Davis Webb, who never appeared in a regular-season game for the Giants but loomed over just about every conversation the team and its fans had about the quarterback position for the past year and a half, no longer is part of those discussions.
The Giants waived last year’s third-round pick Sunday along with five other players from their initial 53-man roster, making room for a wave of six players claimed on waivers. Webb was, by far, the most intriguing of the players on either list.
Webb took virtually every second-string rep throughout training camp this summer, but coach Pat Shurmur never said he was the team’s backup quarterback. It wasn’t until the preseason finale Thursday that Webb’s status in the eyes of the coach and general manager — neither of whom was involved in drafting him a year ago — came into focus. Webb did not play in what traditionally is a showcase game for the backup quarterback. Instead, rookie Kyle Lauletta started and veteran Alex Tanney played most of the second half.
When the Giants kept four quarterbacks on their 53-man roster Saturday, it was clear one of them would have to go. After the team tried to find a trade partner for the second-year quarterback, that turned out to be Webb.
The move leaves the Giants without a single quarterback on the roster who was acquired by former general manager Jerry Reese. Only 10 of Reese’s picks remain on the active roster.
As for the idea that the Giants passed on quarterbacks with the second overall pick in April’s draft because of their faith in Webb, that was an outside narrative and one never expressed by the Giants. In fact, the first clue to their take on Webb was when they selected Lauletta in the fourth round.
No team in the NFL was more active in wire claims than the Giants on Sunday. They held the second position in the waiver priority and were awarded six players: cornerbacks Antonio Hamilton (Raiders), Michael Jordan (Browns) and Kamrin Moore (Saints), wide receiver/punt returner Kaelin Clay (Bills), defensive end Mario Edwards (Raiders) and center Spencer Pulley (Chargers). To make room for that haul, they parted ways with Webb, guard John Jerry, defensive back William Gay, defensive lineman Josh Banks, tight end Jerell Adams and wide receiver Hunter Sharp.
Backup quarterback is the least important position on a team . . . until it isn’t. For most of the past 14 Giants seasons, it has carried hardly any significance. Eli Manning has never missed a start because of injury and rarely has missed a snap.
The more pressing matter would seem to be finding an heir to Manning. Many thought Webb could be that player. Clearly Shurmur and Dave Gettleman did not. Perhaps Lauletta will develop into it. Or, more likely, the next franchise quarterback for the Giants is not yet with the franchise.
The most likely situation for the present quarterback hierarchy will have Tanney and his one game of experience and 14 career passes as the backup and Lauletta as the No. 3.
And Manning as the starter, hoping to make all of the hand-wringing over this moot.