The New York Giants still need a backup to sit behind Eli Manning, and bringing Ryan Nassib back for another season may be the best option.
The New York Giants still need a backup quarterback to sit behind two-time Super Bowl champion and two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. Even if Manning remains a reliable and healthy lineup mainstay as he has been since his first start all the way back in 2004, the Giants still need warm bodies in the team’s quarterback room once official workouts, meetings and training camp sessions begin.
There remain a plethora of available quarterbacks on the market as of the middle of March. As Brian Costello of the New York Post explained, the Giants recently met with former New York Jets starter Geno Smith. Journeyman Josh McCown and the Cleveland Browns parted ways following the 2016 NFL season, and the veteran could prove to be a positive for the Giants on and off the field. Robert Griffin III, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mark Sanchez are other familiar names listed as free agents by Spotrac.
It’s understandable that none of those names will excite New York fans, as it’s likely Manning’s eventual replacement will come from a future draft class. With that said, it may be best for the Giants to stay as is at quarter for 2017 and re-sign 27-year-old Ryan Nassib to a one-year contract that would keep him a member of the organization for another season.
There’s something to be said for familiarity at such a vital position on any roster, and Nassib and the Giants are no strangers. New York selected Nassib in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and he hasn’t yet played for any other franchise. Nassib, Manning and other members of the current New York offense have experience working together. As far as we know, Nassib didn’t cause headaches or problems of any kind while on his rookie contract.
As Dan Duggan of NJ.com recently wrote, Nassib failed to offer any real hope he can be New York’s next franchise quarterback during his first stint with the team. That’s not a negative at the moment. Manning may be in the twilight of his career, but the 36-year-old has no long injury history. He hasn’t missed a start since taking over for Kurt Warner back in 2004, and the hope is that trend will continue up through the conclusion of the upcoming season.
Nassib’s lack of production—he appeared in five games and threw only 10 official passes over the past four seasons—theoretically means the Giants should be able to re-sign him on the cheap. Any other team willing to pay Nassib a significant amount of money would be taking a gamble on an unproven product, and there is currently no indication any franchise is willing to enter a bidding war for his services.
There are, however, concerns about Nassib’s health and status for the start of 2017 preseason activities. Per Kevin Hickey of Giants Wire, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan stated earlier this month “there seems to be some doubt to even how healthy Ryan Nassib is” after he required surgery to repair an elbow injury. Assuming the Giants know all they need to know about the matter, the club may feel moving on and signing a QB who isn’t looking to return from such an operation is the correct decision.
Remember, though, that re-signing Nassib would be as much a business decision as it would be a move to fill a hole on the depth chart. As Ed Valentine of Big Blue View wrote for a piece published on March 15, the Giants currently possess roughly $4.415 million in cap space according to the NFLPA site. While cap space values are often moving targets because of potential moves teams can and will make over the next several months, it’s clear the Giants are not in a place to spend big bucks on any backup quarterbacks before September 2017 rolls around.
Bringing Nassib back, so long as he’ll be ready for August exhibition games, would keep additional options open for the Giants. New York could choose to also keep Josh Johnson, who carried a cap hit of $600,000 last season according to Spotrac, or the Giants could take a to-be rookie on the second or third day of this year’s draft to work alongside Manning and Nassib.
The Giants are a win-now team, a statement proven in the club’s numerous free-agency transactions since March 2016. New York isn’t yet ready to select Manning’s successor, which is why saving money and re-signing both Nassib and Johnson for one more season makes sense.