By Jason Keidel
» More Columns
Valentine’s Day isn’t the time to talk about breaking up with someone you’ve loved for 14 years, but …
Should the Giants consider saying goodbye to Eli Manning? We all saw the P.R. mud flung at Big Blue for benching Manning after the season was lost — especially when Geno Smith was the alternative. But there’s a big difference between benching and trading someone. The former is embarrassing and emasculating, just poor form on every level. The latter at least says you have value.
New Giants general manager Dave Gettleman says he’s still sold on Manning and that he will play at least one more year at the Meadowlands. Is that his true sentiment, or just a way to spike his trade value? The positives are the Jacksonville Jaguars, the subject of Manning trade rumors in October, are ready to win now, having reached the AFC title game last month. And, of course, Jaguars personnel czar Tom Coughlin knows Manning better than anyone.
The problem is the Giants won’t have much leverage because the Jaguars know the only other place tailor-made for Manning’s age, skills and salary is Jacksonville. Other than maybe Minnesota, where else would Eli take his talents? But the Vikings came within one game of the Super Bowl with Case Keenum, who is way younger and likely cheaper. Then they have to decide what to do with their healing backups, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, before even looking outside the organization.
MORE: LISTEN: MMQB’s Klemko Breaks Down Pros And Cons Of Baker Mayfield Joining Giants, Jets
Another possible problem is there’s another younger option on the market who will cost clubs nothing more than money. If the Vikings, Jaguars or any contender want someone under center well beyond 2018, they may court Kirk Cousins rather than Manning. Of course, Cousins doesn’t have Manning’s resume or reputation as a big-game quarterback. But surely there are more teams interested in Cousins, who’s seven years younger than Manning. (Denver seems to be the top contender for Cousins’s services.) Still, Manning is the better fit for one year, for one team, looking to make one big run.
Or the Giants can roll the dice with new coach Pat Shurmur, newly minted offensive coordinator and QB coach Mike Shula and see how far…