NEW YORK GIANTS: Beyond Eli Manning and the 5 Stages of Grief

By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J.- In her book On Death and Dying (1969), Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified a model to explain, what she calls, the Five Stages of Grief. Although Eli Manning, the person, is alive and well, the model is directly applicable to his career as the starting quarterback of the New York Giants.

1. Denial: When people effectively close their eyes to any evidence and pretend that nothing has happened.

2. Anger: Often occurs in an explosion of emotion, where the bottled-up feelings of the previous stages are expulsed in a huge outpouring of grief. Whoever is in the way is likely to be blamed.

3. Bargaining: As outlined by Kübler-Ross, this stage oftentimes begins with the phrase “if only”.

4. Depression: Inevitability sinks in. From the animation of anger and bargaining, they slump into a slough of despond. In this deep depression, they see only a horrible end with nothing beyond it

5. Acceptance: People are ready and actively involved in moving on to the next phase of their lives. People start to do things and take note of the results, then change their actions in response. They will appear increasingly happier and more content as they find their way forward.

Definitions from

The Giants, halfway through the 2018 campaign, have waved the white flag on the season. Who would have thought it would be THIS bad? Entering this year, they had:

  • A new head coach
  • Odell Beckham, Jr. on a healed ankle
  • A new general manager
  • Drafted One of highest graded O-Lineman weekly: Will Hernandez
  • Best player in 2018 NFL Draft: Saquon Barkley
  • Huge free-agency signing in Patriots’ Nate Solder to sure up the offensive line
  • I even wrote a post in June calling him “Renaissance Manning

Things were looking up for Big Blue and everyone was ‘buying-in’… then… 1-7 happened.  Cornerback Eli Apple, the Giants’ 2016 first round (10th overall pick), was traded to the New Orleans Saints for a fourth round pick (2019) and a seventh round pick (2020). Damon Harrison, the league’s seventh best overall defensive lineman and league’s fourth best run-stopper was traded to Detroit Lions for a fifth round pick (2019). In regards to the moves, Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur said: “We were presented with offers for the two players we traded and we wish Eli and Snacks (Harrison) well.” He continued on to say: “This is a great opportunity for guys that we have on the roster for a reason to show us what they can do. And we anticipate that they’ll play well.”

For the 2019 Draft, the Giants could be selecting first-overall: they are tied with the Oakland (soon-to-be Las Vegas) Raiders for the worst record in the NFL. The Raiders are currently in full-on crisis mode. A subsequent post or radio show (closer to draft-time) will address the 2019 quarterback class, but the question is: would this offensive lineup, in win-now mode, WANT to break in a brand-new QB? Let’s say that answer is ‘no’.

As of right now, the Giants will have $8,852,227 in cap space… twelfth-most in the NFL.

Because I think that the Giants are in win-now mode with a lot of the team’s players in the primes of their careers (Odell Beckham, Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram on the offensive side of the ball, alone), and because the quarterback draft class is supposedly much weaker than last year’s, I took a very preliminary (and possibly premature) look at the upcoming quarterbacks set to hit free-agency in time for the 2019 season. Why can’t the Giants ride it out with a proven veteran for a year or two? It worked for the Minnesota Vikings last year: Case Keenum, who had been with the Los Angeles Rams in 2016 and is now a Denver Bronco, lead Skol Nation to the NFC Championship game.

Putting aside the fact that there are murmurings of an off-season trade with the Raiders for Derek Carr, Tyrod Taylor and Josh McCown (if he doesn’t retire) would be too costly. But how about Teddy Bridgewater or Ryan Fitzpatrick? Both are familiar with the New York market, both are formidable NFL-caliber quarterbacks, and both rise to the occasion when called upon. Hell, whatever Fitzpatrick touches turns to gold- he’s got the Midas touch. I’m not sure the proper move would be to replace Manning with Fitzpatrick, who is just one year younger than him.  How about 27-year old Bridgewater, though?  Will the Saints part with him after acquiring him as an insurance policy for 39-year-old Drew Brees? Possibly, for the right price. What I’m saying is: there are veteran free agent options available other than the Giants choosing from the supposed quarterback-weak 2019 draft class. Not to mention the fact that Giants Nation still doesn’t know the in-game skillset that rookie Kyle Lauletta has (although he should possibly consider a career as a NASCAR driver).

The fact of the matter is that the Giants could save themselves $17 million in cap space by letting their captain walk at the end of this season. Eli, was the ‘Mann’ who: engineered two of the franchise’s four Super Bowl victories, won the National Football League’s Walter Payton Man of The Year award for the extensive work that he’s done with pediatric cancer, and has hardly a smear on his almost squeaky-clean reputation.

All I’m saying is that the Giants should just announce it now. It will allow Manning to have some closure and it will allow the fans pay homage to a man who, with his fifteen years in blue, is the longest tenured quartback in the team’s ninety-three year history. There are only four home games left.

The real question is, now: Does Manning retire after the end of this season or does he sign somewhere else? That answer, only Eli knows.

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