Who will be Eli Manning's primary understudy in 2014?We already know that Eli Manning with be the Giants' starting quarterback for the ninth straight season in 2014. It's the race to be the backup signal caller that is really interesting. Here are the leading candidates, who are all on the roster right now:
Front Runner: Ryan Nassib
Entering his second NFL season, Nassib still hasn't taken an NFL snap yet, but he remains the favorite to win the backup quarterback job because the Giants have more invested in him than in the other options. New York spent a fourth round draft pick to acquire Nassib out of Syracuse in 2013, so Jerry Reese and company had to think he at least had the potential to be a solid reserve player. That pick is a sunk cost now and shouldn't be factored into any football decisions, but at the same time it does symbolize the potential that the Giants see in Nassib.
In the Mix: Josh Freeman
It's kind of surprising that the Giants signed Freeman after he laid an egg against them last October on Monday Night Football. Still, Freeman does have another game against New York on his resume. That came in September of 2012, when he threw for 243 yards on 28 attempts against Big Blue. Maybe that performance stood out for someone in the front office, because the Giants are giving Freeman a chance to win the backup quarterback job this summer. He's got way more NFL playing experience than his competition, and that could give him a leg up. However, Freeman was so lousy in 2013, that the organization may opt to go with a younger, more moldable player like Nassib in the backup role.
Dark Horse: Curtis Painter
The one advantage that Painter has over Nassib and Freeman is that he's played in games that count for the Giants before. Sure, that experience was a few snaps of mop-up duty last year, but it counts for something. Painter was signed by the Giants in January 2013 and was the primary backup under Manning last season, but with less experience than Freeman and less upside than Nassib, the five-year veteran looks like he is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to making this New York roster.