At first blush, it was tempting on Tuesday night to think of the New York Giants’ signing of veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor as an indication the Giants’ new regime isn’t as sold on Daniel Jones as they have indicated.
As I think about it, I don’t believe that is the case. At least not quite.
I think new GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll are absolutely serious about giving Jones every chance to show them that he can be the quarterback they need to help get the franchise turned around.
“I know he’s got all the physical tools and he’s a great kid,” Schoen had said of Jones during the Combine. “Whatever ceiling he has he’s going to reach it if he can stay healthy because he’s got the work ethic, he’s a smart kid and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
This move may eventually help provide the Giants an off ramp should they come to the conclusion during or after the 2022 season that Jones is not the guy they want to move forward with at quarterback.
It is, though, first and foremost yet another clear sign, like getting veterans Blake Martinez and Sterling Shepard to accept pay cuts rather than cutting them, that Schoen was serious about not viewing 2022 as a throw-away season.
“Every decision we make that’s what I’m thinking. I want to make it the best I can. Draft, free agency. You guys asked me about a rebuild before. I don’t want to go out and get my head beat in ever,” Schoen said. “I want to have a competitive team and do what’s best for the franchise in the future.
“I’d like to build the roster the best we can so we can be competitive this year.”
Schoen and Daboll were not part of the Mike Glennon/Jake Fromm debacle last season, but they know what happened once Jones suffered his season-ending neck injury. The Giants looked like a bad high school junior varsity team on offense. They don’t want a repeat of that.
Taylor, 32, is perfectly suited for this role.
He is an 11-year veteran who has played in 78 games with 53 starts. He is 26-25-1 as a starter and a career passer rating of 88.2. Like the offensive linemen Schoen signed — Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano — he is a competent pro.
Taylor has also performed the two roles he could be asked to perform in New York, and done them well.
Taylor was a rarely used back for four years with the Baltimore Ravens, a three-year starter with the Buffalo Bills who went 22-20 while basically serving as a bridge to Josh Allen. He was the bridge to Baker Mayfield with the Cleveland Browns and to Justin Herbert with the Los Angeles Chargers. He played adequately in six starts with the DeShaune Watson-less Houston Texans last season.
He will give the Giants a chance if Jones, who has missed time with injuries in each of his three NFL seasons, gets hurt again. Or, God forbid, if Jones’ neck injury is worse than the Giants have heretofore told us and he doesn’t get cleared for contact.
That brings us back to the “bridge” idea.
Schoen and Daboll want to give Jones an opportunity in 2022 to show that the last couple of seasons were more about the mess surrounding him than about Jones’ capabilities. Co-owner John Mara desperately wants Jones to succeed.
What, though, if he doesn’t?
This, to me, is Schoen planning for that possibility. If Jones doesn’t play well, it’s not hard to imagine Taylor taking over at some point in 2022.
It is hard to imagine the Giants picking up Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023. If Jones shows the Giants that they need to go into the 2023 NFL Draft to look once again for a franchise quarterback it’s not hard to see Taylor as the starter until or unless whoever the Giants select to be their next quarterback of the future is ready to play.
Taylor isn’t a Giant to take Jones’ job away. He is a Giant to pick up the pieces and give the Giants a chance should Jones fail in his final opportunity.
It is a role he is perfect for.