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Jeff Moeller

Moeller: Eli Manning Coming Back Is No Big Surprise

Neil Miller/NYSD

When the Giants’ announced that Eli Manning would be back with the Giants for the 2019 season, it wasn’t a big surprise.

Yet, Manning’s return certainly will continue to spark enough intrigue with the team over the next two months.

The prevailing feeling coming out of the Meadowlands over the past several months was that Manning would be back for possibly his final season or he could be released to free some cap space.

So, we likely will see the 38-year-old Manning under center this September with Saquon Barkley in the backfield and Odell Beckham Jr. split out to the side.

General manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur recently sent the message that they believe their team can contend in 2019. The Giants splitting their last eight games and giving them a 5-11 final record initially fueled the speculation.

Heading into the upcoming free-agent shopping spree, the Giants are faced with three burning questions – Is Manning the solution past the 2019 season? Who will they seek in free agency? And who will be drafted with the sixth overall pick?

If the Giants’ offensive line continues to become more cohesive and Barkley and Beckham have breakout years behind a steady Manning to either make a playoff run or make the playoffs, would the team entertain the thought of actually resigning their Hall of Fame quarterback for one more season?

That may be a longshot, but it remains a possibility.

According to overthecap.com, the Giants has $26.2 million in cap space in February to sign free agents.

If they shed projected targets such as Jonathan Stewart, Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Connor Barwin among a few others, they could create as much as $40 million. That would give them opportunities to solidify themselves at safety, cornerback, and offensive line for starters.

However, the question to be answered will be at the NFL draft.

Will the Giants either trade up or have the chance to draft Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray or Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins as their next true franchise quarterback to sit behind Manning for a year? There are others, but Murray and Haskins are this year’s can’t-miss prospects.

There also is the theory of drafting an offensive lineman or pass rusher with the sixth pick, and looking to trade up to get Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa or Orgeon’s Justin Herbert in the 2020 draft.

No matter what the final scenario, it will be interesting.

And all the wheels went into motion again when their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback officially was welcomed back this week.


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