The New York Giants aren't getting rid of Eli Manning this offseason.
They're not, and odds are that people putting up pieces on the Internet that suggest otherwise are likely looking for page views more so than they are speculating on the future. Manning has undeniably had a rough season, yes, but he's 32-years old, he's healthy, and, oh yeah, he's a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
That last one is something that Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and several other talented QBs can't boast about this holiday season.
With that said, Manning isn't getting any younger. It wouldn't be the worst idea for the Giants to contemplate planning for the future. The team somewhat did that this past spring when they drafted Ryan Nassib in the fourth round.
Nassib has apparently been so impressive in midweek workouts that he hasn't taken a meaningful snap despite the fact that the Giants are a lousy 5-9 football team.
This is where UCF quarterback Blake Bortles comes in. Bortles is the flavor of the month when it pertains to potential first round draft picks. Some mock drafts that are out there have Bortles being a top-five overall selection. He would, minus a disastrous performance against Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, be foolish to not enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
The most important stats when it comes to Bortles don't have to do with the numbers he has put up in 2013. Bortles is 6-4 and 230 pounds. He has been likened by some to both Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco.
Not everybody, however, is sold on Bortles being the next Andrew Luck. NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks wrote this about Bortles in a piece that was published today:
“I see a good player with a lot of upside, but I don't see a transcendent star that will significantly change the fortunes of a dismal franchise. Now, that doesn't mean he can't be an effective starter for a team, but I believe it will take him some time to develop into a solid player as a pro.”
That sounds like a perfect QB to sit for a couple of years and learn from a Super Bowl champion.
It's not in the DNA of this franchise to trade picks in order to move up in a draft. The Giants may not have to do so for Bortles. There's a good chance that New York, a team that played dead in its last two games, won't win again this season. That would land the Giants at 5-11 overall.
There are, heading into Week 16, only seven teams with worse records than that of the Giants. The Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders could all theoretically end the year with records better than 5-11. That likely won't happen, but even a few of those sides going 6-10 could benefit the Giants.
The current Big Blue regime has not, in the past, used first round picks with only the future in mind. Rather, a “best player available” method, one that helped the team win two Super Bowl titles in a five-year span, has been utilized. I'm not yet convinced that a guaranteed team-changer is going to land at New York's feet come the first round of next May's draft.
It's possible Bortles will be the best overall player available when the Giants find themselves on the clock.
The New York roster is one filled with holes. An incredible and maybe even unheard-of offseason is what the Giants would need to be contenders in 2014. So what if Bortles isn't ready to go on opening day next fall?
Patience is a virtue. Just ask Aaron Rodgers.