NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Giants may select a quarterback early in this spring’s draft, but it doesn’t sound like they are ready to turn over the most important position on the field to a kid.
Or to a veteran not currently on the roster.
Head coach Pat Shurmur confirmed on Wednesday what has been reported by numerous outlets: the Giants are prepared to have Eli Manning back in 2019, presumably as the starter to begin the season. Speaking at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Shurmur said he was impressed with how the aging two-time Super Bowl MVP performed last season in certain situations.
“Well, I think Eli can help us win games,” Shurmur said. “He proved, when the players around him started playing better, that he can play at a very high level and help us win games.
“Yeah, at this point I want Eli back. He’s back. Get ready to go with him.”
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Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws a pass against the Colts during the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on Dec. 23, 2018 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Manning, 38, was extremely efficient during the 2018 season, his 15th in the NFL, completing a career-high 66 percent of his throws, for 4,299 yards. Though his 21 touchdown passes were among the lowest of his career, he tossed just 11 interceptions, his fewest since 2008.
Translation? Whatever the problem was on offense during last season’s 5-11 campaign, the numbers more than suggest Manning wasn’t it.
Manning, who is in the final season of the four-year, $84 million contract extension he signed back in 2015, carries a $23.2 million salary cap hit in 2019.
Though New York appears to have its starter in place, that doesn’t mean it will pass up a signal-caller in the first round. The Giants currently have the No. 6 pick, but could trade up if a player jumps out at them. Shurmur admitted to a curiosity in Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and Big Blue’s interest in Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins has been widely reported.
“We evaluate all the quarterbacks every year,” Shurmur said, “regardless of whether it’s perceived we might be looking for one.”
The knock on Murray is his height. The former Oklahoma star is listed at 5-foot-10, but is expected to measure shorter at the combine. Shurmur, however, said having prototypical size as an NFL quarterback is not necessarily a must anymore.
“Times have changed,” Shurmur said. “Quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes.”