The rumors about Eli Manning’s rapid demise have been greatly exaggerated, and over the past five weeks, the two-time Super Bowl MVP has proved that without a shadow of a doubt.

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It’s for that reason it should come as little surprise that Manning is expected to return to the New York Giants in 2019, especially if he continues to perform at a high level over the final three weeks of the regular season.

“[Manning] is, from what I understand, playing his way onto the roster in 2019,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday morning. “Sources I’ve talked to were adamant that no decision has been made firmly; this is an offseason situation. But the way he’s been playing, the way he has held up certainly opens up the possibility that he is back in 2019.”

From @GMFB Weekend: #Giants QB Eli Manning may be playing his way onto the roster in 2019, which seemed crazy just a few months ago. Interesting decision looming this offseason. pic.twitter.com/9hVQx2PzIO

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 16, 2018

The belief is that the Giants will continue their search for Manning’s eventual successor, but even if they happen to find their future quarterback, they will allow him to sit behind Manning for a year and pick the brain of one of the NFL’s most intelligent players.

Manning currently has one year remaining on his deal and is slated to earn a base salary of $11.5 million with a cap hit of $23.2 million. He also has a dead cap hit of just $6.2 million, which could allow the Giants to move on without too much damage if they so desired.

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Chances are, the Giants and Manning will get together and come to an agreement on a pay cut or contract restructure that could, potentially, include a one-year extension to bring the cap hit down.

Either way, expect Manning to be under center in Week 1 of the 2019 regular season.