New York Giants: Grading the returning free agent contracts

New York Giants (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
New York Giants (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Alex Tanney of the New York Giants
Alex Tanney of the New York Giants (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

QB Alex Tanney

The New York Giants picked up the second-year option on backup quarterback Alex Tanney. Tanney initially signed a two-year deal worth $1.87 million before the 2019 season. By picking up his second-year option, Tanney will make $1 million this season if he makes the Giants roster.

Tanney was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 after a prolific collegiate career at Monmouth College. In addition to playing for the Chiefs, Tanney has been on either the 53-man roster or practice squad for the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans (twice), Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, and New York Giants in his eight-year career.

Tanney has appeared in just two games in his career. One of those games was last season with the Giants where he went 1-1 in passing attempts with one passing yard. The other game was with the Titans where he went 11 for 15 with 100 yards passing and one touchdown back in 2015.

The 32-year old journeyman is not a viable option to take snaps in an NFL game at quarterback. Tanney’s value is that of a leader in the quarterback room and as someone who has an advance understanding of the offense. Last season Tanney was given credit for the extra work that he put in with rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. Tanney was reported to have regularly stayed after practice to work with Jones.

While Tanney is likely a future coach in either college or in the NFL, it is a bit difficult to allocate $1 million to a player who has zero chance of playing any meaningful football for the Giants next season. This is especially true now that the Giants have signed Colt McCoy as a backup quarterback.

New York can ill afford to pay Tanney $1 million and waste a valuable spot on the 53-man roster because of his leadership skills and the fact that he projects as a future coach. Last season the Giants continuously wasted a roster spot on Tanney, which became problematic when they suffered multiple injuries to their running back corps when Saquon Barkley was already out due to injury. Instead of having proper depth at running back, they instead inexplicably continued to roster a third-string quarterback.

While it is understandable the admiration that the Giants have for Tanney’s understanding of the quarterback position and what it takes to effectively run an offense in the National Football League, they would be better served transitioning him to an assistant quarterbacks coach or an assistant to the offensive coordinator rather than wasting a valuable roster position and valuable cap space as a third-string quarterback.

Grade: F