The moment the Giants passed on Sam Darnold (and Josh Allen and Josh Rosen) with the No. 2 pick in the draft, it was clear they had absolutely no plan for their post-Eli Manning era.
And after they released 23-year-old quarterback Davis Webb on Sunday, it's clear that they really don't care.
The Giants are not only all-in on the next two years and trying to win one last championship in the Manning era -- which we knew -- but they are absolutely content to just wing it with the future of their most important position. With Manning already 37 years old and signed only through the end of next season, that's a bit of a problem. And it's why it seemed to make some sense to keep two young quarterbacks around in Webb and Kyle Lauletta and let them battle it out for two years to be Manning's successor.
But to just dump Webb, a former third-round pick with some obvious potential, without really giving him a chance to see what he can do? That either means that they're absolutely convinced, somehow, that Lauletta, a fourth-round pick out of tiny Richmond, has what it takes to be their future starter, or their post-Manning plan boils down to this:
"Eh, we'll figure it out somehow."
And that is just not the way to plan for the future at the most important position in sports.
It looks even worse on the heels of a quarterback-rich draft in which the Giants held the second overall pick. Rather than draft Darnold, Rosen or Allen, they took running back Saquon Barkley, who is a terrific player, a wonderful prospect and a future star who really does look "touched by the hand of God," as Giants GM Dave Gettleman once said.
But it was a questionable pick at the time, not because of the players, but because this was a great chance for the Giants to draft Manning's successor, to set their franchise up for the 10 years after Manning is done. They chose to think short-term rather than long-term, which will seem like a great move if they really are a Super Bowl contender this season or next.
If not? That's where the problems begin. Sure, they could extend Manning's contract and bring him back for 2020 at age 39. And sure, there are always other ways to find franchise quarterbacks. But none of those ways are easy. Just ask the Jets; the search for a franchise quarterback can be painfully long.
For one, franchise quarterbacks almost never hit free agency. Kirk Cousins was a rarity last offseason, and he received $84 million guaranteed over just three seasons and nobody considers him to be one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league. That pretty much leaves the draft, and there are always quarterbacks available. But remember, the Giants either have to be in position to draft them or be able and willing to pay a price in draft picks to leap over other teams to get them.
That's not easy, and it's not a guarantee. For everyone who thinks they can just find quarterbacks in later rounds, that's true. But for every Cousins (fourth round, 2012), Dak Prescott (fourth round, 2016), Derek Carr (second round, 2014) or Jimmy Garappolo (second round, 2014) there are dozens of players like Christian Hackenberg (second round, 2015), Garrett Grayson (third round, 2015) or even Geno Smith (second round, 2013).
Look around the league. Most of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL are first-round picks. There's a reason for that. That's where most of the best quarterbacks are easier to find.
So, sure, it's true Giants coach Pat Shurmur likes Lauletta's potential, but counting on a fourth-rounder out of Richmond to become the guy who leads the Giants for the next 10 years is as safe a bet as emptying your retirement account and spending it on Powerball tickets.
That's where the Giants are. They were really there the moment they took Barkley at No. 2, but at least at that point they had hedged their bets with two young quarterbacks with potential. On Saturday, they cut their odds in half. Maybe it makes sense in the short term. Veteran Alex Tanney has more experience -- six years, one NFL game -- and gives the Giants more security in case Manning gets hurt. And if the new regime believed more in Lauletta than Webb, well, that's their right. He's their guy. And now they don't have to split any developmental snaps.
But in the long-term, it made way more sense for the Giants to take two shots at the lottery with two young, developing, possible quarterbacks of the future. That gave them better odds that in the future, when Manning is finished and they need a franchise quarterback, that they wouldn't just have to cross their fingers and hope.