At the 2018 draft, there was the notion the Giants should pick their next quarterback with the No. 2 pick under the premise they wouldn’t be picking at or near the top of the draft again for a very long time. That very long time became the very next season and the 2019 draft.
The Giants didn’t need to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2019 draft, and they certainly didn’t need to use the higher of their two first-round picks on one. Just because they chose to not select the heir to Eli Manning the year before didn’t mean they had to select him this year. But they did.
The Giants threw away any chance to truly contend in 2019 when they used the sixth overall pick on Daniel Jones. After ridding themselves of Damon Harrison, Eli Apple, Landon Collins and Odell Beckham, the Giants used their best asset to draft a player whose position was already filled on the roster. It made no sense from a personnel or salary-cap perspective to both bring back Manning and use the sixth pick in the draft on a quarterback. Their highest-paid player and highest-picked player now played the same position, of which, only one of them could play at a time.
The surprising moment when the Giants reached for Jones to send nearly the entire fanbase into shock meant the end for Manning. At some point, Jones would take over for Manning, sending the most-tenured player in franchise history to the bench for good. When that point will come is unknown, but with every Giants loss it will be called for. If the Giants lose in Dallas in Week 1: “Start Jones!” If the Giants lose to the Bills in Week 2: “Bench Eli!”
Manning is no playing for his career on a week-to-week basis, a 16-game season of one-game playoffs for the 38-year-old quarterback. The only way for Manning to avoid going to the bench in what’s likely his final season in the league is to win and keep on winning as the Daniel Jones era won’t start as long as the Giants are in postseason contention. The only problem is the front office has once again failed to build a team around Manning capable of postseason contention.
For all of the untimely interceptions and frustrating fumbles Manning has provided Giants fans with over the years, ownership and the front office has failed him many more times than he has ever failed them, struggling to consistently build an offensive line for him to play behind and a defense to hold his leads. No matter what the Giants’ problem or problems have been in this recent slide for the franchise, the blame has always been put on Manning, and he has taken it and accepted it when he has been far from the reason to blame. Now the organization is once asking telling him to play for his career without the necessary pieces to do so. The Giants have given Manning an impossible task, setting him up to fail and ensuring Jones will become the Giants’ starting quarterback this season.
I knew this day would come at some point. No one can play forever, and while I still feel Manning is a starting quarterback and still on the same level as his 2004 draft peers, he hasn’t been given the same opportunity to succeed. Ultimately, Manning is taking the fall for the final years of the Tom Coughlin era, the second and final season of the Ben McAdoo era and the disaster that has been the Dave Gettleman-Pat Shurmur era. The Giants have decided the answer to getting back on track and returning to NFL royalty is by pushing Manning out and giving his job away. They have tried everything else from hiring and firing their general manager and head coach, only to bring in equally-as-bad replacements and they have let those equally-as-bad replacements trade away all of their top talent. The Giants’ last out is to now end Manning’s career, and if that doesn’t work, the equally-as-bad replacements will be replaced as well. Giants fans have to accept the fact Jones is going to replace Manning this season. They don’t have to like it, but they have to accept it. Accept it and pray it works out, or in a few years, ownership will replacing Gettleman and Shurmur and drafting a different heir to Manning.
Sunday is the beginning of the end for Manning. A fate which was decided back on April 25 is now nearing its final stages. Each snap Manning takes could be his last as the starting quarterback of New York Giants, and with each loss, the inevitable will grow closer.