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Sports

Is the Daniel Jones era over? The Giants prepare to weigh the pros and cons of moving on

Nature

When the New York Giants signed Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract this offseason, it was supposed to end any talk of the team’s future at the quarterback position. Jones was the future.

No more. The topic is wide open again with the Giants’ season going off the rails as they enter Week 10 at 2-7 and racing toward a top-5 draft pick. In fact, according to Austin Mock’s projections, the Giants have the best chance at landing the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Further complicating the issue is Jones, out for the season after tearing his ACL in Sunday’s 30-6 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. With Jones out and the prospect of the Giants moving toward a draft pick that could land them a coveted quarterback prospect, the debate over the future of the position has taken on new life.

How the Giants finish the season will largely dictate their options, but until then, we break down the pros and cons of retaining Jones.

Doesn’t he deserve another chance?

In January 2022, after hiring Joe Schoen as the team’s new general manager, co-owner John Mara did not mince his words about Jones’ tenure with the team. “We did everything we could to screw this kid over.”

He’s not wrong. A book could probably be written on the subject, but suffice it to say that in his five years since being the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Jones has played under three head coaches and four offensive coordinators while having limited weapons and playing behind a generally suspect offensive line.

Simply put, Jones was hardly given a fair shake. Giants ownership knew it then and knows it now.

When they (literally) signed Jones to an extension, it was with the expectation that he would be the team’s quarterback for the duration of the deal. In fact, before the contract extension was finalized this spring, Mara spoke with Jones, emphasizing how much they wanted him in New York. Mara also pointed out that under NFL Coach of the Year Brian Daboll, the team would finally be able to provide him with the continuity he never enjoyed during his first four seasons.

They added weapons and tried to improve the offensive line.

Unfortunately for Jones and the Giants, the fifth year of his career was a disaster. The offensive line was a mess from the start, as Jones was sacked 28 times in the first five games, the last one resulting in a significant neck injury that forced him to miss three games. Then, in his return match following this injury, he tore his ACL.

Considering he only played six games after signing the extension, the idea that he deserves one more chance to prove he can take this franchise where it wants to go has at least some merit. His supporting cast should also be better, with the Giants spending their first pick on a difference maker (Marvin Harrison Jr.?) or trading to a team in need of a QB for a treasure trove of picks that Schoen can use to surround Jones. with more talent.

Locker room favorite

Jones is loved by his teammates. They sing his praises, pointing out his tenacity – they love the fact that he will always fight for extra yards – his responsibility and his leadership. They respect him and he shows them the same respect.

Needless to say, the locker room was devastated by the news of Jones’ latest injury.

“For him to come back from what he just came back from and get hurt today, I just couldn’t think of the worst case scenario for a guy,” left guard Justin Pugh said after Sunday’s game . “It’s just devastating. I felt bad for him. He’s a guy you respect and you know he puts his all into the game. It just hurts.

One of Jones’ biggest supporters, wide receiver Darius Slayton, was asked about the idea of ​​the quarterback being replaced and the Giants moving on from him.

“You can’t control what people say,” Slayton said. “Frankly, people have been trying to get him and me and several others out of here for as long as we’ve been here. It hasn’t stopped us before, and it won’t stop us now. As I said earlier, he is a resilient human being. He’s a good football player, and at the end of the day, he’ll be healthy again one day and he’ll come back and play professional football somewhere, hopefully here, and I look forward to that day.

GO FURTHER

How the Giants’ unexpected success last season comes back to haunt them

The clutch gene

There haven’t been many opportunities in his career, but Jones has risen to the occasion in big moments for the franchise. He also didn’t buckle under the pressure of having to play for his position last season. Remember, the Giants opted out of picking up Jones’ fifth-year option until last year, making 2022 a full-season audition.

Jones responded by leading the Giants to their first playoff appearance since 2016 and their first playoff victory in 11 years. In that wild-card win over the Minnesota Vikings in January, Jones played perhaps his best game, becoming the first quarterback in league playoff history with more than 300 passing yards ( 301 yards on 24 of 35 passes), two passing touchdowns and Over 70 yards rushing (78). Even though things didn’t go as well the following week in Philadelphia, there’s no doubt that his performance against the Vikings was a big reason why the Giants decided to extend him this offseason.

Disadvantages of keeping Jones

Injury history and disappointing production

One of the most unfortunate aspects of Jones’ career in New York was his lack of durability due to a multitude of injuries. He missed games his rookie season with a sprained ankle, and he was hampered by hamstring injuries the following season. In 2021, he suffered a season-ending neck injury before appearing in all but one game last year, when the Giants were resting their starters.

But this season the injury pattern has re-emerged with the neck injury and now the torn ACL. Although Jones is praised for his toughness, he takes more hits than most quarterbacks. Since entering the league in 2019, Jones has taken 415 drops, according to TruMedia. That’s more than any other quarterback except Russell Wilson (481), Kirk Cousins ​​(467) and Matt Ryan (458).

Jones will only be 27 next season, but given his lack of durability, there’s no reason to think he’ll have a better chance of staying on the field as he gets older.

The other aspect to consider is that even when Jones was healthy, his production was largely disappointing. There’s no doubt he showed improvement last season, but over the course of his career, Jones’ numbers don’t match those of a franchise quarterback.

QB with 1,000+ attempts (2019-23)

NFL Average Daniel Jones (ranked among 33 qualified QBs)

Passing grade

94.1

85.2 (30th)

EPA/Rollback

0.06

-0.05 (30th)

TD/INT

2.3

1.6 (28th)

Passing yards/game

238.3

208.5 (26)

Rushed runs/match

16

31.9 (5th)

Comp%

65.5

64.3 (25th)

Yards/attempt

7.3

6.6 (28th)

Bag%

6.10%

8.6% (32nd)

Total turnover

48.4

64 (28th)

Total TDs

95.2

75 (23rd)

QB wins

28.7

22 (21

The financial impact

This is quite obvious, but it needs to be clarified. Bringing in a rookie quarterback resets the clock when the Giants have to spend a small fortune on the position. They get four years of a cheap rookie quarterback and then hopefully a fifth year that is more expensive but still much cheaper than what Jones makes.

Schoen and Company can use those savings to improve a roster that still has many holes.

Now, there is no real way for the Giants to get out of Jones’ deal before the end of the 2024 season. They would take in about $69 million in dead money if they cut him before next season , and now that he’s suffering from a torn ACL, he’s not exactly a desirable trade asset.

So in all likelihood they would just keep him alongside their draft pick. However, Jones’ deal becomes much easier to exit after 2024. The Giants can create $19.4 million in salary cap savings while eating $22.2 million in dead money if they do. delete at that time. At this point, Schoen could really focus on building a competitive roster around the team’s new QB.

GO FURTHER

NFL Draft Order Projections: Giants now No. 1, Rams fall into top 10

Write your own story

Schoen and Daboll inherited from Jones. He’s not “their man.” Now, they were part of the brain trust that chose to extend Jones this past offseason, but they also made the decision to grant themselves an exit after two seasons. It’s also worth mentioning that the Giants weren’t really in a position to draft a top QB in the 2023 draft after reaching the playoffs.

Things might be different now.

Schoen and Daboll — assuming they stay at the helm — might be able to pick and shape their own quarterback. And we all know what Daboll did with that opportunity in Buffalo with Josh Allen.

That’s really the heart of it all: the tantalizing prospect of drafting a top-tier quarterback. USC’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye have received rave reviews as the two top quarterback prospects that could be available in the draft. If the Giants are lucky enough to pick one up, the opportunity might be too good to pass up.

And if that’s the case, Jones’ days as the Giants franchise QB will officially be over.

(Photo: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)


“The Football 100,” the definitive ranking of the 100 greatest NFL players of all time, is now on sale. Order it here.

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