The Giants won’t say out loud who their starting quarterback will be, but they gave a pretty good indication of who they think will make a solid backup when they exercised their option on Alex Tanney’s contract.
A source confirmed the move to Newsday; it was first reported by ESPN.
Tanney, 32, has been on the Giants’ roster the past two seasons but has thrown just one pass in an NFL regular season game since 2015. He will compete for a third season with the team behind Daniel Jones.
If Tanney makes the roster in 2020, he’ll earn $950,000. The Giants figure to bring in other competitors to be Jones’ backup in the spring and during training camp. Tanney’s chances of sticking with them will certainly increase if the new CBA that allows teams to keep 55 players on the active roster rather than 53 is ratified.
Tanney signed a two-year deal with the Giants last offseason, a reflection of what the previous coaching staff thought of him as a stabilizing and educational force in a quarterback room while Jones was a rookie.
New coach Joe Judge has said that he does not want veteran players on the roster who are there to be teachers and not performers.
“You don’t sign older players to coach the younger players,” he said last week at the Combine. “I have four kids. I’m not letting the 14-year-old raise the 6-year-old. It’s not happening. You don’t sign older players thinking ‘This guy is going to teach the younger player how to be a pro.’ That’s not how it happens.”
Interestingly, however, new Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett made a career for himself as a backup quarterback who did not throw a regular-season pass in the final five years of his NFL tenure. Four of those seasons were with the Giants (he did play in the NFC championship game for them, completing a pass late in the 41-0 win over the Vikings).
Garrett may have a soft spot and an understanding of the value Tanney brings, but he’s just the offensive coordinator. Judge is the head coach. He’s the one who will make the decision on the roster.
In other words, Tanney will have to prove that he can play as well as he tutors to get the final nod come September.