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John Mara: “Absolutely nonsense” that sentimentality is guiding treatment of Eli Manning

Co-owner also discusses the team’s plan

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants co-owner John Mara on Sunday strongly pushed back against the narrative that Eli Manning remains the team’s quarterback simply because of the organization’s fondness for the two-time Super Bowl champion.

“I read that and I have to tell you, that really gets under my skin, because that is absolutely nonsense,” Mara said at the NFL owners meetings, per the team’s official website. “Do I feel a sort of sentimentality towards Eli? Of course I do. Would I ever let that get in the way of making a football decision? Absolutely not. I cannot believe that some of you write that. I would never tell a coach or a GM that we have to keep this guy because we love him, and he has done so much for the franchise. Make a football decision based on whether or not you think he can play or not. If you think he can and you have a conviction or the coach has a conviction, that is fine. I will never interfere with that based on my sentiment with a player.”

Mara said it would be a “great scenario” if the Giants were able to bring in a young quarterback to understudy behind Manning in 2019, but that the team won’t “force a situation.”

“I would like to come out of this draft with a quarterback. Here is the thing. Show me what the grades are and what the value is. If the top QB’s are graded toward the bottom of the first round or in the second round, I am not going to insist that we take one at number six or number 17. Show me what the value is. That has always been our philosophy on that. The worst thing we can do is force the situation and you end up with a QB that is not worth that particular spot. Would we love to have a QB coming out of this draft, yes, but only if we have a conviction about it. We are not there yet. Until they bring these guys in, put them on the board, put the final grades up, we are a long way away from that.”

The plan

Mara also spoke about the organization’s overall plan, one that has seemed difficult for many to comprehend.

“I understand what you guys see as conflict,” Mara said to a group of nine reporters. “Are they rebuilding or are they trying to win now? You are trying to do both. You are trying to build a team and still remain as competitive as possible. We obviously have a lot of holes to fill. We think we have the draft capital to at least start to address that. Whenever you are building a team you have to have the right combination of veteran and young players. You want to have the veterans teach the young players how to be professional and how to be a Giant. You have to have the combination in the locker room to be successful. For me, it is not a conflict. I understand why you would as and why it would be perceived as a conflict. We never told them you have to get these guys and these guys. It comes down to getting the right guys in the locker room and that has been Dave’s philosophy from day one. That is what he is trying to accomplish.”