Moeller: Eli’s Back, But When Do We See Webb?

In mid-April, the Giants held a press briefing to discuss draft with then general manager Jerry Reese.
After some general basic comments, the discussion solely began to shift on the team drafting a quarterback as the heir apparent to Eli Manning. Reese acknowledged the team would likely draft one, probably around the middle rounds or possibly earlier.

Davis Webb, a tall, strong-armed Texan from the University of California via Texas Tech, in the third round would be their answer.

At best, he was ticketed for the 2019 or 2020 season. On mostly all accounts, Manning had a few years left, especially with the team back in contention.
So much for that plan.

With Manning back this week at home against Dallas, Webb has moved up the charts to number 2, even though he has thrown less than 20 passes in practices this season.

Bringing Manning back simply is a public relations ploy by Giants’ ownership to avoid any further fallout and protest from the fan base this Sunday at Met Life.

If this game was in Dallas, you likely wouldn’t see Manning, but Geno Smith again. Or if Webb would have started instead of Smith at Oakland, the reasoning from former head coach Ben McAdoo would have been easier to accept.
It looks like the Giants will give Manning a farewell tour for the final four games, as his days here appear to be numbered. Manning could be a good mentor, but he wants to be in a starting role.

Yet Manning soon will be 37 and has slowed. He is not Tom Brady in the sense of fitness and mobility, especially with the state of the Giants’ offensive line.

More importantly, though, Manning now appears to have a rift with John Mara and Steve Tisch. If you read between the lines with reactions from him, Mara, and father Archie Manning, the Giants’ legendary number 10 will be in a new uniform next year.

The Giants could cut him after the season and save almost $10 million of his $22 million dollar contract. If they did it after June 1, they would split the money over the next two seasons and free nearly $17 million in cap space for 2018.

They may be able to pry a third- or fourth-round pick in a trade, depending how desperately a team wants him.
Still, the key to the quarterback puzzle remains Webb. With interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo bumping him into a backup role, we should see him in a relief role and possibly a starting one in Manning badly falters.

Give Webb some time and see if he is the answer. The Giants certainly will get a top five pick and need a franchise quarterback.

Maybe Reese will be right and Webb will be the solution. It’s time to find out. Webb and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley could be part a good backfield at Met Life next season.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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