Count Eli Manning among the quarterbacks who could be available this offseason after the New York Giants benched the two-time Super Bowl winner Wednesday, naming Geno Smith the starter. Manning would have to be released or traded by the Giants to play for another team during the 2018 season.
Here’s a look at which teams could have interest in Manning:
After Manning’s benching, the most asked question in and around the Broncos for, oh, roughly the next four months will be, “Will John Elway go for a repeat?” Consider drive-time air time filled until March. The bottom line is: With the Broncos 3-8 and on a seven-game losing streak, there is likely little Elway won’t consider when the inevitable roster makeover comes. Elway signed Peyton Manning in 2012 and the Broncos won four division titles and went to two Super Bowls. Eli Manning is 36 years old — he’ll turn 37 in January — and Peyton was 36 when the Broncos signed him. Peyton still spends plenty of time in Denver, so consider it all a possibility until those involved say it’s not. — Jeff Legwold
ESPN Stats & Info
There can’t be a more natural fit for Eli Manning in 2018 than the Jaguars, mainly because of Tom Coughlin. He was Manning’s coach for the first 12 seasons of his career with the Giants, and the two won a pair of Super Bowls together. The Jaguars have exactly what the Giants’ two title-winning teams had: a great pass rush. The Jaguars’ defense is the best in the NFL, they’ve got a workhorse back in Leonard Fournette, and the division isn’t exactly stacked with elite teams. One drawback to Manning is that he commits turnovers at the same rate as current Jaguars QB Blake Bortles. Both average 1.3 per game (Bortles has 74 in 57 games and Manning has 272 in 212 games), and limiting turnovers was the main thing Coughlin and coach Doug Marrone wanted Bortles to do this season. The two quarterbacks also are pretty close in terms of interceptions. From 2004-16, Manning averaged 16.5 per season; Bortles averaged 17 per season in his first three years. Manning, however, has proven to be a clutch player in the postseason and led the Giants on game-winning drives in both Super Bowl victories. — Michael DiRocco
Manning, a 36-year-old quarterback, to the Browns? The odds seem slim, except in one crazy scenario. Imagine if Peyton Manning is hired to take over the Browns. He might want his brother to step in for a couple years while he grooms/finds Cleveland’s long-term quarterback. It’s a long shot, with a lot of moving parts. But with the Browns, nothing should be discarded. The odds? Extremely low. Maybe 5 percent. Which means there’s at least a chance. — Pat McManamon
New York Jets
If Eli wants to stay in New York, then the Jets could be a perfect landing spot. While current Jets quarterback Josh McCown has played well at times this season, it would make a lot of sense for the Jets to sign Manning, whose $21 million annual salary would fit under the Jets’ estimated salary cap for 2018. Also, Manning would be a good mentor for USC’s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen if either falls to the Jets in the draft. — ESPN