June 9, 2017

The Future of Giants' Quarterbacks


David Wingens ‘19


Eli Manning has been the quarterback of the New York Giants since his rookie year in 2004. That brings his NFL experience to 13 years and his age to 36, making him the fourth oldest quarterback in the NFL. Throughout his tenure with the Giants, Manning has served as a reliable core for the team to build around and has led them to victory in two Super Bowls.
But all good things must come to an end, including Manning’s career.
The Giants drafted University of California quarterback Davis Webb with their third round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Since his selection, Webb has gotten a lot of attention as Manning’s potential heir as the starting QB for the Giants, and while he is very talented, he is certainly not ready to become an NFL starter right out of the gate.
Giants owner John Mara said of Webb, “I think it’s a little premature to be anointing this guy as the heir apparent to Eli – he hasn't set foot on the field yet. But he's got a lot of talent and we're looking forward to seeing what we've got when he gets here. But as Bill Parcells used to say, let's not get his bust ready for Canton.”
In other words, the Giants are not yet ready to pull the trigger and say that they will start Webb when Manning is gone.
In fact, there’s a good chance that Webb won’t even be the Giants’ number two quarterback in 2017, as he has to compete with former Jet, Geno Smith and the Giant’s previous backup, Josh Johnson, who just signed a two-year contract.
With three quarterbacks in contention for the backup position, Giants fans are getting a taste of the quarterback carousel that could be in the near future as Manning plays his final few seasons.
Smith is the early favorite to be the Giants’ backup. Smith spent his first four seasons in the league with the Jets, where he had some bright moments, but was also booed off the field at points and was somewhat injury-prone. He tore his ACL in week seven of last season, but claims to be fully healthy and ready to go for 2017.
There is still a lot of time for each quarterback to prove his worth and maybe even prove he can replace Manning in the near future.
While Manning’s retirement may seem imminent, the NFL community is skeptical. He is clearly in the home stretch of his career, but that career has seen him miss zero games, making him one of the most reliable offensive weapons of the last decade in the NFL.
His biggest health scare was plantar fasciitis in 2009 and that hardly slowed him down, causing him to miss zero games in a season filled with huge numbers. Quarterbacks are lasting longer in today’s NFL; Tom Brady, who is still arguably the best quarterback in the league, is almost 40 years old and is showing so signs of slowing down.

Giants’ fans should be able to look forward to a few more good seasons from Manning. But after that, nothing is clear. Expect to see Smith, Johnson, Webb, or someone who has yet to join the team under center once Manning leaves the team.


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