Eli Manning wants the New York Giants to stick with Daniel Jones for the long haul.
Manning told ESPN's Jordan Raanan this week he was "proud" of the fourth-year Giants quarterback following a season where Jones set career-high marks in completion percentage, passing yards and rushing yards and led New York to the postseason for the first time since 2016. Jones also turned the ball over just eight total times, his fewest in a season since the Giants drafted him ninth overall in 2019.
"Just the way he played in the fourth quarter of a number of games and leading the team back to victory, which was awesome; that's what you want from your quarterback," Manning said. "To do it so quickly with the brand-new offense, the way they were able to compete, make it to the playoffs, win a playoff game, that is awesome."
Jones started his career as Manning's backup in 2019 but eventually supplanted the 38-year-old by Week 3. Jones went 3-9 as a starter during his rookie season, with 3,027 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. But he also led the NFL with 19 fumbles and lost 11 of them. Manning started in relief of Jones two more times in 2019 before he retired in early 2020 following a 16-year career in New York.
The Giants declined Jones' fifth-year option this past offseason after three turnover-laden years before Jones put together his best season as a pro. But that decision now leaves a major question mark regarding his future in New York as free agency rolls near. The team could let him walk this spring, re-sign him to a long-term extension or place the fully guaranteed $32.4 million quarterback franchise tag on Jones. The latter choice would give the Giants more time to negotiate a multi-year contract.
Manning would prefer the Giants keep Jones around longer, though.
"I hope he gets rewarded for that [season]," Manning said. "I hope he is the quarterback for the Giants for a long time."
Giants general manager Joe Schoen has said he and the team want Jones back, were happy with his performance and are hopeful they can work out a new contract. But those are all speculative words. Jones could command a large extension given his execution of Brian Daboll's offense and the success of the team despite various holes across the roster.
"... That would be the goal to build a team around him where he could lead us to win a Super Bowl," Schoen said. "... We'd like Daniel to be here. He said it, there is a business side to it. But we feel like Daniel played well this season. He's done everything we've asked him to. ... We would like to have Daniel Jones back."
Jones concurred when asked about his desire to return to the Giants. But, as Schoen noted, Jones understands there is a "business side" to the negotiations. And that could play a huge role in determining what the Giants do with Jones.
“I have nothing but love and respect for this organization," Jones said last week. "I’d love to be back. But we’ll see, and there’s a business side of it, too. So I’m very grateful to be here and be a part of it.”