The New York Giants have plenty of questions heading into 2022. What kind of offense will the collaboration between Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka produce? Do the Giants have the personnel to run Don Martindale’s hyper-aggressive defense? But hanging over all of those questions is the question regarding Daniel Jones.
Can he be a true “Franchise” quarterback?
Writing for the 33rd Team, former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum ranked the league’s various starting quarterbacks. Giants fans will need to scroll down a while to get to Daniel Jones’ ranking, as Tannenbaum put him in his bottom tier of quarterbacks.
Tannenbaum ranks Jones among the likes of Zach Wilson, Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky, and Drew Lock in the seventh tier of starting quarterbacks.
Tannebaum says, “Tier 7 is what we would categorize as “waiting to see it” or low-level starters. These players are at a time in their career where they must show the talent that caused them to be drafted in the first or second round. In 2022, it could be a make-or-break year for them. 3 out of the 5 are in new places as of this offseason, while Wilson/Jones are in the “waiting to see it” timeframe. It is reasonable to see the majority of these players not as the starting QB at some point within the season, or next season.”
Tannenbaum doesn’t list his criteria for making the tiers, but he does define the top tier of quarterbacks as being able to “limit mistakes, make big-time throws, and win at all levels of the field.” He adds that the common thread between the diverse set of players is that they are “elevating the players around them, and not only not losing games, but winning them as well.”
Based on that criteria (such as it is), it’s difficult to place Jones highly. It could be argued that he could crack the sixth tier, in which the players are “Quarterbacks you can win with if the situation is ideal.” The situation around Jones has hardly been ideal, with injuries and inconsistencies at just about every position — despite the Giants’ many investments into the offensive side of the ball.
However, Jones is in the final year of his contract and the Giants need to decide if he’s the guy going forward. He’s at his very last chance to “prove it” that he is a franchise quarterback. Even if Jones was placed in the sixth tier, that’s still a quarterback who needs a complete team around him in order to win. And if you need a complete team in an ideal situation to elevate your quarterback, do you really have a starting quarterback?
Interestingly, the advanced stats (in this case the EPA+CPOE composite) provided by RBSDM.com place Jones directly between Trubisky and Lock.
(Note: The total sample is of quarterbacks with at least 300 snaps outside of garbage time (defined as a winning percentage between 8 percent and 92 percent) since 2019)
While the Giants’ new regime has voiced support of Jones, their actions suggest reservations. In declining his fifth-year option, Schoen and Daboll are effectively stating that they believe he needs to show more than he has so far in his career to justify a massive pay raise and a spot on the roster after 2022.
Jones has certainly flashed at times, but he’s also struggled with injuries and consistency throwing the ball. The question facing both the Giants and Jones for 2022 is whether he can elevate his game enough to prove that he’s worth $30 million per year going forward. It’s up to him to prove that he’s more than a bottom tier quarterback.