Josh Freeman remains a strong bet to grip nothing more than a clipboard come September.
"I think I'd be safe to say I'd be 100 percent for the start of training camp. I would hope so," Manning said, per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
Following this month's arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, Manning expects to be running again by late May. That's a sunnier prognosis than Cam Newton's in Carolina. The Panthers don't expect their starting passer to do much of anything prior to camp after undergoing an ankle operation in March.
Amid whispers that Manning has tumbled into the decline phase of his career, the 33-year-old quarterback is anxious to escape an on-field slump that stretches back into the 2012 campaign.
His suspicious play peaked with a league-leading 27 interceptions this past season, but Eli remains the unquestioned No. 1 over the recently signed Josh Freeman, who looms as a bigger threat to unseat Curtis Painter or Ryan Nassib.