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Giants QB Eli Manning on a short leash as Daniel Jones waits for opportunity

Giants QB Eli Manning on a short leash as Daniel Jones waits for opportunity

The New York Giants made the bold, if not questionable move in drafting a quarterback with the sixth overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. The question for Big Blue is if they got the right guy.

It’s a question that will take a long time to sort out. But for now, especially for fans, it’s the wonderment around how long veteran quarterback Eli Manning has in Gotham. Most concede Manning is the incumbent starter. It’s also a fair question to wonder for just how long.

I mean let’s be serious, does anyone see rookie Daniel Jones taking the starting quarterback snaps come Week 1? The short and long answer is no, unless, of course injury to Manning occurs.

For some strange reason, Giants GM Dave Gettleman is settling into the long range plan that could have Jones sitting behind Manning. A plan that looks great on paper, but not always workable in today’s NFL. Especially if Manning, who has only eight wins over the past two season, continues the downward spiral age often presents.

To his credit, Eli gets the scenario staring him in the face. It’s not a complicated equation, as they didn’t just draft a quarterback, they took one with the sixth overall pick. That’s not the same as taking a flyer on a guy who best fits the needs of the practice squad. Jones is, or is at least supposed to be, the next guy up. Mentorship aside, Manning knows time isn’t on his side.

“I’ve been doing that for the last 11 years, 12 years,” Manning said. “I don’t know when you become a mentor, when that is official. When you’ve been in the league longer than any other guy in the quarterback room, you should be a mentor in that sense where you know a little bit more.”

2019 will be an interesting study in New York. Ideally, the student would hold the clipboard while the veteran guides the first team for a few last runs at a Super Bowl. The problem is that the Giants aren’t a team likely to challenge for anything other than the second division. While a championship run for Manning would be a nice story, it’s just not a probable one.

It’s a quandary for Big Blue. Manning looks to be much closer to the end than a guy wondering if his best days are in the rear-view mirror. While it’s premature to say Eli is a placeholder, like say Case Keenum in Washington, it’s undeniable the sun has already begun setting in New York.

NFL experts, observers, fans all agree that the Giants couldn’t keep waiting on the heir apparent. A serious argument can be made Gettleman was late getting to that conclusion. The other issue is whether Jones is ”the guy” to slide into the role Manning has held since the 2004 NFL Draft. The Lombardi Trophies only buy him a little bit more time, just not much.

The Giants aren’t likely a real player in the NFC East in 2019. The gameplan that Gettleman is hoping goes as planned may not if Eli stumbles out of the block. That said, New York has a schedule that opens with four games Manning has a good chance in.

Big Blue opens at the Cowboys in Week 1, then at home against the Bills in Week 2. They are back on the road to play an interesting team in the Buccaneers, then plays division rival Washington in Week 4.

Anything less than 2-2 will bring out the calls for a change at quarterback. You can book that, absolutely.

If Gettleman is hoping for another season or two from Manning, he better hope his veteran signal-caller is able to keep the Giants in the playoff talk come December. Anything less quickly accelerates their first round pick, the sixth overall, to take control of a team who may not immediately improve with him in the lineup.

Either way, both Manning and Gettleman are playing on borrowed time. The Giants GM would love for his veteran QB to bail him out of a questionable pick, at best. Neither might get what they want no matter how well the intention.