The New York Giants offense was a mess in 2023. What happened at quarterback was, of course, a big part of that. Let’s review what happened and look ahead to what might happen in 2024 as we continue our 2023 position reviews.
2023 in review
Starter: Daniel Jones
Backups: Tyrod Taylor, Tommy DeVito
Others: Matt Barkley, Jacob Eason
Let’s look at the 2023 seasons for Jones, Taylor and DeVito individually.
Jones got a four-year, $160 million contract from the Giants with $81 million fully guaranteed. He got that deal because of a 2022 season that was the best of his career and made the Giants’ brass think the 2019 No. 6 overall pick could have even more upside.
The 2023 season certainly did not work out that way.
Jones never looked right. He never looked comfortable. In six games, he played one good half of football. That effort in a come-from-behind Week 2 victory over the Arizona Cardinals produced this incredible stat line:
In the second half today, the @Giants' Daniel Jones:— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) September 18, 2023
- threw for 250+ yards
- rushed for 50+ yards
- threw multiple TD passes
- rushed for a TD
- had no turnovers
No other QB in NFL history has done all of that in the second half of a game. pic.twitter.com/CjP4Lovwkm
Unfortunately, the rest of Jones’ season produced only five losses, a second neck injury, a torn ACL and a whole lot of questions about what the Giants need to do at quarterback going forward.
Jones was a human pinãta in 2023. In 5+ games, he was sacked 30 times. He was pressured on 45.5% of his dropbacks. Only Justin Fields (48.8%) was pressured more often. The offensive line play was abysmal, and undeniably a factor in Jones’ poor play.
Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas were out of the lineup for several of the games Jones played in. Wan’Dale Robinson did not play in the first two.
Still, in his fifth season and with the contract he signed last offseason, whatever you want to pin it on the reality is Jones’ performance was unacceptable. He threw two touchdown passes, was intercepted six times, has a career-worst 3.8% interception rate, passes for a career-low, 151.5 yards per game, has a career-low 70.5 passer rating and 36.2 QBR. His net yards per passing attempt was an abysmal 3.1.
Jones wasn’t good enough. His performance, and his knee injury, have opened the door for all of the quarterback questions swirling around the Giants, who have the No. 6 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Taylor has lasted 13 years in the NFL because he has enough talent that teams want him and enough brains to know his role as a backup and not make waves. He has had a bit of a star-crossed time in the NFL as he has generally always been a place-holder or had something go wrong when it looked like it might be his time.
Taylor’s 2023 season followed that pattern. The Giants signed Taylor to a two-year, $11 million contract before the 2022 season to be their insurance policy against injury to Jones. When it came time for the Giants to collect on that insurance policy, Taylor fell short. A loss against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 occurred largely because he checked to a run play that failed from the 1-yard line on the final play before the half, leading to the Giants getting zero points in a 14-9 loss. Then, in Week 8 Taylor broke four ribs and opened the door for DeVito-mania.
When he was back from IR and DeVito-mania had run its course, Taylor started and played well in the final two games of the season, throwing for 319 and 297 yards, including some fantastic deep throws.
Taylor finished with a 2-3 record as a starter, appearing in 11 games overall.
DeVito-mania was never supposed to happen. Things like that never are.
Undrafted, DeVito wasn’t supposed to make it with the Giants. When he did, landing on the practice squad, he was never supposed to play. No. 3 quarterbacks never are. But, sometimes they do.
Injuries to Jones and Taylor opened the door, and the decision to keep DeVito instead of a backup with an NFL pedigree initially looked like a disaster.
The Giants lost to the Jets in overtime in Week 8, largely because when DeVito was forced to take over for Taylor head coach Brian Daboll appeared petrified to let the rookie throw the ball. In 50 snaps from the second quarter thru overtime, Devito threw just seven passes, completing two. Three of his seven passes were behind the line of scrimmage, and none were farther than 10 yards down the field.
There was zero indication of what was to come.
Then, the world went crazy. The Giants won three straight games. In the third one, DeVito led a last-minute comeback.
In the process of all of that, the world — at least the New Jersey-New York world of Giants fans — went insane. DeVito-mania was born. An Italian kid who was a local high school hero and was living at home with his parents was quarterbacking the Giants, and everyone was falling in love with him.
There were lines everywhere to get an autograph and a picture. There were sandwiches. There was a crazy amount of attention.
All in all, this was a good year and a great experience for DeVito. He had his 15 minutes of fame, he made himself some money, he probably added some years to his NFL career and his story injected some fun and some life into an otherwise miserable Giants’ season.
So many questions. Truthfully, so few answers.
Not knowing exactly what your quarterback situation is can never be looked at as a good thing. That, though, is exactly where the Giants find themselves entering Year 3 of the Joe Schoen-Brian Daboll regime.
Schoen has admitted that the Giants, with Jones’ availability to start the season uncertain and Taylor heading to free agency, have to address the position.
“We have to do something,” Schoen said. “When free agency starts, the draft, whichever avenue we decide to take, we will address the position.”
Jones will be part of the equation in 2024. Whether they feel they made a mistake giving him the big contract or not — and they have not indicated they feel that way — the $69.315 million in dead cap charges they would be hit with if they cut Jones — make it impossible to do that.
Question is, will Jones be joined by a first-round pick destined to replace him in 2025 — or sooner? Will he be joined by a Day 2 or Day 3 draftee at quarterback that the franchise hopes could develop into a replacement?
Schoen also said the Giants need a Taylor-esque backup who can “win you some games early on” if Jones is not ready to start the season.
It certainly didn’t sound like Schoen believes DeVito is that guy.
So, the 2024 outlook at quarterback for the Giants is filled with uncertainty. Which is not a good place to be.