The New York Giants have an interesting decision to make in coming days. There are currently three quarterbacks on the roster fighting for the backup spot behind Eli Manning. The Giants have not carried three quarterbacks on the roster in years. Herein lies the quandary, who do the Giants keep to backup Manning?
David Carr entered camp as the de facto favorite given his experience in backing up Manning in recent years. However, the Giants did spend a fourth round pick on Ryan Nassib in the hopes of developing a young quarterback behind Manning to either eventually take over or trade. Curtis Painter has been the odd man out all camp and will likely be cut making this a two-man race between Carr and Nassib.
Given the amount of injuries the Giants have suffered this preseason it is unlikely they will enter the regular season with the luxury of three quarterbacks on the roster, especially when you consider the fact that Manning has not missed a start since taking over for Kurt Warner in 2004.
Taking Manning’s health into consideration and the fact that whoever rides the pine will not see the field unless in a blowout, the Giants would be wise to hold onto Nassib and have him back up Manning.
There is no way Nassib, who the Giants traded up to draft, would make it through waivers to be signed onto the practice squad. Nassib’s play in the preseason has not been very encouraging but the talent is there. Would he be able to step in if Eli went down with an injury for an extended period? Probably not, at least not this year. He still has a lot to learn.
Carr is the veteran backup. He is the guy the coaching staff would feel comfortable with leading the offense if Eli were to go down for a while. However, would the Giants be confident Carr would do that much better than Nassib to risk Nassib to waivers? Carr, a former first overall pick, has never lived up to the hype thanks to a porous offensive line when he was with the Houston Texans. Now, he is a nice backup. The thing is, there are quarterbacks like Carr all over the free agent market, a market that figures to become even more crowded as cuts are made.
Would Carr latch onto another team immediately? Probably not. Most teams will enter the season with their two to three quarterbacks set. There is a chance that if Eli were to go down for an extended period they could scoop Carr up and have Nassib only play the remainder of the game Eli gets hurt in. When faced with a decision between cutting the veteran and holding onto the young gun I think you have to go with the young gun. Would the Giants really stand much of a chance going deep in the playoffs without Manning anyway? It isn’t like David Carr, for as nice of a player as he is, is Jeff Hostetler to Eli’s Phil Simms and the Giants offense is built on Eli’s arm.
If Manning goes down the Giants can stomach one game, or at least part of one, with Nassib at the helm and then go out and sign a veteran, possibly bringing in Carr again if he is still available and then having Nassib backup Carr. However, the reality is, there will be quarterbacks available who can be signed at any point in the season but none might have the potential of Nassib and that is worth holding onto despite what he has shown this preseason.