The latest answers in the debates “to him or not?” were answered on Tuesday when the Giants made their cuts to reach the 53-player limit. Currently it is a not for quarterback Davis Webb and yes for wide receiver Darius Slayton.
Webb was waived despite a solid showing this summer. Slayton was held back despite training camp and a preseason hampered by injury, as he apparently failed to gain much traction with the new coaching staff. Both of these decisions are subject to change, of course, as the Giants are expected to be active on the waiver wire and players who made this cut won’t be around by the end of the week. This is very much the “initial” 53-man roster.
This likely won’t be goodbye for Webb, who could at least be back on the practice squad, unless another team wants to sign him to their roster.
Sometimes a player does everything he can to make the team, but there is no place to put him. This is what happened to Webb. Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor are ahead of Webb on the depth chart, however, and, given the needs elsewhere, keeping three quarterbacks on the roster is apparently not a move the Giants want to make.
“In terms of our roster management, that’s where we’ve gone at this point,” coach Brian Daboll said. “I think Davis did a really good job. We’ll see how that all unfolds.”
This isn’t the first time Webb has been let go by the Giants. He is a 2017 third-round draft pick and spent his rookie year on the practice squad. He did not make the team in 2018, cut in favor of Kyle Lauletta, a choice of a new front office regime.
Webb spent one year on the Jets’ practice squad and the past three seasons with the Bills on their practice squad. Those three years gave him full indoctrination into Daboll’s offensive system – Daboll was the offensive coordinator in Buffalo. That familiarity showed as Webb completed 60 of 81 passes for 458 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in his three preseason games.
“I think the way he played in the preseason and training camp, you see his comfort in the system and how well he knew it,” Jones said. “That was a big part of us all picking it up and learning it and he was huge for that process.”
Taylor was forced out of the game last Sunday with a back injury, but Daboll said Taylor should be fine.
Webb, 27, has made no secret of his desire to go into coaching, but he wants to extinguish his chances as a player before moving on.
Slayton survived this round of cuts but it’s no secret the Giants would trade him away if they can find a deal that makes sense, considering he’s $2.5 million on the salary cap and he hasn’t made a comfortable fit in Daboll’s passing attack. He was hampered with a hamstring problem and was able to enter the field for the pre-season finale.
“Yeah, we’ll see,” Daboll said of Slayton. “We’ll see where we are now. We had a good conversation with Dario about expectation and role. He did a good job and we are glad to have him.
“He had that little injury that he’s fighting through. Right before that injury for that week, Patriots week, he did a good job at practice where you could see his speed and he did a good job with us.”
Slayton, 25, caught eight touchdown passes as a rookie in 2019 and had 98 receptions his first two years before dipping last season. He knows he was pushed back on the depth chart this summer and that his name came up in trade talks.
“Time will tell,” Slayton said. “I’m here today, and hopefully here going forward. Obviously, I would like to be here, to continue playing with Mr. Jones. This is a great place. This is one of the best organizations in the world in terms of sports. I would like to be here.”
As for possibly being dealt, Slayton said, “If people call them on me, that’s them. Obviously, their job is to do what’s best for them. Like, if the Rams call them and they say, ‘Hey, we’ll give you Aaron Donald for Darius Slayton,’ I’d make that trade too. They field the calls because that’s their job. I don’t take it personally though.”
Daboll is a first-time head coach after 21 years as an NFL assistant. This was the first time he was the first to inform players that they had been cut.
“That relationship you build when you have to tell somebody they didn’t make it,” Daboll said. “That’s always, at least for me, that’s difficult.”