Asked by a reporter at the NFL owners meetings Wednesday whether he wanted Manning to return to the team next season, Giants co-owner John Mara answered, “Yes.”
Mara’s endorsement comes two weeks after the Giants, under since-fired coach Ben McAdoo, benched Manning, ending his 210-game starting streak.
Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo, however, reinserted Manning into the starting lineup last week.
Mara, however, added Wednesday that if the team’s new leadership next season — the Giants are searching for a new general manager and head coach — doesn’t support sticking with Manning, “we will have that discussion.”
The Giants are 2-11 — 2-10 with Manning as the starter. Asked if he was concerned about the 14-year veteran’s play, Mara said, according to the Daily News: “I’m concerned about our team. We still think he can play. We obviously have to get better around him.”
The Giants could draft a quarterback in April. If Manning, who turns 37 next month, is still in the picture, he could mentor the rookie, just as Kurt Warner did for him when he entered the league in 2004.
Mara wouldn’t say whether the Giants are committed to drafting a QB.
“The worst thing to do is force it and take the wrong guy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mara said the Giants will begin interviews for the GM vacancy next week. Candidates they are expected to interview include interim general manager Kevin Abrams, college scouting director Marc Ross and former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, who worked in the Giants’ front office from 1999-2012.