When the Giants drafted Davis Webb in the third round last spring, they believed there was a chance he'd be their Quarterback of the Future.
Now, thanks to how the Giants handled him last season, it's hard to see how that's still possible at all.
It's too early to say anything certain about the Giants' plans beyond 2018 - a season they've made clear will still belong to Eli Manning - especially since they're really just beginning their evaluations of the quarterbacks in the next NFL draft. But it doesn't look like Webb is their future. The Giants hold the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and know they need a quarterback, but their new regime knows almost nothing about Webb.
And it's hard to see how they can learn any more about him over the next three months.
"I know nothing (about Webb)," Gettleman told reporters at the Senior Bowl last week. "I know that he's a double transfer. I've spent some time talking to him. He seems like a great kid. I know he followed Eli around and is learning how to be a pro. That's what I know."
Shurmur seemed to know a little bit more because he evaluated Webb for the Vikings prior to last year's draft. But even that information is a little old.
"We thought he was an outstanding player," Shurmur said. "We liked how competitive he was. He's got size. He's got good arm strength. We felt like he was a guy worthy of being drafted and having a chance to be a starter someday. Beyond that, I don't know much about him. There isn't much tape out there on him that I was able to see, and so he's another player that I'm looking forward to getting to know."
And that's the biggest problem if the Giants were planning on the 23-year-old from Cal being a factor in their future. They only have three months to get to know him before they get to the draft on April 26, and in that time they won't see him on the field. And thanks to the way the Giants mishandled their quarterback mess last season - benching Manning for Geno Smith, not Webb, and then turning right back to Manning under public pressure -- Webb didn't take a snap in a regular season game, and the only film on him is from the preseason.
That gives them very little to use in their evaluation of Webb.
And that, by necessity, makes Webb an afterthought in this process - at least for now. The Giants understand they have what they hope is a rare chance to draft a franchise quarterback, and they understand Manning is 37, and likely won't be their quarterback beyond 2019 (if not earlier). What they need to figure out is not whether Webb is their guy, but whether any of the quarterbacks in the 2018 draft is a franchise-caliber player.
That's the only question. It's not about Webb. It's about figuring if Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen or maybe even Baker Mayfield can be Manning's successor. If the answer is yes, they'll probably take one of them. The only way they're likely to pass on a quarterback is if they believe none of them are capable of being a long-time starter - which at this point, given how highly they are all rated by NFL scouts, seems hard to believe.
"If you take a guy just to take a guy, especially at the quarterback position, and he fails, you set yourself back five years," Gettleman said. "You set yourself back five years because there are teams that are in what I call 'Quarterback Hell.' They've got quality defense, they've got a good special teams, and they're going 7-9, 8-8, 9-7. And now if there is a legitimate guy, they've got to trade up and give away the farm to get the guy."
Chances are, the Giants will believe that at least one of the four of them are more than just "a guy". But Webb, no matter his abilities and potential, is really just "a guy" to Gettleman and Shurmur. He's an almost complete unknown, and they can't bank their future on a mystery.
It's really too bad the Giants didn't get him into one game down the stretch, the way they initially planned to do when they benched Manning. Then the new coach and GM would at least have something to base their decision on. Instead, thanks to the way they turned their quarterback situation into a mess last season, Gettleman and Shurmur have one less option to consider, and Webb's future is almost certainly on hold.