Geno Smith will quarterback the New York Giants on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. After that? Who knows? What matters right now is who will the quarterback for the Giants in Week 1 of the 2018 season. Let’s look at some of the possibilities.
This is far from a full list, rather just some names to consider.
Eli Manning — Manning is under contract for two more seasons beyond this one, so we have to entertain the idea that he could be the starting quarterback next season. That, though, is almost certainly only going to happen if Ben McAdoo is no longer the coach. It’s obvious McAdoo doesn’t want Manning as his quarterback. After the decision to bench the 14-year incumbent, and McAdoo’s constant public harping on the quarterback’s shortcomings or mistakes, I don’t see how Manning would want to play for his current coach, either. If McAdoo returns, I have to believe Manning will waive his no-trade clause and request a move elsewhere.
If Eli is back, though, he could be the placeholder until whoever the Giants decide is their quarterback of the future is ready.
Here, by the way, are odds from Bovada that Manning will open the 2018 season as Giants’ quarterback:
Yes +150 (3/2)
No -200 (1/2)
Davis Webb — The move to bench Manning, even with Smith starting Sunday, has to be about Webb. Is the team’s future at quarterback? The rest of the season should give us a hint. If he shows enough he could be the starter when the 2018 season opens, even if he is just keeping the seat warm should the Giants select a QB in the top five of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Geno Smith — Unlikely, but Smith is on the roster and he is starting on Sunday. Should the Giants decide Webb isn’t the answer and draft a QB in the first round, Smith does fit the “veteran placeholder” description.
The free agents
What if the Giants decide to move on from Manning, don’t like what they see from Webb and decide not to game a top five pick on a quarterback? What are the veteran options?
Kirk Cousins — The Washington Redskins keep messing around with Cousins, going year-to-year. What if they let him hit free agency? He’s a good player and he will only be 30 next season. If the Giants want a veteran, why wouldn’t they kick the tires?
Jimmy Garoppolo — Yeah, this one sounds nuts. The San Francisco 49ers just traded for Jimmy G. What, though, if the rumblings that they would rather chase Cousins than sign Garoppolo long-term are true? He’s still only 26, and he’s looked at as a starting-caliber NFL quarterback. Here’s a scenario: McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese are out, Scott Pioli is the GM and Josh McDaniels the coach — both with New England Patriots connections. You think Jimmy G. wouldn’t be on their shopping list?
Sam Bradford — Yuck, I know. If, though, the Giants are looking for a veteran placeholder while grooming a first-round pick, it’s possible. Case Keenum has outplayed Bradford in Minnesota, and Teddy Bridgewater is waiting in the wings.
Josh Rosen — The UCLA quarterback is beautiful to watch on film. He plays from the pocket, displays accuracy, can make every throw and can move when he needs to. The question is about how Rosen carries himself. One scout recently told me Rosen is the “biggest a—— on the planet.”
Sam Darnold — He isn’t as “pretty” a quarterback as Rosen, but some analysts think he is the one who fits the Giants best. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report gave Darnold to the Giants in his most recent mock draft and said selecting him would “set the Giants up for long-term success.” MIller has also called Darnold a “seamless fit” with the Giants. Scott Wright of Draft Countdown calls Darnold “the prize of this draft.”
Baker Mayfield — Chris’s personal favorite among the quarterbacks in this draft class. He is shorter than ideal, but Chris says “Mayfield has plenty of arm strength to drive every throw with accuracy, the mobility to escape pressure, extend plays, and make the defense pay for ignoring him.”
Lamar Jackson — A vastly different type of quarterback than the immobile Manning. Selecting him would likely mean a much different offensive style. Chris calls him “the most exciting college quarterback since Mike Vick.”