Eli Manning’s benching by the New York Giants sent shockwaves through the NFL. The team announced Tuesday that Manning would not start for the first time in 13 years, with former Jet Geno Smith taking his place behind center.
Many expect this to spell the end of Manning’s tenure in New York despite him having two more years on his contract.
As speculation heated up as to where he could end up in 2018, the two-time Super Bowl MVP received a job offer from an unlikely source.
“We’d take him in a second,” CBS CEO Les Moonves told TMZ Sports.
Moonves was out to dinner with broadcasting legend Al Michaels and both spoke glowingly of Manning. When asked if Manning has a future in broadcasting, Michaels responded, “Absolutely.”
A Giants quarterback becoming a broadcaster is certainly nothing new. Phil Simms and the man Manning replaced, Kurt Warner, are employed by CBS and the NFL Network, respectively. Even backups like Danny Kanell and Jesse Palmer are TV analysts.
It was just a few months ago that another NFC East quarterback left the field for the booth when the Cowboys’ Tony Romo joined CBS. Manning has given no indication that he’s thinking about retiring, however, and he doesn’t have the lengthy injury history that Romo had.
Manning has started 210 consecutive games at quarterback, which is the second-longest streak in NFL history, trailing only Brett Favre (297). It was just two weeks ago that Eli passed brother Peyton (208) for second-most consecutive starts.
It doesn’t make much sense for Manning to have his streak ended this week only for him to start for New York later in the season. Manning is expected to serve as the backup to Smith this week but may be demoted to the No. 3 quarterback so rookie Davis Webb can get an opportunity as the starter.
Even with Manning clearly no longer the present or the future of the organization, he handled his benching with pure class.
@BobPapa_NFL & I just took a break from our radio show to grab a coffee to see only 2 @Giants players in the cafeteria. It was Eli Manning sitting next to Davis Webb mentoring him #Respect #Character #Selfless
— David Diehl (@davediehl66) November 29, 2017
Manning showed up early to Giants practice Wednesday to help mentor the guy who could eventually take his job. Webb was drafted in the third round this year and is the highest-drafted quarterback for the Giants since they traded for Manning in 2004.
As for Manning’s football future, two logical spots are in Jacksonville and in Denver.
Manning’s former coach, Tom Coughlin, is the vice president of football operations for the Jaguars, and they boast one of the best running games and defenses in the NFL. The timing also makes sense as current Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles has a club option for 2018 that can be declined by the team.
The Broncos struck gold with Peyton Manning when he became available after the 2011 season, and they could go after his little brother after this season. Peyton also still lives in the Denver area, and the team has shuffled quarterbacks since he retired after the 2015 season.
There’s also the possibility that the Giants could realize that Eli Manning isn’t the problem. They could opt to clean house with coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese while Manning returns to the only team he’s ever known (outside of the hour he spent as a Charger).
That is probably the least likely to happen, but most were thinking the same thing a week ago when the prospects of benching Manning were brought up.
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