East Notes: Webb, Hackenberg, Dolphins

Mired in their worst season in 14 years, the Giants could soon be faced with a tough decision at quarterback. But for now, their plan isn’t changing. Eli Manning will continue to be their starter, and Davis Webb‘s role doesn’t look to be increasing. The Giants do not plan to play the third-round rookie in 2017, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports.

Webb has not been receiving additional practice reps and remains behind Manning and Geno Smith, the latter being expected to keep operating as the backup quarterbackGiants wide receivers coach Frank Cignetti said the Cal product is making “tremendous progress” and noted the team would “obviously” get a better read on Webb with game action, but the 1-8 Giants may have other plans in the works regarding their post-Manning quarterback.

Webb was “all but anointed” as Manning’s successor come 2020, Vacchiano notes, but that was before the team lost eight of its first nine games. Now, the Giants have ramped up quarterback scouting, Vacchiano confirms, because of their lost season and a possible top-five draft choice that would then be awarded. The reporter adds Big Blue will “strongly consider” taking a quarterback with that pick.

Here’s the latest from the Eastern divisions, continuing with the New York teams.

  • Both the Giants and Jets have sent their GMs to Los Angeles on Saturday night for the UCLA-USC game featuring high-end quarterback prospects Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. While Jerry Reese is heading the Giants’ contingent, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter), Mike Maccagnan, VP of personnel Brian Heimerdinger and a scout are representing the Jets. Cimini adds Gang Green might be leading the pack among interested teams here. That’s interesting because, as of now, the Jets won’t be in position to have the kind of draft pick it will likely take to land Darnold or Rosen, provided they declare early. While it’s uncertain how many other GMs are at the Los Angeles Coliseum for UCLA-USC, at least 20 teams have sent scouts.
  • The Jets are operating their quarterback contingent in similar fashion to their stadium mates, with Vacchiano reporting the team has no immediate plans to play Christian Hackenberg. Barring a Josh McCown injury, Vacchiano writes it’s unlikely Hackenberg plays this season. Additionally, the reporter notes the Jets “aren’t sold” on the 2016 second-round pick. Vacchiano reports the Jets are “strongly eyeing” the 2018 draft class as well. The Jets are believed to be scouting Wyoming’s Josh Allen to a degree other teams aren’t just yet.
  • The Dolphins‘ pass-catching corps may look quite different next season. While Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes the team will have money to re-sign Jarvis Landry, the Dolphins are of the belief they can replace the slot receiver with a Day 2 draft pick. Landry is averaging 7.7 yards per reception, and that might not be worth a $16MM franchise tag for the team. Jackson reports Landry is expected to want a contract in the range of five years and $65MM — which would make him by far the NFL’s highest-paid slot receiver. Jackson writes no decision has been made on this front yet, and how this season finishes will influence the franchise’s thinking on this front.
  • Miami wants Ndamukong Suh back for what will be his age-31 season but will likely approach the Pro Bowl defensive tackle about a restructure, Jackson notes. The Dolphins could create $12MM in 2018 cap space with a base salary-to-signing bonus conversion, thus putting more money on future caps, and lower Suh’s ’18 cap hit from $26.1MM to around $14MM.
  • However, Jackson notes Julius Thomas probably won’t be back next season. The tight end has another season on his Jaguars-constructed (and Dolphins-restructured) deal, but Miami can save $6.6MM in cap space. The athletic pass-catcher who will turn 30 in June is on pace to play more than he did in either Jaguars season, having suited up for all nine Dolphins games thus far, but he has not been the same since leaving Denver.
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