Of the four quarterbacks on the Giants’ roster, Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney are the other guys in a room dominated by Eli Manning and rookie Daniel Jones. There will be some sort of quarterback competition at the top of this food chain, if you listen to coach Pat “I’m not trying to be cryptic’’ Shurmur, with Manning as the starter and Jones, after an impressive spring, looking to close the gap this summer.
The bottom-feeders, Lauletta and Tanney, are in an elimination match, two fighting for one spot. And, who knows? If Jones can convince the coaching staff he is ready to play whenever called upon, Shurmur might opt to save a roster spot for another position and go with just two quarterbacks.
Lauletta, 23, a 2018 fourth-round pick out of Richmond, is coming off a rookie year that was not kind to him. He has plenty of ground to make up. Tanney, 31, did not play a single snap last season and looked to be a one-and-done, but he signed a two-year contract worth $2.1 million. That the Giants guaranteed him $775,000 shows they value his presence.
“I didn’t really know what was going to happen going into free agency,’’ said Tanney, who has kicked around the outer precincts of the NFL for seven years yet has appeared in only one regular-season game in a remarkably anonymous career. “My agent called me, I was thrilled to be back in this building. I’ve been in quite a few locker rooms over the last seven or eight years. I’m real excited about the vibe and the direction this team is headed.’’
If the Giants go the traditional route and keep three quarterbacks, Tanney is the favorite to stick around. Lauletta one year ago was the new kid on the block, and Shurmur saw a prospect who could be refined and developed. An arrest for a traffic violation and disorderly conduct in October stained his ledger — it was completely out of character, based on his reputation — and in his only appearance on the field, Lauletta went 0-for-5 with one interception in a brutal debut against the Redskins.
“It feels so much different this year,’’ Lauletta told The Post. “I look at the rookies walking in and just see their faces, it’s just like being a freshman in college all over again. I remember even at the University of Richmond, I wasn’t that great of a quarterback my freshman year. I think I’ve make some serious strides.’’
The professional worlds of Tanney and Lauletta were rocked when the Giants took Jones with the No. 6 pick in the draft, as it assured spots to Manning and Jones and signaled at least one of the two backups in 2018 would not return in 2019.
“After the draft they just told me, ‘Don’t worry about that … just do your job,’ ’’ Lauletta said. “The minute I start worrying about another guy, it’s just wasted energy for me. Look at last year, I got drafted and Davis Webb did the year previous. We’re all professionals, we’re all trying to play. I’m going to continue to be a pro and do everything I can to impress the coaches and play well on the field. I’ll just wait for my next shot.’’
The Giants could opt for the more-experienced Tanney — he has learned several offensive systems and is a quick study — viewing him as more of an asset to Manning and Jones. The Giants could go with Lauletta, as cutting him one year after making him the 108th selection would not be a good look for Shurmur, or general manager Dave Gettleman.
Manning is the present and Jones is the future, and what matters now is when will the future arrive?
“Daniel’s been a great addition,’’ Tanney said. “He does a good job, he’s in there early, he’s always asking questions. He’s in there after practice with us watching film. You can tell he’s picking up on stuff fairly quickly. I think that’s a good sign.’’
Lauletta, who was slowed this spring following clean-up knee surgery, acknowledged there are three quarterbacks all trying to follow the lead of a certain 38-year old.
“Obviously having ‘10’ in the room, there’s always a lot to learn from,’’ Lauletta said of Manning. “I feel like we’re all pretty high IQ guys and we’re all pretty smart football players.’’
Jones described his work environment as “a great room.” There is a spot for three in the room, maybe just two. And Manning and Daniel aren’t going anywhere.