(CBSNewYork/CBS Local) — The New York Giants started the season 0-2, losing 35-17 to the Dallas Cowboys in the season opener and 28-14 to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. Neither game was as close as the score suggests.
Eli Manning’s stats so far aren’t horrible, but they aren’t great either. More to the point, they’re a little misleading. For example, he went 30-44 passing, with 306 yards and a touchdown, against the Cowboys. But much of that production came as the Giants abandoned Saquon Barkley and the run in a hopeless attempt to keep up with a Cowboys offense that just kept scoring. Taking a step back, his mediocre play seems like the continuation of a long decline that would one day end in his benching.
That day, it turns out, is today.
The Giants announced earlier that rookie backup and first-round draft pick Daniel Jones will take over the starting quarterback duties in Week 3. Eli will sit, or rather stand and hold a clipboard. Either way, the team, which is going nowhere this season, can begin to see if they have the quarterback to lead them somewhere in the future.
Where does that leave Eli? Is his career over?
Not necessarily, according to Michael Irvin, Inside The NFL analyst and former player. “…it really may not be it for Eli. What’s funny here is what’s going to happen now. We’ve got these [starting] quarterbacks that are out, the value for backup quarterbacks has skyrocketed. So if Eli chooses to, even though he may not be in New York, he’ll get opportunities to be a backup somewhere and make very good money.”
With a rookie quarterback under center, its seems the Giants and Eli won’t be parting ways this season. Then again, with the rash of injuries to starting QBs, a team with playoff dreams may be willing to give up a high draft pick for a proven, if fading, starter. The rebuilding Giants would be forced to entertain that kind of offer.
If this turns out to be Eli’s last season, where does that leave his prospects for the Hall of Fame? In Irvin’s estimation, “Eli will get in the Hall, no doubt, just [based] on the Super Bowls and the last name.” He may not, however, be adding to his legacy in the coming weeks.
You can catch Michael Irvin along with Ray Lewis, Phil Simms and host James Brown when Inside The NFL airs tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Showtime.