Giants release Eli Manning's backup Davis Webb in surprise move

Davis Webb, a third-round pick once presumed Eli Manning’s potential successor, is now looking for a job after being cut. (AP)

The New York Giants drafted quarterback Davis Webb out of California in the third round of the 2017 draft to be Eli Manning’s backup and potential successor.

Now he’s looking for a job.

The Giants released Webb on Sunday as they tinkered with their 53-man roster in a surprise move, leaving rookie Kyle Lauletta as the presumed backup quarterback. The move came as the team added six players.

Giants release Webb after reported trade attempts fail

ESPN reports that the Giants shopped Webb on the trade market Saturday to no avail. The Oakland Raiders were reportedly part of those talks, but they decided instead to deal for A.J. McCarron from the Buffalo Bills.

The Giants ultimately decided that Lauletta, a fourth-round pick out of Richmond, was the better choice for now and the future.

Rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta will back up Eli Manning after being selected by first-year Giants general manager Dave Gettleman. (AP)

Who is new Giants backup QB Kyle Lauletta?

Lauletta was an accurate, productive passer at Richmond with a reputation as a leader. He finished with 3,737 yards, 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a 64.9 completion percentage in 11 games his senior season. But significant questions about his arm strength prevented him from being considered in the early rounds of the draft.

“This is a guy that’s a winner,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur told of Lauletta at the draft. “Some people will say he doesn’t have enough arm strength, but I disagree. I think he has all the traits. He has all the things you look for in a quarterback. He’s tall enough. He has good mobility.”

New Giants regime, new backup QB

Webb, in contrast, came into the NFL with a reputation of having a big arm, if not the best decision maker at quarterback. The Giants drafted Webb under the Jerry Reese regime, while new general manager Dave Gettleman oversaw the selection of Lauletta in April’s draft.

Webb did not play a regular-season snap during his rookie season that saw the Giants go 3-13. He acted as the team’s backup in offseason practices, but surprisingly saw no action in New York’s preseason finale against the New England Patriots.

Now that decision not to play him makes more sense.

The Giants also retained Alex Tanney, a 30-year-old who has spent 18 games on a live NFL roster and has thrown 14 pass attempts during his career.

Gettleman’s Giants declined to take one of the five first-round quarterbacks in the 2018 draft. Either Gettleman believes that a declining, 37-year-old Manning has more in the tank beyond this season or sees an actual future with Lauletta as his successor.

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