EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Six teams, six different cities in five professional seasons. This will make it seven in six years for cornerback B.W. Webb, who signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants this offseason and made the team's final 53-man roster.
Good thing he’s a renter, and a light packer.
“Of course, 100 percent,” Webb said with a smile earlier this year. “It would take at least a three-[year], four-year contract [to buy].”
Hard to fault him for this approach given his NFL experience to date. Webb’s journey has taken him from William & Mary to Dallas to Pittsburgh to Tennessee to New Orleans to Chicago to Cleveland and finally to New York. So far, this last stop feels pretty good. Webb enters the season as the Giants' nickel cornerback.
His journey has included a lot of temporary residences, and moves. He’s admittedly an expert by now, and he's willing to provide tips.
“Don’t bring a lot ... until the season starts,” Webb said.
It’s hardly a common path that he's traveled, especially for a fourth-round pick and a player who has appeared in 49 career games with 10 starts. Usually a team that invests in a mid-round pick from a small school, in this case the Cowboys, provides more than a one-year opportunity.
It didn’t work out that way in this case. Webb was waived prior to his second season after a summer in which he struggled with injury, subpar play and was involved in an incident with a fan. He’s been swallowed by the business of football ever since.
Webb is the victim of being good enough to play in the league and fill a role but not good enough to hold it or prevent a team from wanting to replace him with a better option. It’s a spot tons of players have occupied. It just rarely happens so quickly to players with so many accrued seasons and games played on their resumes.
It's a matter of circumstances that have prevented him from calling any of these stops home, but it has at least allowed him to become more seasoned and cultured. Webb has received a taste of some of America’s biggest and best cities, whether it be the food and nightlife of New Orleans, history of Chicago, musicality of Tennessee or the grandiosity of Texas. (His favorite stadium is easily the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium.)
Webb's favorite experience was 2016 in New Orleans when he started a career-high eight games. He filled in admirably that season for an injured Delvin Breaux and enjoyed his time with the Saints, on and off the field. He lived downtown and thought he might stick. It didn't happen.
When asked to rate the cities, Webb had New Orleans as the city with the best food, weather and atmosphere of all his previous stops. He still found himself in Chicago the following offseason.
Now it’s on to the bright lights and big city of New York, where Webb raves about the convenience of public transportation. Living at a temporary residence in New Jersey, he’s been infatuated by the hop, skip and jump across the river on a train. He can't wait to get a bigger sample of the Manhattan food options.
“You don’t have to drive. There is no traffic. You just get on the train, go to sleep and, and, you’re going to be there,” he said. “It takes 15 minutes to get there. It’s quick.”
It’s early, but Webb likes what he sees from New York/New Jersey and the Giants. He wants this to finally be the place where he sticks because his experiences, so far, compare favorably to elsewhere. Webb loves the city, raves about the Giants' facility and particular its cafeteria, and welcomes the opportunity to fill a starter-like role.
Where other organizations weren't exactly finely tuned machines, his early days with the Giants have been seamless.
“It is one of the top organizations I’ve been to since I’ve been in the league,” he said. “It’s all love. You don’t have to beg anyone for equipment or beg for film. You just go in there and they gotcha. Sometimes you might have to push for it more elsewhere or you have to hold on. They’re on it here. I love it.”
He should know. Webb, 28, is no longer a youngster. Despite his nomadic existence, there is only one cornerback on the Giants' roster (Janoris Jenkins) with more playing experience.
This increases his chances of sticking around for the duration of this season and possibly longer. There is tremendous opportunity at cornerback with the Giants. Jenkins and Eli Apple are in line to start, and then there's everybody else.
Webb is near the front of the line. He worked his way into the first-team nickel defense mid-summer, and has remained there ever since.
“It definitely shows the coaches have a little confidence in me,” Webb said. “If anybody goes down, it looks like right now I’m the next man up. Definitely not comfortable in that position because you can never be comfortable in this league.”
This has become his reality. Webb started eight games for the Saints in 2016 before signing with the Bears last offseason. He was cut before the start of the season and waited until Week 16 before catching on with the winless Browns.
With the Giants, Webb has been playing mostly in the slot this summer with the Giants. Ironically, it's a position he learned from the recently cut William Gay during their time together in Pittsburgh. Four years later, they were competing for a similar role in New York this summer that went to Webb. Gay was moved to safety before being released.
Whatever it takes. That's Webb's philosophy. He even went and spoke to the Giants' special teams coaches back in the spring to make it known that he would be willing to fill in anywhere, at any time. He simply wants to find a stable home. Enough with these temporary residences, annual moves and one-year stints.
“I want to. Bad,” he said. “I would love to stay here, but everything is business, all business these days. Sometimes you end up on the money side, other times new coaches coming it. But I would definitely love to be one of the guys that stays.”
That would be vastly different from the first five years of his career.