If the Giants want to draft Eli Manning's eventual replacement later this month, that's just "fine" with him.
Manning, the 36-year-old quarterback, said he had no issues with the Giants pondering their future at his position, even if it means he'd have to work with his successor for several seasons. He said its all "just part of it". And no matter who the Giants draft, he knows he still has to do his job.
"Whoever they need to draft that's going to help out the team, whether it's for this year or going forward, I'm fine," Manning said before attending the annual Elite Eleven banquet at the New York Athletic Club. "We drafted a quarterback four years ago in Ryan Nassib, so I know that's part of it. I know quarterbacks are going to get drafted. And hey, I've got my job to do and I've got to go out there and do it."
Of course, the Giants' decision to draft Nassib in the fourth round of the 2013 draft would be nothing compared to them using a high pick on a quarterback now. When the Giants took Nassib, Manning was 32 and one year removed from a Super Bowl championship. The Giants were also clear that Nassib was nothing more than a young, developmental quarterback.
In fact, right after drafting Nassib, Giants GM Jerry Reese even said "If he doesn't ever play, that would be great."
But this offseason, Reese and both of the Giants' owners have made it clear they're at least considering using a high pick on a player they'd project as their next franchise quarterback. Manning obviously is closing in on the end of his career and he's only signed through the end of the 2019 season.
Though the Giants believe Manning has several good years yet, Reese -- in his season-ending press conference -- said the Giants "have started to think about who's the next quarterback" and promised to "look into that as we move through the offseason."
And though Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said at the owners meetings that "there's no urgency. There's no panic," both he and John Mara said the Giants "have to start thinking about it."
"Ownership and management have their job to draft the best players and look forward to the future," Manning said. "I understand that's part of it."
Manning -- who was at the National Football Foundation event that honors local high school football players to receive the Ernie Accorsi Humanitarian Award -- named for the Giants GM who traded for his draft rights in 2004 -- also said it wouldn't be awkward to have to work with the Giants' quarterback of the future, even knowing that quarterback might eventually push him aside.
"No. I think we've always had healthy relationships with all the quarterbacks," he said. "You try to help each other out and communicate. I look forward to working with the guys we have there right now, in Geno (Smith) and Josh (Johnson), and we'll see what happens on draft day."
It's not clear at all yet if the Giants are serious about drafting a quarterback early, but they certainly are doing their due diligence. Reese attended North Carolina's Pro Day, where Mitch Trubisky, the consensus top quarterback in the draft, was on display. Ben McAdoo made a rare in-person Pro Day appearance to see quarterback Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech. His offensive coordinator was at Notre Dame's Pro Day with quarterback DeShone Kizer. Marc Ross, the Giants' scouting director, was at Pitt for quarterback Nathan Peterman, and they had multiple scouts at Clemson, where quarterback Deshaun Watson was the big draw.
Asked about that search, Manning said "It's just part of it. It doesn't bother me. I've got to do my job. I'm excited about going out there and having a big year."
And it likely won't be his last year either -- even if his successor is brought aboard.
"You know, I just take it one year at a time," Manning said. "Right now I feel great. I feel like I can continue to play. But obviously from year to year in this league you don't know what's going to happen and what can change, so I work hard to stay healthy. My body feels like I can play a number of years ahead."