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Friday, February 22, 2019

NFL executives expect Eli Manning to end up with Jaguars

Eli Manning

The New York Giants are almost certain to move on from Eli Manning this upcoming offseason, and one team has emerged as the clear-cut favorite to land the 36-year-old quarterback if he chooses to continue his playing career.

With a young defense that has been the NFL’s best in 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars appear to be a decent quarterback away from contending for a Super Bowl. Now that former Giants coach Tom Coughlin is in charge of their football operations department, there is a growing belief that Manning will end up with the Jags.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports spoke with several general managers around the NFL, and many of them said they expect Manning to be in Jacksonville next season.

Several GMs spoke of Manning-to-Jacksonville as a fait accompli (“It just makes too much sense not to happen,” as one put it), while execs with two teams who will be in the market for a veteran quarterback this offseason told me they are essentially writing Manning off, expecting a trade to Jacksonville.

“There might be, at most, maybe 2-3 teams where he could be a fit,” said one long-time NFL exec who has completed a starting quarterback trade himself. “And everyone knows Jacksonville is probably where he’ll want to be. And he has the no-trade [clause]. There won’t be a huge market for him. Sending him out of the NFC and back to Coughlin is a good PR move for the Giants, and they can put a little more of a happy ending on this thing. Because it’s a mess right now.”

Manning has a no-trade clause in his contract, but he would almost certainly waive it if the Giants only see him as a backup going forward. He has a $5 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2018 league year in March.

Judging by the comments Manning’s father made recently about his son’s future, it is not a guarantee that Eli will even play in 2018. But if he does, Jacksonville seems like his most likely landing spot.

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