Nick Wright on the benching of Eli Manning: ‘This is the right move for the New York Giants’
In his conversation with Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe, Nick Wright explains that although this was a difficult move and handled somewhat poorly by the Giants' brass, this was the right decision for Ben McAdoo and the New York Giants to replace Eli with Geno Smith, snapping Manning's streak of 210 straight starts.
NICK WRIGHT: I feel badly for Eli. I'm an emotional guy. I am an emotional parent. I am-- I react poorly to seeing people deal with things that are hard for them. So I watched that impromptu press conference, and I saw Eli holding back tears, and I empathized with him.
In that moment, didn't matter how rich he was, it didn't matter how famous he was, that was the lowest moment, I would imagine, of his professional career. And he had to respond to that moment by going in front of a bunch of somewhat strangers and answering questions for the world. In that moment, I felt badly for him.
With all that said, this is the right move for the Giants. This is the right move for their future. This is the right move for their fans. This is the best thing they can do to give themselves the best chance to add a fifth Super Bowl ring. So maybe the way in which they did it could have been handled better. Maybe don't make it to where Eli, moments after he finds out, has to answer questions. Maybe don't-- maybe there's a gentler way to go about it.
But what the Giants know is next year is the first year they can easily get rid of Eli and not have it ruin their cap. What the Giants know is for the first time since Eli's been there, they're staring at a top-five pick. What the Giants know is over the last five years, no player in the league has thrown more interceptions than Eli Manning.
And they have two quarterbacks on that roster. One is Geno Smith, that I know we all believe is terrible, but they have him cheaply, and they want to know, can he at least be a serviceable backup. They also have a guy they like enough in Davis Webb that they spent a third-round pick on him. They need to get him out there sooner than later to find out, Davis, are you good enough to where when we do have this top five pick, we don't take a quarterback.
So it might have been uncomfortable. It might have been un-Giants-like, but I've seen teams in this sport, and other sports, try to do right by their player. Kobe Bryant, who is a much better player than Eli Manning, a much greater legacy than Eli Manning, the Lakers wanted to do right by him, and their franchise has still not recovered from it.