It’s been more than a full year since Eli Manning retired from professional football, doing so having spent all 16 seasons of his NFL career with the Giants. Still, the two-time Super Bowl champion has been keeping tabs on what his former team has done so far in the offseason.
When asked about the Giants’ offseason moves in an interview with Sports Illustrated, Manning seemed impressed with their approach thus far.
“It’s been great,” Manning said. “They’re obviously committed to turning this around, they feel great about a lot of positions where they are and I think Coach [Joe] Judge has done a great job. The fact that they are a young team, and they’ve drafted well, have a lot of young guys that are growing with his program and under his leadership, I think they’re headed in the right direction.”
The Giants handed out a number of big contracts so far this offseason, inking wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million deal, Adoree’ Jackson to a three-year, $39 million deal and signing Leonard Williams to a three-year, $63 million extension.
The roster certainly improved, but questions remain about quarterback Daniel Jones, who has shown signs of promise but has also struggled with turnovers and has yet to prove himself as a franchise quarterback through two seasons.
Manning, who mentored Jones in his final season, expects improvement from the young QB with an improved roster.
“It’s hard when you have a quarterback in his second year, second offensive coordinator, a lot of changes,” Manning said. “The fact that he’s going into the same offense for consecutive years will help him, help him grow as a player, be more comfortable as a player.
“I know he works extremely hard, I know he’s committed and dedicated to doing whatever possible, I know it’s important for him to have success and be a leader and get back to winning football games with the Giants. Having those qualities is the start that you need to eventually have success in the NFL. He of course has the talent, the ability to make the plays, it’s just combining all those together and getting the guys around him that can help him.”
Manning was also asked about Golladay in comparison to Plaxico Burress, who spent four seasons as Manning’s top target in New York.
“They’re both tall, rangy receivers. Maybe not the fastest person on the team, but when you’re 6-5 and you’re 225 pounds, you don’t have to be the fastest. You don’t have to be open to be open. Quarterbacks can throw you open, they can put it in spots where only you can make a play on it.”