Eli Manning celebrates a play in the fourth quarter of...

Eli Manning celebrates a play in the fourth quarter of a game against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 5, 2014 at MetLife Stadium. Credit: Getty Images / Elsa

There is not a scintilla of doubt or a hint of wavering from Eli Manning about how and where he wants his career to end -- in the same place it started a decade ago.

"This is the only franchise I've been a part of, and I think it's the best one,'' Manning said Wednesday after practice. "I don't want anything else but to be here, play here, and win another championship here.''

This may seem like an odd time to ask Manning about his long-term future, particularly after his five-interception meltdown in Sunday's 16-10 loss to the 49ers. Then again, maybe it's a perfectly good time to discuss what happens with him next year and beyond. With the 3-7 Giants in a five-game losing streak, and with Manning coming off a game that brought back disturbing images of last season, questions about his future may be appropriate after all.

Especially after team president John Mara told Newsday's Tom Rock that Manning is "in his prime and still has a lot of good years left. It lifts the whole franchise when you have a quarterback who can play at that level.''

Given the Giants' myriad problems, Manning's future is the least of them. He's about the most reliable thing the team has going for it, Sunday's five picks notwithstanding. Mara is right about this: Manning still has many good years left, and having a franchise-caliber passer is a luxury many teams lack. Such as the one that shares MetLife Stadium with the Giants.

So to anyone who would suggest that Manning should not be part of the Giants' continuing rebuilding project is not looking at the reality of today's game. Yet the Giants still have to figure out what to do with him contractually. He's signed through next season, when his salary will be a whopping $17 million.

The Giants could use salary-cap room next year to address important needs at linebacker, offensive line and secondary. So if Mara truly believes Manning has many good years left, then an extension is a good idea. But even if the Giants let him play out the deal, there is still good reason to bring him back for additional years.

If they had conclusive proof that Eli is on the downside at 33, then dumping millions more into his future would be risky. But his problems against the 49ers should be viewed more as aberration than trend.

Manning wants nothing else but to continue as the Giants' quarterback. As he opened up Wednesday, you understood the passion he still has for the game and for his franchise. Even after such a brutal game.

"Football can seem great at times, and you feel like you have the best job in the world, and sometimes, it's tough,'' he said. "But I still feel I've got the best job in the world. I still love the competition of it.''

How long does he want to play?

"Until it's not fun anymore, or I'm hurt or don't feel like I can play at a level that can win games and win championships,'' he said. "I don't know when that point comes, but I guess I'll know it when it does.''

He hopes there is no other team in his future, although he knows anything's possible.

"As you get older and you see your brother -- I never thought Peyton would play for another franchise. I don't think he did, either,'' Eli said. "I'm going to try to do my job and do it well enough where the franchise wants to keep me here.''

Has he done enough to convince the decision makers to keep him around long term?

"Last season was not good and this season, I thought I had been playing better,'' he said. "This last week wasn't good, but hopefully we can get a hot streak and I can play well. But I'm just going to take it one game at a time and let everything else take care of itself.''

And everything will take care of itself, one way or another. Barring a series of awful performances, Manning figures to be around here for a long time.

As he should be.

Mara's right. There are still a lot of good years left for his quarterback.