster fire New England team and looked lost. It wasn’t until the Raiders signed him that he became a super bowl winner and lived up to his draft position. Archie was better than Plunkett and should have been the #1 pick. Plunkett led Stanford to a Rose Bowl win over that great Ohio State dynasty and Plunkett rose quickly up draft boards. Still, at least half the teams would have picked Archie 1st.

  27. I also wonder if Arch will want to be traded at the end of his NFL career. Will he want to work in the broadcast booth upon retirement?

  28. Ok it’s not like Eli forced himself onto a good Super Bowl contending team. Remember the giants had the 2nd pick so they were a bad team at the time too. The difference was the dysfunctional organization that the chargers was.

  29. Yes, his NIL with all that Texas money will easily have paid a lot more if not double/triple what a top 3 pick would get from the NFL. He will have plenty of money and can tell the perennial loser teams that don’t draft me or I will sit out. I would hate to be the GM that throws away a top pick for nothing. This is the future of the NFL with NIL’s and top players will have some leverage to avoid those bad owners/teams.

  30. Shouldn’t Arch 1) play his final high school season, and then 2) earn playing time at the University of Texas before there’s any speculation about his future as an NFL prospect?

  31. Make every player a free agent every year, even rookies. Keep the cap in place. Problem solved.

  32. “I will die on the hill that Rivers was a better QB than Eli.”

    Two Superbowls … thanks Chargers.

  33. The University of Texas hasn’t had many of its QBs drafted and the only one to truly excel was Bobby Layne, drafted 74 years ago. Hard not to like the perserverance of Colt McCoy and Chris Simms though. And Vince Young did have some good performances. Still, they weren’t even long-time starters let alone franchise QBs. Good luck to Arch.

    Quarterbacks Drafted from the University of Texas
    Year Round Pick Player Name Team
    2021 6 34 218 Sam Ehlinger Colts
    2010 3 21 85 Colt McCoy Browns
    2006 1 3 3 Vince Young Titans
    2003 3 33 97 Chris Simms Buccaneers
    1984 3 24 80 Rick McIvor Cardinals
    1948 1 3 3 Bobby Layne Bears
    1948 3 9 22 Paul Campbell Eagles

  34. No.

    There is a different landscape now.

    If he is any good, he can still get endorsements on the Lions, Jaguars, Browns, Falcons, Titans etc.

  35. Forgot Kosar, ’83.
    Draft is a crapshoot whether its 1st pick or 206th pick, have just as much success by throwing darts at the names on the board.

  36. This is a bad idea. The draft is collectively bargained. Undermining it by dodging certain teams can’t be tolerated. It effectively reduces the league from 32 teams to maybe only 10 teams that players want to play for. That affects competitive balance. This is the most nonsensical argument I’ve heard from Florio.

  37. Your family crest does NOT guarantee you’ll be a success. Kid needs to prove himself in college 1st.

  38. Can the kid at least go to his senior prom before we start plotting his NFL draft holdout strategy?

  39. Arch Manning has yet to throw a pass in Div One football. Let’s refrain from anointing him as a superstar.

  40. This young man is under a lot of pressure! Let us all hope he manages it.

  41. SO top prospects should be able to refuse to play for bad teams and only agree to play for the good teams if they chose to do so? How weak is that

    This is a strange argument to make and if it were common practice as Florio thinks it should be there would be no parity, the draft would be completely undermined, Theres a reason the worst team picks first and the best team picks last in the draft.

  42. For this to work wouldn’t he have to demand none of the bottom 5 or so teams take him? Ultimately, what’s the difference between Jacksonville, Detroit, Cleveland or the Jets? Further, if he manages to position himself that far down, won’t he be giving up millions in first contract now that rookie deals are all slotted based on draft position? Sure if he’s the second coming of Peyton, he’ll make it up. But what if he’s the second coming of Cooper?

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