This week the Giants have agreed to a four-year deal to start defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul which means JPP will not receive a franchise tag that comes with a lucrative one-year contract but deters most teams from negotiating with him. While it seems apparent that JPP will most likely play his entire career with Big Blue this signing does give insight into the current Giant philosophy and that is the G-Men are in a win now mode.
The biggest sign that the Giants are in the win now mode is how aggressive the organization was the last two off-seasons in free agency. Last year millions of dollars were spent to upgrade the defensive and in 2016 the Giants defensive was one of the top units in the NFL. This year the focus was on improving the offense as Brandon Marshall inked a two-year deal. With the Giants four Super Bowl victories the roster has been built up primarily via the draft. If the Giants can claim their 5th Super Bowl title in the near future it will be the first time where several of the key players were acquired via free agency.
And there is one strong reason why the G-Men are in a win now mode and that is because Eli Manning is in the twilight of his career. Manning has won 2 Super Bowl in his tenure and while Eli has been criticized for his play at times several NFL franchises would take Manning as their starting quarterback. Currently, Eli is 36 years old and his contract expires after the 2019 season when Manning will be 39.
Yet there is one catch that could end Eli’s Giant career and that Manning is due a 5 million dollar roster bonus in 2018 and 2019. If Eli is still on the Giants roster Manning will receive 5 million and while that is a great player incentive it could be used as motivation for Giants brass to release Eli in 2018 or 2019. The roster bonus was the reason why the Indianapolis Colts released Eli’s brother Peyton Manning in 2011. Yet Eli’s older brother’s roster bonus was 28 million and Peyton was coming off neck surgery.
Roster bonus or not Eli has more NFL games behind him instead of in front of him and many NFL organizations have struggled with finding a franchise quarterback. While some will question if Eli is elite Manning has started every game for the Giants since 2004 and has won the biggest game of the season twice. It does make sense to get the right talent around Eli as fast as possible and make one last run at the Lombardi Trophy. But all we can do is sit back and wait and see if Eli can get one more Super Bowl ring before Manning retires.