To help untangle the mess, I’ll be posting installments that break down the depth at each position group over the next week. Today we continue with the backup QB situation.
For the first time since 2004, the Giants have a roster issue at quarterback. Ever since Eli was moved ahead of veteran Kurt Warner, this particular area was not given much attention in terms of competition.
For the past two years, David Carr was entrenched as the one and only backup. A former first overall pick, Carr had significant starting experience under his belt. Carr has since left the team to pursue a battle for the starting job in San Francisco (he is currently losing to Alex Smith).
Carr’s departure was a disappointment to the front office, as they tried to lure him back into the fold. The true blow however, was the organization’s failure to procure a veteran backup of the same caliber.
Jim Sorgi, who spent several years backing up Peyton Manning, was the free agent New York chose to sign. The fact that he was Peyton’s understudy may seem like a selling point, but it isn’t. Peyton does not often miss time. The Colt superstar is currently second on the list of active QBs with the most consecutive starts.
While working with such a legendary QB may make Sorgi an excellent student of the game, it does not declare him to be even a serviceable backup. Sorgi has thrown under 40 passes in the NFL and clearly lacks the experience that makes most veteran QBs desirable backup options.
Coming off major surgery, Sorgi is once again injured and possibly out for several more weeks. In his stead, 2nd year QB Rhett Bomar has played an entire preseason game and shown flashes of potential and the ability to rush for significant gains.
Bomar’s play would be quite promising if the Giants were an organization that needed to groom a QB for the future. If Eli was within the final two years of his career, Bomar would be the perfect candidate to earn a roster spot. The Giants however, have their franchise QB in place for the next several years and are not in need of a young buck on the bench.
And so the Giants are stuck in yet another peculiar place as they begin to trim the roster in the coming week. Because of other depth issues it looks like for the third year in a row, the Giants will be forced to retain only two QBs. There are now three courses of action for the team to take.
Option A: Assuming that Sorgi can return at full strength by Week 1, the Giants can decide to retain him and waive Bomar. Unlike last year, Bomar will not clear waivers and his time in New York would conclude.
A source close to the team feels that Sorgi’s value to the organization is not his on-field abilities but rather his knowledge of the game. In essence, Sorgi was brought in to act as a go between for Manning and the coaching staff.
This is not practical on two levels. If the Giants had room for three QBs, then this theory might hold water. It would make sense if a young QB like Bomar was slated to start, but he isn’t. Also, Eli Manning is a Super Bowl winning QB coming off of a 4,021 yard, 27 TD season. He no longer needs a mentor.
If Sorgi’s true value to the organization is his coaching ability, than the front office made a drastic mistake brining him in. The point of a veteran backup is having a player with former starting experience ready to enter the game in case your best option is unable to perform. I don’t see the Giants picking Option A.
Option B: The Giants may roll the dice and give Bomar the nod at 2nd string. Should Eli go down, they would be forced to trust the young player to successfully run the offense in a true game. Quite honestly, Bomar has improved but not to the level necessary. He is still a project and like Sorgi, a great player to have if there is wiggle room on the depth chart. This option is short and sweet because the Giants are not picking it.
Option C: In case you haven’t figured it out, I would push my chips to the center of the table for Option C. Final cuts are next week and as always, several quality players will be hitting the open market. Speaking of final cuts, both Bomar and Sorgi will be among the Giants casualties.
A likely target for New York would be Kerry Collins if his tenure in Tennessee is indeed over. Collins, who once forced his way out of the organization to avoid backing up Eli, would be the perfect candidate to spend a year as an insurance policy for Big Blue.
Kurt Warner is enjoying retirement (although I’m sure he got a phone call or two from Jerry Reese). Others are available though, including Jeff Garcia. Garcia is currently on an UFL roster but could be lured away for a decent NFL sized paycheck. In addition to these players, several additional veterans are bound to surface before September 12th.
Should the Giants pick Option C (and they will), it would mark the third time this offseason that they waited much longer than most expected to add a key veteran signing to a position group in need. A quality veteran QB to backup Manning would join Keith Bulluck and Shawn Andrews as late (but necessary) additions.