Mara also said the team is open to taking a quarterback in the first round of next year's draft.
Giants co-owner John Mara said he would like Eli Manning to return to the team in 2018, but that the organization is open to selecting a quarterback in the first round of next year's draft.
“Yes,” Mara answered when asked by Newsday whether he wants Manning to return. “But that’s a discussion that we’ll have.”
Mara also said the Giants could name a replacement as early as next week for general manager Jerry Reese, who was followed along with coach Ben McAdoo after the Giants' Week 13 loss to the Raiders. Former Giants director of personnel Dave Gettleman is rumored to be the front runner for the position. Gettleman served as the Panthers' general manager this season from 2014 until he was fired in July.
That game was started by Geno Smith, which broke Eli Manning's streak of 210 consecutive starts. The decision to snap Manning's streak with the season already lost resulted in fiery backlash from Giants fans as well as the New York and national media.
Mara initially signed off on McAdoo and Reese's idea to replace Manning with Smith in the second half of that game, but Manning was not receptive and Smith got the nod.
While Mara said he hopes that Manning, 36, will return for a 15th season in New York, he also said the team could use its first-round pick—which is likely to come within the top five—on one of this draft class' highly rated quarterbacks: USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Louisville's Lamar Jackson.
“We’re in a unique position to take a quarterback if we want, but I’m not certain at this point they will be the highest graded players on the board,” Mara told Newsday's Bob Glauber. “That will be a discussion at a later date with the new general manager and new head coach. I’ve watched all of them [on television] except for that Wyoming kid [Allen]. They’re all impressive.”