Sometimes, the football gods had a plan all along. In this instance, the New York Jets should draft Josh Allen and acquire Eli Manning.
The strong-armed physical specimen and the champion. Wyoming’s boy wonder and the grizzled professional who couldn’t stumble at the height of pressure even if he tried.
Is Manning’s career done with Big Blue?
Vegas is already on top of it. Naturally, once the Giants of new added on to that reputation mirroring the two decades of dread during the early stages of the Super Bowl, speculation surrounding the two-time Super Bowl champ began to erupt.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 3/1
- New York Giants: 4/1
- Denver Broncos: 4/1
- New York Jets: 9/1
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 39/1
- Houston Texans: 44/1
- Los Angeles Chargers: 44/1
- Arizona Cardinals: 54/1
From a Jets perspective, why not?
Many are still banging the drum for Kirk Cousins—the very strange short-of-elite Skins QB. Should the Jets seek out Kirk, the contract involved would wash away any doubt of anything else other than Cousins touching the center’s ass.
Right now, Cousins is the third-highest paid QB from a per season angle (thanks to that dreaded yet fit for a king franchise tag). The deal he’s most likely going to land this spring will have him cemented as a top-five signal-caller.
There’s nothing wrong with paying your quarterback the big money, but when you do, you must be right. Missing on a contract such as that is devastating and in the case of Cousins—a guy who isn’t anywhere near the top five in the league—flexibility involving a youngster and a vet makes tremendous sense.
Franchises literally become ruined when failing with a $20M per year deal loaded with guaranteed money. There’s no flexibility. As much as the spending will continue to go up and salary cap increased, $20M is still a ridiculous chunk of the pie. The backup QB won’t be fully invested in and the rest of the team constructed with far less money to go around.
The combo of Allen and Eli is relatively carefree.
Why Josh Allen?
It’s simple, really. The 4-7 “better than expected” Jets have already played themselves out of the top three QB race. Barring an arm and a leg (via premium top three draft trade with the San Francisco 49ers), there will be no Sam Darnold or Josh Allen for this organization. If Darnold opts to stay out west, there may not be an Allen, even.
As it stands now, however, Allen is the clear-cut young option.
He possesses the strongest arm in a loaded QB class. His athletic instincts in and outside of the pocket are unreal. He may be equipped with the highest upside of any arm in the class.
Forget the recent reports that Mike Maccagnan and the Jets are interested in Allen. The marriage made sense prior to the news.
Why Eli Manning?
This is the one that’ll have Jets fans losing their minds. Why Eli Manning? Why a 36-year-old QB who’s declined in ability?
Because he won’t be guaranteed the keys to the franchise.
Manning and Cousins are at two completely different stages of their careers. Cousins is 29 and looking for a home—a bonafide place of his own to work out the best chunk of his NFL career. Eli, on the other hand, is flexible (there’s that word again). He’d come while welcoming a challenge. He’ll take the tutelage role under his belt as it pertains to young Allen (or whoever the Jets draft with that first round choice).
Eli can start, be the No. 2, or even both and continue to do the right thing the entire time—as long as his employer respects him.
Think of Kurt Warner, a man closely tied to right arm in question. Warner came to the Jints over a decade ago looking to prolong a brilliant short stint with the St. Louis Rams. He was soon surpassed by the Ole’ Miss product yet didn’t miss a beat. The way he handled himself on the field and in the locker room made waves across the league. Arizona took a chance and he, again, enjoyed another brilliant stint with a second NFL team.
Eli is similar in every way to Kurt in that respect—the business of respect.
Forget $20M a year for Manning. While, yes, he’s still under contract through the 2019 season with a cap hit of $22.2M and $23.2M over the next two seasons, respectively, that’s not the money his next team will be dishing out. The Jints will be taking the majority of the hit here. No other franchise will deal for that situation straight-up, the Jets included.
Manning will either be cut or traded in a way that sees the Giants assume all of the guaranteed money and much of the annual hit.
Why would Manning want to come to the Jets? In an unusual turn of events, why wouldn’t he? He wouldn’t have to uproot his family or move. Simply stay put and wear green. Tom Coughlin will be knocking on his door from down south. There’s no doubt about that.
Why Josh and Eli Together?
In all, Allen (projected to slot in around $4M) and Eli, perhaps ($8-$10M with no guaranteed money) makes for a pretty nifty $12-$14M annual cost for the quarterback position. The best part about it is there are two options.
He can be had, and for little cost. Just imagine it: Manning receives the starting nod from Todd Bowles after the first preseason week in August of 2018. Josh Allen is turning heads, but will sit to start the season in favor of the vet.
In Week 6, the change is made and Eli Manning is all for it. He becomes an integral part of the New York Jets franchise as the No. 2 quarterback for the best football team in town.
That flexibility with the strong-armed phenom and the grizzled veteran champ is a match we could curate from the football gods alone.