COLIN COWHERD: Whitlock, do you think he still has a future as a starting quarterback in this league?
- Yeah, one, I don't see Eli as a guy who's banged up in terms of like-- yes, he's older. But I don't see him-- I don't think he's had much of an injury history. And so his experience can cover up for his lack of accuracy and some shortcomings he has as an older player. And so I think if you get him in the right situation-- if I were the Denver Broncos, or the Jacksonville Jaguars, or some team that had a bunch of pieces around and just needed some stability at quarterback, yeah, I think Eli Manning is going to play next year. I think he'll be a starting quarterback for somebody next year.
And you know, look, when you look around the league, you look at the Tom Savages and a lot of guys, why not Eli Manning? He's got two Super Bowls. And he's relatively healthy for his age.
- Here's why not. I'm going to show you a stat. OBJ has been this Band-Aid covering up a sore. Here's Eli Manning the year before OBJ. He was done. Was the O-line not bad then? That's four years ago.
OBJ arrives, and we're like, oh, Eli is pretty competent. If you take OBJ out of Eli last four years, he's got Cam's completion percentage. And we know he's not Cam, the athlete. And he can't do the zone read. And he's not as big and strong. I think he's a shot fired.
- He's a guy that performs in January though.
- Here's my deal. There are four quarterbacks maybe that can elevate a franchise. There are four guys in this league that you can say, hey, you can throw it 50 times a game, and we're going to win. There's four. There's Aaron Rodgers. There's Tom Brady. There is Drew Brees. And you can throw Roethlisberger in there maybe.
- Russell Wilson you forgot to throw in there.
- But he won't throw it 50 times.
- Right, but Russell Wilson's got the defense, or has had the defense. But I'll give you that. Russell Wilson, I love Russell Wilson. I think Russell Wilson is magical, right, all the things that he can do. So five guys.
Beyond that, everybody needs help. And Eli is in that group of guys that needs help. He'll go into Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a legitimate franchise with unbelievable talent. I'll put that secondary against any secondary in football right now-- three corners that can flat cover, two safeties that can play, a linebacker corps that can flat run, with Jack and Smith, defensive line, Ngakoue on one side, Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson. They can play. They fixed some of their offensive line issues.
- For now.
- Doug Marrone, when I talked to Doug Marrone, I sat down with Doug Marrone, the perfect game plan? Zero passes.
You know how many, Eli, zero passes he can complete? He can complete all of them, right? Every single one of them.
So that to me is an automatic no-brainer. He leaves New York Giants this year. Bam, he's a Jacksonville Jaguar. And they're a playoff team.
- Yeah, I agree. There's a saying-- one man's trash is another man's treasure. If you take him away from the football Giants and you put him, to your point, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team who has everything built around the quarterback position that has not performed, he can have success there. But I don't think he can go anywhere where he has to be the guy. It has to be similar to what his brother did in Denver, go to an offensive line who's going to make sure he's upright, he can throw the ball down the field, he has solidified running game, and a defense that can get you more possessions. I think that's the key to his future in this NFL.
- He's Joe Flacco. Put a great team around Joe Flacco, you can win a championship.
- I think that's a great analogy.
- You know, the average team-- right? If you have an average team, you're going to go, wow, what happened to Joe Flacco? He can't play. Well, no, he's always been Joe Flacco.
- And in the postseason, he lights up.
- Joe Flacco does as well. And again, Colin, I think he's the guy that can get you through the regular season and not mess it up for you if the other guys around the defense is going to win you games. And then his history has been once it gets to January, he's a guy that elevates his performance, once the pressure is at its highest. That is a talent that he still has, I think.
- I think he's the NFL's puppy dog.
- Right now, yeah.
- That you just can't pick on him. Manning, he's the more likable Manning brother. He's dealt with some stuff. Again, Jacksonville does-- it's perfect. I would say there's 30 guys in the NFL not named Bortles who could win in Jacksonville, because that roster is outrageously good. But--
- I would say that I don't buy the Denver connection--
COLIN COWHERD: I don't either.
- --simply because Peyton was there. Peyton was made to take a $4 million pay cut his last year. Didn't really end real well. I don't know that Elway and Peyton Manning have a great, like, hunky-dory, let's pick out--
- He deserved that pay cut.
- I get it. But I don't know there's a real hunky-dory, let's-pick-out-curtains-together-type of relationship. So I don't know that that's going to happen.