Will Eli Manning or Tom Brady Be the First to Retire?

By Rick Rockwell in NFL on September 11, 2019

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Minute Read

There was a time when playing until you turned 40 was unheard of in the NFL. It was a rare occasion, hardly seen until the turn of the century when nearly 40 players have either surpassed or are approaching the mythical age mark.

Surprisingly, not only are some of these players still in the NFL, but they’re playing at a high level. In fact, there are a handful that continue to lead their teams to the postseason.

NFL betting sites have recently unveiled an interesting prop bet that takes a look at several high profile players on active rosters who are on the verge of retirement. These players have either crossed the threshold of 40 years old or are flirting with this proverbial cliff.

Which Active Player Will Retire Next?

  • Eli Manning +150
  • Josh McCown +200
  • Adam Vinatieri +300
  • Drew Brees +500
  • Tom Brady +800

Is Eli Manning Next to Retire?

Whether he wants to retire or not, the Big Apple is getting ready to take a bite out of Manning’s playing career. The Giants drafted Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft this year and have liked what they’ve seen with the young quarterback.

Jones is clearly the QB of the future, but when will that be? If fans had their way, Jones would be starting right now. However, management doesn’t want to rush Jones in there and have him lose confidence behind a shaky o-line.

If you put stock in the preseason, Manning and the starting offense looked very capable of moving the ball and scoring points. If he plays well in the regular season, it will definitely quiet the retirement talk. However, it’s hard to imagine that Manning will still be with the Giants next year.

Next season, Manning turns 39, which is still younger than the other quarterbacks on this list. For someone playing at a decent level, I think he’s a bit overvalued here. His time might be coming to an end in New York, but he probably still has a few more years left in the league.

Will Josh McCown Be One and Done?

In July, Josh McCown turned 40 years old and was enjoying the American holiday as a retired NFL player. However, the Philadelphia Eagles coaxed McCown out of retirement after two of their QBs were hurt in the preseason. McCown joined the Eagles on August 17th and will be the backup to Carson Wentz.

What’s really cool about his deal with Philly is that the team will allow McCown to continue coaching his son’s high school football team on Fridays. It’s not a bad arrangement for the 40-year-old QB.

In 2017, McCown joined the Jets and had the best season of his career. McCown backed up Sam Darnold last year with the Jets before retiring. The Eagles are McCown’s ninth team and most likely his last.

At +200, I like McCown’s odds and would’ve pegged him as the odds on favorite.

Adam Vinatieri Kicking Father Time’s Pigskin

At the end of the 2019 season, Adam Vinatieri will turn 47 years old and tie Morten Andersen as the second oldest player to have ever played in the NFL. Vinatieri has stated a few times that he would like to play until the age of 50.

As of now, only the legendary George Blanda has played past 47 years of age. Blanda retired at the age of 48 after kicking a 41-yard field goal and an extra point in the 1975 AFC Championship game.

Last season, Adam Vinatieri still finished with an 85.2 FG% and was four of six from beyond 50 yards. He also went 44 of 47 on extra points. He’s the active leader in just about every major kicking category available and he has ice water in his veins.

Vinatieri might not have the leg strength he once had, but he is still a very effective kicker in a league where teams have struggled to find any consistency at this position. Just look at the Chicago Bears of last season.

Will Drew Brees Be a Saint for Life?

Drew Brees might have experienced off-field controversy over the last few days, but he’s a saint in more ways than one on the field. He turned 40 in January, but has showed no signs of slowing down. Last year, Brees led the NFL in passer rating and completion percentage.

In 2017, Brees led the league in completion percentage. In 2016, he led the NFL in completions, attempts, yards, and yards per game. Brees continues to play at a high level and hasn’t discussed any immediate retirement plans.

The Saints are a perennial NFC contender thanks to Brees, and I believe he will continue to lead the team as long has he performs at a high level. Even with Teddy Bridgewater waiting to take over as the starting QB, if Brees leads the NFL in any major categpry this year, then he will man the QB spot again next season.

As for his +500 odds, they are a bit low. I believe that online betting sites are undervaluing Brees here. His odds should’ve been as high as Brady’s odds, if not higher.

Tom Brady Is the Ageless Wonder

As with Brees, I would be here all day summarizing Brady’s career accomplishments. Brady has won six Super Bowls including last season’s. He’s not as spry as he used to be, but Brady continues to perform at a high level despite being 42 years old.

Like with Vinatieri, a former teammate, Brady has no desire to retire anytime soon. He’s often said that he wants to play until the age of 45. Brady didn’t lead in any major statistical category last season other than winning a Super Bowl, which is arguably the only category that matters.

With that said, there are some concerns heading into this season for the Patriots. Gronkowski has retired and the passing game only has two options with Edelman and Gordon. Nevertheless, if there’s any QB that can handle the challenge, it’s Brady.

I expect the Patriots to contend for another AFC Championship and Tom Brady to lead the charge. As for his retirement, get back to me when he’s 44 years old. His odds of +800 are low.

Who Will Retire First?

The answer is really simple here, despite all of the critics calling for Eli Manning to hang up his cleats, the obvious choice is Josh McCown. The 40-year-old QB signed a one-year deal with the Eagles and is coming out of retirement to play.

None of the other players on this list have retired before. And they’re all starters for their teams. McCown is a backup who was coaxed out of retirement on a one-year deal. Take McCown in this NFL prop bet before the football betting sites lower his odds further and make him the betting favorite.

NFL Prop Bet: Josh McCown (+200)
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site.

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