Daniel Jones Eli Manning
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

How much New York Giant rookie quarterback Daniel Jones sees the field in 2019 will be based on how well the team and Eli Manning performs.

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY—Now that the New York Giants have invested the sixth overall pick in former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, speculation has already begun on how soon we’ll see him take over for Eli Manning.

Don’t let what general manager Dave Gettleman said deter any possible thoughts. His words that Jones could sit behind Manning for two or three years are just those … thoughts. Barring Manning playing at an MVP level this season, Jones will be the starting quarterback in 2020.

In today’s NFL, you don’t take a quarterback with the sixth overall pick to have them sit on the bench past their rookie season.

But what will determine whether or not Jones appears in several games this season or sits on the bench is contingent on how well the Giants play this season, and a big part of that will be on the right shoulder of Manning.

As long as the Giants are in contention and are hovering around 500, Manning will remain the starter as he is their best option in 2019.

Giants’ ownership, going back to Wellington Mara, always wanted the team to be competitive and play meaningful games in December for the fans. One paper, the Giants should be able to play meaningful games in December because they’re tied for the 27th-easiest schedule in the league and have added some key pieces this offseason.

The addition of right guard Kevin Zeitler will make the offensive line vastly better than it was a season ago, as four of the five starting positions are solidified.

In addition, the Giants added key veteran defensive free agents that are familiar with defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s defense in linebacker Markus Golden and free safety Antoine Bethea.

Despite what people outside the organization may think, the Giants front office feels confident about the changes they made to the roster this offseason. With Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley poised to have an even better second season, it seems all the Giants need is solid play from the quarterback position to be a competitive team this season.

Manning may never admit it publicly, but he knows the writing is on the wall. He’s 38 and entering the last year of his contract, and the Giants spent a first round pick on his successor.

If he doesn’t produce at a high level and turning the ball over, and the team is out of playoff contention by November as was the case the last two seasons, Jones will supplant him as the starter and you would have to wonder if Manning will ever start another game in the NFL.

But Manning will not be daunted on what the future may hold he’s just focused as ever on the season at hand and giving his team the best chance to win.

Head coach Pat Shurmur spoke before practice on Saturday on how Manning feels about his successor’s presence on the roster.

”He has had no response. I will say this again. I have never been around a person that can stay in the moment better than Eli. That is something that is really unique about him. He is staying in the moment and training to have a terrific season. He looks really good out here throwing, moving and doing all the things necessary. It is his second year in the system, so he knows what we are doing, better than some of the people teaching him.”

The final chapter in Manning’s tenure with the Giants may not have a storybook ending. But he will approach this season just as he’s done his previous 15 seasons with a professional attitude and class and try to put the Giants in position to win games.

Whether that will be good enough to keep Jones on the sideline for the entirety of the season, we’ll have to wait and find out.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.