With Eli Manning being benched this past week by the New York Giants and head coach Ben McAdoo, his future in New York doesn’t look very clear.
The Giants are headed towards a disappointing finish and potentially a Top 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. There’s a very good chance that someone else not named Eli Manning will be the starting quarterback when the 2018 season hits.
Now of course, the Giants could always decide to part ways with Eli Manning after the 2017 season; whether it’s by trade or being released. If the Giants do decide to release their two-time Super Bowl MVP winning quarterback, it’s a $12 million dead cap hit against the Giants.
Would they really absorb that kind of cap hit to cut Eli Manning and let him play elsewhere? That’s why the Giants have gone in their current direction to see what they have with Geno Smith and eventually, Davis Webb. Although most think the Giants will either draft the likes of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen in April, which makes Manning’s future in East Rutherford a question mark.
If Eli were to get released or is able to get a trade offer, his best opportunity for success is to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars and take over their starting quarterback role.
During the season, there was already a some buzz about the Jaguars possibly landing Manning at the trade deadline, but Eli Manning shot down those rumors with his desire to remain with the Giants. That was before he got benched. The rumor is now that Eli Manning is definitely looking elsewhere to resume his NFL career.
The Jaguars are likely to break away from Blake Bortles, who is due $19 million for the 2018 season. But it won’t cost Jacksonville anything to release him after this season, thus, making his departure likely.
Add in the fact that Bortles hasn’t been very good and it makes sense for the Jaguars to look elsewhere for a quarterback.
You can also throw in the Tom Coughlin factor into this equation, as it’s one of the most obvious reasons why Eli Manning has even been mentioned and linked in the past to the Jaguars. Coughlin was the Giants head coach for both Super Bowls that Eli Manning won in 2007 and 2011. Up until the 2015 season, Tom Coughlin was the only head coach Eli Manning ever played for in his NFL career and have a very close relationship.
With Coughlin now running the Jaguars as the team’s vice president of football operations, it would make perfect sense for him to lure his old quarterback to Jacksonville for the 2018 season. Whether it would be as a free agent or if Coughlin would have to trade for him, it makes perfect sense on that side.
The main reason why the Jaguars are definitely a fit for Eli Manning; they’re now a contender. It’s strange to say that after watching the Jaguars be a perennial losing team over the last 10 years. But after a decade of losing, the Jaguars are likely making the postseason in 2017 and have a lot of young talent to contend again in 2018.
With an offense that features Leonard Fournette, Allen Hurns, Marquise Lee and when he returns from injury, Allen Robinson, the Jaguars offense is loaded with weapons for Eli Manning to succeed. Throw in the fact that the Jaguars also have one of the NFL’s top ranked defenses and the Jaguars have made themselves into a place that is now attractive to play for.
If the Jaguars do make the playoffs and fall short, it makes even more sense for them to pursue Manning in the off-season, as he could end up being the final piece needed for their team and maybe that final piece they could use to make a deep postseason run.
There is still a lot that can happen between now and the off-season to determine Eli Manning’s future. But if he were to leave the Giants after 14 seasons, he’ll have options as far as where he wants to play in 2018.
The Jaguars will make the most sense for him, as they will have the most to gain with his presence there.