NEW YORK -- The New York Giants have a new quarterback and Eli Manning is still here. The two-time Super Bowl MVP remains the unequivocal starter on a team coming off a five-win season with the team's No. 6 overall pick Daniel Jones now officially breathing down his neck.
This would seem to be a popular topic inside the locker room now that the Giants selected Jones out of Duke two weeks ago. That sort of investment signifies it is only a matter of time before Jones takes Manning's job, whether it be some time this season or next.
But the locker room is a strange ulterior universe, or sub-society, that operates in distinctive ways. Players don't address the elephant in the room with Manning, and he doesn't talk about it with most (if not all) of his teammates.
"Nah, you don't say anything. He doesn't say anything. He comes into work every single day," veteran safety and captain Michael Thomas said Tuesday night while being honored at the United Way Gridiron Gala for his work in the community. "So, nah, Daniel Jones is one of our teammates now. If he can help us win, he'll help us win like every other draft pick."
Of course, Jones isn't just another teammate. And this isn't just another draft pick. Jones was immediately anointed the organization's future franchise quarterback, by virtue of his draft status, even if he might not play a game or snap this season.
That's for the future. This is now. It remains Manning's team. There is little doubt about that. General manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur have already declared Manning their starter, and explained to him that it's his job to win games and keep Jones on clipboard duty.
"Macro-thinking, micro-thinking. Obviously, I'm in the now," Thomas added. "I want to win now. So, like everybody else, that is what I'm thinking. GMs, they have to think about something else. They have to plan for the future. For us, he's our teammate now."
If anything, the drafting of Jones just reaffirmed something that has become more clear during an offseason when Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon and Landon Collins were traded or allowed to walk. This is a business.
That has been eye-opening.
"It's a little shock [drafting a quarterback at No. 6], but the Giants at the end of the day are going to make the decision that they believe is going to put them in the best position moving forward in the future," tight end Scott Simonson said. "I still have all the faith in Eli. And this is Eli's team. But it's a business."
Manning has been around long enough to understand. He has seen his friends and teammates come and go over the years. He has seen pretty much everything in 15 seasons.
So it's no surprise Archie Manning told ESPN last week Eli has handled this all well. Shurmur even went as far as stating that Eli has had "no reaction" since the selection and praised him for his unmatched ability to remain in the moment.
Giants players have seen much of the same.
"We don't really talk about that kind of stuff," said quarterback Kyle Lauletta, last year's fourth-round pick. "Eli has always been a creature of habit. He's always been a professional. He's been great to everybody in the building and he's meant a lot to the Giants. So nothing has changed and he's still the guy right now. He approaches everything like a pro, in a professional manner. Nothing different this year with the situation on our hands now."
Deep down, they all know though. Jones was brought in to eventually replace Manning. It's going to happen at some point, barring something completely unforeseen. Manning is 38 and on the final year of his contract.
Jones was selected sixth overall. The Giants weren't even willing to risk waiting until pick No. 17 to grab their quarterback of the future.
"It was weird. It was different, to be honest," center Jon Halapio said. "For me, personally, I've been through three drafts with the Giants. … I've never been in a situation where we drafted a quarterback [in the first round].
"The reason it's not too weird is because Eli hasn't changed. His mindset, the way he approaches it, it hasn't changed. It hasn't altered his thinking or the way he prepares. He's still the same guy. He's never going to change."