“We’re not trading for DeShaun Watson,” Mara said. “There are so many reasons why we wouldn’t do that. Cap wise, we couldn’t afford it, but more importantly, with the allegations that are out there right now that’s just not the right fit for us.”
The talented 26-year-old has been implicated in 22 separate civil suits that accuse him of lewd sexual behavior; two of the suits allege sexual assault. Watson did not play a down for the Texans during the 2020 season.
It is not shocking that Mara would swiftly shoot down any Watson/Giants link. The Giants are a proud franchise that continuously makes an effort to avoid unnecessary controversy. Mara faced heavy criticism for standing by former kicker Josh Brown after he was accused of domestic violence. Giants’ brass may have learned from that fiasco, and Mara quickly ended any conversation about Watson wearing Giants’ blue.
Mara said that new general manager Joe Schoen and his coaching staff will make an evaluation about the long-term future of Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones.
“I want Joe and the new head coach to make that evaluation. We do feel that Daniel can play. We’ve done everything possible to give it to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches. Keep changing offensive coordinators. Keep changing offensive line coaches,” Mara said. “I take a lot of responsibility for that. Let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make it an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not.”
Mara remains hopeful in regards to Jones.
“I have a lot of hope in Daniel,” Mara said. “I know how badly the wants it. I know how the players feel about them. So we are certainly not giving up on him by any stretch of the imagination.”
Through three seasons and two offensive systems, Jones has a 62.8 percent completion rate for 8,398 passing yards, 45 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions. He also adds 36 fumbles and leads the league in turnovers since he entered the league in 2019. Mara’s right though, Jones was provided little chance of success with a lackluster offensive line, multiple systems, and questionable skilled players (specifically in 2020). Jones has rarely played with his full complement of weapons due to injury.
Nevertheless, his future will be up to the new coaching staff and new general manager - as it should.
Schoen was asked about Jones and his potential as the Giants signal-caller.
“Once the new staff is here we’re going to get together – offensive coordinator, head coach – dive into the film as a group, look at what Daniel does best and we’re going to try to help him put his best foot forward,” Schoen said.
“I’ve looked at him. I do know this – I know he’s a great kid. He’s been here the last few days and I’ve talked to him. There’s not anybody in this building that’s said a bad word about his work ethic, passion, desire to win. I think you’ve gotta have those traits as a quarterback. And the kid has talent. He’s got physical ability. He’s got arm strength, he can run. I’m really excited to work with Daniel. When the new staff gets in here we’ll build an offense around Daniel to accentuate what he does best.”
For my two cents, Jones is a hard worker who can have success in the league if everything around him is ideal. I feel his ceiling isn’t super high. The Giants will have to make a decision on his fifth-year option in early May. That choice may tell us a lot about his future as a Giant, but new general managers typically don’t latch onto unproven quarterbacks they didn’t draft.
Obviously, Schoen isn’t going to come into his opening press conference and toss Jones under the bus, but, as we’ve recently witnessed, he didn’t have to weigh into Jones at all. He could have gone the Joe Judge route and stated that he wasn’t going to discuss players currently on the roster.
Schoen specifically mentioned building a foundation for the roster, and he expressed the importance of offensive line play several times on Wednesday. The current state of the 2022 quarterbacking class for the NFL Draft doesn’t necessarily have the generational talent. Some will rise up the draft boards after the Reese’s Senior Bowl since all the big names but Ole Miss’ Matt Carrol will be in attendance, but Schoen acknowledged that there are problem areas on the roster that must be addressed, while also discussing issues with the cap that will force tough decisions. Said tough decisions may lead to more holes on the roster.
I don’t know which direction Schoen is going to take with his 2022 roster building, but I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if he decides to forgo the quarterback position and allow Jones to play his contract out in 2022. It’s not a certainty, and Jones’ neck injury has to be cleared, but it could be the best course of action moving into 2023.
The roster needs help in a lot of places. It needs development, the coaching staff needs to form continuity, and Schoen’s vision needs to materialize to set the foundation in place to turn the Giants around. Jones may not be a part of that long-term vision, but, if healthy, he could have an opportunity to earn that right in his third different offense in four seasons. It’s not the most likely outcome, but anything is possible, except for DeShaun Watson playing for the Giants, of course.