Josh McCown, Marcus Mariota
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

With the retirement of Eli Manning, one of the priorities for the New York Giants this offseason is to find a capable backup to Daniel Jones.

Jason Leach

For the first time since the 2003 season, the New York Giants will not have Eli Manning on their roster when entering a brand-spanking-new NFL campaign.

Manning leaves behind a legacy that includes two Super Bowl championships, along with two Super Bowl MVPs, and every significant passing record in the history of the franchise. More remarkably, he never missed a game due to injury.

It’s safe to say Daniel Jones has some huge shoes to fill.

Time will tell if Jones can achieve similar success and be as a prolific passer as Manning. But last season, and, perhaps, more importantly, we already saw that he won’t be as durable as Manning. The kid missed two games due to an ankle sprain and this is why general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge must find a capable backup in the event Jones goes down again.

Here are a few candidates the Giants should have in mind to be the backup to Jones:

Josh McCown

Josh McCown is the ideal backup to help mentor a young quarterback. He’s intelligent, is always ready if he’s number gets called and knows his role on the team.

McCown has the distinction of playing for nine different teams throughout his 17 year NFL career. For his career, he’s completed 60.2% of his passes and has thrown 98 touchdowns to 82 interceptions. He announced his retirement following the 2018 season, but signed a one year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles after they suffered injuries to their backup quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler.

He appeared in three games in the regular season and then came in for an injured Carson Wentz in the Eagles’ 17-9 wild card loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

McCown is familiar with this area as he was with the New York Jets in 2018. The savvy vet appeared in four games and helped mentor Darnold. Therefore, he seems like the perfect fit to mentor Jones. The only question is, “Does McCown, who turns 41 in July, want to continue to play?

Marcus Mariota

After watching the success the Tennessee Titans had once they benched Marcus Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill, it’s safe to say the team has no desire in bringing the former Oregon Duck back.

The Titans drafted Mariota with the second-overall pick in the 2015 draft and in his five seasons he would appear in 63 games, completing 62.9% of his passes, and threw 76 touchdowns to just 44 interceptions. He also gained 1,399 yards on the ground with 11 touchdowns.

He and Jones both share the mobility trait, which would be ideal for continuity of the offensive system.

But Mariota is only 26 and he probably still feels he can start in the NFL, and might be reluctant to the “career backup” idea. Brining in Mariota could also cause a quarterback controversy if Jones falters, as Mariota has shown he can win games in this league.

The Giants want the transition of Jones being the face of the franchise as smooth as possible and there are pros and cons if Mariota is his backup.

Matt Moore

Thirty-five-year-old Matt Moore is currently Patrick Mahomes’s backup and could be well on his way towards earning a Super Bowl ring.

This season, Moore showed that he is a capable backup who can be ready at any moment. When Mahomes went down with a knee injury in the Chiefs Week 7 30-6 victory over the Denver Broncos, he came in and completed 10 of 19 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.

Moore would start the following two games against the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, and the Chiefs went 1-1 in those games. In those two starts, Moore completed 49 of 71 passes for 542 yards and three touchdowns.

He’ll be a free agent following the Super Bowl, and considering he made just $1.03 million this season, it shouldn’t take that much for him to sign with Big Blue.

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