The New York Giants are committing to Daniel Jones as their long-term QB. Is this truly the right decision given the open market at the position?
If you are the New York Giants this offseason, what more can you ask for from the rest of the NFC East? The Philadelphia Eagles hit the reset button by replacing their franchise quarterback and Super Bowl-winning coach. The Dallas Cowboys keep tripping over themselves and haven’t committed to Dak Prescott long-term, either. Of all teams, the only team in football without a name, Washington, just barely won the division with a stout defense and a feel-good comeback tour by Alex Smith.
With Carson Wentz gone from Philly, only one star quarterback remains in this division: Dak Prescott. Even with Prescott, the Cowboys have been embroiled with drama and bloated contracts. The point is, in this division, the bar is incredibly low in comparison with the rest of the league. Washington won the NFC East with a 7-9 record, tied as the worst division-winner in NFL history. The Giants are looking to take the next step in this lowly division and emerge as a true NFC contender, and last season was quite impressive despite their 6-10 record. The signal-caller to take them there remains the biggest X-factor for this young Giants team.
What Does Daniel Jones Provide?
When your starting quarterback has a combined 22 interceptions and 29 fumbles in his first two seasons, it may be hard to see why the Giants are so confident in Jones. It would be different if he had 30-40 passing touchdowns with 4,000 yards per year. Rather, the 2019 first-round pick averages 17 touchdowns and less than 3,000 yards a season. Jones has almost two turnovers per game started, meaning he gives the other team great field position in a game more often than not.
So what makes this turnover machine a hot commodity in New York? Looking at his 2019 campaign, Jones had a respectable stat line of 24 passing touchdowns to 12 interceptions. He also flashes a bit of athleticism and maneuverability with 279 rushing yards, which improved to 423 in 2020. Taking over for the fan-favorite and Super Bowl-champion Eli Manning at quarterback, Jones took over the reigns quite impressively. Though the Giants finished the 2019 season with a 4-12 record, fans could only dream of the numbers their new QB would put up in the next season under new head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
2020 was far from perfect, as Daniel Jones would finish with a measly 11 passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He was also limited to 14 starts, as Jones played through hamstring and ankle injuries. The struggles he had this season had more to do with the hand he was dealt. Star running back Saquon Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season, meaning the running and passing game were hardly in-sync this year. The Giants’ offense finished as the 2nd-worst in both scoring and yardage. If not for an underrated defense, this team was just as bad as the Jets or Jaguars.
What the Giants Could Have
The modern NFL landscape has drastically changed how loyal teams are to their quarterbacks. In fact, not a single QB drafted in the first-round from 2009-2016 is with their original team. Who’s to say Daniel Jones isn’t on a short leash with the Giants? Think of the possibilities under center in New York:
- Trading for Sam Darnold of the Jets, reportedly being shopped for a reasonable 2nd-round pick
- Going all in for Deshaun Watson from the Texans
- Trading up or staying put in the 2021 Draft to select Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson or Mac Jones
- Signing Andy Dalton after a successful season with the Cowboys
- Acquiring Cam Newton to revitalize his career and use up what the former-MVP has left
- Signing Mitchell Trubisky, who showed flashes of talent and success in Chicago
- Trading for established quarterbacks Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater, though their contracts would force the Giants to free up cap space
Daniel Jones in 2021 and Beyond
What the Giants could acquire at the quarterback position is purely speculation. The coaching staff is reportedly satisfied with Jones and looking to build upon a successful 2019 season, the “Danny Dimes” all Giants fans went crazy for. There are definitely benefits associated with his play on the field; adjusting to a new coaching staff without your star running back and very few weapons just isn’t a recipe for a good season. It isn’t time to panic in New York, and the Giants will return with a much better offense next year.
The 2021 offseason has only just begun, and the Giants can build a support system around Daniel Jones that is sure to produce a division-winner. The receiving corps will be improved, Saquon Barkley will return healthy and the defense will continue to dominate. The NFC East is far from a cut-throat division, with three of the four teams not even sure of their long-term situation at quarterback. All Daniel Jones has to do is put together an above-average season, or even break through with a 30+ touchdown year. His future as the signal-caller in MetLife Stadium rides on his 2021 success; don’t fumble this chance.