As promised, it is Part 2 of our Saturday Big Blue View Mailbag. In this segment, we answer a bevy of questions about New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
Jim Moriarty asks: Just read that the Giants were 10th in a ranked order of teams that would/should need a QB next year. With that level of competition for the maybe 4 first-round QB’s coming out, and limited draft capital, does that change the equation of what might happen to Jones after the year - even if he only plays like he is playing now?
Ed says: Jim, I’m not sure what you read or where you read it. To me, two things that are incomplete at this point in time change the equation.
First, the next 13 games. There is still a lot of football to played, thus a lot of evidence to be collected and sifted through.
Second, the evaluation of college quarterbacks. That is nowhere near done. How many will be first-round prospects when it’s all said and done? How many will be top 10-worthy?
Obviously, who is available when you select and what your evaluation of those quarterbacks are is a huge factor.
Ernest Mammano asks: All I have read is the Giants need to Franchise Tag Jones for $31 million or let him go. Why is it all or none? Wouldn’t be possible to give Jones a 2-year, $28 million contract and truly see what he could do year 2 in same system? How can we possibly judge Jones with this wide receiver crew and porous offensive line? I look around the league and I don’t see any QB in a worse situation than Jones (no talent and no protection). So far this year the only thing I am certain of is Jones can take a beating. Maybe next draft we draft a real WR and stop with Gadget guys like Toney and Wan’Dale. I mean our starters are Sills and Richie James. They would have a hard time starting on Rutgers.
Ed says: Ernest, it’s not all or none. The Giants have to make a decision between franchising Jones at an estimated $31 million and change or franchising Saquon Barkley at an estimated $12 million and change. Maybe they franchise tag neither.
Maybe they tag Barkley and, as you suggested, look to sign Jones to a short-term deal at lower-tier quarterback money. Question is, if they want to pursue that path what is the right number?
Jameis Winston makes $14 million and Baker Mayfield is making $15 million. Ryan Tannehill makes $29.5M, Matt Ryan $30M and Carson Wentz $32.5M. Would you pay, say, two years and $40 million for Jones?
I don’t know what the right value would be. I do, though, think a short-term deal is possible. Especially if the Giants are able to structure it in such a way that — if they want to — they can get out of the deal after a year.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The next three questions are really different spins on the same ‘how to the giants make a decision on Jones and what are the potential scenarios?’ question. I’m posting all three questions, but will give one — hopefully comprehensive — answer.]
Ryan Perry asks: Thanks as usual for making bigblueview the go-to for Giants news. Are we ever going to get a good read on Daniel Jones? He has never had a decent supporting cast; he’s always dealt with a turnstile-offensive line, receivers that can’t get more than 4 inches of separation, tight ends that couldn’t catch a cold, and until this year a running game that always went nowhere fast and an offensive scheme that was playing checkers while the other side played chess. Jalen Hurts looks really good right now, but he probably has the easiest job of any quarterback in the league with the other 10 players on the Eagle’s starting offense. DJ appears to be playing OK, and hopefully the Oline improves as a unit throughout the year, but how can the front office make an objective decision on his future at the end of the season? It made sense to not pick up his 5th year option at the time, but are the Giants going to need another season with an actual offseason where the front office can do a little more than just shedding good players on expensive contracts in order to make a well-informed decision on Jones?
Art Goldstein asks: You’ve answered some of my brother Alan’s questions so let’s see if you’ll answer his older brother, also a die hard Giants fan who no longer lives in their media market. I’m at a loss to see clearly how the Giants deal with DJ. I am one of those who doesn’t think that he’s the long term future for this team. He is a terrific athlete and competitor but I don’t think he can carry the team on his shoulders. Still, he continues to be surrounded by less than A list receivers and O line so I could be completely wrong. If I were GM I’d have a hard time giving him a contract at $20+M/year unless something dramatic happens over the rest of the season. But franchise quarterbacks don’t grow on trees and first round pics are always a gamble. So I’d also be reluctant to gamble on anyone less that an absolute star as a first round QB pick, which wouldn’t happen with an 8-9 record. Let’s say it’s the end of the season and the Giants are 8-9, a record I’d accept in a rebuild year and better than many analysts think they can achieve. Let’s also say that DJ’s performance is acceptable but not stellar. How do you think the Giants navigate such a scenario with DJ? Give him the big contract, franchise tag him (which is still a big cap hit that impacts the ability to acquire star free agents), cut him loose and either draft a young QB or pick up a place holder free agent or keep him and still draft a Young QB, a la the 49ers? Are there other scenarios?
Steven Ferry asks: I’m trying to join the many in determining the ceiling for Danial Jones. I’m a fan in that I like him, agree with you that it will be an uphill climb for him to be here next season etc.. My question is simply: With all the talk about our young line and inexperienced / talent poor receivers, how do we know if DJ actually sees the field, progresses through his reads and in sum makes the right call. We all see him running for his life - looking down field and either taking too many sacks, throwing the ball away or as stated running for his life. I’m simply a fan that sees way too many Jones bashing comments (mostly on social media) and would appreciate a more educated answer. Maybe it will take all season, but I would love to know what the insiders think. In close, when he does have time he looks the part, but everyone’s opinion on time seems to also vary.
Ed says: Ryan, Art, Steven — and everyone else with the ‘how do the Giants evaluate Daniel Jones and what do they do if it looks like this all year?’ question. Let me do the best I can here to lay out how I think the Giants can/will evaluate Jones, and what the scenarios could be going forward.
Giants fans are in their fourth year of watching Jones. Many of them long ago made up their minds that he stinks and the Giants won’t be good until they move on.
It is important to remember that those first three seasons really do not matter. GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll were not part of them. They do not care what happened during them, what Jones accomplished or did not accomplish, and what the reasons for any of that are or were.
They care about what they see NOW. What is Daniel Jones today? Can they win with him? When the season is over, will Schoen and Daboll believe he is a quarterback they can or should make some type of financial investment in, or should they cut ties and start over with a quarterback on a rookie deal for the next four or five years?
Now, how do you evaluate Jones if the wide receiver situation and the pass blocking don’t improve?
The Giants can only evaluate what they see both on the field and behind the scenes. Some of those things would be:
— Is Jones making the proper decisions with the football? That might be throwing it to the proper receiver. It might be choosing whether to throw it at all, or to just tuck it and run.
— Is Jones taking good care of the football? Or, is he putting in harm’s way a lot with fumbles or bad throws?
— Are they game-planning around things Jones can’t do, or are they not able to take full advantage of what they believe the quarterback can do because of what is around him?
— How is Jones perceived in the locker room by his teammates and coaches? Is he respected throughout the Giants’ organization?
— Is he, without big passing numbers that really have not been possible under the current circumstances, playing in a manner that helps give the Giants an opportunity to win?
— Is he making the key plays, giving the Giants a chance, getting them points when they need them?
— Can he stay on the field?
These are some of the ways Schoen and Daboll will have to evaluate Jones. I know this is trickier, because some of these things are not tangible. They have to be based on what Schoen and Daboll feel regarding what they are watching. Because of the supporting cast and the way the Giants are playing offense the evaluation can’t be based on touchdown passes, passing yards, etc.
There are many ways this could turn out. I don’t think there is a way to say, well, six wins triggers Scenario A, eight or nine wins triggers Scenario B, etc. It’s just not an exact science. We may never know what Jones could be if he had the weapons that are at the disposal of Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes. You can’t keep waiting and saying ‘we need another year to evaluate.’ At some point, you just have to make a decision. Fair or unfair. Right or wrong. And no, there are no guarantees that even if the Giants use a first-round pick on a ballyhooed college quarterback that he will be as good or better than Jones.
Let’s talk scenarios.
Franchise tag. This one makes no sense to me. Why franchise tag Jones at an estimated $31 million when you can franchise tag Saquon Barkley for about $12 million and kick that long-term decision down the road?
Mega-deal. I don’t see that one happening.
Drafting a new QB. There is the possibility that the Giants will come to the conclusion that their best course of action is to let Jones go and play the ‘QB on a Rookie Contract’ game.
The scenario I have been thinking about more and more recently is the one Ernest asked about earlier. The short-term deal.
Tyrod Taylor is the bridge quarterback next year if the Giants move on from Jones and draft a replacement.
Reality is, though, Jones is better than Taylor at this point in their careers. What if Jones is the team’s bridge quarterback?
There is a theory, and one with a good deal of merit, that drafting a quarterback at the beginning of a rebuild is not the right way to go. That theory holds that you build the roster until its pillars are strong enough that the roster can support the young quarterback and help him flourish, rather than asking the newbie to rescue a sinking ship.
If the Giants look at wherever they end up and think they can’t get the quarterback they want without giving up draft capital they need to replenish the roster, maybe ‘build the pillars before drafting a new QB’ would be the way to go.
In that scenario, a two-year deal that would allow the Giants to get out of it after a year if they chose to, might be the way to go. I would guess the Giants could probably get a fairly team-friendly deal done. No offense to him, but how many teams other than the Giants are going to hand Jones a multi-year deal at starter money, even low-level starter money? Probably none. It might make sense for both sides.
[NOTE: I’m sure that I have not perfectly answered this trio of questions, or the unwritten questions I know many of you have about Jones, but I have done the best I can to lay out what I see as the situation and the possibilities].
Bob Donnelly asks: Winning, and a winning record is certainly a whole lot of fun. It’s been a long time since we Giants fans have enjoyed the first quarter of a season. However, we can’t lose sight of the fact that this is a flawed team in its first year of a rebuild. Through 4 weeks the team has 7 touchdowns; 3 passing and 4 rushing. The D is playing well, there’s a lot to like, but there’s also a lot to be cleaned up. We all know the overall roster needs improvement. If Jones is not “the guy” how many wins can we “afford” before trading up for his replacement is too costly?
Ed says: Bob, I don’t know if there is such a number. To be honest, I just can’t look at it like “oh, winning more than X number of games would be a bad thing.” Sorry, but I never think winning is a bad thing. That is the point of playing, correct?
Yes, it is a flawed team at the beginning of a build, or rebuild if you prefer that word. I honestly don’t know that the Giants are in a ‘trade up’ position, anyway. Is Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud going to be worth mortgaging a bunch of top picks? I don’t know.
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