The NY Giants will need to acquire a backup quarterback this offseason. If the numbers work, few would be better options than Case Keenum.
I think I speak for mostly all NY Giants fans when I say I hope the Alex Tanney experiment is finally over. With Big Blue hoping to have a much better team in 2020, it can’t go into the season without an experienced backup quarterback to take over for Daniel Jones should he suffer another injury.
There are plenty of intriguing, low-cost options on the market, but if the Giants are willing to pay up Case Keenum should be the guy they’re paying. Big Blue got a first-hand look at Keenum in last year’s ‘Chase Young Bowl’ when he came in for an injured Dwayne Haskins and almost led the Redskins to an improbable comeback.
The NCAA all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, Keenum went undrafted in 2012 with concerns of him being a system quarterback. The gunslinger managed to stick with the Texans as a rookie before playing out four more years as a backup with them and the Rams.
When he got his first real chance as a starter under someone other than Jeff Fisher (aka the quarterback killer) with the Vikings in 2017, Keenum was all too ready as he led the team to the NFC Championship game while throwing 22 touchdowns against only 7 interceptions under Pat Shurmur’s tutelage.
Keenum parlayed that success into a 2/$36M deal with the Broncos and started 16 mostly disappointing games for them in 2018 before being cut last offseason. He had a solid bounceback year with the Skins in 2019, accumulating a 90.1 quarterback rating before losing his job to rookie first-rounder Dwayne Haskins.
After the failed season in Denver, Keenum’s value went down from $18M APY to just $3M over one year with the Redskins. The fact that he played so admirably with such a sorry team will likely boost his value, so the Giants will have to pay legit backup money if they hope to land him.
What’s that exact number, though? 3/$15M? 2/$12M? Maybe more? No one really knows at this point, but it’s a safe bet he’ll command a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-10M per season on a short-term deal. With the NY Giants having the luxury of their quarterback playing on a rookie deal, one could make the argument that it’s worth the investment as they’d still be near the bottom in terms of quarterback money allocated.
Many will scoff at those numbers as too high, but I’d encourage them to think back to all the times they were watching a game a quarterback got injured, only to have the backup come in and look like they don’t even belong in the NFL. While not many are expecting a Super Bowl – or even playoff – run for the NY Giants in 2020, you never just want to throw away games, especially with how these last few years have gone.
The great news is that the backup quarterback market is flush in 2020, so if they attempt to land Keenum and strike out there are plenty of other options. How much the Giants will spend on a backup quarterback may be determined by how free agency starts off, so we’ll just have to wait and see how Dave Gettleman plays this one out.