As he heads towards free agency without any guarantee of a starting job in 2020, Eli Manning could next look towards retirement.
The New York Giants quarterback who led the franchise to two historic victories over the New England Patriots in two different Super Bowls is likely headed towards retirement, according to Paul Schwartz of The New York Post:
“The grind is behind him. Eli Manning can now be a suburban New Jersey Gentleman Farmer, doting on his wife and four children, starting a new and more leisurely chapter of his life, at 39 years old. There is no compelling reason for him to don a helmet ever again, and all signs indicate he is headed for a quiet and deserved retirement.”
Manning’s Time as Giants Starter is Over
Manning completed the 2019 season as the backup to rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. The 39-year-old Manning played and started in just four games during the 2019 campaign — his fewest since his rookie season in 2004 — and threw for six touchdowns against five interceptions.
The Giants are clearly in a rebuilding mode as they fired incumbent head coach Pat Shurmur and hired Joe Judge — who is actually nearly a year younger than Manning.
Manning made it clear at the end of the season that if he continues to play, he wants to be the starter. He also openly expressed how it wasn’t fun being a backup to Jones. In other words, being a veteran backup or mentor to a younger quarterback would not entice Manning to return to the Giants or to sign with another NFL team.
Giants Owner Leaving Door Open For Return
Giants co-owner John Mara commented that he’s not sure what Manning wants to do. However, he did say he’s giving Manning time to think of his decision to return or not.
“I don’t think he’s fully decided yet what he wants to do,’’ Mara said. “And I’ve told him just take his time, think about it some more and then come back and see me again.’’
Manning also made it clear that he’s not interested in coaching. A role that he felt that he took on during his most recent season with the Giants.
Long story short, Manning has two options: either retire or find a job as a starting quarterback elsewhere.
Via Jordan Raanan of ESPN:
“I don’t think so,” Manning said of coaching football. “I felt like I was a coach this year and I didn’t enjoy it that much.”
“That’s the first decision, whether I want to continue to play or not,” Manning told the media. “I’ll just try to figure it out. I think I can still play.”
As mentioned by Schwartz, there really is no compelling reason for Manning to continue his career. He has two Super Bowl rings, two Super Bowl MVPs and has played his entire career in one uniform. Not even his brother, Peyton, can lay claim to that.
Heck, he even won his last start against the Miami Dolphins in Week 15. Not a bad way to go out if this was his last-ever game.