The New York Giants front office is concerned about whether QB Eli Manning has entered the declining stage of his career, and they have reason to be. Manning, 33 years old, just had the worst statistical season of his career and his poor play was a huge reason why the Giants started last season 0-6. Now the organization is wondering if Manning’s mediocre last season was just a blip or if it is a sign of things to come.
Manning threw only 18 touchdowns last year, which is the lowest total since his rookie season. He also threw 27 interceptions, the highest total of his 10-year career. Manning’s completion percentage has decreased every season since 2010, lowering from 62.9 percent down to 57.5 percent this past season. Only Blaine Gabbert, Scott Tolzien and Jeff Tuel had higher interception percentages than Manning had last season (minimum 50 attempts). Those are three names that a two-time Super Bowl MVP should never be associated with.
It was a season to forget for Manning, but it seems the Giants are not willing to do so. Manning’s current contract ends in just two seasons, and the Giants have had the opportunity to extend Manning’s contract since last season ended. This move would provide needed cap relief for 2014. However, the Giants have not made an offer to Manning because the front office is wary of this “decline”. Rather than offering Manning a contract extension, the Giants are focused on adding a free agent quarterback to their roster instead. It’s been reported that Josh Freeman will work out for the Giants on Apr. 15.
To further increase the Giants’ worries about Manning, he had ankle surgery on Apr. 10. Manning should reportedly be at full health in six weeks, but this minor procedure is concerning because he has never missed a game or needed surgery in his 10-season career. Manning is known as the NFL‘s most durable quarterback, but if this is no longer true then the appeal of extending his contract will decrease greatly.
The Giants have brought in Kevin McAdoo to be their new offensive coordinator, and coach Tom Coughlin has said the new offensive system will revitalize Manning through McAdoo’s up-tempo play-calling. The Giants have also added several offensive linemen to their roster in order to improve Manning’s protection. Nobody would be surprised if Manning came back next year with a Pro Bowl season. Few would even be surprised if he came back and won a Super Bowl. But there is strong reasoning to support the Giants’ concern about Manning and why this theory of “Eli’s Decline” is spreading.
Cian Lynch is a New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CianL1 or add him to your network on Google