A quick look at some of the bigger decisions made by the Giants on Saturday as their final cuts are being revealed:
Geno Smith wins the backup QB job over Josh Johnson
Smith, the ex-Jets starter, entered training camp as the longshot in this battle. He was returning from a torn ACL from last season and Johnson already had a year of working with Eli Manning and in this offense. But Smith has been the better quarterback all summer long.
He looked confident and strong and even mobile right from the start of training camp. And he out-performed Johnson in the games. Smith completed 36 of 54 passes for 355 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Johnson was 22 of 34 for 239 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The two interceptions dragged Smith's passer rating down to 75.8, which didn't look good compared to Johnson's 95.1. But the rating didn't tell the whole story. Johnson struggled to move the Giants offense too much and he got caught holding the ball in the pocket far too long.
Smith, quite plainly, looked like the better bet to keep the Giants afloat in the unlikely event that Manning missed a game - or even a few plays - with an injury. And at 26 years old, he's got a higher ceiling, too.
Aldrick Rosas wins the kicking job over Mike Nugent
The Giants desperately wanted Rosas to win this competition from the start. They are enamored with his leg strength. People throughout the organization rave about it, and think he's one of the strongest kickers they've ever seen. The only question about him is that he's untested, having never kicked in a regular season game.
That's part of why they brought in Nugent, a reliable veteran. Yes, they wanted an option if Rosas failed, but they also wanted to make sure they kept the pressure on their young kicker. They can't simulate regular-season game pressure, but they wanted to see how he handled competition. And he never flinched. Nugent had an excellent summer and Rosas matched him kick for kick.
He sealed his roster spot with a 48-yard, at-the-buzzer, game-winning field goal in the Giants' preseason finale in New England on Thursday night. No, that's not nearly the same as the pressure he may face in Dallas on Opening Night. But it was enough to convince the Giants to give him a shot.
It's still a risk, of course. This is a Super Bowl-caliber team trusting a very key spot to a player with zero experience. But they have no reason to believe he won't be able to handle the job.
TE Will Tye is waived
The additions of first-round pick Evan Engram and free agent Rhett Ellison probably sealed the fate of the Stony Brook product who started 17 games and caught 90 passes for the Giants over the last two seasons. Those are good numbers, but the Giants never considered him reliable and were always concerned about his blocking. He was passed in both areas by Jerrel Adams and Matt LaCosse.
Tye has value, though, and should get another chance somewhere else. The Jets are suddenly very thin at tight end, especially with Austin Seferian-Jenkins suspended the first two games of the season. A waiver claim by them on Sunday would make a lot of sense.
WR Travis Rudolph is waived
Rudolph's story is heartwarming and he's a high-character player who was well-liked in the locker room and the Giants organization. But the simple fact is the numbers at receiver were always stacked against him. The Giants had no wiggle room in their top six, unless Roger Lewis or Tavarres King faltered or were injured. They didn't falter, and King recovered enough from his summer-long ankle injury for the Giants to keep him around.
Is Rudolph better? Maybe. He was up and down at the start of the summer, but came on strong late and finished the preseason with nine catches for 157 yards, including a terrific, 57-yard catch and several other borderline-spectacular catches. He wasn't a huge special teams contributor, which hurt him. He also, despite the comparisons, didn't have a crazy, Victor Cruz-type breakout summer which made it a little easier for the Giants to let him go.
According to multiple sources, they would absolutely love for him to clear waivers and return to their practice squad, but they aren't counting on it. Rudolph may interest several teams, including the receiver-challenged Jets.
LB Mark Herzlich goes on season-ending injured reserve
This was a difficult decision for the Giants, who have long been emotionally attached to the 30-year-old linebacker. He's been decent in spot starts over his six NFL season, but his real value has been both as a special teamer and as a locker room leader. Unfortunately for him, what the team has described as a "stinger" has kept him out almost all of training camp.
Herzlich, according to a source familiar with his situation, believes he'll be able to return this season and one source said the Giants considered keeping him on the 53-man roster and putting him on IR Sunday, which would've given him the option as being one of their "designated to return" players. But the bottom-of-the-roster decisions were too tough for them to justify holding his spot.
The question now is: Is his career over? He'll be 31 next season and it won't be easy for him to find a job.