What Will New York Giants Look Like When Eli Manning is 40?

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning announced that he wants to play in the NFL for another four years, but will real life comply?

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The following article has been culled from my New York Giants team coverage at Pro Football Spot.

This week, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning made a statement to the press. The statement is pretty innocuous when looked at from an impartial mind space. Manning said he thinks he can play another four years in the NFL. His body feels good; his enthusiasm remains high. There is nothing within himself to indicate he can’t reach this goal.

That is a sensible way of looking at his end career. He hopes to play a few more years (in this case, four) because he feels good and still has it. Good for him. But in four years, Manning will be 40 years old. That age has some importance to the statement and surely had some impact on the years remaining chosen by Manning. He wants to be a 40-year-old NFL quarterback.

Yet Manning’s continued existence is only one portion of this equation. What would the Giants even look like if Manning was still behind center in four year’s time?

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NFL contracts and NFL careers aren’t very long on average. Manning is very much the exception. The exercise of extrapolating out a roster four years down the road is completely foolish. 80-100 percent of the roster could be different.

Taking a look at the key pieces, though, starts with Manning himself. He isn’t even under contract beyond his age-39 season. That means New York (or another franchise) would have to give a 39-year-old Manning a new deal. 2020 would also represent the final year under contract for now-rookie QB Davis Webb. In this scenario, Webb will have gotten zero NFL starts during his first contract, heading into unrestricted free agency.

Assuming Odell Beckham Jr. receives an extension before next season, he will be under contract in ’20. He will also be very lonely. Outside of the 2017 rookies and the ones yet to be drafted, Beckham, Janoris Jenkins, and the defensive line will be all that remains.


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It’s interesting to see that the entire starting defensive line (assuming you slot Dalvin Tomlinson into the second tackle spot) will still be on the team four years from now. That, of course, also ignores possible releases years from now as players age out of usability. But it also underscores how New York wanted to build this roster. The secondary and defensive line highlight the defense for years to come. On offense, star players and Manning are what the front office wants to build around. Re-upping OBJ is the next step in that process.

Ironically, unless Manning has a rebound season here in 2017, no one inside or outside the organization will be looking forward to paying him four years down the line. He isn’t on the level of Tom Brady in that regard, Super Bowl matchups not withstanding. So he may feel like his body and mind will be ready at age 40, but that’s no guarantee his team will be just as ready to use him.



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Todd Salem is a Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also the New York Giants Lead Writer at Pro Football Spot, a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, and a Featured Columnist at College Sports Madness, among others. Follow him on Twitter.



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