The first round of the 2017 NFL draft was filled with surprises and one of the surprises was the run-on quarterbacks in the first round. When the Giants had their selection, gone was Patrick Mahomes II who was selected 10th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs who many felt Mahomes was coveted by Big Blue. The Giants went with tight end Evan Engram who fills a need right now for the G-Men. Addressing a current need was also behind the 2nd round pick of defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.
Then in the 3rd round, the Giants selected for the future by choosing Davis Webb. Webb and Mahomes II do have a connection and that is both were at Texas Tech and because of Mahomes’s play, Webb transferred to California. A cynic would say why draft someone’s back up but an optimist will claim that Tom Brady was Drew Henson’s backup at Michigan and everyone knows who had the better career. Yet, with the selection of Webb does not guarantee Webb will replace Eli Manning.
First, Manning needs to step away from playing. Under Eli’s current contract Manning’s contract is set to expire after the 2019 season. There are two ways that Manning’s retirement could be sped up. One way would be that Eli decides to call it quits before 2019 but in the NFL Eli will not get the total value of his 84-million-dollar contract. A second way would be if the Giants cut Eli Manning and the best time for this to occur would be in 2018 when the cap hit would only be over 6 million dollars.
And while Webb could be the replacement now for Eli there is still the 2018 and 2019 draft. The best way to find a quarterback is through the draft and just because Webb was selected in 2017 does not mean the Giants would snatch the right quarterback if the opportunity presents itself. If the Giants are in the position in the 2018 or 2019 draft and have very few needs it is plausible for Big Blue to select another quarterback who can replace Eli and leave Davis in the backup role.
A third option could be one that will make Giant fans cringe when reading it and that would be Geno Smith could replace Manning under center. Smith played for the crosstown rival New York Jets and is more known for creating controversy than winning games for Gang Green. But Smith never had an offensive minded head coach who could develop a quarterback. There is a possibility that Ben McAdoo could develop Geno Smith to the point Smith is starting quarterback when Eli finishes up his career.
But for now, it is 2017 Eli Manning is the quarterback who has more weapons on paper for this upcoming season. Manning’s play could prove that Eli is irreplaceable and greatest quarterback in franchise history. Or Manning’s performance could add more intensity to the fan base that wants to find Eli’s replacement.