New York Giants co-owner John Mara said Wednesday he would like to have quarterback Eli Manning back next season, though he acknowledged other factors would weigh in any decision, per Albert Breer of NFL.com:
Albert Breer @AlbertBreer
Asked if he wants Eli Manning back in 2018, Giants owner John Mara said, “Yes.” Allowed that obviously new GM and coach will be involved, and a QB could be drafted.2017-12-13 18:55:39
Manning, 36, has spent his entire career with the Giants and served as the team's starter since November of his rookie season of 2004. He was benched for a game in Week 13 this year, though the backlash to that move was so severe the Giants reinstated him as the starter a week later. Both head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese were fired the next week, though Mara said the Manning benching didn't play a part in that decision.
"2-10 is 2-10," he told reporters of the team's record at the time, adding: "We've kind of been spiraling out of control. I just felt like we needed a complete overhaul."
Now 2-11, the Giants—just one year removed from reaching the playoffs—have underachieved through a miserable season marked by a number of injuries to key players, including superstar wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
After his benching, Manning's future in New York—or in the NFL, period—was called into question.
"There's no sense speculating," Manning's father, Archie Manning, said of his son's future after the benching, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. "If he's still there, we don't know what their future plans are, if other people are there. And you have no idea what other teams will think of a 37-year-old quarterback. You don't have any idea.
"Eli might say, 'I've had enough. I'm feeling good. I've got a beautiful wife, three little girls, I'm healthy. And that's it.' So there's no sense speculating."
Eli Manning said he plans on playing next season after his father's comments. Whether he returns to the Giants is another story.
As Mara hinted, the team's next head coach and general manager may want to go in a different direction at quarterback, especially considering the Giants will have a top-five pick in the NFL draft and could target a potential incoming rookie quarterback like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen.
Manning could also decide he's ready to move on from the team after its circus of a season and the decision to bench him, ending his streak of 210 consecutive starts.
Mara may want Manning back, but it's fair to question the veteran quarterback's future in New York.