Jaguars, Giants among favorites to land Eli Manning

By Michael Dixon

Eli Manning getting benched by the New York Giants has triggered a natural question. Is Manning done in New York? If so, where might he end up?

Early odds suggest that Manning will be replacing Blake Bortles in 2018.

That’s right. Per mytopsportsbooks.com, the Jacksonville Jaguars are a 3/1 favorites to land Manning. It makes sense. Bortles hasn’t done anything to indicate that he’s a franchise quarterback. Jacksonville is a team that otherwise would be considered a formidable championship contender. Throw in the fact that Tom Coughlin — Manning’s old coach in New York — is now in the Jacksonville front office, and this seems like a match made in Heaven.

After the Jags, we have a tie at No. 2 with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos, who both sit at 4/1. Both make a degree of sense. But it’s hard to call either a strong bet.

Manning is under contract in New York for 2018. So, in order for him to play anywhere else, he’d have to be cut or traded. Neither impossible, by any means, but the Giants have one fewer step to employing Eli Manning in 2018 than any other team.

The Broncos, of course, would mean that Manning would follow in his brother’s footsteps. Denver is a team that’s struggled to get even mediocre play under center since Peyton Manning’s retirement.

That said, both the Giants and Broncos should be looking to get younger all around. That includes the quarterback position. Manning will be 37 in January.

The New York Jets check in at No. 4 with 9/1 odds. This is an intriguing option for the pure thought of Eli trying to stick it to his old team (or what would be his old team) while playing in the same building. Still, the biggest question that a team should ask itself is this. Can we win a Super Bowl in 2018 with Manning that we couldn’t win with our current quarterback?

The Jets are better than expected in 2017. But they’re a long way from being real Super Bowl contenders in 2018. We’d need to see a handful of other players head to Gang Green before calling this decision a good one, even if it is intriguing.

After the Jets, we have a steep drop in odds. The Pittsburgh Steelers are No. 5 at 39-to-1. After them, we have the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Chargers (44/1), Arizona Cardinals (54/1), Detroit Lions (59/1), Los Angeles Rams (59/1), Green Bay Packers (69/1), Washington Redskins (69/1), Buffalo Bills (74/1), Baltimore Ravens (79/1), New Orleans Saints (79/1), Miami Dolphins (89/1), Philadelphia Eagles (99/1), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (99/1).

Of that group, the ones to give strongest consideration to would be the Cardinals, Ravens, and Buccaneers. The Redskins are also interesting. They’d give Eli the chance to burn the Giants twice a year. There’s just a lot unsettled about Washington’s long term quarterback situation. So much depends on how interested Kirk Cousins truly is in staying long term.

After that, only the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs (both 199/1) come in at better than 200/1. The least likely teams are the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks (999/1).