New York Giants: Without Eli Manning, Gettleman has limited QB options

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 23: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants jogs off of the field following the 28-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 23: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants jogs off of the field following the 28-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Moving forward, classify the ongoing quarterback saga as a self-fulfilling prophecy for the New York Giants.

When it comes to addressing the future quarterback situation of the New York Giants, general manager Dave Gettleman clearly took a step backwards at Wednesday’s press conference. To recap, in one breath, Gettleman reaffirmed that drafting running back Saquon Barkley the right move for the franchise, and in the next breath, explained that his quarterback situation was still fluid.

Gettleman is well within his rights to defend his draft selections, and in fact, it would be shocking to hear him say anything but what he said about Barkley. On the other hand, the decision to select Barkley was essentially tie-barred to the future commitment, made after the 2017 season, to veteran quarterback Eli Manning.

So Gettleman cannot reasonably claim victory with the Barkley selection, while summarily dismissing an unsettled quarterback situation. Any reasonable person would conclude that the original Manning commitment had to entail multiple seasons.

If it didn’t, why else do it?

In reality, Gettleman created the current situation, which played out like many, if not most, thought it would. Barkley always seemed to be a perfect plug-in and play contributor at running back, and we certainly saw that. And Manning’s play had been declining under the previous two head coaches.

These developments are anything but shocking.

Unsurprisingly, Gettleman now find himself stuck between a rock and a hard-place, as evidenced by his answer to a question if he’s “committed” to Eli Manning in 2019.

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Per the team’s official website:

"“I’m committed to making the best decision in the interest of the New York Football Giants. That’s what I’m committed to do. We’re in the evaluation process. I know that you guys want answers now, but very frankly, I didn’t come in yesterday. I’ve got to do what I do, which is get in my office and watch film. We’re going to meet this week with the coaches and get their evaluation, we’ll meet next week with pro personnel and get their evaluations, and get their feelings on everything. That’s our schedule, and I will be watching film for the next who knows how long until my eyes bleed. That’s what I do. So, my commitment is to make this team the best team it can be and if that happens to have Eli playing quarterback, it does.”"

Honestly, under the current circumstances that’s the best answer Gettleman can supply to fans and media. Franchise quarterbacks don’t grow on trees, and there always is a supply-and-demand issue with them. The demand for these players always outstrips the supply of them.

Given the current circumstances, you have to ask yourself, would the New York Giants be better off with Teddy Bridgewater, for example, under center than with Manning?

No one can answer that question for sure, but if they gamble on Bridgewater and lose (he hasn’t been a regular since 2015), then it sets the entire program back at least two years. And those years represent prime ones for Barkley.

How about Nick Foles?

Foles, well, he won’t come to Gotham any cheaper than Manning. You’d have to figure somewhere around $20 to $22 million in salary for a 30-year old signal-caller. And does he represent a long-term solution?

The Baltimore Ravens are likely to part ways with Joe Flacco. But Flacco turns 34-years old this month, and statistically, he’s no better than Manning. In fact, the skill-set that each possesses is eerily similar. Does he really represent an upgrade, or is he just an alternative to Manning-fatigue?

With these guys, are the Giants ready to compete for a playoff spot next year anyway? If not, then we pivot to the untried and untested rookie crop.

How about Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins?

Here again, if Gettleman wasn’t in love with Sam Darnold prior to last year’s draft, what sets Haskins apart from the New York Jets’ man under center? Plus, with the dearth of quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft, there’s no certainty that Haskins remains available for the New York Giants with the No. 6 overall selection.

Haskins, in many ways, seems to be a roll-of-the-dice for a franchise that doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite for that.

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

As for other potential draft picks like Ryan Finley (N.C. State), Drew Lock (Missouri) or Daniel Jones (Duke), there are no assurances that any of these guys will pan out in the professional game. Less risk if you grab one with a second-round or third-round draft pick, but these high round picks are the life blood of any successful NFL franchise. They shouldn’t be gambled away needlessly (see Webb, Davis).

And regardless of which collegiate player we’re talking about, for 2019, Manning still represents the best option for the team.

Also, we haven’t gotten into the saga of rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta. Based solely upon the optics, it doesn’t look good for the rookie out of Richmond. He doesn’t possess a high-level skill set to begin with, and he looked completely overwhelmed in his only appearance against the lowly Washington Redskins.

His traffic stop arrest doesn’t help his cause either.

It’s interesting that Gettleman alluded to his watching of game film, and it certainly was inferred that he’d be watching video of Manning over the next several weeks in order to gauge performance. Gettleman is simply slow-walking this decision to buy himself time.

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Let’s be real. Seeing Manning live and in-person provided Gettleman enough of a sample size to absolutely know what he has under center. If Gettleman finds that Manning is his best, or only alternative, at quarterback for the New York Giants heading into 2019, then surely the game film study will have unveiled many previous unseen positive aspects of his game throughout the 2018 season.