Across town, the New York Jets seem to have their franchise quarterback settled for the next decade in Sam Darnold.
Despite a rocky year for the Giants, Manning is on pace for a seventh season of at least 4,000 passing yards. The veteran quarterback, under scrutiny from the media and Giants fans for his turnovers, is projected to finish the season with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The numbers aren’t exceptional and they likely won’t place him in the Pro Bowl this year, but given the state of the offensive line and the entire rebuild that this roster is undergoing, Manning’s numbers are solid.
Manning’s contract is structured as such to make him relatively expendable next year in terms of his hit against the salary cap. As such, there is a growing sentiment that Manning’s time is up with the franchise.
Namath, who won Super Bowl III with the Jets, doesn’t buy into that line of thinking. He believes that Manning still has several years left at a high level.
“I’d have him on my team anytime, any game, any type of game,” Namath told MSGNetworks.com. “Between the lines on the grass or outside on the street – I think he’s a winner. I know he’s tough. It’s a team effort and we all make mistakes. No one I know is perfect and the mistakes he makes – it hurts. I know when he throws that pass he shouldn’t, he hurts him more than anyone else.”
Since the Giants’ bye week in early November, the team is 3-1 including an impressive win on Sunday over the Chicago Bears.
In those four games, Manning has seven touchdowns and just two interceptions. Not exactly the marks of a quarterback on the decline.
To stay with the Giants, Manning might need to restructure his contract. In doing so, the Giants could gain valuable flexibility under the salary cap. It is the type of wiggle room that might be needed to add some pieces to the team, such as another offensive lineman or two so that Manning isn’t always throwing under pressure.
Namath thinks that Manning, who turns 38-years-old this January, can be this team’s quarterback for several more years if he gets some help.
“I think they need a team, they need more players,” Namath said. “When you’re asking me about building around a quarterback … with ‘Lady Luck’ on his side, you can get up into your 40s and still be productive. I still think Eli has a few more years left in him where he can be productive.”
This is the 50th anniversary of Namath leading the Jets to a win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. He remains active and highly involved with the Joe Namath Foundation, which helps individuals who suffer traumatic brain injuries and pioneers research in the field.
In addition, Namath has a biography coming out in time for the holidays. Joe Namath: All the Way is available for pre-order in both hardcover and electronically for Kindle.
The legendary NFL quarterback said the book details “my life in all of its triumphs and pain in a way that I’ve never expressed before. I hope it inspires people to do the best in their lives every day.”
The Joe Namath Foundation is a private 501 organization that makes a difference in the lives of children and their families. The foundation will award grants to organizations that meet the criteria for children’s charities and neurological research.
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