Roughly 2,500 words of my thinking on the future of New York Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones were posted earlier today. Yours truly has, in fact, been writing and talking about what could happen with Jones in 2022 and beyond for months.
What do other Big Blue View contributors think? We asked them to answer the Big Blue View Round Table question below to find out.
“When the 2022 season is over, will Jones have shown the Giants new regime he can be their quarterback going forward, or put the franchise back in the market for a new quarterback?”
I think the answer to this question is linked to the question of “What kind of quarterback do Schoen and Daboll want to tie themselves to?” The Giants look to be installing a very quarterback friendly offense using quick strikes and run-after-catch opportunities to manufacture big plays. I’m pretty confident in saying that Jones can execute that kind of offense. However, just distributing the ball in the kind of offense a mid-level college team installs to compete with powerhouses is a long way from being an NFL Franchise Quarterback.
And I think that’s the kind of standard the Giants set for themselves when they declined Jones’ fifth year option. The franchise tag for a quarterback is expected to be roughly $31 million, all guaranteed. For 57 percent of the Giants’ cap space in 2023, there can’t be any questions that Jones is “The Guy.” And when it comes to being “The Guy” at the quarterback position, that means being a player who allows the players around him to perform to their maximum potential — being a player the team wins because of not just “with”.
Mark brings up the 2022 Divisional Round game between the Chiefs and Bills as a watershed moment in how teams think about quarterbacks. Either they have a quarterback who can play to that level, or they need to find one. We shouldn’t forget that Daboll and Kafka had front row seats for that show. That weekend we also saw Matt Stafford and Tom Brady play to a similar level in a similar ending, as well as Joe Burrow manufacture a win despite being sacked nine times. I can’t say that we’ve seen anything like that level of play from Jones, and it’s unreasonable to just assume he’ll make that kind of leap. Schoen and Daboll’s careers are on the line too, as well as the future of the franchise. If they don’t have a definitive answer that Daniel Jones is The Guy, they need to do whatever they have to in order to find Their Guy.
Right now, I think that means the Giants will be in the market for a quarterback come 2023.
Daniel Jones has been saddled with sub-optimal skilled position players (mostly due to health) and unreliable coaching since he entered the league in 2019. We hope these issues are rectified with the new coaching staff, players, and philosophy ushered in by Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll. A Daboll/Kafka offense should consist of modern play designs from the pre to post-snap phase of the game, but can Daniel Jones do enough to earn the starting job after his fifth-year option was declined?
Like most things in life, the answer comes down to money, currency, and dollar bills. Jones will be playing on the final year of his rookie deal and will be looking for a more lucrative payday after the 2022 season. The Giants have exceptional cap health after 2022, but do they really want to allocate that to a player who has been - up to this point - inconsistent with many phases of playing quarterback?
Daniel Jones will have to play better than above-average football to warrant a long-term deal with the New York Giants. It’s plausible that Schoen and Co. might extend an olive branch to Jones for a short - inexpensive - deal if Jones plays very well and the Giants take a big step forward in 2022; this scenario would be helped if Schoen and the Giants' new scouting staff aren’t enamored with the 2023 class of quarterbacks.
To answer the question in a definitive manner, I’m going to say the Giants will be back in the quarterback market next offseason. They’ll look at rookies, possible trade-up scenarios, or maybe a veteran bridge guy until they find their long-term signal-caller. I do believe that bridge player could be Jones, as previously mentioned, but the likelihood of the Giants actually curating this rebuild around Daniel Jones is improbable.
I don’t think Jones is their long-term guy, and he would have to perform in a manner that we haven’t seen Jones access in order to earn that title.
Everything is in front of Daniel Jones coming into the 2022 season. Jones has a new offensive mind in Brian Daboll, who was influential for Josh Allen, a revamped offensive line, and another piece in the pass-catching room. While a Giants offense dedicated to getting the ball out quick in space and letting the playmakers do what they do best could theoretically suit Jones there are still some concerns about him being that guy long term.
The Giants already didn’t give a vote of confidence when declining Jones’ fifth-year option and also went out and made getting Tyrod Taylor a priority in a limited free agency. The fact that Jones has missed so many games throughout his career would give any organization pause to commit big money over a long-term deal. Even if he gets through the season missing minimal time will the Giants believe that is how he will continue to be? Or will it just be viewed as an exception to the norm that Jones will eventually revert to not protecting himself on the field?
Jones would also have to take a massive jump in Year 4 which historically we have not seen before. It’s also no guarantee Jones won’t revert to the turnover-prone player we saw in his rookie season before the clamps were put on him by the coaching staff that followed. Even if Jones has a good season it seems more likely the Giants go the Kirk Cousins route and just tag him over giving him a long-term deal.
At the end of the day, Jones would have to not only stay healthy but outperform what he has shown thus far in his NFL career by far. When it’s all said and done, Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll let Jones walk and do whatever is necessary to get their guy in 2023 and let Taylor be that bridge guy or backup to whoever comes in.
Tony Del Genio
By now we have a good idea who Daniel Jones is. He doesn’t have a cannon arm but he throws a nice, accurate deep ball (e.g., Ross TD vs. NO, Slayton TDs vs. MIN, PIT). He’s not a scrambler, but he has great straight-line speed on zone reads (e.g., TD and turf monster 80-yarders vs. PHI). He has tremendous competitive spirit (e.g., 2-point conversion bowling over Grady Jarrett, leaping one-hand catch vs. CAR). He takes the blame for the Giants’ failings himself rather than pointing elsewhere.
We also know Jones’ weaknesses. He has missed games due to injury every year. He tends to lock onto his first read and is intercepted as a result (e.g., vs. KC and TB in 2021). He doesn’t manipulate the defense with his eyes or move the pocket often enough.
Finally, we know that every other ancillary factor that could help him succeed has been absent for most of his career: Awful offensive line, antiquated play calling and pass route designs, injuries to key pass receivers and running backs. What if those are gone in 2022?
Jones is going to have a very good 2022 season. He will operate a 21st Century offense designed to spread the field and get receivers open, he will have at least a decent offensive line, he will have key receivers and his primary running back healthy, and he has one of the NFL’s easiest schedules to face. He will remind people of Derek Carr.
But that won’t be enough. The Giants’ braintrust will see a quarterback they did not draft who can get the Giants to the playoffs but not to the Super Bowl. They will see a deep 2023 quarterback draft class. They will see a chance to avoid the salary cap issues that second contracts for quarterbacks create in the NFL. And they will move on from Daniel Jones.
My instinct was to immediately say “no”. However, I am intrigued to see what Brian Daboll can do for Daniel Jones. Daboll is good at what he does, well-liked and is riding a high of positive press after what he did in Buffalo alongside Josh Allen. It really comes down to how Jones responds to Daboll’s teaching.
Of course, Daniel Jones isn’t Josh Allen but he has shown enough that I’m totally willing to see what he has to show this season.
And if it doesn’t go well? Get ready for Tyrod Taylor Time at Met Life. It’ll be play-it-safe and hold on to the ball too long on every passing down. But I hope it works out with Jones, obviously.