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10 Years After 2004 NFL Draft, Giants’ John Mara Says Eli Manning Has a Lot of Great Football Left

April 25th, 2014 at 1:00 PM
By Douglas Rush

April 24, 2004. The day that may have changed the landscape of the New York Giants as an organization when they made one of the boldest moves on the day of the 2004 NFL Draft.

The San Diego Chargers had taken Eli Manning with the first pick, but Manning wasn't playing for San Diego, so the Giants swooped in to make a deal to land the younger brother of Peyton Manning and in exchange, sent their draft choice, Philip Rivers, their third round pick (Nate Kaeding) and their first round pick in 2005 (Shawne Merriman).

The Giants were criticized for giving up too much to land Manning on draft day, but all of that criticism came to an end the night the Giants won Super Bowl XLII over the undefeated New England Patriots, Manning won the Super Bowl MVP award. Four years later, Manning lead the Giants again to win Super Bowl XLVI over the same Patriots and again, Manning won his second Super Bowl MVP award.

Despite the fact that Manning is responsible for two of the Giants four Super Bowl victories in team history, a lot of fans and media members seemed to forget all about that last season when the Giants and Manning had their worst season since his rookie year in 2004 and it's even got to the point where some people think that the 33-year-old is in a decline and the Giants should start to look for their next quarterback and prepare for life after Manning.

One person however, does not feel that way at all, which is Giants co-owner John Mara, who told the media on Friday, which was 10 years and one day after the team traded to get their franchise quarterback, that he still believes in Maning and still sees a lot of great football in him with the team.

“We still believe he’s got a lot of years left in him,” Mara said. “And we’re not talking like Eli Manning only has one or two more years left. We think he’s got quite a few more left.”
At 33, Manning did suffer his first serious injury at the end of the 2013 season in Week 17 when his ankle was injured in the team's 20-6 win over the Washington Redskins; an injury that required Manning to undergo arthroscopic surgery this past month to repair the damage done back in December and will keep Manning sidelined for about six weeks to recover. Manning is expected to be ready to go for the team when they report for training camp this coming summer.
One thing that has been talked about is Manning's current contract with the Giants; he has two years remaining on the seven-year, $106.9 million deal he signed in the summer of 2009 and some have wondered if Manning would restructure his deal to create cap space and at the same time, get an extension to keep him around with the team past 2015. The Giants could always look to extend Manning in the future, but for now, have yet to reach out to him and likely want to see what happens in the 2014 season first.


Tags: Eli Manning, Football, John Mara, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Peyton Manning, San Diego, San Diego Chargers

12 Responses to “10 Years After 2004 NFL Draft, Giants’ John Mara Says Eli Manning Has a Lot of Great Football Left”

  1.  Kettles78 says:

    I think it worked out just fine. San Diego never won a title with Rivers. Merriman is out of the NFL, Kaeding is a decent kicker.

    I would take the 2 rings over Rivers’ numbers, Merriman’s sack dance any day.

  2.  Nosh.0 says:

    Hypothetical but, lets say St. Louis takes Robinson at #2. Then Atlanta decides to take Lewan at #6 because they like his upside more than Jake Mathews. At what point do you call a team to trade up?

    I realize that this draft is the deepest draft in years and if there was ever a draft to trade down, not up, this is the one. But, we also haven’t been in serious position to draft a franchise LT in years, at what point do we say “fu_c_k it, the opportunity to get Jake Mathews is too good to pass up”, and what price do we pay?

    Also just curious, what do you guys think is the most important position after QB? I’d argue Left Tackle is. But curious what everyone else thinks?

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Always been a big argument. Based upon salaries it has to be one of #1 wide receiver, left tackle, defensive end or cornerback.

      Arguments have been made, though, for center, defensive tackle, and safety.

      I think that if you have a really top quarterback (the kind who can make good-not-great receivers look better than they are) that you have to go with LT or DE. As the league gets more into quick-release play from the quarterback corners who are great athletes become a touch less critical since one of the biggest issues for them will be tackling after a catch, and sometimes those are character guys more than great athletes.

      (By the way, one of the reasons the Giants MUST retain Prince is that he is a tremendous athlete who WILL tackle people with the ball, a rare species…they cannot let that kid walk away after this season).

  3.  fanfor55years says:

    John Mara sounds increasingly like a wise football guy. Over the past few seasons he has lit a fire under his underlings, deftly disposed of an offensive coordinator who was clearly stale, made it clear he considers the trenches extremely important (and thus signaled to his GM that he’d better feel the same), insisted on more toughness on his team, and now says what should be, but isn’t, obvious to all but the most ignorant of observers: that Eli Manning is FAR from done and has a LOT of good years left in him. Anyone who seriously thinks that the Giants are not giving Eli another rich, and richly-deserved, contract is, IMHO, just plain silly.

    This franchise’s job is simple. You have a great franchise quarterback who can probably play another 6-7 years in the league. Get him surrounded with players (and coaches) who will help him win a few more championships. Then enjoy the show.

    •  Nosh.0 says:

      Well I think we will def pick up Princes option or extend him in large part because as you mentioned, the kid can tackle. Which is a rare thing for a Corner to do these days.

      As for Eli, he will def be extended. But I think the Giants have seen what an advantage San Fran and Seattle have had when your QB makes nothing as opposed to 20% of your cap, and I think they will try to structure this new deal in a way so that Eli’s cap hit is much less.

  4.  Nosh.0 says:

    The 2004 draft is a great reminder to myself how much I’ve learned about football over the last 10 years.

    Heading into the draft I wanted no part of Eli or any QB for that matter. Sean Taylor was the pick I wanted us to make. My logic was that you didn’t need a franchise QB to win the Super Bowl anymore. The past few Super Bowl winning QB’s were Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Brady, and Kurt Warner. All guys who weren’t high picks and at the time not thought of as franchise QB’s. At least by college aged Nosh.

    Anyway I went into the draft hoping for Sean Taylor and would have been really upset with Rivers or Gallery. But once we made the trade I immediately talked myself into Eli and how exciting it would be watching him grow up wearing blue. Also I’d like to add that the only time I really ever lost faith in #10 is when the Cowboys and 1st year starter Tony Romo beat us at home in 2007 while we were wearing our Red Jerseys. From that point until the end of the SB run I had my doubts about Eli. And then he did this.

    Good times. Accorsi made the right move.

  5.  Nosh.0 says:

    My opinion is that JR and the Giants are done with Will Beatty after last years performance. Obviously he will be manning a starting Tackle position for the next 2 seasons because of his contract, but I imagine the team was as disappointed in his performance as they have ever been by any player.

    You pay a kid that much money in his prime years, you not only expect him to play well but to also be a leader among his position group. Instead he had what can only be described as the football equivalent of a nervous breakdown. For 16 straight games. His play was as bad as we’ve seen a LT play since a washed up Bob Whitfield took over for Pettigout in 2006 and sabotaged that season.

    I think we draft a tackle, move Beatty to RT (a better place to hide a bad player) and hope like h-e#l-l that we can find a pass rusher with upside in the second round.

    •  Nosh.0 says:

      Beattys contract and ensuing meltdown, is the kind of thing that can get coaches and GM’s fired in this league. And that above all is why I see a Tackle in the first round for us. Because Reese likes his current job. Another season like last year and he could be out of one.

      Ebron for all his potential doesn’t make or break our season. Nor does any TE. The ability to protect #10 does.

      •  Begiant says:

        At the end of the season Tom Coughlin said he wanted Pugh to gain 10-15 pounds. Rotoworld reported as of yesterday that Pugh has added 10 pounds of muscle. Coughlin also said that Pugh could play anywhere, so I wonder if this means he could shift over to LT.

        •  GOAT56 says:

          If Beatty is not our LT for whatever reason, Pugh is going to be our best option at LT next year regardless of who we draft.

  6.  GOAT56 says:

    BBG – actually if I recall correctly I think Nosh agrees with me on Evans. And my point with Evans isn’t that he doesn’t have talent but I think he’s overrated. Why is rated so much higher than Mathews from Vandy? He played with a much lessor QB, put up similar numbers, is faster and almost as big. He has potential but is being over drafted in my view.

    I disagree with the Nosh/F55 sentiment that we basically act like Beatty is not on the roster. Beatty had a horrible year but he played well in the year and a half before that. The play around Beatty was also very bad. I think giving up on Beatty is not the right move. I understand drafting a Lewan if he’s there because at some point you can’t pass on a valued position and Beatty is not without any question. Like I said a few months ago after seeing rookie LTs. It’s a safer bet that Beatty will be good at LT this year than any rookie.

    As someone mentioned here a few weeks ago the issue with Eli being extended might very just be on Eli. Negotiating off of his worse season doesn’t make sense.

  7.  Krow says:

    Eli has $40,000,000 worth of cap hit left. Next year that drops to half. If they can stand it then paying him this year helps even if they renegotiate next year.

    And sometimes you have to wonder about these QBs … not singling out Eli; all the top ones. After you’ve made $100,000,000 at what point do you scale back the greed so that you can a) have a shot at a championship … and b) have the money to pay to have players around you who might keep you healthy?

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