Eli Manning is no longer starting quarterback of the Giants — at least heading into this weekend's game against the Oakland Raiders — but after a long and successful stint in New York Manning apparently isn't ready to hang his cleats up just yet.
For all intents and purposes, the Giants have moved on from him by naming Geno Smith the starter heading into the Oakland game. Manning was given the opportunity to start but apparently declined when head coach Ben McAdoo couldn't guarantee he'd finish the game. New York wants to get a good, long look at Smith and third-stringer Davis Webb over the Giants' last few games, which means that the Manning era in New York — which produced two Super Bowl wins — should soon come to an end.
Manning is no spring chicken at 36-years-old and he's been in the league since the 2004 season, but like his brother Peyton Manning before him, Eli doesn't seem to be afraid to leave his long-time franchise in order to find someplace to thrive for the final years of his career.
In fact, according to a report from Dan Graziano of ESPN, Manning thinks there are several options out there for him in the wide world of NFL free agency:
Here's Graziano, who shed a ton of light on the Manning situation in his report:
"Manning still wants to play and believes there are several potential landing spots for next year where he could jump in and be the starter. I was told he's "been hit pretty hard by this," so it's too soon to know his plans for sure, but the feeling around the situation is that he wouldn't want his career to end like this."
Manning is justified in thinking that there would still be options for him as an NFL starter. He may not be the quarterback of old, but he's still an experienced, Super Bowl-winning quarterback who could provide a nice short-term boost for a franchise in between quarterbacks and looking for a more than serviceable stop gap.
He likely has a few more years of decent-to-good football ahead of him, and just like with Peyton, if he can go somewhere with a great defense and a good surrounding cast, Eli Manning could still get it done.
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