Daniel Jones’ season ended on Sunday when his right knee blew apart, likely also blowing apart whatever shreds of optimism remained for the New York Giants 2023-24 season. Coach Brian Daboll confirmed Monday Jones ACL is torn and his season is over.
Jones’ injury likely also altered the course of the Giants’ future, and of the remainder of his career.
There can be little doubt now that the Giants need to find a successor to Jones as the team’s franchise quarterback.
We got the answer in one quarter plus one play.
Before Jones got hurt, he didn’t look rejuvenated after missing three games with a neck injury. He looked terrible. He looked like a quarterback who is regressing rather than getting better.
Jones air-mailed a short sideline throw to Saquon Barkley on the game’s first play. He missed two potentially game-changing deep shots to Jalin Hyatt. He threw a pass in the direction of Darius Slayton that should have been intercepted. He looked uncomfortable and uncertain in the pocket.
It is time to raise the white flag. It is time for Jones supporters, the Giants organization and everyone else to admit that it just isn’t going to work the way the Giants need it to with Jones. It could have, maybe it should have with better coaching and management from the beginning of his career, but it hasn’t.
Some of it is Jones’ fault. A lot of it is not. None of that matters.
What matters is that this is Year 5 and trying to make Jones a franchise quarterback, or win consistently while navigating around his flaws, hasn’t worked. Next year would/will be Year 6 and we don’t know what Jones’ availability will be. He will also be in the second year of his four-year, $160 million contract, the last season with guaranteed money. Oh, and the Giants are headed toward a top-five draft pick with an extra second-round pick from the Leonard Williams trade to use to move up in Round 1 should they choose to.
Wide receiver Darius Slayton didn’t want to discuss it on Monday.
“Quite frankly, people have been trying to get myself and him and multiple others out of here since we’ve been here…He’ll be back playing pro football somewhere. Hopefully here. And I look forward to that day,” Slayton said.
Daboll, understandably, did not want to go there on Monday.
“My focus is on getting [Tommy] DeVito ready to go, getting [Matt] Barkley up to speed, and doing as good a job as we can with the guys we have out there,” Daboll said.
The Giants went 1-5 this season in games started by Jones. They are 22-36-1 in games he has started during his career. He has never thrown for more than 3,205 yards in a season, and hasn’t thrown more than 20 touchdown passes since throwing 24 as a rookie while starting 12 games.
We know that GM Joe Schoen and the Giants’ front office have been eyeballing quarterbacks during the college football season. Schoen has seen Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy in person. He, and other front office members, saw USC’s Caleb Williams and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. on Saturday night. He has probably seen a few other quarterbacks we haven’t heard about.
The Giants currently have picks 4, 35, 58 and 69 in the 2024 NFL Draft. They are in position to make a move on a quarterback. This is shaping up like the time for Schoen and Daboll to make the move for “their” quarterback.
The contract Schoen gave Jones was criticized by many. Not here. I still believe Schoen did what he had to do after Jones helped the Giants to a surprising 2022 season that included playoff victory for the first time in more than a decade.
It won’t be easy for the Giants to get out from under that contract, though it wasn’t one that approached the mega-deals of Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson.
The deal includes a $47.1 million cap hit next season, and the Giants would incur a $22.1 million cap hit in 2025 if they make Jones a pre-June 1 cut ($11.1 million after).
It is, though, the situation they are in. Not where they wanted to be, but the reality is that it is time for the Giants to look forward and stop trying to make something work that just doesn’t seem meant to be.