Eli Manning admits there's uncertainty about his Giants future

Eli Manning has played better in the second half of the season, but the Giants will miss the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years, and the speculation about the franchise quarterback hasn't dissipated. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Eli Manning doesn’t know whether Sunday will be his final game as the New York Giants' starting quarterback. He will enter the offseason for the second straight year unsure of how his future will play out.

Manning will be 38 next week and has one year remaining on his current contract, which calls for him to count $23.2 million against the salary cap. Only two quarterbacks (Case Keenum and Dak Prescott) have started at least 15 games and thrown fewer touchdown passes. The Giants can part ways with Manning this offseason without any debilitating financial repercussions.

“I don’t know,” Manning said Wednesday about whether he expects to be the Giants’ starting quarterback next season. “I have not gotten into that, or thought much about that. Just worried about doing my job and finishing this season.”

That is the approach Manning and the Giants are taking into Sunday’s season finale at MetLife Stadium against Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Coach Pat Shurmur is expecting Manning to start and finish the game. Manning is treating it as the last game of this season.

“And that’s it,” he said.

Discussing his future will be a topic for 2019. Manning said there haven’t been any talks about reworking or extending his contract.

He also hasn’t been given any guarantees he’ll be returning for another season. The Giants (5-10) have now missed the playoffs in six of the past seven years.

“We’ll handle all of that after the season,” Manning said.

Shurmur wasn’t about to get into any discussion regarding the team’s future four days before the season finale. He has been selling for weeks that they’re concentrating on finishing this season strong so it can carry over into next year.

Rookie Kyle Lauletta may again be inactive on Sunday, and the team’s future at the quarterback position doesn’t appear to be a consideration in how they prepare for the Cowboys.

“No, not really. Eli’s our starter, Eli gives us the best chance to win, and he’s going to play on Sunday. That’s where we’re at,” Shurmur said. “I think when the game is over and we start talking in-depth about what’s going to happen moving forward, that’s when you worry about it. I’m not worried about that. Again, you’re talking to the coach. I’m worried about the game.”

The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback conceded this is the second year in a row he’ll enter the offseason with uncertainty. Last year was similar with the Giants clearing out the front office and the possibility existing that the team could start from scratch.

Manning has been the franchise quarterback each of his first 14 years with the Giants. But this is his reality regardless of the late-season push in which he has played better (11 touchdowns, four interceptions in seven games since the bye week) than the first half of the season.

“Yeah, when you get to Year 15, these things come up,” Manning said.

There still isn’t anything special planned (or at least announced) with his future dangling in the air. Shurmur was asked whether he would consider, if the situation permitted, something in which the fans could acknowledge the quarterback whom many consider to be the best in franchise history.

“That’s an in-game thing that happens when it happens,” Shurmur said. “We’re trying to win a game, and Eli is our quarterback.”

He’s hoping it will all take care of itself.

“Hopefully, what I expect him to do is lead us to victory. Nothing would be better than for him to assume the victory formation and take a knee, and beating the Cowboys,” Shurmur said. “That’s what we’re looking to do.”