For general managers and coaches, cutting players to reach the NFL’s 53-man roster limit can be gut-wrenching. In some cases, strong relationships have been developed with players. In other situations players that are deserving of making the team are released due to salary cap considerations or a need to retain a less talented player at a position that requires depth.
For a first year general manager, assistant general manager and head coach, namely the Giants’ Joe Scheon, Brandon Brown and Brian Dabol respectively, the exercise of determining who stays and who goes can be much more painstaking than for those with experience as primary decision makers. The trio poured over granular details before trimming the Giants roster down to 53 on Tuesday, two days after their final preseason game, a 31-27 loss to the Jets at MetLife Stadium, the franchise’s shared home. The Giants open the regular season on the road September 11 against the Tennessee Titans.
More players will likely be let go or signed to the 16-man practice squad as the Giants, like most teams, are certain to pick up a few players released by other squads. Perhaps the most unexpected move was the Giants waiving third-string quarterback Davis Webb. The 27-year-old was drafted by the Giants in the third round in 2017 after playing college football first at Texas Tech, where he was replaced as the starter in 2014 by current Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes, then one season at the University of California, where he was named the team’s MVP for the 2016 season.
He was behind starter Daniel Jones and second-stringer Tyrod Taylor on the Giants depth chart. It’s possible Webb could be brought back if he isn’t signed by another team. As of early yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon he was still available.
“Relative to our roster management, that’s where we went at this point,” said Daboll regarding Webb. “We’ll see how that all unfolds.” Some close followers of the Giants were not expecting wide receiver Darius Slayton to survive the cuts. The Auburn product, now in his fourth year, saw his production precipitously decline last season after catching 48 passes for 740 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games in his rookie season of 2019, followed up by recording 50 receptions for 751 yards in 16 games in 2020.
But the 25-year-old Slayton, slowed by injuries and inconsistent play at quarterback by Daniel Jones, saw his 2021 numbers dropped to just 26 catches and 339 yards and only two touchdowns. The Giants acknowledged receiving interest from other teams in possibly trading for Slayton.
In addition to Webb, other notable players released by the Giants were running back Jashaun Corbin, receiver C.J. Board and linebacker Quincy Roche.