Ideally, most Giants fans won’t give Ryan Nassib a lot of thought in 2013.
The club’s likely third quarterback, Nassib might only see the field this season if both Eli Manning and Curtis Painter (reportedly now the Giants’ top reserve passer with David Carr gone) were unavailable.
Nevertheless, Nassib’s development behind-the-scenes is an intriguing under-the-radar story line for numerous reasons.
For one, Painter is a free agent at season’s end, according to Rotoworld.com contract data. In the best-case scenario, Nassib is capable of being the clear-cut top backup in 2014, even if he’s not called upon to do so. The more capable quarterbacking help a team has, the better.
Also, Painter struggled as the Colts’ starter in 2011. Were Painter pressed into service this season, Nassib could well be the next passer up — and it could be quite possible that he would prove a better option than Painter, even with a lack of NFL experience.
In the longer term, Nassib’s growth as a rookie is important, too.
Manning — who is still only 32 years old — is likely to receive at least one more lucrative multi-year contract if he does not significantly regress before his current deal expires in 2015. In short, it’s quite possible Manning is the Giants’ starting quarterback for the bulk of this decade.
If Manning continues to play at a high level for several more seasons, the Giants don’t really have much of a decision to make at quarterback other than how much to pay the passer who’s led them to two Super Bowl titles in his tenure.
In that case, Nassib becomes a potential trade chip, a la Kirk Cousins in Washington. This makes Nassib’s advancement all the more key to the Giants. If any strides he makes this fall shows up on preseason tape next summer, the Giants will benefit in multiple ways. Not only could they have a capable Manning backup, but they could have someone another team values as a potential starting quarterback.
The Giants enter 2013 well-positioned at quarterback for several reasons. Manning’s play and durability are obvious assets. Painter is just 27, and he may have room to further grow.
Finally, there’s Nassib, whom the Giants probably don’t have to rush this season. They have the luxury of patience. Also, they saw enough from Nassib to keep him on the roster; contrast this with the Raiders, who waived quarterback Tyler Wilson, who was selected just two picks after Nassib in April.
Cutting a fourth-round pick is not ideal.
Nor is playing him.
If Nassib’s 2013 experience is limited to practice reps, that won’t be a bad thing for the Giants. But what he gets out of his rookie training isn’t something to be overlooked, either.