The process of determining Eli Manning’s future with the Giants has begun.
The quarterback met with new general manager Dave Gettleman last Friday at the team’s offices, a source confirmed to Newsday. No resolution came from the conversation, which lasted about 45 minutes, but it undoubtedly will set the tone for what could be an offseason of transition at a position that has been a source of Giants stability for the past 14 seasons.
The New York Post was the first to report the meeting.
It certainly was not the first conversation between the two. Gettleman was the Giants’ director of pro personnel in 2004 when the Giants drafted Manning, and he remained with the club through 2012. This was, however, their first lengthy chat about Manning’s immediate future.
This is the first time in his career that Manning is encountering an offseason without certainty that he’ll be returning to the Giants. The team is unlikely to release the 37-year-old outright; he still has two years and $22 million remaining on his contract. They could, however, consider trading the two-time Super Bowl MVP if they believe that a rookie they select with the second overall pick in April’s draft can replace him as the franchise quarterback.
Manning has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he’d have to sign off on such a move. In fact, he might instigate a trade himself if he is uncomfortable with the situation.
“I have so much respect for him that obviously I would take that into consideration,” co-owner John Mara said on Nov. 29 of a potential request from Manning to be traded.
That was at a point when the relationship between Manning and the Giants seemed irreparable. It was immediately after the announcement that Manning would be benched for the Dec. 3 game against the Raiders in favor of Geno Smith. Head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese were fired in the wake of that game, Manning was reinstated as the starter, and the bond between player and organization began to heal.
By the time the 2017 season ended a month later, Manning said his preference was to return.
“I want to play quarterback for the New York Giants, that’s what I hope happens,” he said. “Obviously, we’ll talk and figure out what’s the plan for the franchise going forward.”